Friday, February 22, 2013

Out of Rope

Yesterday started out normally enough. My daughter went to school, came home, went to the mall with daddy on their weekly date, came home. Then he left to have dinner with friends.

I've been feeling low, so I was just watching tv. She was being a little pesty, demanding attention and interrupting the show. I diverted her and sent her up to put on pajamas. A bit after 8, she was getting crabby and complaining about the load time of something on her computer, so I sent her to bed. That's when it went to hell.

I was impatient with her, I admit, but she reacted disproportionately and was quite upset about being told to go to bed, and the whole situation spiraled out of control, with her screaming (literally, not exaggerating here) in her room and crying. She came down and asked for hugs several times, which she received, and I got more and more frustrated that she wasn't going to bed as she'd been told.

It was after 10 before my husband got home, and since one of the things she'd been whining about was his absence, I asked him to go upstairs and say goodnight to her as soon as he took his coat off. She calmed down after that, but didn't fall asleep until after 11.

If blame is assigned, it is certainly mine. I was impatient with her and she's sensitive to mood as all kids are, but more so, with fewer means of dealing with the stress. But I'm exhausted from tiptoeing around her mood. Am I not entitled to a bad day, as she is? Is it too much to ask to be able to watch a program uninterrupted? (She also has an uncanny knack for getting crushed ice from the fridge only during television dialog, never during commercials, but I chalk that up to being a kid.)

School was cancelled for today in anticipation of a snowstorm. We got the call early in the evening, before things got truly ugly. (And that may be one more factor that made the night go bad; she has issues with telephone usage.) So not only was I looking at a night of frustration, but potentially a whole day, too.

I got up at my usual time (okay, I hit snooze a couple of times), had a little coffee and read email. Then went out to shovel snow so my husband could get to work. Once my elderly neighbor finished snow-blowing his drive and our long, shared sidewalk (thank you, sir!) and went inside, the morning was quiet. I even contemplated going for a walk to extend my peace and solitude, but abandoned the idea as daft, since neither the roads nor other sidewalks were cleared and I didn't want snow in my boots.

Once back in the house, I heard that Diana was up already, when I'd hoped she'd sleep in this morning. Her mood was still stressed and unhappy. Then my husband told me that there was a good chance he'd be late from work tonight. *sigh*

An hour later, and she's back to normal, hopefully because she's resilient, and because I worked hard to moderate my tone.

My only child is autistic, so my yardstick is different from the "norm." I think all parents of teenagers have to deal with the whole walking-on-eggshells with their moody kids, but it really doesn't help that I am personally out of rope and it's a long way down. It's one of those times that makes it hard to see light because the hole is already so deep, but I know it's deeper yet...

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