Thursday, January 06, 2011

Men Without Hats

Corey got me thinking today after I read this great post. Good stuff.

How can I put this succinctly? Christmas break was a complete Hell-i-day with Miles. Actually, it was a Hell-a-day (Ha ha ha ha ha!), because with the exception of 4 hours of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas day, it sucked.

Just as Corey described in her post, Miles has been poking me with a big, pointy stick. A Lot. And he's been poking me with a teeny-tiny but razor sharp acupuncture sort of needle. A Lot.

When he's utilizing those sticks, big or small, I know that he's not feeling okay. Not good. Not safe. And his body is telling him that he better be boss or else.

Sometimes, his "Distress Actions" are over-the-top apparent. Like when he kicked me while I was putting his urine-covered body in the bathtub. Or when he tried to push me down the stairs while I was carrying a huge basket of laundry and running upstairs because Po got soap in her eye. Clearly, trying to injure Mama is a sign that things are not all that well with Miles. Because, you know, kids who are feeling safe and in control generally try not to inflict injuries upon their mothers.

But sometimes, it is SO sneaky. So under the radar, but yet, not quite there.

I loudly say a huge AMEN to Ms. Waters when she boldly states: "Our Kids WANT to Get Caught."

At therapy, the Mama puppet (moi) is always an Eagle. Not because I have a huge German beak (although I do.) But because I the Mama has an Eagle Eye and my Eagle Eye is ALWAYS on Miles because I LOVE HIM and my Eagle Mama job is to KEEP MILES SAFE. (Re-reading this, I don't mean "always" like in a threatening or Big Brother sort of way. In therapy, we use it as a loving, 'I'm-always-here-with-you-to-help-you' supportive role.)

Why does Miles--day in, day out, every bless-ed day during Christmas Helladay--poke me with that stick?

Because he wants the reassurance that Mommy will KEEP HIM SAFE. And he's not at the stage where he intuitively knows this.

Safety is the new rote monologue theme in our house. All day long, I say, "Mommy does this to keep you safe. Mommy loves you and keeps her kids safe." Ya-dee-da-dee-da.

Sometimes Miles tests this by being unsafe to others. He might target another child (always Keenan) and I tell Miles: No way! Mommy's job is to keep EVERYONE safe.

A lot of times, Miles will be unsafe to himself. This is the conversation which follows these situations:

Miles, do you know why good Mommies ALWAYS keep their babies and real little kids by them each and every day? To keep them safe! Why do Mommies have to do that? Because very small children do not know how to keep themselves safe. So we Mommies love to do that.

Do you know why Hatfield is playing in the play room, and Mommy is out here in the kitchen or office? Because Hatfield knows how to be safe. She knows the safety rules of our house. She doesn't break those safety rules.

Hatfield knows that if she were to break safety rules, Mommy would step in and keep her safe.

Miles, when you do not keep yourself safe, and you choose not to follow the safety rules, Mommy is going to keep you safe. Because I love you. Because it's my job to keep you safe. This does not upset Mommy to have to keep you safe. I do get upset when you are unsafe, onlybecause I do not want you or any other kid to get hurt! I want you healthy and safe!

So I'm not mad. I love you and I'M HAPPY TO KEEP YOU SAFE!"

Call me a slow learner, but it occurred to me, several day into our Helliday, that Miles was not feeling safe. No more school for a week, so the security of our daily schedule was no longer there for him. Christmas Eve and Day, while fun and awesome, were chaotic and 'unscheduled.' The next day, the Mister was ripping out carpet, putting in flooring, our bedroom belongings (I had no idea that we had such a huge amount of cwap in our bedroom--ay!) were dispersed through the other 3 bedrooms, creating a large amount of material disturbance.

Indeed, he was feeling rather up-rooted. And for an attachment disordered, PTSD child who had more than enough 'up-rooting' in his young life, I'm sure that every single nerve in his body was screaming I'M NOT SAFE!!!

So he did what makes sense in its own twisted way: He created situations for Mom to swoop in and keep him safe. Each and every day. Several times a day. It didn't bother him one little bit that he was hanging out at the table with mom, coloring, or sitting on a blanket in the living room while I was taking the tree down, and everyone else but us were watching Toy 3. Even though Mom nearly went for her own vacation at County Mental because seriously, is this my life?!?!, MOMMY DID NOT FAIL HIM. MOMMY KEPT HIM SAFE.

I am eternally grateful for bloggers like Corey who write posts like the one she did. In the midst of crazy behaviors (because, seriously, do you know any healthy, attached child who would Groundhogs Day every day of their Christmas vacation with completely crazy and dangerous behaviors?), it is hard to logically see and remember that these actions are SO MUCH MORE than what they seem to be. Getting by with a little help from our friends is, indeed, a wonderful thing.

I do believe that a new Theme Song of the Day is in order (hence the title of the post. 5 BIG SPARKLY GOLD STARS to you if you figured it out before reaching this paragraph!). Because I find the original video to be vaguely disturbing, here is a new version courtesy of one of the funniest shows that has ever been on the boob tube.


Corey said...

You know why I love you? Besides the fact that you're cute as a bug and hilariously funny and you knit for me? Because you validate me. And your life is my life, and vice versa. I cannot tell you how.many.days we have spent with a child (not always V) on a towel sitting near me because the child does not feel safe and cannot regulate their behavior. And how just seeing it in "print" on someone else's blog normalizes that experience.

Love you.

ManyBlessings said...

I think what helps me the most from your blog (well, aside from all of it) is that you put into print these conversations you have with Miles.

Over Christmas when my little man fell apart at the seams and tried more than once to beat me up, your words kept coming back to me and they kept coming out of my mouth!

In between the times we were spending in his room just being safe, he was a leach on me. Coming to me over and over, even when he was mad, because he was getting it on some level.

Please, please don't stop writing. Especially the words you use. That is so helpful to me!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I happened across your blog and although I don't know you, your writing inspires me as a single mom. Such great ideas and concepts! I know my 4 year old son does not feel safe moving between mom and dad's house every few days. I will use your words to reinforce my commitment to him as his mom even though I am not with him every day. Thank you.