Anyone wondering about the whole parenting-trauma is going in our home?
Sure you are. Thanks for not asking. There is an ebb and flow, and I know it seems sometimes just TALKING about the flowing can cause major ebbing.
However ... (knock on wood, particle board, whatever) ... one of our children has turned a corner. I don't know if the big two months of escalation and regression were what many experts refer to as a "last hurrah" or what. I have no clue.
Here is what we do know. This kid is working much harder at having control over their actions and functioning as a much more "normal" kid - enjoying it. We are releasing the boundaries veeeeery slowly, and they are hanging in there with us ... and certainly letting us know when we are giving them too much freedom or privilege (oh, how I wish this were with actual words, but we all know better!).
I'll give you some examples. I know many of you are curious, especially those whose children have not yet come anywhere close to turning any of the many, many corners in their journey toward healing. Remember, there is no formula. This is just how it's looking with our daughter in our home right now. This child's birthday is coming up. They may be off the charts during that time. They may just wake up on the wrong side of the sock drawer one day. You can't always know. So, take it with a grain of salt.
We are able to stay on top of and in front of the escalation. The other night this child was corrected for something. It was the end of the day. They were tired. Functioning more "normally" is also very stressful for them. So, they went immediately into a stomp fest and yelled, "Fine!" We asked them to return into the room. After all we've been through, we knew this was completely fabricated (no building up - just one of those last ditch efforts at her "old stuff"). Anywho, they stomped over to Michael and I with their bottom lip pooched so far out I thought it might fall off. It was pretty comical. We couldn't help it. We both started giggling. Our child held it for a bit longer, and then their own smile finally broke. "Mooooooooom!"
Sometimes now when they are doing something just to receive extra attention - even if it's negative (particularly in the car), I'll say, "Oh, honey, you thought we had forgotten about you. We know you're there. Hi! (waving)" and all the other kids will join in smiling and waving and saying, "Hi!" Smiles and eye rolling. Rage/pout/whine averted.
We say over and over and OVER (and over and over) again how people love to be around this child, just because of who they are. My kid IS funny and IS delightful and IS fun to be around. We have regular rap-sessions where everyone talks about the things they love about each other. It then leads into a big sap fest with everyone getting all mushy lovey on our whole family. Sometimes serious. Sometimes funny.
Now, this child still does something controlling or manipulative at least 7-10 times a day (that I NOTICE). I'm not exaggerating. It's still pretty constant. Yet they allows us to address it with silliness and humor. I pray for creativity in this every single day.
A corner has been turned, however. It is a really long journey for our kids. One good month does not healing make. Yet, it is a part of the healing process. It is beautiful. It is hope. It is a big glimmer she is trying and she is making a very scary effort. I am thrilled for my kid!