I am being a terrible parent at the moment. I am not able to do any of the things that I need to do. And the really terrible thing is that I am only being a terrible parent to one of my children. My other child gets what is quite frankly, awesome parenting.
There is no PLACE in my parenting with my eldest. Or actually, that’s not fair. I do try. But every attempt is met with verbal or physical abuse, it is met with a complete refusal (inability) to look at me, to engage with me, to even exist with me in the same space.
Last week we went out for lunch. We have one place that we go to for lunch, and it is still very hit and miss as to whether it is successful or not. There is a small park outside this place. Little got to the slide first, so Big peed on the slide to stop Little being able to go down it again. But Little ‘I have a concentration ability of approximately 3.9 seconds’, was already on the swings by this point. I tried hard to be accepting, ‘It’s really hard when you can’t do everything first’ but inside my head was screaming, ‘You peed on the slide! You can’t pee on a slide because you didn’t get to go first. Other people use the slide. You’re now covered in pee.’ And the worst bit was that Big didn’t come to say, ‘I’m covered in pee.’ I had to chase her round to get her back and say to her ‘You seem to be wet.’ My head knows what I should do in these situations, but I’m not managing to do it. I’m just cross that she’s done it.
I’m finding it very difficult to be okay as instantly as I need to be. Last week I was pushed into the wall so hard I didn’t just see stars, I saw tweeting bluebirds too. But there was no acknowledgement that it even happened. I was wordlessly handed a book and was expected to read it. And if I’m not instantly ready again, everything escalates back to fever pitch. When I’m told I’m the worst mum ever, or that she hates me, or that she wishes she didn’t have to have me for a mum or all the other things that are thrown at me, I’m expected to be okay again. To get on with things as if they never happened. And I can’t. I cannot manage this at the moment. So things are never calm because she doesn’t feel safe when I need a second, and I never get chance to take a second so my adrenalin levels feel constantly raised.
The worst bit about my terrible parenting is that I know that Big cannot help this. She didn’t choose to feel this way. The way her brain makes decisions makes sense to her. (If you don’t want someone to go on the slide, peeing on it is an effective way to make that happen.) But sometimes I see how far other adoptive families have come in supporting their children to voice how they are feeling, to help their children feel safe, to be able to talk about things that are worrying them and I feel terrible about how I’m not able to do this for Big. I know that I got it really wrong for the first three months. But for three and a half years I’ve tried really hard to get it right for her, and she doesn’t seem to feel any safer here. I don’t know how to keep going with this. To find whatever it is I need to find to keep trying to help her. I don’t know how to keep being rejected and hurt. I don’t know how to keep being okay again. Because I’m not okay. And she’s not either.