(I am purposely spelling it 'pea' to avoid all the internet pervs who type child and p-- into a search engine)
One of my sons has some major fear/control issues, which prompted our journey into therapeutic parenting. These issues manifest themselves solely towards Mommy, aka moi.
The most difficult thing with therapeutic parenting so far, for moi, is meeting your child where they are emotionally.
This is certainly Karma’s way of reconciling the control freak in me.
As of late, every time I make a request for anything --from trying to go potty before we go to the store to 'would you like juice or water with lunch?'-- makes this child Fashay (angry.)
Fortunately, he seems comfortable expressing these feeling, and he does talk openly about it.
When this child is angry, he wets his pants because one, he can, and two, he hopes it will make me angry.
Which, because I am working REALLY hard on keeping it together, does not make me angry (shhh--don't tell him, but it does! But I don’t show it to him). He’s also tried peaing on the wall, “missing” the toilet with fecal matter, and spreading chewed food all over the toilet seat, all as an attempt--in his words-- to make me angry.
Didn’t work. Mommy stayed regulated. 5 Gold Points for Mommy.
(Gold Points = Godiva Dark Chocolate Truffles)
Thus he resorted to the old tried and true of peeing on himself. Because he can control his pea.
And of course, the behavior at hand is never really about the behavior at hand, but rather what is causing the behavior at hand.
So instead of being uber-control freak and consequencing the heck out of this child, I am emotionally regulating myself and meeting my boy where he is. This is hard, because I would just rather he meet me where I'd like him to be. I'm a work in progress.
Today we discussed the pea problem, which is:
Peaing in his pants makes him mad because he'll feel cold and wet and yucky, and he doesn't like having to clean up after himself.
Peaing in the toilet makes him mad because it is what mom wants him to do.
So we brainstormed some ideas. He thought of diapers or pull ups, which I’d be okay with, except he can’t go to K-4 in pull ups. Not allowed. So he nixed that idea because he loves school.
I followed the advice of a few other BTDT parents and brought out a metal bucket for him.
Oh, the wisdom of my BTDT mentors. My boy loved it. His bucket for his business. I went over the idea that he has to clean it up after each use, and he does. Happily. All he has to do is say, 'Mom, I'm going to use my bucket,' so that I can supervise clean up.
My son and his happy pee bucket. I’m thinking about making a bumper sticker that says,
“My kid peas in a bucket!”
Of course, I’m making fun (which I would never do around him.) I told him that it was a good choice, and if it chases those big bad angries away, then this is GOOD.
All day long though, every time I have been in the bathroom, I sang this little diddy, to the tune of There's a hole in my bucket:
There's some pea in his bucket, in his bucket, in his bucket,
There's some pea in his bucket, and it's okay with me.
The last line is for, you know, to give myself the moral support. Because I have a kid who peas in a bucket.
And people wonder why, socially, I have fallen off the face of the earth.
Seriously though,I should not be so down on it. Maybe I could create a bumper sticker that would read:
My kid who peas in a bucket can kick your kid who peas in toilet’s a**.
KIDDING! But as you can recall from my Chuck Norris post, I need to approach all of this with a sense of humor. If I’m laughing and able to make fun a bit (again, never to him), then I know that I’m staying balanced and not getting too stressed.
So we resolved the pea issue (for now, at least), but then we had to move onto the food issue. Which surprised me, honestly, because this child loves food, and loves mealtime. But lately, mealtime has always equaled peaing in the pants time. So this son informed me that:
This son does not like it when I say, “Come on, kids, breakfast time!”
He does not like it when I say, “Lunch is on! Sit here and chow down!” “Soup’s on! Come ‘n get it!” doesn’t work for him either.
BECAUSE, as he told me, it makes him very fashay. He wants to play and do what he is doing, and eat when he feels like it.
Now, the CONTROL FREAK in me is freaking out at that. Like big, bright neon light freak out.
But the therapeutic mom meets him where he is. And right now my little guy is feeling a tremendous amount of control/fear at meal times. So, I asked him how he would like to do mealtime, where he could be happy eating, and not be getting mad at mom and peeing in his pants.
He first suggested we FORGET meals.
Now, EVERY part of the vindictive me wanted to say, “Sure! Great idea!” because I knew he wouldn’t like it.
But instead, the Mature Therapuetic moi said, “I don’t know, hon. You would be awfully hungry then. Wouldn’t you feel angry being so hungry?”
Yep, he decided that he would be hungry and that would make him really angry. Good point, moi.
So after talking about it, he decided that he does NOT want Mommy to cook for him. He wants to Cook for himself.
I pointed out that he is only 5 1/2, and as such, he can’t use the stove or microwave. That would leave a lot of sandwiches, cereal, yogurt and fruit.
He repeated all of that back to me: He is OKAY. He DOES NOT WANT me to say, “Breakfast time!” or lunch time or dinner time.
He wants to be able to make his meals when he wants. I said, "Okay. We can do that. BUT, if it is bedtime, and I will give you a warning when it is bedtime, you cannot decide that you then want to cook. And when it’s time to go to school, it is time to go to school.”
He thinks it’s awesome. I got a very big smile in reply to that, and it’s the first one I got in a long time.
Now, the common sense side of my parenting experience tells me that this is not going to last. Tonight is homemade pizza, and tomorrow morning is a bacon and eggs morning.
Yogurt is going to look mighty. . . yogurty.
But then the Parenting a Traumatized Kid side tells me Common Sense Experienced side: "Hey, your kid likes to pea in a bucket! You really think he might follow logic on this one?!?"
BUT, I am going to support him. I am going to encourage him. I am acting loving and told him that I am proud that he is working hard to find ways to help him fix the big angry inside his belly. And maybe right now a taste of independence, to help build his self-confidence and feelings about himself, may be part of that answer to help lessen that fear. Or maybe he'll end up not liking it, and he'll realize that it is okay to not have to control everything, and that it can feel okay to let Mommy be a Mommy sometimes.
Because I love this little guy. And I want to be his Mommy. Pea Bucket and all.