Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And you thought your PMS was bad ...

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)


Gem said...

Oh, I am reacting to parenting girls in puberty in the same way, and I don't have RAD kids. I'm so glad for hugs, making up, and starting over.

new rad mom said...

I am more thankful for menopause and male children every day. I love that you can admit to sarcasm. Pretty sure I am guilty of that one as well. At least your sarcasm is funny. I couldn't help but laugh because I could see you saying those things and her reaction. Makes us feel better for a small second. Poof! See I can be an A-hole too!

Makes for a bad day after. Good luck on your week of hormone pain. Extra prayers are in store for you.

J. said...

One pmsing diva is all this family can handle right now, so glad that if we get a girl this time around I will have a number of years to work on healing before the hormones kick in! hang in there and find some chocolate to get you through the day.

Summer said...

Yeah, I can barely handle my kids and PMS. You've got my sympathy, and awe.

Kerrie said...

Smiling. Because I have said every. one. of those.

Mary at His feet said...

I can relate with so much of what you post most of the time.

I'm grateful our RAD-daughter was in such a strong state mental health and attachment when puberty hit.

By puberty, RAD seemed to hit what I now recognize as a dormant stage (a GLORIOUS 10 YEARS OF DORMANT) for our beloved children.

We really thought it was "outgrown-healed-halleluiah!" …And gone forever.

One semester at an out-of-state college as an "Honors transfer" from local community college reawakened the seemingly dormant RAD and all the trauma of abandonment, abuse, neglect from bouncing around in Foster Care for the first six years of her life.

For the one-and-a-half years she was home after being out-of-state, all the VERY CONCERNING behaviors were very confusing to us.

We didn't even recognize it as RAD until after her meltdown Aug 1 of last year. A beloved family member had to REMIND me "she was quite a troubled little girl when she was first placed with you."

Your blog and videos confirmed our parenting techniques and made us not feel so all alone in our parenting RAD experiences!

RAD puberty in our home was milder than I recall even my own being. I REALLY braced myself... 'cause I remembered 13 well!

The biggest puberty issues I recall with our RAD-daughter is the poor kid usually had her period EVERY time there was lots of water-fun planned. (summer camp, homeschool outings etc.)

I tried to teach that daughter about using tampons. Totally not interested! I respected her decision. She'd say "I really don't like swimming that much anyway.”

I attended as a “camp counselor” without-fail during "the early years" EVERY time our kids went away. The exception was one year probably one of the last years we were involved attending those functions when the RAD-kids REALLY were doing well, and we had TOTAL PEACE about leaving them for a week at camp. We just stopped-in for a visit and saw they were doing beautifully. There were no RAD repercussions afterward. (YAY!!!)

Anyway, I'd always bring tampons so they were an option.

One year I was pleasantly surprised that my RAD-daughter came to me and said she was tired of sitting out and wanted to try the tampons. She gave up eventually. She hated the whole process. I didn't think much about her initial refusal, because I remembered it took me several attempts past the first try to follow through with the whole procedure. I shared my early experiences with her, gave her the box and let her know she could try again, alone or ask me for help whenever she was ready.

Our “21-year-old woman-emotionally-early-teen-pubescent” daughter totally had a RAD meltdown August 1 of last year. We were blindsided!

It truly breaks our hearts that we cannot have our RAD-adult-kids in our home for our own safety!

We had a police officer escort her to claim her belongings… she left A LOT in her room.

Our attorney suggested we rent a storage unit and place the remainder of her belongings in there and have a “neutral third party” get her one key. Whatever remained unclaimed we should discard.

As I shoveled out the mess she made of her former room, I came across an industrial sized box of tampons… half gone.

She had always thanked me very politely each month as I handed her a brand new container of her “preferred brand” of pads. I also found a mountain of those un-opened-unused packages. I was surprised she couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me she preferred for me to buy her tampons, or at least couldn’t tell me she no longer wanted/needed the pads!

I’m convinced hormones were a key player in our daughter’s RAD meltdown.

I wish we had been educated that RAD is not out-grown… and that it looks very different in a 7-year-old girl than it does in a 21-year-old woman.

Thanks for all you do Christine, you inspire me… and I’m praying for you and your beautiful family!!!!!

Integrity Singer said...

we are on the horizon of this madness. Sissy is about 6 months out and rounding that turn quickly! (and rather nastily, I might add)

The Lundys said...

ugh, mine is 10 and we're just praying jesus comes back first! thanks for sharing the not your best moments too!!! i've been tested for sarcasm as well. i miss loving my sarcasm! :p

brenkachicka said...

Puberty wrecks havoc on even the most "normal" of children and their families.
I am in for it. My oldest has hit puberty. Where did my sweet girl go? The one who was always pleasant and happy? Who is this little monster that cringes with every breath I take?
Fun times. I hope we can make it to adult hood with minimal fodder for future therapy appointments.

Owlhaven said...

Yup. 14 yo and 12 yo girls home ALMOST 3 years. 43 yo momma. Some days I'm praying Jesus comes before dinnertime.

Except--sigh/smile-- I am reallyreallyreally looking forward to grand-babies. Preferably first from my Eldest who is 22 and happily married.

Mary, mom to 10, 6 adopted

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Thanks for keepin it real. Even if it isn't real is real! I was near tears at just about EVERYTHING yesterday.Finally I figured out why. DUH. Thanking the stars (and social workers) I only have boys for now.

Annie said...

Oh - I am already THERE - and without your handy video to lay the path. I ran across a photo of Anastasia last year and was amazed at how sweet and kind her expression was, and noted that in my Christmas letter a mere six months ago I wrote that she was "sweet-tempered, affectionate and gentle". I might have been exaggerating a tad, but not that much! I don't know that girl anymore.

Sean's Ladies said...

fumbling towards the throne together.

lmfarm49 said...

Crap- I'm already at the sarcastic stage, and my little one is only 8! How refreshing to hear you and others acknowledge that we can't be in "therapy mode" 24 hours a day- even professional therapists only have to interact with their patients for an hour at a time!
At the same time, I'm hoping that my daughter recognizes and appreciates that I'm not always in control of my emotions either, and that we should be able to accept each other's imperfections and work together towards healing.
Thanks for your honesty~

meagan101430 said...

Well, I am in a similar boat floating in the sea of estrogen... My bio, non-RAD, flourished for the first time into womanhood this week, the same week as myself. Of course, this was also the same week that we saw the neuro-reorg practitioner which is always a tough week for my RAD since she has new patterns that bring up new feelings and it is a road trip that brings up many emotions which usually ends up in raging, etc.
This go round when my daughter started her rage in the hotel mind you, I turned to my friend sarcasm and grabbed the camera and snacks for the show, we even scored this rage!

Nobody said...

Our three had a very small window when they came to live with months. And they all get their periods within a small span of time each month, which of course coincides with me. Don't beat yourself up too bad. I have confessions that are pretty much exponential of those. Somehow we have all survived and not killed one another yet.

Side note. The cost of sanitary products is killing me. Thank goodness I can use my Diva cup. Weird to say, but I think of you monthly. (pop)

Laynie said...

Yeah, I hear ya. My adorable and sweet lttle Hannah is reaching puberty much faster than I had hoped. Yesterday she locked me out of the house AND stuck her tongue out at me. Until she remembered that she is scared to be in the house alone. By then I had found a few chores to do outside and then she was begging me to come in. My older, also RAD, son that I see in healing stages - he commmented on the long day it was going to be.

Young at Heart Family Blog said...

Thank you for your blog! I found it when I needed it most. We are adopting 5 and 6 yro radish siblings,(and an unrelated 17mo.) You made me laugh for the first time since they arrived 6 mo ago. I love the "what you do with pee" song! Somdays I play it all day long.
Have you checked out Vitex (chaste tree) for hormone balance? I live on it and therefor my kids are still living:) It might help your daughter.
Oh! And I love that you love your dreds!!

SQ said...

Sorry I can't even try to hide that both me and my husband are sarcastic. As a matter of fact everything that a therapeutic parent is left me feeling incapable of the task. I thought I'm really going to mess them up now that I know what they really need. ...