Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh, I could cry.

They love each other. They hit each other of course, they're sisters and they're only 3 and 5, but it's usually preceded by something the other could have responded to that was verbal, or at least vocal, and it's definitely an expression of passing frustration rather than lasting enmity. They spent their days together for all of Iris's life. Hazel went to school and now they are separated for over 6 hours of every week day. Hazel did some emotional processing and seems pretty settled by now.

Iris seemed more all right at first, but she never coped well with drop-offs and pick-ups and has become very stressed. She has been night-wetting for the first time since she was 20 months old. Her first response to every suggestion of a change in activity from anybody is negative. She is having to take more and more awkward transitional objects everywhere. She's edgy, demanding and sad. All she suggests doing in Hazel's absence is watching DVDs. We went to the pool with school and she wanted to be left in the classroom. I took her away. She was heart-broken anew and has re-interpreted events to suggest that if she had been able to fold her clothes like a school girl she would have been allowed to join Hazel at school.

Iris has not wanted to go to Hazel's ballet recently, she used to demand to watch it. Last week Sean was home sick and so I left Iris in front of a DVD and took Hazel. Today I asked my father to come over so I could take just Hazel. Hazel said she didn't want to do ballet anymore because Iris doesn't like it and she wants to spend more time with Iris. I explained we've paid for the term and she herself would have to tell her teachers that she was leaving and why and hug them goodbye. Hazel spent the lesson, curled foetally, thumb in mouth, watching the other children dance.

But Lois McMaster Bujold says to lower the wall, not increase the pressure.

I'm trying to help my children through this separation and change. I'm trying to remove unnecessary transitions from Iris's life, I'm trying to empower Hazel to walk to and from school so that Iris doesn't have to come face to face with the source of her grief twice a day. I'm trying to give Iris lots of opportunities to use scissors. I too have been cutting things up in order to make new things out of them. Emotional processing through displacement perhaps; I am trying to remain calm.

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Blogger Eloieli said...

It's hard isn't. How we deal with these things helps them adjust to a life of change.

Poor Zoe has had 12 creches, 8 houses and two countries in her short six years. I sometimes wonder how much grief she has bottled up. It comes out every now and then and we cry together. I hope it helps.

Zeke has coped with Zoe going to school very well. I suspect we are going to have bigger issues around her moving out of thier bedroom. They share at the moment, but at some point, fairly soon, we need to give Zoe a space of her own.

When Zoe stays at my mums place Zeke spends the evening forlornly wandering around hoping he'll find her. He struggles to get to sleep. Even though they fight a lot, they are such close friends, I don't know how he will cope with Zoe moving to a different room and Judah moving into his.

I feel your pain. It is so hard watching them go through this kind of thing. Because we have moved the kids around so much we have made a special effort to ensure that family life is stable. That there are still things they can rely on.

Change is hard for adults. I have seen studies that suggest it is as full on as losing a loved one (significant change like this). It must be so difficult for little kids to process.

I don't really have anything constructive to add. Other than I feel your pain. Natalya and I will pray for them both.

11:27 AM  
Blogger RUTH said...


Poor wee Iris.

I love my big sister too.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Karen said...


I'm doing a lot of wanting to cry for James at the moment. He on the other hand, mostly seems perfectly fine... sleeping better than he ever has, happy at creche, happy hanging out with me, happy about chatting to Nige on the phone every evening (though he asks to ring Ranma-Randit more often than Daddy and once he has touched base is often keen to say goodbye and get on with toddler stuff), happy about visiting Nige at weekends, happy this last weekend when we didn't go to Welly... sure he gets clingy or tantrumy when he is tired, but who doesn't? He seemed more stressed when he transitioned from the baby side to the over 2s at creche... then he had to take his 'baby' into creche every day and carried her round with him constantly... dunno... maybe it's because I am less stressed or something?

4:13 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Maybe it's a good time to give her the puppy you say she's been asking for. Or an activity outside the house that belongs to her and not Hazel, or something.

11:26 AM  

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