A few weeks before we left I noticed Gwen starting to get more antsy. She was getting mad more easily and having more emotional moments. During the actual move / drive cross-country she was great, but after we arrived here in Colorado she definitely started acting out more. The week we had visitors was worse still. We had barely established routines, and they were completely disturbed. Not to mention one of our guests was someone completely new to her, and she was torn between absolutely loving him and feeling completely shy.
It's all been a hard adjustment for my little girl. We made so many changes, in such a short time.
I've been trying to stay very consistent with my parenting. Employing natural consequences whenever I can, explaining the why to her, and giving her the space to be mad, sad, upset, frustrated whenever I can do that too. One day it all just exploded in a fit of screaming and crying. I brought her into my room, away from our guests, and just let her rage at me for as long as she needed. I tried to keep my voice gentle (other then the one time she tried to hit me, and the one time she threw something of mine), but I gave her space to get it out. I knew we were nearing the end when she still wouldn't look at me and was still letting out little angry sobs, but she reached for my arm, pulling me close around her... a physical cocoon to help her create the emotional cocoon she really needed in that moment.
It was not a fun afternoon, but I needed to let her feel it and get it out.
Another moment with our guests... the one was a father, and you can't just turn that off. He would never interrupt my parenting, but he would sometimes add his own voice of reason. I was affronted at first. I felt judged inadequate, I felt that he was thinking he could do it better. I realized though, that those feelings had almost nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. My own internal struggles with feeling (especially lately) like my not "enough" for Gwen, like she deserves better then what I can give her. These voices, I know, are lies. She is my girl for a reason... but this adjustment has been hard for all of us. [Just a note to say, said father did let me know another time how much he appreciated my parenting of Gwen and pointed out specific things he'd seen me do with her that he thought were really well done and perfect for her. Let's just say it was really well timed, and unbelievably nice to hear.]
Gwen is such a sweet, fun, vivacious girl. These bursts of anger aren't her. I know they will pass and become less as we establish a real and firm routine. I know that each new friend, each success at school, each fun memory we make here will help her to feel more secure and less adrift.
But for now, things are hard.