“She seems a little lost…broken…” I didn’t hear much after that. The word broken echoed through my head so loudly that it drowned out the rest of the words. Of all the words I could have heard to describe my girl the one used was broken.
Broken. My daughter is broken.
Not acclimating. Socially awkward. Struggling. Can’t sit still. Not reading appropriately. Wants to do right-sometimes. Sassy, bossy, combative yet sweet, eager and yearning…. Can’t get it together…but sad when she fails…it’s like a little tornado is in her head…The list goes on. And on.
But I only hear broken.
The frustrations at school yield poor reports. Poor academic reports and poor conduct reports. The poor academics mean we work a little extra. Poor conduct means punishments. Popping doesn’t work. Reasoning doesn’t either. Taking away screens has no effect. No bed snacks gets a little attention but not for long. Time out-she won’t stay. I physically can’t keep her there. We’ve even written sorry letters to our teacher. Nothing.
The only thing that seems to hold any weight is taking away her cuddle time. It’s been weeks since my girl has been allowed to climb into my lap and snuggle at night. I should be rejoicing that she’s sleeping in her own bed. But I can’t because she’s been banished there because she can’t listen at school. My broken girl. Am I breaking her even more trying to fix her?
Every day I pray aloud all the way to daycare pickup,”please-please-please-please,” hoping against hope for a smile when I see her little round squishy face. The minute she sees me I know. No smile. Day after day I see her see me. She looks up without a smile and I know. I don’t have to see her folder anymore to know. The slumped shoulders means a think about it day or worse a parent contact day. Either of those equals her being in trouble. Each time I ask,”why???” In varying tones and volumes. No matter how I ask she answers,”I no listen today.” Some days my additional question of “why?” is met with attitude and lip and eye rolls. Other days her answer of,”I no no,” comes with a quivering chin and big alligator tears threatening to spill out of those big brown eyes.
I am frustrated and overwrought and at a loss so I usually meet her response-whichever way it goes-a notch higher. She gives me attitude-I respond in kind. She tears up-I cry.
She’s broken. I guess I am too.
We come home and it’s worse. She pitches fits and acts out. She’s frustrated. So I am. She can’t tell me what’s wrong so I don’t know what to fix. She’s broken and I don’t even know what to fix.
She’s angry. So am I. Maybe she is angry at me…I am angry at her. I am also angry at me. I am her mom. It’s my job to fix things but I am out of my league. I am at a loss. I am lost. And she has a right to be angry at me for that.
She’s sad. So I am. I am sad at her and for her. Maybe my sad broke her? That thought makes me infinitely sadder.
Is she acting up? Acting out in need of something I am not giving her? Is she not capable? Is she missing something? Is there something I can do-something I haven’t done? Is she spoiled? Too much attention? Not enough? Did her pitiful little start in life foreshadow this? When they looked at me and said,”just take her home and love her. There may be developmental delays…” Is this it??
But there weren’t any. At 12 weeks she opened her eyes and was awake and fine and the trauma of those first 12 weeks faded like the remanents of a bad dream when the first rays of morning touch your face. Poof. Gone. She walked and talked and ran.
Sure–She’s shy and introverted and attached. Has been all her life. But she’s gotten better. She’s branching out-inching out of her cocoon. I thought she was a butterfly. Then I heard she was broken and now I see her emerging from this cocoon of hers with broken wings. Emerging but unable to fly.
My sweet hearted girl has been described as she meanest sweet child you’ll ever meet. More and more I see her angry and mean and mad and bad. Did the sweet side break too? Other times I hear her say to me,”I do better mama so I can sleep wiff you. Damorrow a better day mama. I be blue tomorrow,” and then I get a tight, squishy hug and gives me hope.
But then the morning starts comes and it starts all over. The ugliness and the anger and the fits. Unless it’s Friday and the football players are there–it’s a battle. No-it’s a war. And I am not winning.
Life is slamming me from all sides. I can’t get a deep breath. I am trying to find a fix. I am a fixer. But I don’t know how.