We are five days past B-Day.
Here comes the big question. The one I have refused to answer.
How did it go? Did the trauma screw it up? Did you awaken to a house full of pee and nonsense questions and lying?
Okay, wait. Maybe you didn't catch that. I'll try it again.
I feel safe to go ahead and say it now. All mothers who parent trauma know that if you talk about the good days out loud, you have then destined yourself to a giant crash and burn. That's cool. Bring it. It will be worth it because I GOT MY BIRTHDAY.
AND ... the day after my birthday, my still-struggling-pretty-heavily kid clogged one toilet. Not even really clogged. Just put toilet paper in there on purpose (after finishing up chores). It was very easily flushable. They just really wanted to do something and get caught.
So, they did. And they did. And I said, "HEY! A late birthday present! Cool! What would you like to do to repair it?" We agreed together that they would walk the trash down to the dumpster and clean up the few dishes sitting on the cabinet.
And they did.
And they were done.
When they were working on the dishes, we started to talk. I asked about the big elephant in the room. "Honey, why would you do that today, when you could have easily done it yesterday?"
*Note to other moms - we are very far along in the healing process. This conversation would have been a joke a year ago. My child is healing. I have been home full time, doing purposeful attachment/therapeutic parenting, bonding activities, and touch out the whazoo, ongoing for two years. Don't get discouraged if you're not there. Let it kick your butt to keep doing the work, and focus on bonding - not on the behavior.*
Alright, where was I? Oh, right, "Honey, why would you do that today, when you could have easily done it yesterday?" It took a good 60 seconds for them to answer this question honestly. There was a lot of hemming and hawing and a few mumbles of things I could not understand. I did what they needed in that moment. I kept my mouth shut and waited. Then ... out it came.
"I wanted you to have your birthday."
Was there a great amount of shouting and dancing and whooping? Oh, you betcha'.
*Another note to other moms - my child could not always handle this amount of praise. Once upon a time, it would actually trigger their shame and they would crater. This is a newer thing for us, because we tried it in dabbles and realized their heart can hear it now. We oozed into it. Some of your kids aren't there yet, so keep it more matter-of-fact, if necessary, when they cross a giant mountain.*
That one little sentence: "I wanted you to have your birthday."
BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER.
In the history of ever.
Speaking of history ...
Last year one child still had a door alarm. That has been gone for almost eight months, without a need to put it back on. Last year, the day after my birthday, I wrote "Talking it out ... again." However, note I refer to "old school behaviors." Know what that means? It means that they were having enough good days that some of the craziness seemed "old school!"
Two years ago, they were still honeymooning quite a bit (although, we didn't think they were - oh boy, did we not know what was around the corner). Another child's PTSD was in full swing. We were still in the middle of deliberate cuddle time and 10 minutes a day of bonding activities that involved insane amounts of touch. I wrote "A little RAD bonding" the night before my birthday. They say the average person has to be doing therapeutic parenting a full six months, before they feel like they are really clicking with it. This post was just two months in. I was but a wee pup. Still several months before we put an alarm on a door or had to restrain anyone. I was getting a good dose of the rages already.
I'm sure one-year-ago Christine would totally shoot the bird at two-years-ago Christine. This year's Christine just wants to hug them both, shove some chocolate in their mouths and say, "I will not let you give up!"