If you read much about attachment disorder, you will start to find a theme. It is a really big deal if a child can receive treatment and start to heal before they reach puberty. We knew it. We knew our kids who had come from the hardest places had a fairly small window and we had to get crackin'.
And now ... I know why.
Hormones can crater a traumatized child. Hormones are the thickest, clearest most deeply manifested reminder of all shame and big, bad feelings they have ever experienced.
When you're female, they also spike monthly.
Ohhhhh, and when all the females in the house are on the same cycle, that means that the therapeutic mom is also having her worst week at the very moment the therapeutic parenting is needed most.
This is not pretty, folks. Not pretty.
For all of you that actually read the positive things I'm able to pull off and blow over the reality of me pacing myself, have no fear! I AM HUMAN!
Therapeutic parenting is supposed to lack sarcasm. Christine's hormones actually consist of 98.8889% sarcasm. It's true. Scientists have actually extracted my hormones and run tests. Seriously. I'm not being sarcastic!
In the last 48 hours I may or may not have:
* suggested someone not pile wood outside their window for running away, but instead just jump to the ground - ya' know - making it harder to come back.
* knowingly copied the crying and fit throwing, NOT in a therapeutic way, but in a way that can only be described as "You big, whiny baby, let me give you a taste of your own medicine" - and enjoyed every second of it.
* yelled through the house, "Kids, it's gonna' be another five minutes before we can do that. Your sibling is not quite done hating themselves just yet."
* when that child, in a fit of rage, broke a ceramic "princess" decoration I bought for them, I remarked to them later, "Yeeaaaah, that's about right."
The truth is we cannot be super human parents to these kids even on our good days. There are times we totally screw up. There are times we have to pick up the pieces and apologize. There are times (like today), when we will say, "You do what you need to do and I'll do what I need to do today - and never the twain shall meet. See you at supper." THAT is how you pace yourself. Sometimes, no matter how good you get at this, no matter how hard you try to set everyone up for success, the universe and phases of the moon come crashing together into a toxic soup of stress.
So, you wake up, blog about it, and try again.
We are adding some B6 and magnesium to our regiment. We have already taken some other medicinal steps to better regulate their system. Part of it will just be time. Each month they'll just be practicing feeling what they are feeling, and very slowly attempting to stay regulated in the midst of it. The only way I can describe it is that it is similar to the earliest days, but now in short bursts each month.
As I told someone yesterday, I'll get through this next phase of growth, development and healing and have tons of stuff to pass along to the rest of you when you get there. :)
(photo by Gary Mcinnes, used with permission)