Rocky moments, with some calm, “normal” ones mixed in for good measure. The fever blister on Big Boy’s lower lip – the one that is visible below his lip, on his lip, and on the inside as well – tells of the struggle to maintain. I haven’t written, mainly because I haven’t wanted to relive the moments after they were over. So, to recap the major ones I remember right now:
Stealing. The first time I let my kids be on their own in any store. A very small Christian book store, where I could hear every move they made, and see them most of the time. We discovered it only at another store, when a small cross fell out of his pocket as he played with a toy in the floor. He tried to deny, saying he just found it laying right beside him, but J saw through it. Since, you know, he saw it come from BB’s POCKET and all. I took him to a quiet area, and he confessed he “might” know “a little bit” about it. He and I immediately went home. The next morning, he had to return that cross, along with a second one we found later, admit to the store manager what he did, pay for the crosses with his own money, and ask how he could make it up to them. It broke my heart as he cried, but he needed to know how serious it is to shoplift. Why did he do it? Because it was pretty, and he knew we would say no bc it was too close to Christmas. He also has to ride in the shopping cart in each store we go in, or hold my hand if no buggy is available. Indefinitely. No opportunity to repeat.
Kicking, punching, scratching, direspecting. His brother and us. The kicking and punching is mainly done to his brother. I try not to be too alarmed, because my younger sister and I did the same things when we were their ages, but combined with all of the other goings on, and given that he does sometimes pinch or pop my hand after I pop his? He appears to be ramping up instead of calming down. We saw this type of behavior when we first got the boys, but then it died down. What is bringing it back up?
Screaming, crying meltdowns. Just one or two, but those had disappeared, as well. During one, he finally admitted what J and I have suspected all along: he feels like he belongs with his former foster parents. He kept that secret from us for so long because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings or upset me. I told him Mommies are tough, and Mommies were made to tell your secrets to, and I could understand how he might feel that way. I asked him why, and he said it was because they spent a lot more time with them, and we both have to go to work. This was the day after we had just spent the entire day riding around as a family, looking at the flood waters at some local falls and a dam. I hated to do it, but I let him know that his therapist at the time suggested that his foster mom take him out of daycare to spend time trying to form a bond with him, and she refused. She continued sending him to daycare, even though she was home every day, even though it was not in his best interest. And now, he is in school, and goes to his grandparents until Daddy or I get off work, and the rest of his time is spent with us. They rarely spend the night away from home without us, weekends are almost always family time. I would love to work less, but we have bills to pay, and we need a house and food and clothes.
Fixation on dying and guns and knives and violence. Just at times, but enough that we know a ban on all movies and games containing violence will not be lifted for a looooooong time. We own no weapons, the boys don’t know where the knives are kept. I don’t *think* we have to be concerned, but we aren’t taking any chances, either.
Those are the major things that come to mind. I’m hoping it was “just” Holiday Hell, as so many other trauma mamas have been posting about. I remembered before November that Halloween through Gotcha Day in February are always the worst times, but I don’t remember it being quite this bad. I have always been able to pick him up and carry him away from a bad time, but as he gets bigger, he will be able to overpower me, or simply be too heavy to carry. If I can get him to a place he perceives as safer, that is quieter and less stimulating, we can talk through it and he will be back to smiles, laughter, and compliance. I’m hoping that as we move back into the school routine on Wednesday, most of these behaviors simmer down. I’m not even sure we will mention Gotcha Day in just over a month.
On a better note, my sisters, mom, J, and I took all 6 boys and 1 girl to the circus today with few minor glitches. He had said he didn’t want to go, because the motorcycles in the cage scared him bc he thought he would see them crash and die. I told him we would go walk outside during that part, but he watched it, and he liked it! I could tell he was nervous and on the verge of losing it, but we talked about him being nervous and I reminded him that he was safe and loved and we would all go home together, and that helped get him through.
Here’s to a better year.