Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Gwenn and Growing Up too Fast
Yesterday I had a doctor appointment for Gwenn concerning her frequent head aches. She had a bout in March and now another round. We had thought it was allergies or dehydration. Those factors still may be part of the puzzle. Gwenn is only 8 years old and she lives with stress everyday. Her older sister, Teale is unpredictable, loving Gwenn one moment and then suddenly hating her. We try to protect Gwenn from Teale's rages, but sometimes she gets caught in the crossfire of all of it. Sometimes Gwenn is the target of Teale's anger and sometimes we (Mark & I) are not as vigilant at protecting her as at other times. Gwenn's head aches seem to be migraines and almost constant. I believe her tolerance for pain is very high and she has just "gotten used" to the pain being constantly there. It is especially sad for me to hear that the head aches may be migraines, because I am a migraine sufferer and understand the horrific pain. Thankfully Gwenn's don't seem to be hitting my level of pain and she is not vomiting with them, although at times, she is nauseous. As we talked in the doctor's office yesterday, I sensed where the pediatrician was going with the cause of Gwenn's head aches. He sent Gwenn for a quick eye check with the nurse. While she was gone he asked me "How much of this do you think is caused by the stress of living with Teale?" My heart felt sick, Teale, it always comes back to Teale and how she affects us all. I thought carefully about my answer before opening my mouth, a skill I don't tend to be good at! I felt defensive, like Mark and I are not protecting Gwenn enough. I felt angry, Gwenn is hurting and blaming it on Teale seemed unfair. I started having migraines very young also, I believe I was 9 or 10 years old. I thought about that factor as I summed up what I wanted to say to our dear pediatrician. Maybe my defensiveness was because I often feel like we do a good job at looking out for all our kids individual needs and he was attacking how I balanced this. So much went through my head as I sat there, my blood boiled and I wanted to say something sarcastic like "you try living this life." I finally answered with a simple "I don't know" tears in my eyes, feeling like a failure. Gwenn has been forced to grow up faster than Beau ever was. She takes care of herself differently than Beau ever did. She is more independent and very head strong. I often joke that she will be moving out soon to get her own apartment. Is she like this because of her sister's constant need for attention? Is it nature or nurture? Most days I feel like Mark and I work hard at making sure she gets time with us individually. Most days I think she feels loved and protected from the stresses of living with her explosive sister. Most days I feel good about how Mark and I run our family. Yesterday I felt like I had failed Gwenn. She is hurting physically because of emotional stress and I missed the cues. Today I will be there for her more.