What’s wrong little sister?


You ask Liza, what’s wrong several times a day, so does Grandpa.  I wonder it, too.  I try to facilitate, observe, think about her, what’s changed, why this contrariness?  It appears more than her relaxed little play self appears. I try not to think about it this way, but it reminds me of her mommy.  Who turns things into bad news when bad news isn’t happening. I wish Liza was at the Children’s Center with my friends, with people to help us think about how to help her.  I wonder if a 2 1/2 yr old is too young for counseling? Will Medi-Cal pay for a psychologist? Sometimes we need some help.  Like now.

For the past three weeks we are in “egg-shell” zone with your sister.  You take the brunt of it, but I am suffering inside.  Can I be a different more loving grown up for her? From the moment she gets up, she turns into a kicking, can’t do it monster.. No, No, No!  She screams.  About nothing.  But something to her.  She gets herself stuck in a corner with her negativity.  Don’t like it, can’t do it, kicking and squealing fits.  Sometime I think I figure it out….Its as if she wants to be alone with me, I decided one day.  She had a cough and stayed home with me and mostly had a lovely day.  Until rest time.  She stopped sleeping at Aubrey’s or at school.  But makes up for it at home most weekends sleeping for 3 hours.  So we played, read, she played alone, ate snacks, drew pictures, screamed about sleeping, threw all her clothes all over the floor emptying her dresser, stripped naked, pooped on the floor, screamed for me to get it off, then she cried herself to sleep for a couple hours and then I had to wake her up to go get you.

The rest of the evening was back to contrariness, hitting you, teasing with poking …attention-getting device? Who’s mine or his? She seems to perceive a bad girl in there somewhere, and so she tries to be her.  It takes so damn much effort on her part.  Grandpa and I feel her struggle. see it.  She seems to be more and more in control of my insides.  And I know better than to let that happen.

Go to dinner and say no about eating no matter what is offered.  Then cry to eat because she’s so hungry all the way home.  Get in car after picking up brother, she wants a dinosaur toy, I hand it to her, get in start to drive and she threw to the floor.  I tell her we can get it when I stop driving. She did this kind of crap when she was 18 months old.  So perfectly toddler behavior. Stopped months ago, why again? Misery-making.  We need to change this before it becomes a pattern. Or love it away? Maybe I can’t reach it, that hole left by her mommy.

I am talking so reasonably about these behaviors.  It is so unreasonable and  preoccupies my every minute.  Last week she and I were home all week.  Last week, I scratched my scalp, picked at scabs, peeled skin off my thumbs with me teeth, walked in circles and drank gin. This week she’s well and I am home with you because you have a nasty bronchial cold. You set up a zoo on the coffee table with old cartons, boxes and plastic produce boxes.  You named it “animal atlas” Today you added an aquarium section and asked Liza to come see your exhibit. She tried to smash all the boxes.  We negotiated that she could set up some exhibits, too.  We gave her some boxes, she tore them up and smashed the strawberry baskets as she cried and stomped. The animals poked her feet and she cried harder.

Today we read a story, just Liza and I, on her bed. Hold me she asked.  Kisses, please.  We made out. Snuggled, covered up and laid there awhile.  Saturated with snuggles and affection.  I talked to her about her day yesterday, saying remember when Grandpa wanted to help you clean up after breakfast?  You shouted.  What did you say.  She got all serious, eyebrows down and reported the full incident in detail.  So loud, I said.  Why?  Don’t know, she said.

Then when you laid on the floor and it was time for him to go to work, what happened?  No Grandpa.  Stay home! And she kicked her feet and stomped, t  Yes. You did it too.

I  told your sister we would leave in 5 minutes to Aubrey’s.  Aubrey Day, she sang.  I set her shoes and bag on the hall bench for her.  She walked out of the room where I had just heard her singing Aubrey Day with Twinkle Twinkle and she picked up her shoes and screamed NO.  Would you like different shoes?  You may get them.  NO.  Can I get them for you?  I opened her closet. There are three kinds, and I named them.  I found her laying flat kicking. I held her legs and told her that I was putting on her shoes today and we were leaving.

You watched, sighed and headed out ahead of us. Needless to say it wasn’t a good trek over.  She stopped and sat on the damp driveway.  Refusing to move and took off her shoes.  Jeeze.  This is a journalistic report.  But believe me the feelings are strong at this point.  LOUD. Compassion saved for later reflection.  I was so peeved at that point, I needed a fresh adult. There were none.  I left her (not wanting to get pulled into yet another drama), took you, explained to Aubrey who was with her own 2 yr old inside and returned to the driveway.  She was still sitting, sobbing crying for her shoes.

I felt ready to do the same, but so much more adult am I, I wanted my bed and some tea. I imagined tossing her by the seat of her pants into the yard and closing the gate.  But refrained.  Apologized to Aubrey as your sister kicked every toy on the floor and frightened her Sequoia. I picked her up and held her until she stopped struggling and asked for a hug.

A troubled child, this one. I am so sorry Aubrey.

Tomorrow I go for two days to Pasadena for work and will rush back.  Grandpa cannot manage this on his own.  I have your daddy coming, secured Aubrey’s help all day Thursday and I will return early.  Will she get through this?  How? Will I?  Of course I will. What are you learning little guy?  I hope some tolerance and kindness. Breathe you tell me. gma

Leave a Reply