Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston, we have a problem

Last week, we went through a few tough days with Liam. He pooped his pants three times in the course of 24 hours, and the last time he did it even once was months ago. He’d been cross with Mallory and glum in general. Then, to top it off, Cindy called on Monday to tell me that he’d been aggressive with Mallory at her house. She had been standing down the hall from him, and he took a running, flying leap at her for no reason, knocking her right off her feet. For that, of course, he got a time out – his first one. As usual, the minute you let Liam know you’re upset with him, he is bawling in – I don’t know, shame? Regret? Or just because he knows that will make you go easier on him? Anyway, he seemed remorseful enough.

Cindy, who said that in all the time she’s known Liam, she’s never seen him behave like that, suggested that this may be tied to the fact that I was more absent than usual last week (on account of work commitments), and it’s true. Though I was not out with my clients every night, Chad was doing the evening pick-up, which is enough of a routine change for the kiddos to sit up and take notice. We went through a bout of pants-wetting/pooping with Liam a few months ago that we figured out was a bid for more attention from us. And, Cindy also let me know that the other little girl who’s a summer regular at her house is currently toilet training, so she’s requiring a lot of Cindy’s time and effort right now. Put this all together and you’ve got it – Liam is looking for attention.

I honestly feel bad for the poor kid. Mallory is a little banshee, and the past few weeks with her have been even more trying than usual. She has been eating crayons, sitting down in mud puddles, and sticking her hands in a can of construction adhesive over at the new house (ugh – that was a mess! Never assume the contractors put their stuff away at the end of the day.) The other night Chad found a caterpillar for Liam, and set it down on the flagstone so he could see it better. Mallory was there in seconds, trying to stomp on it. Luckily she missed, but Liam was in tears anyway, worried for the poor bug’s safety. She has started screaming in her high chair, but will eat (somewhat) peacefully if sitting on my lap, so guess where she often ends up during mealtimes? Her hair needs doing in the mornings (and then again a couple hours later, and then again, and then again…) In all these little ways, she requires a lot of time and attention, and he’s starting to feel the strain of it. The point was perfectly driven home on Monday night when I went to pick up the kids. Cindy just got a new toy bike, and she was telling me that Liam, who has been a little slow to catch onto the concept of pedaling since he got his first bike more than a year ago, took to it right away and went the whole length of her sidewalk that first day. He wanted me to see, and had just started off down the sidewalk, when Mallory did a terrible face plant – the kind where you think she’s going to lose teeth. She started screaming, there was blood everywhere, and I was completely torn between watching him so proudly demonstrate such a big achievement and soothing my poor injured baby. The timing couldn’t have been worse. I scooped her up and rocked her while keeping my eyes on him, but when he turned back to see if I was watching, I’m sure I saw some disappointment on his face that he wasn’t the only thing on my mind.

So, I feel awful for him. I know he has to learn that he’s not the centre of the universe, and Mallory is doing a good job of teaching him that, but… it’s tough.

(Man, I am getting behind in posting pics!... just don't seem to have the right ones handy when I'm ready to post.)


Dawn said...

awwwww poor little man! I am sure it will pass......but 3 poops in 24 hours? I am envious of his bowel movements! ;o)

Mandy said...

It's so hard. With our first we are able to drop everything for them, if not all of the time then a lot of it. Our hearts have room for both of them, but there's just no way to have one eye watching one and one watching the other...and if there were..yikes!

We're going through a huge stage of Em pushing every possible button, not listening, doing what we ask her not to, not doing what we ask of her, and even saying things like "I'm going to___" insert unacceptable behavior there. *sigh* I know she's rebelling as I try to recover and definitely not dealing well with the fact that I can barely take care of Joseph right now. She wants so badly to be at school, and I can't drive her there or find someone else who can either. I hate it.

It's going to get better, for both of our older kiddos.