Saturday, September 25, 2010

How Do You Get on the Same Page?

My husband and I are not on the same page. That, in itself, is not unusual. We are very different people. We have been living with varying degrees of RAD for over thirty years. Sometimes it was easy, because one of us (usually, but not always, him) were away and not really involved for long periods of time. Other times, when we are both fully a part of the process, it is more difficult to be coming from the same place. Right now, we are not in the same place with Hope. Theoretically, we do agree. Relationships are all important. Deal with the behavior that we have to. It has been building all week- where to draw the line. Hope has developed a routine where she chooses food to eat and once she has it changes her mind. Years ago we danced this dance and the response was " Eat what you want. Just make sure you eat enough. The next meal is _____." It has been a standard over the years and it has been a long time since I even thought about it. Hope added a new wrinkle. She agrees to eat it, then rips it up, spreads it around the plate and a little bit at a time, drops it on the floor. She takes the empty plate to Daddy (always Daddy) and says to Daddy, "I am all finished", while she watches me for a reaction. Every instinct in my body is screaming to tell her when the next meal is and let her watch me pick up the floor. Daddy handles it differently. He smiles and says "Good job, Hope". In his opinion, it is not worth fighting over. To add to my murkiness, GB is watching and taking this all in.

I know I am not in a place to be objective at the moment, so I am tabling it. We took the girls to see the Cat in the Hat at B&N. Both of  them enjoyed it. Afterward, the two girls and friends that met us there went off to look at book and toys and listen to music. We set out boundaries and made sure they understood them. GB and her friends were happy within the boundaries. Hope got bored quickly and started to wander. I called her back. She said "No!". I picked her up and she started screaming. I took her to her Dad who took her out to the car. I gave GB the 5 minute warning and when I said time to go, GB said good bye to her friends and we left.

The Dad decided to take his mother out to dinner to night. GB usually goes with him and sometimes MK, too. Hope wanted to go and the Dad did not want to take both of them and told GB she could go next time. GB started having a tantrum. She was really upset that Hope was taking her place. The Dad and Hope left. MK decided she wanted to bring the baby to visit, called the Dad and he came back to switch to the van and pick them up. At that point, GB lost it completely. Everybody left but us. I rode out her rage. After almost 45 minutes I could finally pick out words between the screaming and tears. She said over and over again "my dreams. He took all my dreams". Melodramatic? Yes. Over the top? Absolutely. My response? I had none. We cuddled and rocked and she fell asleep. When she woke up, she was fine and we are eating pizza while watching her Tinkerbelle DVD. While refilling her drink, I casually asked her what dreams did she lose. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Mommy,  I am not even sleeping. How can I dream?"

I am exhausted and I predict GB and I will be asleep long before the rest of the crew gets home. Right now, I am wondering if the Dad and I are even reading the same book.


Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

Being on the same page can be really hard. I think sometimes the only thing you can do is take turns with the pages.
GB articulated what she was feeling better than my 23 year old can. I think she's feeling the same way and acting the same way about it.

Integrity Singer said...

yikes! to Dad saying "good job Hope" when she HADN'T done a good job. and what a double standard that sets for GB. And you could argue that she's older and should dismiss the antics of a four year old, except GB can't. Sissy did this food crap. UGH did she do the food crap. STILL does the food crap. what the heck is the deal with FOOD?! lol I can't advice because I can't say anything I did with Sissy regarding food was even remotely successful beyond implementing "free foods" so she won't overeat. (free foods - you can have one of the main course and unlimited fruits and veggies)

Anonymous said...

Yet another area where I should not give advice because, gee, we pay for couples therapy and still can't even figure out which library to meet in.
Food. My husband hates the thought of a hungry child. (But he doesn't cook.) I refuse to cook a 2nd meal. In my mind, if Hope is not getting special treatment via a snack cooked just for her ... but why is daddy not at the table with you, watching? (He should be. That is part of being a family ...) Cleaning it up -- consider getting one of those drop mats you put under a high chair?
Going out w/o GB. Yup, it sucked for her. But he has a reason to not want to take both girls, and if Hope is part of the family, then dinners w/ grandma need to be shared. Should he deny grandma to both girls? Isn't it unfair to Hope to never take her? GB got a sister = GB looses her special place in the family. Yes. I know she can't just "get over it", clearly this is very, very hard on her. But there is no easy way out. And if he'd said "no" to MK, would you have been left w/ a raging MK as well as a raging GB? Probably no real way to tell, and he may have been trying to help you by eliminating that possibility.
The thing to work on, IMO, is how to get it so he can take both Hope and GB. Since they can't be outside of line-of-sight, and the point is to visit with his mom, who needs and deserves some of his attention during the visit ...

So, how would you have drawn the picture of that night? If you know what it is you wanted ... and then do the "When you decided to take Hope instead of GB, it made me feel like ..."

Hugs to you, too.
: )