Eldest is seven. He just turned seven last week. This week, Eldest has been, er. Volatile. This peaked on Friday when we were leaving for school.
He wanted to get one of his Yu-Gi-Oh cards to take with him, which card was somewhere upstairs in the suitcase thingie he keeps the gazillions of the things in. I told him he would have to get it after school as looking for it would make us late. And he burst into tears. This was a surprise. So I said, “Eldest, what is it?” And he screamed “I want to be good and I can’t Ijustcan’t” and cried some more.
He has been like that for almost a week. It’s like living with a girl who is just about to get her first period (I have three sisters, I remember)…or a rapid cycling bipolar.
We have indeed had two years of a truly mind altering degree of chaos, as a family. But the chaos seems to have come to a close here lately. Still, I recall when my own parents divorced, we kids didn’t actually go insane until after both parents remarried and there were no more traumatic events. On the third hand, I am worried about ghosts from my own nursery clouding the view. And I have an unfortunate tendency to overthink.
This problem is exacerbated somewhat by the fact that Eldest has a significant language disorder and has some difficulty expressing himself in words. However, he has made great strides and this rarely is a huge problem any more.
I let him stay home on Friday in the interest of mental hygeine, as his teacher had mentioned on Thursday that something was clearly bothering him but she had no idea what. He is somewhat withdrawn, seems to be focused on his own thoughts and she has several times had to get his attention by touching him because he was so far inside his own head he didn’t seem to know she was there. He hauled off and popped a friend of his because his friend “took something from him”. Which is not weird behavior for a seven year old but is for this seven year old; his teacher said she would not have believed it had he not admitted it. It was no big deal; the same friend came home with us that day after school and stayed to dinner with no problems.
Anyway, on Friday he demanded that I print out some “work” from the computer so I did and he worked on it with fanatical focus for three hours straight. The he ate his lunch out of his lunchbox and was pretty normal the rest of the day.
Today I brought it up and he said his teacher (whom he adores) was mean. The mean thing she did was to be absent on Monday (because she had a migraine). So we talked about that – part of our two years of chaos was his beloved Oma, with whom we live, went to the doctor one day and was admitted to the hospital the next week for cancer surgery and was in the hospital for a month. Oma is still not well though she is home, and I am afraid that both my kids have developed the unshakeable conviction that going to the doctor = Really Bad Things. Another part of the chaos was a very rapid and fairly traumatic move, and some school related issues which convinced him that people really do Just Go Away and Never Come Back.
So it may be that his teacher being absent hit his two hot buttons. And it could just be, you know, a Thing. I dunno. Any tips on actually dealing with this extreme volatility would be most welcome, I am flying by the seat of my pants here.
Theories about causation are also always welcome. Any thoughts?