This past February, we decided we were moving. We started packing up and getting ready to sell our house and move almost a thousand miles.
By May, Bug was clearly feeling fairly displaced. The tantrums and screaming, the emotional dysregulation, which had been slowly fading away after The Year Of Three, started coming back.
By July, when we actually moved, he was throwing a screaming tantrum every time we walked in the door to our apartment (townhouse, whatever). He talked about how he was 'anxious' about our old house and how he missed his old house and his friends. I tried to help him work through the feelings, while emphasizing that this is our home now. We went on lots of long walks, and ran around with the soccer ball, and went to every park in the area. We fed ducks, rode on a trolley, petted horses, played with dogs.
He pushed his brother down the stairs. He hit Tatoe and made him bleed. He dislocated Tatoe's elbow. He started grabbing things out of Tatoe's hands - not once, but once every ten minutes - and saying "But I wanted it!"
I waited it out. We made some friends, had some scheduled activities, started preschool three days a week. It got a little better. He likes the preschool.
But. But. Tuesdays are a nightmare. Thursdays are almost as bad. Last week he screamed, whined, cried, and shrieked for four and half hours straight; it didn't stop for more than five minutes at a time. Every time he hears the word 'no' or encounters any disappointment - and I mean "No, you may not grab that out of your brother's hands" or "We need to put shoes on so we can go to preschool" or "Three cheese sandwiches is, as I have told you three times, enough; what else would you like?" - he goes into a nuclear meltdown. He hits. He kicks. He refuses to listen to anything until everything he wants has been taken away from him. Quiet time always inspires another nuclear meltdown; by then, Tatoe is napping, so he gets to throw a tantrum on the porch, or strapped into his carseat (only in appropriate weather, of course). He's fine while Tatoe is asleep and it's just the two of us, but the moment little brother wakes up, it's back to the hitting and screaming and stealing.
I can't deal with it. I stop caring why he's screaming and I just want him to stop. I grab him and pull him away from hurting his little brother. I'm usually in tears by naptime. I don't have anything left. I try to talk to him about what's wrong, or help him draw out some pictures, and he either can't or won't articulate anything to me. It's fine when/if we get out the door (usually accompanied by an hour of wailing by both children; sometimes, however, not optional all the same), but as soon as we walk back in, wham. I do fun things just with him. Dr. S and I both give him all the attention we can. But there are other needs - clean clothing, food, meals, another child - that I must also meet.
I'm trying to remove all the sources of conflict that I can. But also, this week, I am calling up the therapists in town, and telling that I don't even want to be around my sweet child, my dearest firstborn, that most days I want to hurt him or send him away, because there is so much conflict and screaming and him hurting my other child, that since I cannot manage to parent my own child, I need them to work it out for me. I feel like a failure as a parent. I had one job, and I can't do it.