At one point today I was beginning to regret writing my last post. I was fearful of what people would think and how they would react. I've gotten so many responses, more than I ever dreamed that I would get. Some were helpful, some supportive, some judgemental and some were just plain rude and hurtful. To those that have responded with personal stories and offerings of ideas and help you have no idea how much I appreciate you taking time out of your day to try to help me. Thank you. I'm truly taking everything into consideration and going to try to figure out my next step. As a Mom I know that I truly am my children's biggest advocate and have to speak up or scream for what I feel is best for my kids.
A lot of people have commented about Grace feeling overshadowed by the twins and Evan; that she's looking for attention. I know that that is part of it. Matt and I are going to try even harder to give each of the kids one on one time more often. We already make it a point to give each child one on one time out of the house when Matt is off. Which equals out to roughly once a week when Matt is working his normal schedule. For the rest of the days we just do small things one on one, Evan loves to help with laundry -putting things into the washer and dryer. So he is my big helper for that. Grace like to help do dishes so she gets her chair and sponge and will stand and talk with me while I wash dishes and load the dishwasher. I know they are simple things but we get to do them one on one. For example today Evan and I went to Walmart and Home Depot. I know it may sounds stupid but we get a chance to talk. Actually I should say that Evan gets a chance to really talk about whatever he wants to. I let him walk around the stores by himself, which he normally doesn't get to do when I'm out with all of the kids. And he did amazingly great! I let him sit on the tractors in Home Depot again which he loves. In Walmart we went over and looked at the fish in the fish tanks where he got to tell me what colors they were and which ones were big and which ones were small. Grace and I went out later to get the rest of the groceries at Dutchway and pickup what I forgot in Home Depot. She was a huge helper, not touching things she shouldn't be, asking me for things and not screaming when she doesn't get her way and staying right with me in the stores. Not a tantrum to be had on that trip. And to be honest I think I held my breath the entire trip. But we did have a good time.
I want to stop and say that I don't want this post to sound like I'm defending myself, I think I'm really just trying to process and talk everything through the way I would if Matt were here for me to talk to.
While I was in Walmart I bought a kitchen timer to use for time-outs. It's just a small thing to try with Grace and Evan when they are sent to their rooms to sit on their beds for bad behavior or for not listening. We will see how it goes. My one issue with time outs upstairs is that I cannot be consistent. Grace's room is right next to ours and when Matt is on night shift I don't want to send Grace up there screaming and throwing a tantrum and wake Matt up. So it's one obstacle that I'm trying to figure out an alternative to.
I'm thrilled to be getting Maddie, Leah and Evan consistently on the same nap schedule so that Grace and I will have that time together just the two of us every single day.I use that time to do crafts with her, snuggle with her on the couch or just sit and play with her. In the summer we would usually sit on the porch and play with playdough or color, I can't wait for it to be nice enough outside to start doing that again.
I'm thinking that I am going to take some of the suggestions that you all have given me and implement some of them over the next month or two. I have also ordered two books and will see what insight they can give me. If nothing changes then I am going to take her back to the pediatrician's office and discuss things with her again. And just take it from there. In regards to my temper and yelling, I'm going to try to do Yoga at night and go for walks when Matt is at home for some stress relief. I don't think that I'm depressed as some have suggested, I think it's more of just being overwhelmed by everything on my plate right now. However, if things with ME don't get better over the next few weeks I will go and talk to someone about it. I am truly hoping that this is rock bottom for me. That months of sleep deprivation from the end of my pregnancy and then having two newborns who didn't sleep through the night adding to the stress of having 4 kids under age 4 finally and completely caught up to me. I'm not placing blame or making excuses, it just is what it is. Exercise has always been a stress reliever for me so there is now even more incentive to MAKE time for me which I haven't been doing. At all. I pray that things will only get better from here.
Hopefully this post made sense. I skipped around a lot but I'm emotionally and physically exhausted.
PS. I didn't yell today. Not once. (Yea me!)