My hurting son doesn't destroy toys (very often). He doesn't punch holes in walls. He doesn't pee in strange places. Shoot -- TT was bowel trained by 17 months all on his own. At 23 months of age I started "officially" potty training him and he picked it up immediately. He was dry through the night by 2 1/2. And he never has accidents.
A common form of "destruction" for TT is to squirt an entire bottle of soap or shampoo into the tub during his bath when he's hurting. In the realm of parenting kids from the hurt places...most trauma mammas would laugh at me and be grateful if that's all their kids did.
But I can tell he's hurting very badly right now. And it breaks my heart. We gotten a bit of reprieve after my last Mr. Wonky-type post. School has been going well in general. Life hasn't been too difficult. But TT is still hurting. It's obvious to me.
- Eye contact over anything emotional is all but nearly impossible.
- He smells. It's been proven that stress sweat smells different on everybody. (Praise God for the current Secret deodorant commercial. I've been able to address this topic with TT without it seeming like I'm judging him.)
- The tone in his voice sounds different. It's more up in his nose and is a true tip-off to me that all is not right in the world. The cadence of speaking is different too.
- He so QUICKLY falls to the response of anger if something doesn't go his way.
The other day I completely spaced off when it was that he had eaten last. As he started FREAKING OUT over school I got angry back at him. I tried to force him to regulate. It seemed so damned intentional on his part. I lost my therapeutic mojo and didn't see one of the things that sets him off.
He had only eaten a small bowl of Frosted Cheerios very early in the morning for breakfast. By 9:30AM his blood sugars were all out of whack and he needed to eat. I didn't see it that way though until 11:00PM. It was an ugly 1 1/2 hours!!
Silly me though. I thought lunch would fix everything. And it did...for awhile. But the next time a lesson stumped him with school he was back to his little mini-freak out.
It's draining for me. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells. No, I don't have to worry about super destructive behavior or violent rages. When he starts to rage I move him to our guest room up on the queen sized bed. His typical response is to throw himself around on the bed. Throw the pillows. Pick at the comforter and mess things all up. Yesterday he said he needed a tissue. I handed him a clean washcloth and told him to hang on to it. He got mad and threw it 12 inches away onto a box of Christmas decorations next to the bed. Then he screamed and screamed at me that he didn't know how to get it. That he couldn't reach it.
Christine really needs to add a search option to her blog. Years ago she posted a video of her hurting daughter and how she could not turn their vacuum on/off. It was an amazing blog post to me. I wish I could find it and put a link here. I remember watching the video and reading all she had to say about it with great interest. At the time Mr. Wonky was not around yet in our house. TT was so little and his hurting looked so different. But there was something so captivating to me about Christine's daughter and how he worked through her hurt. And even more importantly...how Christine responded. (I sure wish I could keep my own frustration, hurt and anger out of my responses when TT is dysregulated. My words might be wonderful but I have a hard time tempering the tone in my voice. I work on this daily!!)
And there was my TT yesterday doing something so similar. He literally could not reach the washrag to wipe his nose. He claimed it was because I had told him to not get off the bed. I know that was not it though. Mr. Wonky was messing with all the ways he was thinking. Everything was askew.
I don't have a wonderful ending for this post. I guess I put this out there to show what it looks like in OUR house. We don't have to make trips to psychiatric hospitals. We don't have three hour violent rages that involve restraints. But it isn't easy all the time. There's a lot of anger and frustration. There's a lot of hurt. There's a lot of ugly that most folks wouldn't understand. They would tell TT to just get over it. If you are parenting trauma you know that thought is laughable.
If you too are parenting trauma know that you are not alone. For me sometimes, that thought provides a bit of comfort.
I'm going to continue to try and stay on top of the Mr. Mini Wonky that is living in my house right now. I'm going to pay attention to my own needs. I'm going to worry less about the things that "need" to be done. Sure, it'd be nice to clean up the pee around all the toilets (that is there simply because I have a houseful of typical boys). But honestly, I need to spend my time differently. Some of that time needs to be spent staying close to my kids. And in my reality, some of that time needs to be spent blogging. It's my own personal therapy.
I have to go now to break up a quarrel between Dude, Dolly and Angel. It's never just one kid that's wonked out. (Dude and Dolly are dealing with super amounts of jealousy because of our little respite Angel.) It's never ending 'round these parts. :) But we'll get through....