My Daughter (7) doesn’t talk to me. Has she ever? I can’t even remember. I’m so wrapped up in the present drama. I’m crying my eyes out after she’s gone to bed. Today, I learnt she hasn’t spoken to her teacher in six weeks, that she’s regressing at school, that her one friendship has fizzled out. I watched her only friend tease her for struggling to pick up a pencil …(why does Mie do that funny thing?). I heard myself tell other school kids to remind Mie she can do things and not do them for her. Hearing myself say, please don’t tease her to her only friend nearly made my sensitive soul nearly leave my body.
Yesterday, I noticed that all the kids in her art class ignore her (probably because they’ve previously tried to engage with her and she’s blanked them) and I realised how lonely that must be. She wandered around the art room, unable to settle on the task at hand. Wandering from table to table looking lost. The teacher attempted to engage her. Her brothers were going wild and I had to pay attention to them so they wouldn’t disrupt the class (that they’re too young to be in, but Mie wont go on her own, and it’s to help her, we’re going). What’s it like to be seven and have no friends, no one to play with? No one to enjoy imaginary games with?
Mie plays with her brothers a lot, but I’m noticing how that’s not happening as much anymore. She doesn’t play with Albatross at school anymore, as he’s formed his own friendships. He’s a very confident outgoing child. It was okay when I knew she had her friends, but now that I’ve learnt they no longer spend time together I’m worried.
I’ve spent the past 18 months being quite worried about Mie. Right now I can hear an alarm going off inside me. We’ve reached the red zone, no the purple zone, whatever zone is the most dangerous. My precious beautiful child has pulled away from me, away from her dad, away from her brothers, away from her teacher, away from her only friend.
I see Mie checking everything. Checking that she’s in the middle of her chair, checking it’s the correct name on her bag, checking it’s the correct class room she’s walking into. She’s crying a lot. She’s getting angry with herself. She’s screaming. She’s stomping. She’s not spinning as much.
This week I’ve kind of forced her to engage with us. She made hot chocolate with me for all of us on Monday. Tuesday I made her bake cookies with us. When she’s doing it she looks happy. If I don’t make her join us, she’ll just sit reading a book.
Sometimes I feel like burning or throwing away every single book we own or borrow. I’m desperate for her to engage with us. It’s so hard knowing and trusting what is right. Books bring her comfort. How can I take them away?
Swimming is a big love of Mie’s. She adores the pool, river and ocean. We’ve not been free-swimming due to winter illness and my head injury. She’s gone to a few lessons, but that has been a whole new challenge…getting changed, getting in the pool etc. Anyway, I took the kids swimming this afternoon. We played dolphins. It was grand. But she was still not herself. She didn’t seem relaxed. She’d sit by herself, then snap out of it and jump back in. Maybe she was totally normal and I’m making mountains out of molehills, but I’m noticing every little thing at the moment.
I live in a state of fear. Maybe just like her. I’m so worried I might say the wrong thing, look at her the wrong way or in some way do or feel something that’ll stop her from eating her food, from picking up her pencil, from putting on her socks. I’m walking on eggshells. I never know what reaction I’m going to get.
I love my daughter so much. I wonder if she loves me. She doesn’t engage with me, talk to me or laugh with me. When she tells me what her Lego people are up to, I nearly burst with happiness. I might try to join her game. I’m not welcomed.
I have such a negative perspective at the moment. I’m falling apart. I feel like I can’t cope. I rang the children’s mental health unit today in tears and begged for them to see us. We’ve been waiting months and months. Magically, they gave us an appointment for tomorrow. Now, I”m worried I’m taking her out of school, because it’s pirate day and I don’t want her to miss out! I’m constantly second guessing myself.
I want to tell our family what’s going on. But I can’t handle their opinions. I don’t actually want to know what anyone thinks unless they’ve experience to draw on or they are a qualified professional who uses evidence based practice. I’m too exhausted. No, I’m beyond exhausted. Is there a word for that? I think, I need someone to come along and put me in their pocket and keep me safe :o)
I want to put Mie in my pocket and keep her safe. There’s such a fine line between doing the right thing for her in the moment and doing the wrong thing. I want to encourage her self esteem and self worth. I want her to dress herself, so she knows and learns to believe she can do it. But if she’s balling her eyes out, looks catatonic or is frozen in place, how can I not help her? I’m helping her less, but I may start to put her pj’s on using her hands to hold them, then encourage her to do the rest. Is that wrong? Who knows? I feel I’ve lost the ability to trust myself.
She hasn’t drunk any water today. Will she die of thirst? Probably not, but I’ll wonder about it as I go to sleep.
Follow my journey and give me support :o)