What we’re trying with the terrible 7s

DC1 always gets phases late and DC2 seems to get them early.

Luckily when DC1 hit this phase, Wandering Scientist told me it was a normal age and stage (I think her pediatrician’s office had an ages and stages graphic) and the internet strongly agreed with that assessment.

With DC1 it meant sullenness and occasional bouts of tears and ramped up perfectionism, IIRC.  There was also some acting up at school.  And lots of silence when questioned.  Fortunately it was short, although we did get several emails from one of hir teachers who couldn’t handle it because zie was used to teaching college students, not elementary schoolers.  (Another more experienced teacher, when questioned, said there was no problem and her son had gone through the same thing a year prior and she knew it was normal.)

DC2 has become very emotional.  Meltdowns, temper tantrums, not wanting to do things, being scared of everything (ex. being unable to sleep because zie was afraid of Ancient Egypt), feeling stupid for not reaching hir own impossible standards.  It’s very much like a repeat of the terrible twos, except DC2 is less easily distracted from bad behavior and is more self-aware.

First up:  unlike the toddler years, DC2’s refusals to do things seems to be responding well to threats of punishment.  Taking away privileges has gotten hir to stop tantrumming and to do whatever it is zie needs to do.  Giving a 5 min or 1 min or count to five warning about having to stop screaming and put on hir clothes or play piano or go into the gymnasium for camp on pain of losing screen time privileges or not getting to eat out at hir favorite restaurant has been effective.  I suspect bribery may also be effective, but I don’t want to incentivize bad behavior.  I guess technically we already have rewards in place for things, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to take them away as privileges.  Adding on beyond that in the face of bad behavior may not be a great idea.

The next thing we’re trying to do is to add more attention and more quiet time and make sure zie has eaten and all those things we did when zie was a toddler and seemed to need more attention or less stimulation.  DC2 at age 7 wants to talk about hir feelings and hir fears a lot more than zie did at 2.

And finally, we’ve gotten some books about elementary schooler anxiety and have been working through them with hir.  The best of these for hir level has been What to Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner.  It’s basically cognitive behavioral therapy at an elementary school level.  It also relates worries to tomatoes, and DC2 hates tomatoes, so it resonates.  After going through the book once, DH was able to get DC2 through the Metropolitan Museum of Art (even the Egyptian room that DC1 wanted to see) even though zie had refused to set foot in the Museum of Fine Arts a week or two prior.

Things seem to have settled down a bit with the start of school.  Hopefully the phase is winding down and DC2 will be back to hir normal self.

Have you gone through the terrible 7s?  Have there been other ages with these kinds of stages?

 

Which box is the oxygen mask in?

In January I declared that 2019 would by the year of putting on my own oxygen mask.  What have I done lately?  Well, I haven’t done the money stuff that I talked about in this post, because… MOVING!  Ugh!

Ok, let’s recap.  My February goal was to “Go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.”  I did that!  It’s running automatically for the foreseeable future.

My March goal was: “Eat down the pantry and freezer.  Defrost those noms.”  I have sort of done that, but not on purpose.  See, our apartment complex needed to renovate our apartment.  They offered to let us move all our stuff out of our place for 2 weeks and then move back in, but that sounded like the worst thing ever.  Or, they were going to just not renew our lease when it ended this summer, which would mean we’d have to go searching all over the damn place for a new apartment.  OR, they said, if we could move right now, they’d let us have a new apartment in the same complex, same floor plan, just 2 doors down from us, already renovated, same rent.  That’s what we did!

It turns out to be a good deal.  But March is pretty much subsumed in moving.  We’re in the new place now and the cats are calming down.  We paid people to pack and move for us, but we’re still unpacking.  The new apartment is actually the mirror image of the floor plan in the old apartment, which is deeply discombobulating.  I keep banging into things; the bed is backwards, the shower is backwards; the kitchen is missing a shelf, where does our stuff go?  The sofa is backwards.

My new meds haven’t had bad side effects, but I’m not convinced they’re better than the old meds, either.  Gonna give it a little more time.

In April I should be able to get myself back on track with the appropriate goal of: “Clean up my damn room.  Put stuff away and keep it clean-ish.”  This will require unpacking those last 3 boxes in the middle of the floor.

How is project keep-yourself-sane going in 2019 for you, Grumpeteers? 

Dispatches from the Year of the Oxygen Mask: January

I talked about my 2019 hopes/goals in a previous post.

Except for that one slip-up I noted early on, I have done a good job of noticing my spending and of not spending money on anything except food and mental health.  I should have said “(and mental health)” in my original post but I forgot to spell it out.  Of course I’m not going to *not* pay my therapist or psychiatrist.

So now I’m getting new meds (again).  I have been on almost every kind!  This one’s new.  I’m looking forward to finding out what fun side effects it will have!  (Narrator:  She was not looking forward to it.)  Currently I am in a 3-way fight with the insurance company and the pharmacy (and the shrink) to try and authorize the drug so that they’ll pay for it so that the pharmacy will fill it.  I cannot project-manage this situation and my job at the same time, so I’m sucking at both.  #SinglePayerNow

My lovely MIL continues to have Teh Sad.  She too has a therapist and medication, and she also has various bereavement groups.  Have I mentioned that my dad and all 4 of his kids are on psychiatric meds of various sorts?  (Some of us off-and-on.)  We’re doing better, though!  My family is looking forward to positive changes this year.

I almost went through all of January without spending money to fill my car’s gas tank.  I didn’t quite make it, but it was pretty close.  I think that’s pretty good!

Also, I spent like 85 minutes on the phone with TIAA-CREF yesterday and the upshot is that I need my husband to sign some forms in front of a notary.  Because my previous job set up their retirement accounts in a dumb way that means my spouse has first claim on what I do with my money, somehow.  So in order to move the money into an account that he doesn’t have to approve every transaction on, he has to sign some forms saying it’s ok for me to close my accounts with my money in them.  You can possibly imagine my reaction upon learning this on the phone: “That is some bullshit.  Get rid of that!”

I never thought the uni where I had my crappy tenured job would be good for much, but their retirement accounts are actually set up way better, so I’m consolidating everything I can into that one.  Like we effin’ have time to go to a notary during business hours, goddamn.

As a reminder, in February, I will go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.

What giveth and/or taketh away your oxygen recently, Grumpeteers?

Wednesday we’ll talk about #2’s February challenge!