Friday 31 December 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Another Year

Each year I stress to my kids the importance of the meaning of Christmas, the importance of giving over receiving, that the reason that we celebrate has to do with our faith and not our wallets. I think that we manage to strike a good balance between giving and receiving for the most part.

This year as I look back on the last few weeks, I find myself overwhelmed with the consumer nature of the holiday season. Buy, buy, buy is all we here for weeks on end. It is all about having more, a bigger this and a better that.

Perhaps it is because I was sick over Christmas and all the gifts could not be opened fast enough for me so that I could go back to bed. Perhaps it was because there has been a lot of behaviour these last few weeks and I was tired or perhaps it is because the gifts are really not that important to me anymore. Yes, the love of my life bought me all 9 seasons of Little House on the Prairie on DVD which thrills me to no end and I will love watching every minute of it but I did not need it. My children did not need another book or lego set and they ignored many of the smaller less flashy treats that were found in their stockings. In fact at this very moment they are outside playing in the quickly melting snow and having the time of their lives without a single store bought thing to play with.

It makes we think that we could do with a whole lot less.

In fact I know we could do with a whole lot less.

In the days before Christmas I delivered one of our Christmas hampers and I had the privilege of meeting the Mom who was receiving the gifts. It was awkward for her but I could see the gratitude in her eyes. She was grateful for all that had been done for her, she was thankful that she had gifts to share with her children on Christmas morning and she said she humbled by the out pouring of love from strangers.

It reminded me of just how very blessed I am to be a middle class stay at home Mom, sure we struggle to make ends meet and there are no big extras in our lives but we choose this. We choose to have less so that I can be home. For so many there is no choice, no choice of this job or that one, steak or pork for dinner, daycare or not daycare. There are no choices because jobs are hard to find, steak is to expensive and without daycare there would be no working, without working there would be no food. I am among the privileged who do not have to make those choices.

I am grateful that another year draws to a close I have be reminded of what is important rather than worrying about what I might not have.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Raging Boy

Kevin is sitting stoned faced across from me, he is mad at the world, he is mad a at me. He is disappointed that I will not send him back and angered by the fact that I am not falling for his old tricks. He threw a cork at me and hit me right in the mouth, he has a good arm and I have a very fat lip. He has rarely hurt me and I know that he did not realize just how very much a cork could hurt when you hit someone in the mouth with it. Regardless of that though he is out control this week and I am so tired of picking up the pieces.

 I am not sure that we will make it alive through the next 9 days till he goes back to school, I have searched ebay for a straight jacket but they seem to be sold out at every shop, perhaps there was a Christmas vacation run on them. Adults everywhere are buying them to so that they can avoid the rest of Christmas vacation.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Not for the faint of heart.

Parenting traumatized kids is not for the faint of heart or for those who are can not switch it up on the fly. Today was a long day and when I say long day I mean between the hours 5pm and 8pm. I received a phone call saying that Kevin was in trouble on the bus again at 4 and then the bus was late.

He got in trouble with me because he decked another kid. He has been hitting a lot lately. In this case he did not even hit the kid who was giving him a hard time, he hit another kid who told him to shut-up. Anyway, I was not the most therapeutic parent at first because I went with the anger  that I was feeling rather than waiting till calmed down before I dealt with him. After I yelled at him then I sat down and debriefed with Kevin about how he was feeling when I was angry and at him. We talked through that awhile and then used his feelings to discuss the choices he has been making. After lots of  talking he was able to be honest about how he is feeling on the bus and what a hard time he is having. There was a lot of learning going on.

Let's be clear here  - I do not for a minute recommend yelling at your kids but if you do it, after you have apologised to them and their siblings it can be a good chance to discuss feelings and what happens when other people are angry. Yelling is triggering for both my kids, it is not a good place to go but it is where I went because oh my goodness, stop flippin punching everyone who looks at you! I am not feeling very patient with this behaviour at the moment even though there are 6 million reasons that they are acting like this right now. ( yes they, I will save Randall's antics for another post)

After about an hour of talking we hugged he moved on to homework, he could not do it and hysterical sobbed through it. The he cried because he could not find the book I suggested he look for. Then he tried to pick a fight with whomever might take the bait and stormed away from the dinner table numerous times. Finally he got sent to bed but not before he punched me a few times and we ended up standing outside waiting for him to cool down so that we could all be safe. I talked him through it calmly, yelling when he is raging gets us... oh yeah, nowhere. So even though he was punching me and I had to carry all 75lbs of him outside I just stood in front of the door telling him that he needed to be calm and to stop hurting me. He did and came inside and got ready for bed without further incident.

There is a lot of healing that comes from talking about the "big feelings" that my kids are having but each and every time it happens there is some serious fear about sharing those very deep and scary feelings. It is interesting because I am noticing that I can really push Kevin to talk to me about how he is feeling, it is not easy but we can go there. Randall is not even close to being able to go there, he just gets mad and storms off or bursts into tears and will talk about his thoughts or emotions.

As frustrating as dealing with Kevin can be, I can see a difference in how he deals with things and just how very far he has come. He works through his feelings more quickly and is much more willing to talk about what is going in his head and his heart. When we first met him there was no way that we could of had a night like tonight and have end as well as it did by the time bedtime rolled around.

Randall is moving a whole lot slower but he will get there, I am feeling positive at the moment, don't burst my bubble.

Friday 10 December 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Stealers and liars and ragers, oh my

Kevin is having a rough go right now. I started about 10 days ago. I could spend my time trying to analyze his behaviours and establish which of the many possible triggers caused this hellish spiral  that we are all enduring but there is really no point in that. He tried to rage last night, we managed to keep him relatively calm and then I locked us in the bathroom together until he was calm enough to let me hold him which was what he really needed from me.

As I type this he is sitting on the floor in front of me with some paper writing about his feelings. He is not at all interested in telling me what is wrong but I know from experience with him that he will be so much better he talks about it. I thought if he wrote it out we might get a bit of springboard to work from.

He did talk to me on Sunday for quiet some time about how he is still very afraid that we will stop loving him and send him away. We talked for a long time about that and about his birth mom and the poor choices that she made. It is a lot for a 10 year old to process. I am still not completely honest with him about some of the choices that she made and how she put a variety of other things ahead of him and his siblings. He is to young to understand that but at the same time I can not and will not let him think for one single minute that he did anything to cause her to stop loving him.

I have been feeling pretty down this week because I just am not up to playing this game with both of the boys at the same time, I would just really like some time where they were both calm and regulated. I went to meet the new therapist who is working with Randall and I on some of the harder stuff that Randall seems to need to work through and in talking about him I talked about how much I dread going back into these hard cycles with the boys.

 I know what they are like and I know how difficult they can be.

After I left there I ran into a dear friend who said something that really resonated for me as I moaned about going back to this place with Kevin. She said "you have not been to this place with him, you have been to other places like it but not to this one" and you know what she is right. Calvin and I have never been here before and it is different. While we were talking I compared the experiences to countries last year we were in Iraq and there was a war going on, this year we are in Saudi Arabia, landscape looks the same but it is a totally different place.

I am good with different, I think. Let me get through tonight and then I will let you know.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Archived Post 2010 - Ten things my son needs to learn.

Dear Kevin,

There are a few things that you really need to learn about me sooner rather than later.

1. I am not stupid.
2. There is little that you can do that I have not already tried.
3. I rarely got caught, you will not be as lucky.
4. Your teachers are on my side because I work at your school.
5. When I say that you are to buy book and not poster at the school book fair I mean a book and not a poster. When you proudly show me the poster you bought do not be at all surprised when I make you take it back and get a book instead. Bursting into tears is not a good solution.
6. When I ask you not to climb into the stacks of tires ( as tempting as they are) while we are at Costco waiting forever and a day for them to put our tires on DO NOT CLIMB INTO THE STACKS OF TIRES.
7. Repeating yourself over and over gets you know nowhere with me, did you hear me, nowhere.
8. I love you and all the quirky and funny things you do but if you don't stop playing with the toothpaste in the downstairs bathroom and leaving it all over the sink I am going to make you brush your teeth with baking soda.
9. I would strongly suggest that you stop dawdling over your cereal/oatmeal/toast in the morning when we are in a hurry because frankly I am tired of telling you to hurry up.
10. When I am tired and grouchy and I tell you that I would suggest you be quiet and do what I say because otherwise my head might explode and that would not be pretty.