It is so beautiful outside today, so warm, so Indian-summer except that it's not quite late enough into fall for sudden balmy temperatures to qualify as that. So we'll just say it's a lovely autumn day. Adelay and I made sand art sculptures on the deck today, using a kit she got at her birthday party, and I was so grateful that it was nice enough outside to be dumping all that neon sand on the grass instead of our kitchen floor. It was so peaceful, watching the sand trickling down the tiny funnel and into the plastic hearts and butterflies. About as spa-zen as a frazzled mom of three gets during a normal afternoon, I suppose.
My dear middle child has been slowly taking it out of me the last few days, and I am just so tired. I feel kind of defeated today. On our way home from the afternoon's errands, all I wanted was to have somewhere to dump him off for a while, to walk away and say, "Not my problem right now." His behavior just seems to keep regressing: the running away, the throwing fits, the hateful language whenever he's angry with me. He will scowl at me from the floor where he has hurled himself and hiss, "Fine, then I don't like you anymore!" and I will think, while carefully schooling my features into a blank and impassive expression, "Right back at you, kid."
I had to physically carry him out of a store today while he screamed, and the baby in the stroller screamed too, rudely awakened by his older brother's fit about an NFL football player Christmas ornament he had seen dangling in a Hallmark display. But it could have been anything. Once he sees something he likes, any errand, any shopping trip is brought to a grinding halt, and it's like negotiating with a terrorist to get out of the store without blood, sweat and tears (there's usually at least sweat and tears.)
Yesterday, thinking that maybe his recent bad behavior has been due to boredom, I drove over to a friend's house and picked up their little boy to come play with Eli for a few hours. At first all was well: Eli and his friend played with action figures, Jameson napped, I folded laundry and peaked in occasionally to listen to their hilarious conversations. But as usual, it all unraveled as soon as Eli didn't get his way about something (this time, it was what snack to have) and he continued whining, throwing fits, hiding, yelling at me and at his friend, etc, until finally I just took the other boy home, after apologizing profusely for Eli's rude behavior. I have never felt so embarrassed and disappointed by my own kid. And like such a failure.
We have literally tried every sort of discipline in the book, short of, you know, beating him or something, and it doesn't seem to matter to him. You can literally watch the crazy come over him, and it's like he literally can't control himself, even if we've spent the previous half hour getting him psyched up to behave well and earn a prize, redeem a toy from time out, get an ice cream cone, whatever. We're trying so hard to give him the opportunity to make good choices, to not get him stuck in this cycle of being the "bad" kid, we're talking talking talking to him, praising him whenever he is good, giving tons of hugs and cuddles, and he's still just losing his shit on a daily basis. I don't know what to do. And I'm tired of feeling like a prisoner to my own child's hysterics.