Dervish has always been prone to his ‘bad moods’ but lately those moods have been more and more frequent and tend to have the staying power of the Dervish himself. They are big and bad and foul and intense and there is no way that you can be in the room with The Dervish and not know that he is having a ‘mood’ – he simply will not allow that kind of inattention!
There’s a theory out there that I’ve seen proven time and time again that children, on or about their half birthdays, tend to go through a developmental leap that seems to throw them for a loop and can leave parents dazed and confused.
I first found out about this 1/2 year thing when the pie was 3.5 years old and I was going crazy over some of his behaviors (laughing out loud now when I think about what drove me crazy then) Anyway, there is a series of books by Louise Bates Ames entitled “your 1 year old”, “your 2 year old” …. etc.,. I didn’t own the book but someone quoted the 3 year old book and it was like whoever had written it had been peeking in my window. Since then I’ve been aware of the 1/2 year thing and found that often, when one of my children has traded in their personality for another that if I do the math, it’s very near the 6 months mark until their birthday.
Dervish is about 7 months from turning 9. Maybe that’s it. I Hope that’s it because if it’s not I have big BIG problems.
The mood appears to come out of thin air. A perfectly happy 8 year old turns into a rolling thunder cloud with no warning what-so-ever and much like a hurricane, whirls through the house uprooting everything and everyone in his path.
I winced today as Nana described the cartoon character to him this morning – afraid of his reaction. She ended with “So we’ll call you Joe”. Interestingly enough, his reaction, while definitely not ‘pleased’ – was restrained to a simple “I don’t want to be called Joe” and he even did it without growling! Apparently Nana still commands some respect while the rest of us are little more than tumbleweed ready to be blown out of the way. sigh.
As pleased as I was that he wasn’t outright rude to Nana, the fact that I had my armor up ready for him to be concerns me. Here I am shrinking back in ‘fear’ of the mood of my 8 year old. There’s something wrong with that picture.
We had a chat over the weekend during one of his moods. We’re trying to establish together what brings them on and how to stop them, or turn them, or control them.
It’s rough going. We have to wade through all the blame (everyone yells at me – they don’t, I can’t do anything – he can, and other why it’s not his fault – it isn’t) and try to get to the root of it – what exactly sets him off.
So far I’ve learned that it feels to him like there’s something sharp inside him (anxiety?) and that it comes on like a switch, not gradually. I’ve noticed that there’s a potential that food is related to it – too much junk or not enough food. I’ve noticed that he seems to get calmer when he’s one on one and/or walking…. and of course, I wouldn’t be a good parent if I didn’t try to blame it on not having enough sleep!
So the Dad and I are trying to tighten up the routine – get on a good schedule (not easy for me at the best of times – more difficult during summer vacation!) and we are focused on these moods and trying to see what works and what doesn’t.
We’re pretty good at what doesn’t work.
Arguing with him does not work.
Asking him to go calm down does not work.
Having lots of people around does not work.
Making suggestions does not work.