Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Day #6 was ugly - in case you're wondering

*this is not a short post, but I know that giving all of the dialogue is the most helpful to other families - so, you've been warned*

Oh my.


Day #6 of the Attachment Challenge.

Yesterday was good, which means there will be regression. I knew it. I expected it. Was still surprised at how it played out.

My  kid had a good day yesterday. Today, they woke up and continued to do well. Went to do chores with their sister, and for the second day in a row this sister came in exclaiming, "Wow - they did AMAZING!"

"Mom, is there anything I can do to work off more stuff?"

"Well, I noticed yesterday you picked up everything to vacuum, and then chose not to vacuum. I'm guessing you did that to get a consequence. That's exactly why we made that coping card. It can only help if you keep it with you. Do you have it?"


"K. Well, why don't you go get it. We'll read it together and have a do-over. You can vacuum today and make this right!"

Several minutes pass ....

"Mom, I can't find it."

"That's okay, honey. Take your time. I don't have anything to do right now. I'll wait." Angry face as they went back to their room. Several more minutes pass.

"Mom, it's down by the park bathrooms. I left it down there."

"Where, exactly?"

"By the tree by the bathrooms."

"K. Let's go get a dollar out of your room, so we can pay someone to go down there and get it for you."

Gave me a dollar. Now is not happy. I am amazingly VERY happy and completely regulated! YEAH for hormones leveling out!

"I'm gonna' make a guess that perhaps that card is not where you just said. Would that be a good guess?"


"Alright, well, why don't you give me another two dollars. I will hold them, and only pay them to the person looking if they have a really difficult time finding it. Would you like to give me more specific directions?" I was feeling really good today. They handed the dollars straight to me. I figured we were good to go. That's when they started to give me the "directions." It went something like this, "It's right by the tree at the wall, like by it, near the laundry room" voice getting LOUD, "It's THERE! I put it in the hole in the tree! IT'S BY THE BATHROOM! GIVE ME MY MONEY!" Loud, ear piercing SCREEEEEEEEEAM, followed by them trying to grab the dollars out of my hand and ripping all three of them in half in one fail swoop. Impressive.

I had it together, today, baby. This one was probably easier on me, because we didn't have the slow back-and-forth where I also end up escalating and engaging. I also knew it was all about her shame battling with all the feelings of "good" they have been having.

"Honey, I'm not upset with you. We just need to deal with the card situation, then we can move on."

My child had lost it at this point. Threw something. Packed up all of their money in a Slinky box. Said they were leaving.

I was thinking straight today. This was the shame game. They were going to do anything - ANYTHING to guarantee consequences. Pay back for feelings. We have this child set up in their own room so that they can do anything in there with zero consequences. If they bust a hole in the wall, no biggie - their wall. If they break stuff, no biggie - their stuff. I knew that this was the goal, so I very calmly closed her door. Then I sat down with my back against the door, to put myself in a vulnerable position (NOT towering over them in any way).

Over the next thirty minutes, there was much screaming and name calling.

The only time I said anything, it went like this:

"Leave me alone!" "I can't, baby. I love you too much."

After throwing a book against the wall just over my head, "I trust you, and I'm not going anywhere."

After smashing a porcelain doll that is VERY special to them against the wall near my head, "It's just a doll. You are more important to me than a doll or the very walls of our home or the window screen."

Speaking of window screen, after they knocked it out and was dangling their feet threatening to leave, "No matter what you do, I am always here for you. No. matter. what. I can't stop loving you."

At one point, they stood over me, holding a book over their head as if they would hit me, and yelling, "You and Mac - you LIE! YOU TELL LIES!" (ah! The two of us have complimented them the past two days at specific times) "I love you. I love you when you hug me and I'll love you if you hit me. I'll love you if you stay and I'll love you if you go. You don't have to be strong today, honey. I can have enough love for the both of us. I can believe and know that you are good for the both of us. You don't have to feel it today. Let me feel it for you."

No magical moment where it all just stopped. More flopping on the bed. Me waiting in silence. Them occasionally demanding money or telling me to go away or telling me to let them go (as they stood at a wide open window - but refused to go *wink*). Finally, some friends who were checking out of the park came walking up. They are good friends. I was able to say, "We're having therapy right now." They offered to hand me the window screen. I declined, and let them know my kid may still want to use it as their getaway.

Then another customer drove up.

That's when I did what I should have done at the very beginning. "Honey, walk with me while we get this guy settled." This child keeps their trauma for me. I should have mixed it up sooner, even if it meant offering to walk them out so they could run away - then offering to just take a walk with them. I don't know ... hind sight!

We spent a good 20 minutes playing Fruit Basket Turnover with a few rigs as they were all coming and going. On the way home, I put my arm around my child. They were soft and leaned into me.

So, we talked. We hugged. We went straight to their room and worked through the shame of all they had just done. We read through all of their cards together.

When it was time for lunch, they hugged me and said, "Mom, we already have in nine hugs today!"

Right - with all the crazy and the talking and the making up and the trying to help them succeed earlier today ... we had in nine by noon.

And absolutely, I hugged them again and thought, "Ten. DONE."

This is hard work. We are in a new phase, and battling all of the triggers that come with new parts of puberty. We are having to get back to "in the trenches" kind of therapeutic parenting for a time.

Oh, and did I mention this is HARD FRIGGIN WORK!?!? Someone mail me some vodka.


The Lundy 5 said...

won't be blogging about it i don't think, but a regressive day here too. soooooo frustrating!

Diana said...

That was pretty much my day on Sunday. Not pretty. Things haven't been too bad here today...but the other kids haven't come home from school yet.

Did manage to go shopping not just for 20 minutes, but for nearly 2 hours with my RADical for stuff for his new room. He started to lose it (and shift into one of his alters) when we coudldn't find what we were looking for in the stores. But, he managed to keep it together until we got home and were able to order what we were looking for on-line. Since then, we've been ok. I think we'll sneak in a little snuggle before the other two get home.

MommaRalph said...

Watch me avoid describing the regression here: have you tried Vanilla Vodka?! It's fabulous mixed with Coke although I likely can't mail it cross border....

Hannah_Rae said...

I'm trying.

Annie said...

Bless you!!! Those dialogues are JUST what I need.

And, best of all, I realize I actually do some of those things already!

The mixing it up. Yes; and the rhythm of a walk.

My radlet is going to receive an award at school on Thursday. I know it will be very fact-oriented and specific (a wonderful thing about her teacher) so I hope that will be good for her and not send her off the deep end. Fingers crossed.

Integrity Singer said...

hey doll, Sissy was out there today. I just kept hugging. Bold faced lied to me. I hugged. Screamed at me. I hollered back gaily, "I LOVE YOU!" Was annoying, I generically spoke of her annoying activites as how "isn't it so ANNOYING when people do that?" and she started to get mad but saw the smile in my eye so she laughed instead and said, "MOM!"

it's been touch and go. For the most part, i've dodged the rage with her but tonight it all came down and she went to bed early but I still said, "I love you" and she said, "i love you too"

fun stuff!

Integrity Singer said...

crap - i forgot to give you the recipe in the other comment. geez.

my new found love is an Olive Garden signature drink: italian margarita.


1 oz amaretto
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz jose cuervo gold tequila
2 oz sweet and sour mix
sugar rimmed glass
orange wedge
lime wedge

nom nom nom!!!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Awesomeness.

Kerrie said...

That's a MUCH better way to handle tantrums. I'll try that script as soon as Princess quits barfing.

Molly said...

WOW! I am so impressed with how you handled that. Where did you learn this stuff? Also, I am intrigued by your coping card idea... can you elaborate on that? Thanks!! Hang in there, you're amazing!

Brandy-new rad mom said...

My week has had its ups and downs. We had the destruction of the room similar to your experience with Mar.

My RAD is 8, we just started this therapy on Aprils Fools Day (yes folks that was the day we finally received his diagnosis-funny funny, still laughing REALLY!)
Anyways, shoes, shoes and more shoes, shoes that fit, shoes that dont fit, shoes that belong to other people, old shoes, new shoes, torn shoes, you get the picture. Shoes are my Rad's facination right now. I attempted to have a fun day with the kids (no I did not tell any of them where we were headed). My RAD couldn't decide on a shoe of choice (sometimes they match, sometimes they don't). So I waited and told him "honey I have all the time in the world, you let me know when you are ready to go, its ok". His brothers, not so patient but they know the drill. RAD started to melt and melt good. Mind you I have already had to place all of his shoes up out of his reach because they are his favorite projecticle and it kinda hurts to get nailed by a flying shoe in the head. His job was to tell me what shoes he wanted and I would get them. He went to his room, thought and thought and when I walked by to see if he made his selection BAM! he broke! Screaming, crying, throwing himself on his bed, trying to rip open his dresser drawers (which are empty-different story all together). I sat in his room (on the floor not near him) and proceeded to have the same battle as Christine. In a loving voice (I picture smiling in my head) I told him this " W I love you very much and I will sit right here and wait with you while you build your strength to tell me what you need. We are not in a rush so you take your time and I will be here. I am not going anywhere. I will always be here for you". The responses are usually like this (remember he is 8) "you shut your big fat ugly mouth!" Shut your dang mouth! Get away from me, I hate you, stupid ugly mommy!" (its ok, it doesnt hurt me anymore, used to tear me up, not now). I smile and say "W I love you and I will be here for you. Whatever you need. If you would like me to leave you alone I will go, you tell me". After a pause he stopped and looked at me and said "I don't want you to go away forever, I just want you to go out of my room for a minute" I left the room and 2 minutes later he opened his door and said "Mommy I am ready to make my choice!"

Awesome day for me! He actually had the courage to say he didn't want me to go away forever! That is huge with my RAD (he had a bad mommy we dont talk about).

So 11 hugs down that day and I am scared about regression. Tonight my RAD gets an award from church and he is really excited and hyper about it.....I have been through this before, it could get ugly and in public

Keep smiling guys! Christine taught me a valuable lesson one day, COUNT your victories! DO it! You may just find out that you WON against the trauma. I know now what it feels like to win and I have high hopes for the future!~

(sorry for the small novel-havent learned how to blog)

Unknown said...

I am soooooo dancing for you right now!!!!!!!

meagan101430 said...

I can feel your pain as I took my Radish to the psych today. This began with me speaking and since I was not speaking to my daughter she thre herself off of the chair a few times. Being the wonderful mom that I am I could see that she was not strong enough to handle sitting in a chair and recommended her sitting on the floor. CONTOLFREAK INTERVENTION>>> this went into chair pushing and then shoe throwing. We already established that the chairs were not her friend so now I have her shoes in my purse walking out of the office. I needed to go to WalMart and was not going to let the screaming child stop me. SOOO in we went, I am sure that the blacktop was hot on barefeet, natural consequences anyone??? She could not handle sitting in the cart so she needed to hold on with 2 hands, this then ended up in her locking her entire body and she pretty much skiied through WalMart with her barefeet. Ended up in the far side of the parking lot since I could not drive safely with the Tasmanian Devil in the back seat. She was then allowed to stay outside of the van while mom cranked up the radio and danced with the AC on!! Said and done, she finally gave in, did her jumping with affirmations and hugs. My question..does this count as 20 minutes of doing what she wants??? And I sent in enough for a cheap bottle of vodka!

Kim and Lance said...

Christine, I big, pink puffy heart you! I hope all the loving responses you get as comments act as coping cards and affirmations for you. You are one of the greatest gifts your children could have ever received. I'm in Moscow right now picking up my two newest little boys. I should send you some Vodka. God knows this would be the place to buy it!

Social Worker Mama said...

Hello Christine, tonight I tried this with my 8 year old foster son who has been with me for three weeks. My issue is what to do with his seven year old sister (who came to me at the same time he did, but who seems to have connected with me more) while I'm being present with him to try and help him deescalate. She has witnessed a lot of domestic violence as well as been the victim of severe abuse, so PTSD is a major issue for her and her brother's rages are very triggering. Tonight when D started raging I asked her to go to her room and put together a puzzle then I carried D to his room and sat in front of the door. After about five minutes, she started knocking on the door and was sobbing hysterically--I could tell she was completely terrified. When I opened the door and held her, she said she was afraid he was hurting me. As a single parent, it is really difficult to determine which kid needs me more at that moment. And if they're in the same room she'll tell him to stop being stupid and he'll try to hurt her... Do you have any ideas for me? Thanks so much for your blog! It is such a blessing to me.

Unknown said...

SW Mama, you have to find ways to work around it. Sometimes that means having the other child with you on the safe side of the door. Sometimes it means you can't help them being somewhat freaked out, and they get to stay up a bit later that night for special cuddle time with mom. Still, other times it may be that you take the rage outside so that there is more freedom to move around and mix up the energy.

Depends on the time of day, the situation. Yet, you WILL always have times when it affects one of the other kids. I'm home alone with all five all day. It happens. I have actually been restraining one child, and had another cuddle up behind me and hold me while I whispered to them and they could feel how I was in control and they were safe, etc.

You can't always be present with a rage, and you can't always be present with the non-rager. You have to decided, day to day and moment to moment, depending on the child and the circumstances.