Just as an example at how far one of my kids has come with their healing: today they had some repairs to make (it's our way of putting kindness back where you heaped hurt). This child did every. single. thing. correctly and quickly the first time. THEN, they would find me and ask, "Mom, do you have something else for me to do?" Not belligerent at. all.
This is the child who, 1.5 years ago would threaten my life and jump out of their skin if I did something as simple as gently touch their shoulder.
I honored the effort with some really nasty leftover McDonalds Michael brought home this week. My kid LOVES stuff like that, and it is a major treat in this house. They were very kind and very thankful. There was true regret for what went down this week.
Now, we all know my other healing child is still ... not all the way there. Yet, I want to point out something I actually pointed out to that kid tonight. They had a terrible day. It's the holidays. Their sibling tanked yesterday. The moon is sitting a certain way in the sky and the wind probably changed directions. Now this one is in a total funk. HOWEVER, after having to go spend some time in the field to cool off (after knocking our marker/pencil box across the room - just fyi: that one has a GREAT arm!), I asked them to come in and sit down on the couch near me so we could be knee-to-knee. They did just that. I was pulling off my boots and looked up, and they were looking directly at me. It hit me, "Um, Christine? When is the last time you have praised them and helped them to see this MASSIVE change from 1.5 years ago??" You see, they don't so much as FLINCH at eye contact. This child PREFERS eye contact.
When she came to join her family, she would literally begin to sweat when we asked her to look at us on our terms. Her breathing changed. Her hands started to curl up. She would rub her skin and pick at her clothes.
I forget to celebrate the healing. It can be so gradual I sometimes forget to notice.
The holidays can be rough for our kids. My healing kid has actually lost a birthday in the past, before they came to us. They still wonders if they could be horrible enough for US to take away their birthday ... or Christmas. This is the pattern. I keep saying, "Babe, you can't lose Christmas, but feel free to try. I can't stop loving you, and I'll be crazy about you if you try to ruin it or if you try to make it great. Whatever. I'm not going anywhere."
Lather, rinse, repeat.
I also know that my kids received some very severe abuse and confusion about family and permanency in a place which had extreme winters. There is a colder nip in the air lately. Walking outside and having the wind hit their face can very well take them right back to that place internally.
So, they're dealing with a cornucopia of triggers right now. It's always this way around the holidays, but never as worse as (fill-in-the-previous-year). Healing continues to happen. Sucky days still suck, but there are steps forward, and that is a reason to celebrate.
Refresh yourself and stay with it. Take a break. Rejuvinate. Then just keep loving the crap right out of them.