Edit: Wanted to clarify - no one has called me a bad parent, I just can't help but feel that I am to blame for this....working mom guilt piled on with preemie mom guilt, it gets to me some days. Also wanted to clarify that I'm not saying I don't want advice, etc, just saying that the "problem" may not be rooted in naughty behavior stemming from not getting his way, so this may require a different approach.
Well, I've been blogging a lot about our struggles with Gav's behavior. Everyone has advice and opinions, but to be honest, unless you've had a very early preemie, it's not the same. Not that I don't appreciate it!
I have found some comfort in an online support group for micro-preemies (Gavin is just on the brink of being considered "micro" weight wise, but his early # of weeks qualifies him as such). I wanted to share a couple excerpts of emails that really touched me and made me realize I am not imagining a problem that doesn't exist.
"When "xx" was in the NICU, her neo told me that when discussing the brains of extremely premature babies, it is not a question of whether their brain has sustained some damage, but in what manner the damage would manifest itself. Dr. G did not necessarily mean brain damage in the sense of a cognitive deficiency, but rather simply how the brain processes information. I have come to believe that being taken from a nice warm, watery environment at 3 months, 4 months too soon and being put in the NICU cannot come without some price, maybe it is not noticeable, or maybe the brain compensates to the point where the problem seemingly goes away. Or maybe it affects a kid like "xx" in how she processes the world around her."
"My daughter is similar as well. I wouldn't call what she does as a tantrum (maybe others would) but it is like a heart shattering experience that she has if certain things don't go as planned (today it was because I don't know how to play the Wii, it was the wrong Wii game in the Wii etc). My daughter will erupt in seconds and will end throwing up due to crying (in about 1 minute).
I do notice it escaletes when there are other stressors in her life ie)increased therapy/Dr's appointments, tired, hunger.
I cann't give any advice but just to let you know your preemie is not alone in the extreme emotional experiences. My daughter is 4.5 and it has not stopped, it comes in waves"
Even in re-reading this, it brings tears to my eyes to know that we are not unique in this. What is equally emotional for me is not knowing how to fix this. And also, the guilt of having a preemie, the feeling that my body has failed my child, returns. I thought we were past our preemie issues. I thought Gavin had "caught up". The worst part is not the toll it takes on us, but the toll it takes on him. These outbursts do nothing to help his confidence or view of himself. I'm still looking into what physiological issues may be a root cause, because if there is a way to "fix" this I will. I'm not ready to resign myself to "this is the way Gavin is". If nothing else, there has to be a way for us to teach him how to deal with these emotions in a more productive manner.