Well, DD has been back for almost three days. I'm gradually (well.. gradually for some people, rapidly for me) getting my energy back. I think having her to myself instead of living with both her and my sister is teaching me a lot. Not that I didn't know the stuff before, but I'm approaching it with more of a 'clean slate' or 'beginner's mind.'
She's a goodhearted kid, but wow does she have a low tolerance for boredom. Yesterday I was filling out a form and had her sit down quietly for 5-10 minutes with nothing to do, and she just wouldn't or couldn't do it. I discussed it with her later and I let her know that her not doing what I said (repeatedly) stressed me out and made me feel a little embarrassed, but conversely I figured out that she just, at least right now, has a lot of trouble doing that even if she wants to. So next time I need her to sit quietly I'll make sure she has a quiet activity. She likes reading and drawing, for example, so those could work.
I am of course aware that kids can be motivated with positive and negative consequences, and I intend to continue incorporating those, but I am going to try to make adjustments that don't fundamentally go against the grain of who she is right now. (Yesterday I took away a privilege for her not listening to me, for example.) She is a bright kid and sometimes it's easy to forget that she's just eight years old...
I'll have to admit that I'm feeling a little frustrated and sad today, but they're just feelings and I'm going to let myself feel them and move on.
As to the other part of my topic, getting energy back.. the first day she was back it was about all I could do to take her home from the airport and later go to Target, and I hit my limit really fast. Second day.. I don't recall exactly, I think we did some errands and I showed her some interesting things close to home, from the car.
Third day was yesterday and we went and got a library card and she got a bunch of library books, we hung out in a park and read a bit, and I took her to a place that does drop in child care so I could fill out the aforementioned form, since I'm going to be doing an informal interview for a new position at the company where I work on Wednesday, so I'll be dropping her off for a couple hours. I also got her a little frozen yogurt as a treat (this was the first thing we did, before the sit-quietly incident).
As an aside, I'm addressing the unhealthy eating issue I talked about in a previous post by basically giving her a variety of healthy foods for her meals and severely limiting the amount of junk food that she has access to by not having it at home. I don't think it's going to be productive to try to force her to eat any one food, but fortunately she is interested in enough variety of healthy foods so far that things are going well in that department.
BTW, I don't know if it matters, but I am straightforward with her in my reasons for doing things, and I try to let her know what to expect, and I believe I communicate my feelings reasonably well (not like 'oh i'm feeling depressed today' or anything like that, but more like hey when you did this action, I felt X). She seems to respond well to structure and reason for most things--and if she doesn't know what to expect she is very persistent at asking until she knows either what or why.
As another aside, I'm finding that I am doing much better as I do my liquid antidepressant taper--I am less numb, have wider range of feelings, and don't get the awful head pounding or shortness of breath that I was getting. Once I hit 150 mg (I started at 200 mg) I'm taking two weeks off from any med changes to see how things are going. Anyway, the reason I brought this up is that I am able to feel a lot of the stuff regarding my daughter, whether it's a 'good' or 'bad' emotion, better, and I prefer it that way. Being so numb that I had trouble experiencing my feelings towards her was frustrating and (ironically) sad. So this is an improvement. It's not like the feelings don't exist when I can't feel them, either--I believe they're still there, just more unconscious, which makes it harder for me to deal with them.
This is not to knock antidepressants... I think that at the very least I was simply on too high of a dose, and potentially in my case I'm ready to fully come off it, but we'll see.
She and I still have about a couple weeks left before any sort of work or school might start and I will continue getting out and doing fun stuff with her.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading... being a single parent in the purest sense of the word is a new thing for me. I think I leaned on my sister a lot before. She really helped me through a lot of the bad stuff post D-Day. She moved in with me and XW shortly after D-Day happened in mid 2012 and stayed with me until I moved out of state around Jul 1 2014. Conversely, I gave her a place to stay for the first few months as she gradually found part time and then full time work. She's been very fair about paying her share of the bills, except for the first couple months when she was job hunting and during that time she did an amazing amount of work around the place we lived. At the time she wasn't doing so well--she was living with my parents which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and now she's doing much much better and actually seems happy.