This afternoon started off with L coming out of school fairly happy. Fairly. At first, he still wasn't talking to me, but after awhile, on the way home he opened up a bit and told me they had had a math test that day. He also had one half a page of math homework. That's not so bad, but I was hoping for NO homework. As the afternoon/evening went on, we got along quite well. I had to drive R to ball hockey, but promised L that when we got back he could bake something of his own creation in his easy-bake oven. He really enjoyed that, and ate dinner while we bonded over his favourite game, Minecraft. He has been wanting me to install it on my iPad for some time, telling me how much fun it was. I wasn't interested before, but since things have started to go downhill, I thought it might not hurt for me to take an active interest in something that he loves so much.
So the evening went well, and only one point in the afternoon did he say to me that, "he has no friends at school" and that he just stands alone all recess. The other kids apparently play a lot of soccer, and he doesn't like soccer. He's told me that he has tried to play before, and got told that "he sucks". Why are kids so cruel?
Tonight, though, became a different story. It's like the act of going to bed creates a feeling of impending doom. Another night of lying in the dark with his lonely thoughts, another day of the dreaded school coming soon. And I get it. I'm starting to dread bedtime myself now. Will it be another night of listening to him cry? Will it be acting out? Will it be the cold shoulder? And then, there's morning to come, which I hate most. Getting him up for school is horrible, making him go is worse.
Tonight he went into bed ok, but once there started to say, "Oh no" and banging his head on the side of the bed. There were some expressions of, "I want a new brain" and, "I want to run away." After a point, he just stopped speaking to me altogether and turned his back on me. I went to get ready for bed, and I returned to see if he was ok. I asked him if he wanted me I lie down with him, to which he didn't reply, and instead got up, turned on the light, retrieved a notebook and wrote, "I'm not talking to anyone". I tried to ignore that and thought I'd try to show him some love and support, but when I laid beside him, he got up and left the room to go curl up on the chair in the spare room.
This is the behaviour I don't know how to handle. The ECE and mother in me tells me that he's doing it to act out, for attention, and to not stand for it. "Send him right back to bed!" my inner voice says. "This isn't acceptable, you can't let him away with it!" But now, I don't know what to do. I don't want to get angry at him if it's the depression talking here. That won't help him feel loved, will it? So I said to him, I'm here for him, he can tell me anything, no matter what, and that I was very tired and going to bed, but if he needed me, he knew where I was. At that, I turned off the light and left the room. A minute later, I heard him get up and go back to his room.
Now, I'm thinking maybe I followed the advice of the childhood depression websites, but I'm not sure if I did, or did it right. Am I doing the right thing? What if that was some sort of test, to see if the rules still apply? In that case, I FAILED! If it was for attention, then I failed that test too. I gave him attention with a loving tone, and perhaps next time the behaviour will be worse. I've never second-guessed myself so much as I do these days. I'm afraid of f$&king up and making things worse. I'm afraid of all the things I did wrong before, of inadvertently doing them again.
So that was the night. I feel ill with stress now. And exhausted.