Squares and the Letter D/Terrible Twos and Raging Hormones Don't Mix

This week was a doozy. If you read mylast blog (or know me well) you know I struggle with anxiety and depression. I talked about how my need to control things lead to anxiety and when I felt out of control, I would get depressed. Although several doctors have said several different things, I’ve noticed a few things while trying to understand this. My symptoms started in my late teens when hormones are known for running wild. My symptoms got a little better once I started birth control in my 20s. My symptoms are MUCH worse the week before and the first three days of my period. Doesn’t take a medical degree to figure out that my chemical imbalance is affected by hormones…

I was also diagnosed with low thyroid last month. The medicine I was prescribed makes me feel so much better…except the week before and the three days of my period. These past two periods have been like being pregnant again or something! I cry at nothing, I get hot flashes and cold spells, I get angry at nothing, I get randomly cluster phobic…none of this is understood by my two-year old. (It’s barely understood by me!)

She cries when I cry, she cries when I yell, she cries when I push her away because her tiny body is making me hot or her hug is suffocating me. It’s been an emotional week for both of us. This was also the week that my sweet, darling daughter, decided to start acting like a two-year old.

The food isn’t ready? Tantrum.

The food isn’t what she wanted? Tantrum.

The food is all gone? Tantrum. (see a food trend here?)

Not to mention the bossiness, the rude demands, and the attitude fit for a teenager!

To top it all off, she has started to cover up uncomfortable emotions with silliness and laughing. So I put her in a time out only to have her laugh the whole ten seconds. I chide her for a silly mistake on her school work and I get giggles and more silliness. The worst was when I was in a corner of the kitchen, crying because–hormones, and she comes around the corner and laughs at me awhile. Then she said with an attitude the size of Texas “The microwave is beeping. Get my lunch. NOW”

Once my hormones calmed down and I stopped acting like a two-year old and could focus on the real two-year old, I realized how much stress she was feeling. She wasn’t a misbehaving psychopath, she was hurting and doesn’t know how to feel such a big emotion. So the next morning, when she woke up two hours too early (oh yeah, the two year sleep regression too) I laid with her instead of getting upset and leaving her in the room alone. Today, when she was having trouble napping, I left my laundry list of things that HAD to get done TODAY and laid with her again. Both times she crawled up on my chest and slept like she used to when she was only 8lbs and I laid there not sleeping, but counting her breaths and slowing mine to help her calm down and fall asleep. I thought about how too soon, she won’t want me in her room at all, let alone need my cuddles. Too soon, she will have anxiety and sadness of her own and a nap with mom won’t be enough to fix it. I’ve prayed since the reality of being pregnant sank in that my child wouldn’t inherit my emotional struggle and I’m filled with worry and guilt everyday that witnessing my struggle will result in her going through the same things I have.

But I made a decision to always be honest with her and not hide my struggle from her. I believe the best way I can help her is to show her that there is  nothing shameful about depression or anxiety and that eventually the feelings pass.

So that’s that.

Now the fun stuff.

letters A-D a triangle and square and 1 2

This week we changed up the shape and color to Square and Blue. The number is still 2 and the letter is D. I bought a package of foam stickers in all the shapes we will be learning about and wanted to use them in our projects this week. I started out with the idea to make a Dragon with square foam “scales” but this turned out to be a little difficult for Roo to grasp. I kept telling her “Squares go INSIDE the dragon” but it just wasn’t clicking. The next day when I realized the problem, I made a squares robot for her to match the squares to the body parts. This turned out to be  great multi subject project! I color coded the pieces to make it easier, so she got to work on color matching. Each square was a different body part, so we were working on body part identification. We counted each square as we went. And of course the whole project was centered around our shape. She enjoyed this much more but still needed reminding to stay on point.

There was some color sorting with same colored but different objects (buttons, feathers, and pompoms).

The “D is for Duck” gluing project with feathers and googly eyes.

And finally we did another Autumn project. This week it was a handprint tree. I have to be honest, I enjoyed this one just as much as Roo did. I sketched out the trunk with some watercolor pencils, then I put red, yellow, orange, and green dabs of acrylic paint together on a couple of paper plates. We dipped our palms in and “patted” the top of the tree. Roo still did some smearing despite my constant reminder to “pat” but it still came out looking more or less leaf-ish. It hangs on a wall in the living room as a Fall decoration.

Projects like these, where we are both having fun and connecting with something we both love, really help us to begin to heal from the hurt of the past week. We can move on from yelling and overwhelming emotions and be Mommy and Roo. We give the hand print tree 5 stars! Send me pictures of your trees, I’d love to see them.

One last thing, if any of my homeschooling moms (or caregivers with bored children) out there liked my square robot idea, I have a FREE download of my template available! If you’re local, I’ll even print it out for you and send it with all the stickers you’ll need! Just send me an email, or a private message on Facebookand I’ll send you the download. (Don’t worry, it’s better than the one in the pictures. I made that on the fly!) And if anyone with older kids wants to try the dragon, I can make that into a template too.

Can’t wait to hear from you!