The running theme for Trauma Mammas headed to Orlando this spring is You Are Not Alone. It's something that has to be preached to women everywhere - trauma mamma or not.
I think that's one of the reasons I share what I do on my blog. If my experiences can help one other person know that they are not alone in their efforts - it is a good thing!! My triggers might not be the same as yours. But we all get triggered by our kids. This just happens to be what I'm dealing with now.
As of yesterday I had six stickers. At 7:00PM I went to get Pumpkin ready for her bath. I checked the diaper and realized I had an opportunity to get another sticker. I took a deep breath and walked Pumpkin over to the spare bedroom where I change her diaper. She tried to climb up on the bed but I wasn't ready for her yet so I put her back on the floor. This made her mad and she started fussing at me right away. (And by fussing I don't mean "fussing" like a tiny baby does. Pumpkin will act like she's talking to me but everything is complete gibberish. It's obvious that she has thoughts in her head, but nothing that comes out makes any sense. Coming from a five year old child, it is hard to get used to.)
I walked out of the room to collect myself. I took a deep breath and told Mr. Amazing that I was going to get my sticker!!! Dagnabit - behavior mod was going to work for me right then and there! I marched myself back to Pumpkin and started to change the diaper.
Pumpkin decided to whine and fuss during the entire diaper change.
I swear I had the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. In one ear I heard, "You can do this. Go outside yourself. It's not even that messy. Just clean her up. You're going to get a sticker. Come on now. Put your big girl panties on and get it over with. It's just a diaper."
In the other ear I heard, "Ewww. That is sooooo gross. How could she do that and just sit in it?! She's got no business being frustrated that you're changing her diaper. She should be grateful. What a nasty little child."
I stood there and fought with myself while trying to get the diaper changed. My heart started racing. My voice was tense. I was the exact opposite of calm, cool and collected. I was turning into a witch!
I got through the diaper change OK enough. But then I had to carry Pumpkin upstairs to the bath. Not because of the diaper - but because she needed a bath in general. My patience was shot. I ran the water and washed Pumpkin's hair. I certainly was not as loving and compassionate as Pumpkin deserves.
I grabbed the phone and called my therapist (my sister). I knew she would help me brainstorm. I had to have something I could do to keep my own emotions and reactions under control. No, I didn't hurt Pumpkin or doing anything "wrong". But there just had to be a way to keep ME from overreacting in such an irrational way!
You know how sometimes you just need the obvious stated?! Bratface (my sister) and I chatted for just a few minutes. She reminded me yet again that I'm not a bad person just because I have these feelings. She then reminded me of a trick I've used millions of times with all my other kids...
It's that simple. Just sing a song. Sing when I'm changing the diaper. Make up a silly diaper changing song. Or, if I really want to hold myself accountable, sing something like "Jesus Loves the Little Children".
I earned my seventh sticker last night at 10:00PM. Yes, 10:00PM. Because Pumpkin will go to bed, mess her pants and then just sleep in it. Every night before I turn in for the day, I go in her room and check her diaper. I usually get the opportunity for a sticker at least once or twice a week.
So there I sat at 10:00PM with a sleepy, confused little girl singing "Jesus Loves Me". She doesn't usually fight the middle of the night changes. But she's not usually thrilled with them either. As for me, my blood pressure stayed perfectly regulated. My voice didn't get all tense. I cleaned her up and tucked her back in bed without any problems.
I promptly went downstairs to throw the diaper away and put my seventh sticker on the calendar.
I'm having a margarita for lunch!!!