TT only got the upper expander this morning. The one they made for the lower jaw didn't fit. He had to get another impression taken and they'll send off for a new device.
I could be wrong, but I think this just might be OK. TT won't start having to "crank" the expanders until the lower one is put in -- three weeks from now. He's able to get used to the device first before he goes through any real pain.
It was determined however, that he needs two baby teeth pulled. Thankfully I've got a lot of personal experience with this, as does his older brother. I'm also going to spring for the laughing gas to help ease any anxiety. Those teeth come out next week.
Dolly has been WONKED OUT since she got back from Dallas. Some of it is because Dude started school this week. She's been wandering around listlessly and has been unable to get engaged in play. But some of it...some of it is much bigger than all that!!
As soon as we got back from picking Dude up from school, the goofy started coming out. Both children regressed back to the play I assume they had before they came in to Care. They were walking around the room in circles talking about the grout lines on the tile floor. It had no purpose. It wasn't imaginative. It wasn't even fun. It was what I call goofy. The cherubs weren't making conversation. They weren't saying much that made sense. But they were giggling a lot. To an outsider they would think I was overreacting. They would tell me that nothing bad was going on.
But I know better.
This "goofy" as I call it is a HUGE sign things aren't quite right. It means that the cherubs don't feel safe or that they're dealing with some kind of big feeling. When I'm on my game I'll pull them close to me and do what I can to increase their felt safety.
Today though -- that was nearly impossible for me.
I'll admit it. It took every ounce of everything I had to not climb into a pool of pity party and roll around in the betrayal I felt.
So I played half my game. I was a little bit therapeutic. When the cherubs get "goofy" (my word for the state of being that comes right before full-on dysregulation), I often try to get the cherubs engaged. I don't ask them "why" they are doing something goofy. I don't lecture. I simply stop them. I tell them they are acting goofy. I remind them it's not OK. And then I make them tell me what they are going to go do.
The cherubs then have to pick a specific toy that they are going to go play with. They then have to go play with that toy for a least a little bit.
I might not have used the nicest words today though as I redirected the children. And when they both gave me their standard answers, "I'm going to play with my trucks," and, "I'm going to go play with my babies," I might have told them off a little bit. I called them out on the fact that they ALWAYS give me these answers so they had darn well better go play with those things for real.
They hung their little heads and marched upstairs.
They didn't stay long. Just a few minutes later they were back in the living room. Dude got out the Legos and Dolly...well...Dolly was just there.
Next thing I know I hear, "Hey Dolly! Don't pull my ear!!"
Dolly was intent on getting Dude to join her in dysregulation one way or another.
As for me...it took every ounce of everything I had to not go off on Dolly. She hurt my feelings yesterday. I don't care how many times since she told me the story about the video that she's said she wants to stay here -- I'm human dammit and it's been rough!!
I managed to keep it together though. I simply looked at Dolly and told her to go to the guest bedroom (the big feeling room if you will). I was mad. She knew it. But she followed me there. I sat down low on the floor so as not to overpower her. I made eye contact. I tried as hard as I could to keep my own feelings in check.
I tried to not say much. She went deep inside herself. The hollow look in her eyes was expressionless. I said I could tell things have been wonky since she got back from Dallas. I kept it open ended though and simply said, "Tell me about it."
Dolly just stared at me.
Again I said, "Tell me about it."
Eventually she mumbled incoherently, "I don't know."
She just stared at me.
I briefly asked her if something happened in Dallas that she needed to tell me. She said, "yes." Again I said, "Tell me about it."
Dolly gave me some cockamamie story about watching TV at her cousin's house, then going outside to play, and the sun feeling weird on her.
I called her bullshit (not using that word of course) and said, "Is it about the video Dolly?"
She burst into tears!!!!
We proceeded to process through that crap of Minnie's one more time. I told Dolly that her strong voice is what's in HER heart...NOT what she thinks she's supposed to say to make someone else happy. If she truly wants to go to Dallas THAT is what she's supposed to say with her strong voice.
Dolly looked so damn confused. This child is the poster child for pleaser. She won't answer a question half the time if she doesn't know exactly HOW she's supposed to answer it. Here I was telling her that she can say she wants to go to Dallas. I was really messing with her head.
Dolly kept saying over and over that she wants to stay here.
I told Dolly that she has to use her strong voice. And when she says what she wants, she cannot keep changing her mind. I also told her that she's going to have to tell Minnie she made a mistake if she truly does want to stay here.
Dolly cried and cried. Well..that's not exactly accurate. Dolly showed all the emotions of a crying child without letting the tears actually fall from her eyes. Dolly rarely cries more than just a few tears. When she's upset she uses ALL her energy to box everything up behind a huge wall. I've told her many, many times that letting it out is good!! I've encouraged her to cry. But she usually can't.
So tonight, as she was trying to cry I asked her, "Do you want me to say more to make you cry?"
She very honestly answered, "yes."
From there we had another Come to Jesus moment about how bad foster care sucks. And yes...I used that word. I told her that her heart wants to be with Mommy Cathy. It's OK for her to use her strong voice when someone asks and to say that she wants to be with her mommy.
Tenderly, then I said, "But even though that's what your heart wants baby, it can't happen. I'm so sorry Mommy Cathy didn't keep you safe. You do have to choose either Dallas or here."
Dolly cried again. She cried and cried. And then as quickly as she started crying, she bottled her emotions all back up again.
Things lightened some. She smiled. She hugged me. We rounded out the conversation with a huge hug. And off she went on her merry way.
At least four times since that conversation this afternoon Dolly has come up to me and said, "I feel better now Mommy."
Because it was clear that our family is being attacked right now...we ALL went to church tonight. Of course that meant all the little cherubs were up much too late. But we NEEDED to get our church on! I'm so glad we went.
The message was about finding joy in everything. I don't have to find joy IN all the crap that Minnie is doing to us. But I can find joy IN SPITE of it all.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day!