Friday, March 27, 2009

I am a little bit down and out

Today I am trying to pace myself.

It has simply been a bad kid week. Granted, when one of your kids goes bezerk-o, the rest tend to follow suit in some way, shape or form. Heck, we all do that.

A healing kid is talking about their feelings. That is huge. It is huge. IT IS HUGE! Yet, in the day-to-day, now that it is much more "normal," I forget about this HUGE step in the process. I forget any of the progress. I get discouraged.

I've been asking, "I notice ________ is happening. I wonder what is up?" And I'm getting some honest answers.

"I was mad about you not letting me play with non-water toys in the shower yesterday, so I wasted a lot of time in the bathroom this time, instead of starting my chores."

"I wanted you to think I was doing something nice, but when I was playing with your hair I hurt you on purpose."

"I wet my bed on purpose to waste your water and make the house stink."

"I cheated off Mac's paper, so I could finish school faster."

"When I told you my throat was a little sore, I was mad you didn't make a really big deal about it. So, when it got worse, I didn't tell you on purpose. Then I couldn't sleep during the night, and made a big deal out of it this morning in front of everyone, to make you look like a bad mom."

"I only put a tiny bit of honey on my toast so I would have to keep coming back in the kitchen over and over, because you and dad were talking, and I wanted to listen in."

"I scratched my stomach a lot to make it all itchy, so you would feel sorry for me."

"I did a few of the math problems wrong on purpose, because [youngest sibling] is getting a lot of attention, and I wanted you to have to come over and help me."

"When you went to the store, I broke a house rule on purpose (a biggie) in front of dad, to see if he notice and have me do a repair."

Is there a "This Is Huge" dance? Because, if not, we need to make one up.


Look at that list. Things are not easy around here. Remember, I never tell you everything. It is a big, fat pain. My brain hurts.

And, yet, it's HUGE!

And I'm very, very emotionally drained.

(photo by Richard Sweet)


Emily said...

I hope the progress helps soothe the difficult days.

It's funny, because whenever you talk about RAD issues, it mirrors how I feel about my migraines - seem to be lasting forever, and so frustrating because I can't seem to fix it.

I hear you.

Charlotte said...

I always appreciate your honesty. I sometimes feel like I am learning the same things as Mar as an adult because the people who adopted my siblings and I didn't make the effort to look at the why? behind our crazy behavior. It's sad now because as adults, they are becoming less and less a part of our lives. The relationship was never built. The effort you make now will have a huge impact on your children's success in adult relationships. It is so good! My siblings and I are just now figuring these things out.

Sorry for rambling and the long post...just wanted to thank you for encouraging me and hopefully encourage you a bit!

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

If at some point it's appropriate, you need to tell Mar that her honest answer about not wanting to do what it takes to change is more honesty than most adults are willing to put forward.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if we all were as honest with ourselves and one another?

Charlotte said...

one more thing. My siblings and I are working through Search for Significance by robert mcgee and it's really helping!

Dinah said...

yes, I've had the days when I think that becoming a serious-all-day-every-day drinker sounds like a pretty good deal.

something must be keeping us from going there, tho.

Hannah_Rae said...

Lord, in every breath give Christine your peace, wisdom, and patience.


Thank you so much for your openness...even though you don't tell us everything. I am always learning so much from you.

Lisa said...

We have a "This is Huge" dance and I'm doing it for you now!! It ain't purty but it's real!


You're such an awesome mom, Christine!

Recovering Noah said...

God, help me. When I read that list of why Mara does this and that... it just screamed "Nandini" to me. But Nandi can't talk (well, you know what I mean) so we don't get any answers. But I see it in her eyes. Good grief.

I know that we're only going through a teeny fraction of what you're going through.. which makes me totally want to whisk you away to a girls weekend in Vegas watching Elvis impersonators and downing shots. And I don't even drink. ;-) But I sure feel like it.

Hope the weekend is at least enjoyable. And, yes, all that stuff you mentioned about Mara.. it IS huge. High-five to YOU, my friend.

Anonymous said...

It is impressive that Mar has the insight to recognize all of this. I have often wondered if my 2 have this insight or if they just refuse to communicate it because they think they are tricking me. So I just call them on it all.the.time. "I think you did this because this." Yesterday V said to me, "Yes, I understand exactly what to do on this homework that I have refused to do correctly for THREE days. I just don't want to do it." She can't articulate WHY she doesn't want to do it (IMHO, she wants so desperately to be right and for me to be wrong, she wants to test and see whether I will dole out normal consequences with contractors in the house, she wants to pitch a fit in front of contractors and make me look like a "bad mom") etc. But once they articulate, what do you do with that information? IE Angryboy once said, "I just like to make people mad. It makes me feel good." Cripes. If that's what he gets off on, it doesn't matter if other kids don't want to play with him, he doesn't care. He didn't care what fun he missed out on, because he got a bigger thrill out of making people mad. Frustrating!

(BTW, have you noticed I always ask you all these "yeah, but" questions? I fully expect you to have ALL THE ANSWERS!) ;-)

Love you to the moon!

Christine said...

Corey, in the very beginning stages of getting the kids to talk more, our therapist would give them some choices ... "Maybe you did this because XYZ ... or perhaps you were thinking QRS ... or maaaaaaybe aliens ate your brain." I took that home and started doing it all the time. Usually, I give one really ridiculous option, and the other two could both ABSOLUTELY be it - and choosing either means they are fessing up to a big reason.

You have to be ready for major acting out when they hit the point where they can just agree with one of your options. They feel so very completely naked and exposed. Last week I told Mar that it must feel like I am truly asking her to give up her best friend (did I blog that? I have no idea ...). Her games and tricks to manipulate and feel in control and feel safe ... that is all she has ever had. It's like we're playing a really slow game of strip poker, and I'm kicking her butt and we're being watched by 4 million people.

I acknowledge those feelings. Doesn't make the acting out go away, but at least she knows I don't expect it to be easy.

I do all SORTS of things to help them talk about this stuff. Once I told both my attachment challenged kids I had a teacher-friend who dealt with kids doing similar things. I asked them to dictate to me all of the things she should watch for ... what she should not "fall for" ... the kind of things they may try to do. When one of them would totally out themselves, admitting something I hadn't caught before, I wouldn't flip out - I would say, "WOW! That is so SMART! You are going to be such a big help to Mrs. X!"

Gave them some power and control, while talking about the big stuff.

I have turned back into a three-year-old. My favorite question is "Why?"

"I just like to make people mad!"


"It makes me feel good."


You will not get that answer right away (maybe for a really, really long time). However, their REACTION to that question will tell you sooooooo much. In the beginning, that was a guaranteed rage in our home. There's always more there, and they just do not feel safe and strong enough to talk about it.

Saying, "It makes me feel good," is just a front. It sounds tough. It sounds strong. It keeps a big, fat wall between them and everyone else. There's a giant, scary "Why?" underneath it, and he is protecting it with all he can muster.

Cammie said...

I don't even know what to say...

I will keep praying!

TracyC said...

Those really are gigantic big over the moon steps!