Monday, May 24, 2010

Zero to Fifteen

One hot, sunny and fun opening weekend of Camp

+

A mega dose of a spoiling grandma

+

lots of junk food that we typically don't eat at home

+

no schedule

=

Holy Emotionally Dysregulated Boys, Batman!

While the weekend was great fun, I'm *this* close to thinking that going away isn't even worth the behaviors we work through upon our return home.

Sigh.

Both of my little guys are emotionally delayed. Miles began showing us signs about 8 months ago, and for the past 6 months, we have been plugging along, working hard with him.

Keenan has much thicker walls up. Plus he has some language delays, learning delays, motor skill delays. This realization took us much longer with him because of these factors.

One of my little guys also deals with some major anger issues in addition to the emotional delays. We call him our "Zero to Fifteen" kid.

For most normal people, you can rate their emotional state on a scale of 0 to 10, both on the love and anger spectrum. 0 being just chill, with little emotion, and 10 being Ecstatic or Irate.

For instance, when we find a $10 bill in a coat that we haven't worn since last year, we might feel a 4 or maybe even a 6 on the happiness scale. Or if we find a parking ticket on our car even though our meter is only 3 minutes past due, we might be a good irritated 4 on the angry scale.

For our son with these emotional/anger issues, feeling a 3 or 5 or even an 8/9 on either happy or angry scale is not the norm for him. In fact, it is pretty much non-existent.

Cross him, with something even as minor as a "I'm sorry, but your green shirt is in the laundry," and watch out--because he's probably gonna hit a good 12 on the angry scale.

So give our child, say, a sucker, and he'll be at a solid 15. He'll do cartwheels and cheer and give you high fives and say Thank You a thousand times and get really, really LOUD with his happiness.

For those who don't know our child, or who forget about or don't truly understand his emotional delays, they will watch this little guy get so, so, SO happy over the sucker they just gave him.

And, inevitably, they'll turn to me and say, "Look at how beautiful he is! He just LOVES life, doesn't he? So full of happiness and joy!"

Hey, I thought those things too, for the first few months he was home. Until I learned that actually, it's not that at all.

It's so sad that my little guy has had so much pain and trauma and fear in his life that he cannot regulate himself. It breaks my heart to see the barriers and coping mechanisms and brain differences that exist within him.

And yet, I'm human too, and it is so emotionally dysregulating to live with this all the time. There are many times I want to turn to the gushing, isn't he just joyous?, party and snap, "No! There is nothing joyous about it! It's just one of the many faces of trauma!"

I don't, but I do let it eat at me enough where I need to blog it to have a cathartic moment.

I have big hopes and dreams, different ones for each of my children. For my one little guy, I hope that someday, he can feel those 3's and 7's on these scales. Someday, I hope someone can give him a piece of gum, and he'll stick it in his mouth, mumble thanks, and hurry back to his game of Frisbee with his brothers.

3 comments:

bbbunch said...

Love you :)

Mighty Isis said...

Hi Sarah,

Glad you all had a nice weekend away! Re-entry is always difficult for our kids, too. Boy, do your Haitian sons have a lot in common. Looking forward to seeing you soon so we can chat more about it,

Angie

Lisa said...

Sounds like you've learned a lot these past few months and will continue to learn even more through this journey I'm sure.

You must just be exhausted at times, but it seems your sense of humor and great instincts as a mom are carrying you through. Thanks for sharing it really does help us all.