Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let the neuroses begin!

Ok, the following isn't about mother-guilt. I don't do mother-guilt because, well, you do the best you know how at the time and afterwards you can't tie yourself in knots wishing you'd known what you didn't know. So, this post isn't about mother-guilt.

My head is full of, "How do I avoid screwing Bryn and Ari up during this stressful time?"

I screwed Erik up back around the time he was 3.5-4 years of age. Not intentionally, not at all intentionally, but through lack of understanding about his sensitivity and through lack of understanding about my own health issues.

When he was 3.5 I decided we needed a tree change - mostly I was just running away from post-natal depression and a bit of a rocky patch in our marriage, but it took a bit of counselling some years later to see it...

We moved to Bendigo and Dave was still working in Melbourne, so I was at home for 12 hours a day with two very bright and very understimulated children. Luey was having HUGE sleep issues at the time, so for about 6 months I lived on 2 hours sleep every 24 hours. At the end of those 6 months, I became very, very sick (had two seizures and was rush to hospital in Melbourne). Erik witnessed my second seizure, where I bit my tongue. So did Luey, but he was only just 2 years old then, and didn't comprehend much. Erik was still breastfeeding at that stage and so not only did he see me convulsing and bleeding from the mouth and then carted off in an ambulance in a semi-conscious state, but then I was gone for four days and his dad was very upset and his main source of comfort wasn't available to him.

Then we moved again.

So two moves in the same year to completely foreign places (to him) and me sick, and Dave was also carted off in an ambulance around that time with SEVERE gastro.

Lots of trauma, and we're still living with the symptoms of the deep anxiety that set into Erik's personality. I don't feel guilty about this, but it does make me sad. We're constantly working on building up Erik's sense of security and minimising his anxiety, but I think he will always suffer with the legacy of those times.

So, understandably, this move causes me concern.

Bryn and Ari have had quite a different childhood in many ways to Erik and Luey. Dave and I sorted out our issues (mostly!) and I, personally, became a much more stable mum (and person), we moved back to place where we are happy and feel quite secure. Bryn and Ari have always lived in the same house and basically haven't lived with any of the uncertainty or volatility Erik and Luey had to deal with (Luey is made of more robust stuff than Erik, though he also is sensitive, he just has a stronger core. I think having to deal with a lot of pain early in life and feeling cared for helped him become stronger).

Last year was quite stressful, but we manage to keep things pretty much stable and secure for Bryn and Ari despite it all. This year is seeing a LOT of change, and I don't want Bryn to lose his sense of normalcy and stability, it is constantly at the back of my mind because he's about the same age Erik was when everything went pearshaped for him.

Ari is experiencing less of me than the other boys had. He has a lot more time with Dave though.

I'm highly aware that the boys all pick up on all the undercurrents so I'm constantly reminding myself to be calm, not to panic (though sometimes I really want to!)...

This parenting gig is HARD and it seems the more you know, the harder it gets!

Anyone want to tell me how them maintained their preschooler's sense of normalcy and security during a move???


katef said...

Our girls were only just over one when we moved - the girls and I to my parents place, their father to his father's place then all of us out to the 'country'... which I think is a much easier age for this stuff than 4ish.... But routine routine routine I reckon. Brynn will probably be helped a lot my the kinder (and school) rhythm I reckon.

And you are spot on with the stress thing... don't be even remotely tempted to bite off more than you can chew, and par down as much as you possibly can, getting help where you can so that you can have lots of just 'hanging about the house' days for everyone to settle.

G'luck.... sure you'll all manage this with flying colours! You're already half way there just being aware...

Rachael said...

I dunno if I have any real tips. I think being aware that it can be quite a significant shift for them means that you will be understanding if their behaviour is off for a bit.

When we moved last year there was SO much going on. Not only a new house, but a new kinder, and all that on top of a reasonably new baby. I think at the time I probably underestimated just how big that was for the bigguns.

The change will be so positive for the big boys what with being closer to school, and if Bryn is at the same kinder then that will help too.

I just love how this all has come about for you! How can it be anything but great for all of you?!!

Good Job!