I’m a little hesitant to write this post, not because I like the appearance of perfection but because I don’t want little Caroline to some day read this post and feel something I don’t want her to feel. But this blog is our family’s history and this is part of it.
Caroline has always been difficult. Her first 3 months were pretty nonstop crying. We tried everything but there just wasn’t much that helped. I remember one night (out of every night) of constant screaming. We were trying to drive through the Layton Park’s Christmas lights and Cara just wouldn’t stop, yet again. Rob finally had me drop him and her off at home while I took the other kids in peace and quiet. I broke down crying while driving. I apologized to Nate and Madeleine for being upset and crying and explained that Caroline just was so hard and cried so much. Nate said, “We still love her, mom.” That made me feel better and we enjoyed the lights. When we got home, Cara was still crying.
Some of it may have to do with the harness she had to wear for 6 months due to hip dysplasia or the constant bucket loads of spit up. This lasted until after she turned 1.
By the time we moved in with my parents when she was almost 4 months old her crying had eased up to where she only did it if we didn’t pick her up and carry her around all day and night. I considered a 15 minute nap in her swing a success. At this time she was hospitalized for RSV.
Two months later after we moved to Lehi and when she could start moving around on her own, her crying literally disappeared. She was so fun and pleasant!! My little baby was a complete joy and made me beam…for 5 months.
Then the week before she turned 1 she became difficult again. Chalk it up to the terrible 2s a year early we told ourselves. A year later we are still telling that to ourselves. Caroline is difficult. You’d probably think I am crazy saying this when none of you see how she is at home with her family. In nursery and at family gatherings she is a little angel. Her shyness kicks in and she sits on my lap, obeys, is quiet and gentle. Get her in her own environment with just her family and a second personality emerges. Caroline is deliberately destructive. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen remorse from her. She disobeys and laughs. Does lots of things she knows she shouldn’t. She plays with her feces whenever she has an opportunity. If offered something she doesn’t want at the moment, like raisins, she grabs them and chucks them across the room and yells NO! Today she tried to push me and pull my hair just because I wouldn’t change her dry diaper. There is no compromise. There is no sharing. There is no moderation.
She has had months long bouts of diarrhea. She is now struggling with constipation and a couple of other related things.
Her speech has also given me headaches. Really, she babbles like a 10 month old. Today she said “up” and I was so elated! Up! And although it was barely audible, it was a real word. She can mimic sounds of the alphabet but she can’t mimic words at all. She isn’t even close to putting two words together. We had her hearing checked and it is normal. It was suggested by the ENT that we get her evaluated by the school district’s early intervention program for speech delay but her 2 year well-baby check up is in a couple of weeks and I will be talking to her pediatrician first. She will also be getting a lot of blood work redone to make sure her alkaline phosphatase and other levels have normalized since they were done at 1 for her “failure to thrive” growth deficiency. She is currently 22 pounds.
Yes, she is two. Yes, her parents aren’t large in stature. Yes, maybe she is just a slow talker. Yes, her behavior is hopefully just a phase. But I’ve known many 2 year olds in my lifetime and have had two others of my own. I know they have difficulties. I also know she is definitely on the more difficult end of the spectrum.
In the mean time, I’m doing the best I can. I try not to lose it. I try to give my other kids enough attention to offset all the energy and attention I spend on Cara. I try to let go of my controlling personality and let things be; whether it be letting her make a huge mess or letting her keep messy hair, face, and clothes because I can’t hold her down long enough to clean her up. I try to get out one night a week by myself and Rob is very helpful with that. I breath a heavy sigh of relief at naptime and try not to cry as I close the door with her screaming at me at the top of her lungs for the 8th time already with only half the day over. She seems to be getting worse and worse every week.
I have the ever persistent feeling that something is off. Maybe a couple of things, even. She is still having gastrointestinal issues and put that along with her speech delay and behavioral issues and we’ve got a cocktail of issues and symptoms to wade through. I could be overreacting or I could be listening to my inner voice telling me to fix whatever is ailing my little girl. In the long term, I will never regret trying to help her but will regret if something gets past us. So I will be barraging the pediatrician for answers on the 15th. Maybe if we get some of these underlying issues taken care of her behavior will improve.
I know many parents struggle with difficult children and I know it could be a lot worse than I have it. Nevertheless, I do struggle.
On a positive note, at least she behaves in public…that way we can keep up appearances…’cause that’s really important to me (not really). Truthfully, this girl has spunk and sometimes that’s my favorite quality about her. She makes us laugh. She has such an expressive face and gives us the funniest expressions. She is super intelligent and can literally do anything she wants to do. She’s my littlest girl and I love her.