February 04, 2005

True Story

I knew from the beginning that there was something different about Matthew. Of course, I blamed myself most of the time figuring that I must be doing something wrong. I wasn't doing something right and the pediatrician wasn't telling me what to do and I was just a terrible mom. I was young, but I'd been around a lot of babies, and he was different. Was it because he knew he wasn't with the mother that carried him? Was it because she had such poor prenatal care when she was pregnant with him? Was it because her diet was so poor and she smoked and drank on occasion while she was pregnant with him?

Then I had my other child. Boy was there a difference. Jesse was so loving and received love so well. He rarely cried and was so healthy...whereas, Matthew always cried and was always sickly. Matthew was so hard to deal with...hyper, slow to walk, slow to be potty trained, slow to talk, and a real loner. Jesse did everything early...talk, walk, potty train, and loved being with people. He had personality plus and was sooo smart. Matthew was smart in a different way. He could figure out any child lock....climb to the highest point of the house anywhere in the house by age one, find the most incredible things to stick in electrical sockets, try to swim repeatedly in the deep end of the pool even before he could walk and long after (it never worked)....destroy an entire room in ten minutes...etc. I think you get the idea. Ask-a Nurse at the local hospital knew me by name. They eventually started calling me just to check on him if it had been awhile since I'd called. And the only time I had to call them with Jesse is when Matthew fed him about twenty Flinstones chewables with iron!!

Life was never boring. Matthew would just suddenly stop playing and run in the room at warp speed and black Jesse's eye with a toy for no apparent reason or grab him around the neck and slam his head into the wall. One day, he 'sawed his neck" with a serrated bread knife at my mom's house that h got from the dish drain by pushing his choo choo train up to the sink to get it out. Finally at the age of three...in spite of everyone arguing with me about it....I took him to the doctor and he was put on Ritalin. At that point it was either calm him down, get me some help, or lock me in a mental institution. I had reached the end of my rope.

Life suddenly got better. He finally began to learn to count and speak words correctly. He was able to sit still and actually play with Jesse. The change was remarkable. He was so far behind cognitively, that we had to put him through kindergarten twice....but he finally caught up. He was doing a lot better until.......

The abuse began again. My husband had drank when we first got married and for awhile after. He was a bit rough with Matt. He would spank him and leave whelps. He would spank him for such stupid things...like reaching for things in the store. What child less than two years of age doesn't?? Then it got better for awhile. He quit drinking and we were much better off for a year or two. I hadn't been beaten in awhile...or abused much. He would punch me in the head with his fist so that no one could see that he hit me. Sometimes he'd keep me up all night for several nights denying me sleep until I was delirious. He smashed things against the walls....threw phones through windows...broke things that meant a lot to me...force me to have sex against my will....etc. Then he had started this back. This time though, he was chasing Matthew through the house like a madman, spanking him and telling him that he'd get it worse if he told me when I got home from work (I didn't find out for awhile), throw things at us, smash things on the wall over his head for the scare affect, throw him across the room onto the couch or a bed, ask him to answer questions that he couldn't possibly answer and make his punishment worse when he didn't...and on and on.

I divorced him when that stuff started happening (not soon enough though.) I got my kids psychiatric counseling and set out to find someone completely opposite from him for my next partner. He has been a pain in the rearend since we seperated. He has quit drinking, doing drugs, and physically abusing Matthew as far as I know and am told. However, he thinks that this should relieve him of any responsibilty of what happened in the past. He gets angry with Matthew when he has a hard time getting over the past. He says that he has more than made up for it and Matt just needs to get on with his life. I can't convince him that just stopping the behavior is not enough to help Matthew through the trauma that he was put through. However, he says that it
is not his problem that Matt can't adjust and get over it...he's not going to pay for his past the rest of his life.

Of course, he has NEVER attended the first appt at his therapist or psychiatrist no matter how much I have tried to get him to go. He refuses to attend support group meetings. He's just always too busy and has to work too much. Yeah, and what have I done all of these years?? (hmmmm) Anyway, that might be a valid excuse, but he won't even read any books, acknowledge that the doctors have enough sense to diagnose him, or even call the doctor and discuss it. What does that tell you? I know what it tells me!!

All of this to get at what? I'm mad! That's all. Matt decided about a month ago that he just really didn't belong over at his my ex's house. He doesn't feel right there, he doesn't feel wanted there, and he is uncomfortable the entire time that he is there. I'm not making him go back. He still does more for the one child than the other. Matt sees it. If Jesse mows the yard, he gets paid. He will make Matthew mow...and he gets nothing for weeks in a row. Little things like that to a child are crushing and the ex doesn't have enough sense to see it.

Does Matthew have problems? Yes! Genetically, yes. The father was bipolar and the mother was ADHD. He didn't have much of a chance to begin with. He needed special guidance from day one. But the ex thinks that "I" am the problem and I just didn't allow him to "beat his ass" enough. I guess I should have let it get to the point that ER visits were needed and the state took him away? How do you argue with such ignorance? But even more, I'd like to know, how you don't get angry enough to bite through nails, cry, and let it affect your everyday life when some jerk is calling you telling you what a 'bi***' you are, what a pathetic mother you are, and how they're going to "come to your front door" if you hang up on them again. (Keep in mind that this is an ex that has never paid a dime of child support though he thinks that buying their school clothes, shoes, and paying for half of their sporting supplies, yearbooks, school lunches etc. is supporting them while we pay for all medical insurance, co-pays, medicine, the little things that pop up all year long, the "mom I have a field trip" and "mom I need three dollars for a pizza party" stuff, etc.

The only thing good that I can say about him when I am this mad at him is that he got lucky again and got a really good girlfriend. He won't marry her yet which is really stupid on his part. He ought to grab on while he can before she sees him for what he is and runs for the hills. He won't find another one like her....or me. She is our communication most of the time and I thank God for her. I am glad that I have had her on my side for the time that I have. I only hope that he doesn't try to turn her against me like he has tried to do many times before with a bunch of lies so that he is my only means of communication. I will have to hire a mediator then....and I will feel like I have lost a friend.

Well, I've vented enough.

Posted by Barbara at February 4, 2005 11:30 PM

Hi Barbara - thanks for your comment on my blog - here is the reply I posted:

"Hi Barbara - I was concerned about some of the words you used in your reply 'I am only...' 'my opinions are not very worthy', so I have had a look at your blog - I came to the conclusion that you are precisely the kind of person who SHOULD be blogging.

I read your blogpost 'True Story' which I feel should be more widely read: http://www.smijer.com/journal/archives/000782.html
Only you could have made this post - you are the expert on your life and your experience - there are many people who have been through similar experiences who will benefit from the way you have named your world.

I dont share your religious beliefs - but I think your blog is excellent and should be read - so I have added it to the list of links at the side of my blog.

Keep blogging, and have confidence in your own voice! You may feel alone, but when you speak, you speak for thousands like you."

Posted by: Thinking Nurse at February 17, 2005 05:09 AM

Thinking Nurse,
Thank you. I will add a link to your blog to mine as well. I like your ideas.
When I said, "Not worthy yet," I meant that I could not give a clinical perspective on much, only a personal one on things that pertained to my life. I have had many clinical experiences, but only the nursing school kinds, which 'have' to be hugely different from the real world of nursing. So truly..."I am only..." a nursing student that hasn't been hit with a seven patient workload and twelve hour shifts with mandatory weekends and have had to put a patient in a body bag and take them to the morgue,etc. I will be soon enough and am excited yet apprehensive. It is what I want to do though. I know that I can help so many people and make people comfortable during a very rough time. THAT is what I want to do. I want to make a difference in somone's life. I want to try to make an otherwise awful experience, at least bearable, if not comfortable or pleasant.

Posted by: Barbara at February 19, 2005 09:08 AM

Hi Barbara, I have included an extract from this piece in my 'Roundup of Nursing Blogs': http://thinkingnurse.blogspot.com/2005/02/nursing-blog-roundup.html

Posted by: Thinking Nurse at February 24, 2005 10:22 AM