Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Worse

First of all thank you so much for your support it means the World to me.

Last night it was the worst night yet. Oliver had a great day with his grandparents, out and about in playgrounds etc. Which of course is fantastic but in my opinion children that age do need some quiet time too during the day, playing alone and "regroup". I would not say this to them of course as I'm sure their intention was to have him tired by the evening. We came home and Oliver started acting up a bit, nothing major and nothing unseen before. I fed him dinner, bath time and then bed. He went down no problem after his bottle. It may have been 8.15 pm. We all went to bed early not knowing what the night ahead would bring.
It brought Hell.
Oliver woke up around half past midnight screaming. Both Mike and I went in as it sounded like he was either in pain or had a nightmare. We picked him up to soothe him and gave him some painkiller just in case. I went back to bed and Mike started the "going back to sleep" task. Oliver would stay in his crib quite happily but no sign of sleeping. He was wired and just wanting to play. At this stage my parents were in bed and did quite well at staying put. Oliver never cried with Mike unless he was trying to leave the room. I got up again around 2 am and warmed some milk to see if it would help getting him back to sleep. He took the milk but no joy. No crying either. At 3am Mike came into the room and asked me to take over as he was at the end of his strength (also we get up around 6.40 in the morning...). So I went in and Oliver started crying (you know, the tantrum cry, loud ear piercing crying that stops instantly if you do what he wants), he just wanted to be picked up but I stuck to my guns and kept putting him back down. Of course this went on for about 10 minutes at which point my father came into the room and said he would stay there to keep him company if I wanted to go back to bed. I declined. All this while I kept putting Oliver down on his back and  he kept rolling over and stand back up crying. My father started loosing it and accused me literally of being abusive towards my son and showed surprise that nobody had called the police and social services on me yet. Seriously. He was practically shouting at me (which had the effect of quietening Oliver momentarily, we in fact never shout) which brought up memories and not of the pleasant kind. Memories of my childhood when he would slap me across the face several times because I was looking at him the "wrong way". I had bruises the day after going into school. Or another time when I was a bit older, and I got a mark in school below my average (I was generally an A student, this one time I must have got a C) and he shouted at me that this was a "signal" (no idea what signal) and that I was getting distracted. Of course I got another C the same week somewhere else and I clearly remember being sick to my stomach in fear. Or another time, again a bit older, say about 16, when we were leaving some friends' house after dinner and he was being quite loud so I told him to keep his voice down as people were sleeping at that time. He slapped me hard across the face (imagine the look on friends' faces and the embarrassing silence that followed).
This is abuse in my eyes and not what I was doing (being consistent with a child who is just fussing at night because he's been hyper all day). I so wanted to shout back at him and tell him what I just wrote down here. I didn't. I think the last slap was in fact the last ever he gave me and I remember clearly thinking that should he dare lifting a hand on me one more time and I would have called the police. And you wonder why I couldn't wait to leave home? Or why I got married at 24 to the wrong guy? It looks quite obvious to me.
My mother in all this never intervened in front of him, though I am sure she always talked to him as often apologies were offered (and regularly turned down by me).
I certainly don't want to be that kind of parent. He may have rocked me to sleep when I was small, bought me all sorts of things and loved me dearly most of the time, but that is not all that I remember.

Oliver went to sleep within half an hour of me taking over. In the end I gave him a biscuit and that settled him for the rest of the night. When we left this morning at 7.30 he was still sound asleep.

10 comments:

  1. Jeezus! So sorry, Fran.

    Very very terrible. I think your father would have finally got the message.

    And for mums, who see something wrong happening, and don't do anything about it? I have just seen and am still seeing two such scenes in my extended family...

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  2. Oops, I published it before I finished it.

    The one thing I have learnt vicariously is to not condone a wrong thing. I am literally in daily-know of the happenings in two families, and it all started going wrong when as children, the boys never saw their mums standing by them even if the child was correct. Just listen to dad/he loves you/never forget he is the dad/ I know kid, but it will get better...

    You have ample lessons to know what not to do with Oliver.

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  3. Love sometimes is not enough, sadly. Your dad loves you, but obviously that is not enough. I know that all too well.
    You should be very proud of yourself for not saying anything to him. He will never understand, and it would leave a bad taste between you, and just telling him the truth would not make him see it.
    They will go back to their home and you will get back to your routine and things will get better. I too think it was a case of overstimulation and it may take a couple of days to get over it. But he will get back to the good sleeping, rest assured. Not sure when, but he surely will.
    The old generations who are not in daily contact with small children have rose tinted memories about how it is to raise a child. Try to keep that in mind and let accusations go. You are a great parent and children sometimes cry and don't sleep. Standing up to your father will sadly not solve anything - he is clearly pissed off you are not doing what he says, and still stick to your decisions. Do what is best for your child, he is the most important.

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  4. Oh darling, what a nightmare for you and your husband. It's funny how your mind can find those spots in stressful situations where you are on alert. Your dad overreacted to the situation and I'm sorry it brought up such painful memories. You are doing the best you can by your child.

    I find it especially funny that parents lay lots of claim on how well their offspring, meaning you, turned out. "I did a great job, just look at you" sort of thing. When in fact, it takes a lot to sort out all the things that go wrong in your life (aka marrying early, leaving home quickly, etc) and that being grown up is actually a journey that you as an individual needed to do. You raised a great adult in this case, and I expect that your child will be wonderful as well.

    I'm just sorry about the confrontation. You did the right thing trying to keep Oliver focused on the crib and sleep. Definitely no child services call there. Geez.

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  5. I wish grandparents would just keep their mouths shut and let their kids parent the way they want/need! I always say I learned from my parents how NOT to parent.

    I'm sorry Oliver is having such a hard time. Is he teething? Maybe it's growing pains? Who knows. But I admire you guys for sticking to YOUR parenting habits. I hope the little guy will have better nights ahead. :)

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  6. Ugh! What a horror show! I'm so sorry and good for you sticking to the routine for sleep for Oliver.

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  7. Oh I'm sorry to read how hard it's been. I'm not surprised Oliver was wired (or that you and M had such a rough time with him). The Routine is so important. And I've decided that naps/quiet time are like the very foundation of that Routine. When the balance is upset, everything else gets upset, too. And, sometimes, grandparents - no matter how doting or well-intentioned - can upset that balance. Speaking for myself, I know that my parents sometimes think I'm nuts, because I'm like the nap master sergeant. I crack my whip (or try to) even when "he doesn't look tired" or "we're having so much fun." Because I know that there will be repercussions later.

    And I'm so very sorry for all the stuff this is bringing up. My dad was also a "disciplinarian"...and also gets horrified if Oliver cries more than a few minutes. And the truth is, what you're doing with the sleep training is for his good. You're equipping him with skills, and ensuring a happier baby in the long-run. The other...sigh. All I can say is that it's very difficult when a child's dignity is undermined and, yes, we carry those things into adulthood. I'm of the mind that it's no good to bring it up...it will only cause defensiveness and hurt (and, anyway, I've realized that people become such revisionists about this kind of thing). But it still burns. I know.

    I hope that things get much, much easier. I also hope your mum gave your dad an earful when he came to bed. Hugs to you.

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  8. Oh my goodness, this sucks! I can't believe he said that stuff to you in the middle of the night - you are definitely not abusive AT ALL!!! You are being a very good parent by teaching your boy some very good habits. And I'm sorry that all these memories came flooding back. It's amazing how we are so quickly reminded of how our parents were when we're trying to figure out this parenting thing ourselves.

    I hope Oliver gets some better rest soon. I definitely believe his grandparents are hurting, not helping, his sleep...

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  9. HUGE HUGS dear Fran.

    You know what's right for your son. You are a wonderful Mum. Never doubt that.

    Sending you lots of love and good thoughts. xox

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