Mutilating Regression

Regression. How I hate regression. I just wanna take regression and string it up by it’s thumbs and beat its hairy little ass with a pinata stick until it dies. And then I want to revive it and do it again just to enjoy the irony. How many times have we regressed to this same point on this same issue? I could say that about potty training, physical aggression, social acceptability, yada, yada, yada. But today I’m saying it about bedtime anxiety.

Javan has been having bad dreams for a few weeks now. But he has refused to tell anyone anything about them, for fear that if he told us of the horrors of his dreams, we too would be traumatized. He finally told me upon waking from such a dream this morning, probably because he was still half asleep and unguarded, that his bad dreams have been about him going to school. And me leaving him there. Ugh. That’s it? That’s it?

Ok, I put him in Pre-K last year to help him get started building social skills in a lighter academic setting. I said I’d try it for two weeks, then a month…and he was still doing terrible when we reached the end of those designated time periods. Separation anxiety through the roof. He would literally fall to the floor of the school, grab my ankles, and have to be pried off me and dragged down the hall every morning. I should have gone with my original plan of pulling him out if he was still doing that bad, but I didn’t. I thought I’d be teaching him that if he cried and threw fits about things, I’d give in and he could get whatever he wanted. I made him tough it out for eight months. Looking back, definitely a bad judgment call. I should have seen that the unusual amount of anxiety over school was only going to lead to bigger issues. I should have let him come home to a safe place. I’m okay with the fact that I made a poor decision….I mean, who hasn’t? And I’m okay with it because I know that I made the decision out of love for my child with his best interest in mind.

I realize now, as I’m listening to him scream his little red face off for me to come back to his bedroom and sleep with him or let him sleep with me, that a few weeks ago, when all this anxiety regression crap started creeping up, was about the time I decided to become a teacher at a small private school so that he could attend there. And about the same time that we started talking about Kindergarten. I mean, it’s so small it could be called a home school. And I’m going to be his Kindergarten teacher half the time, and the other half of the time I’ll be right down the hall teaching older grades. I have done absolutely everything in my power to make school an anxiety-free experience, but he’s obviously still wigging out over it.

We spent two years with him in the bed with us. Two looooooong years. And it was hell getting him into his own bed, in his own room. He would cry and scream for hours and wake up so many times at night that I felt like it would be better for me not to try to sleep at all just to avoid the disappointment of being waken up again. And now, he doesn’t do that. And it’s so freeing. To be able to read him a bed time story and kiss him goodnight and be done. I don’t wanna go there again.

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