Our Monday - Friday routine is very structured. We do a LOT of attachment promoting activities and homeschooling. The kids are always cycling in their progress, meaning they improve, then regress, then improve and regress and so on... We just aim for the improvements they make to be continually climbling and their regressions to be not quite as low as the last time. So, HOPEFULLY it looks something like this:
Right now, we have one kids that is doing REALLY well, one that is kind of stuck and two that are in a regression big time. One thing that makes these kids sicker and act out more is having a secret. By secret, I mean something that they have done and gotten away with. One of the kids has really been acting out BIG TIME. We were trying to figure out what had gotten into him. Was a trauma triggered? Did he hurt someone or something? Had he stolen something? Did he destroy something? They are so closely monitored that I was having a hard time figuring out what might have happened that I didn't see. Finally, I caught him in the act. I caught him in the kitchen. The kids are NOT allowed to step foot into the kitchen for a variety of reasons, but discussing them would be off the point. Anyway, he screamed at me for over 30 minutes that he was just getting a drink, he hated me and telling me I am stupid. I knew he was up to something. That is definitely guilty behavior. Later that night, Brad opened his bedroom door, knocked over his shoe and Skittles (a lot of them) rolled across the floor. The next day Brad and I noticed that we were 'missing' nearly 30 protein bars! I found the wrappers in his room, but he denied taking them. Even now, he said he only took 2 of them. I found various clothes, sheets, and shredded paper smeared with poop and soaked in pee hiding in the springs of his mattress. He stole some gum and candy and who knows what else from people at church and was hiding the evidence in a hole he made in his wall.
No wonder he's been acting out.
These are only the secrets he's hid that we've found out about!
Meanwhile we were replacing the urine and feces saturated flooring in another kid's room. Brad and child had taken out the carpet and padding and cleaned the floor underneath. While we were taking out the carpet they unscrewed the window to air out the room. Without remembering that the window was open, I sent her to her room. After a few cars driving slowly around our cul-de-sac eying our house, I started to wonder... I went out front and sure enough she was on the roof trying to break into her sister's bedroom window. Later, after Brad had laid all the flooring, except for the edges that had to be cut to fit, she went into her room and tore up and ruined about 1/2 of the flooring that had been laid. A couple days later, Brad was patching the holes she had made in drywall in her room. After tearing off the drywall tape he put on, she smeared her hands, arms (heck, whole body) all over the drywall mud and painted her new flooring with it. (Thank goodness it's water soluble.)
In addition to giving the boy a stash of food to keep in his room (because he obviously doesn't trust that he will be fed yet), I individually told both kids that I could love them no matter what they stole, no matter how much they destroyed, no matter what kind of names they yell at me for being their 'mom' (the name that in the past has deserted, frightened and hurt them). I told them that I could love them no matter how angry they feel, that I am strong enough to handle their anger and their hurt. That their secrets (past and present, abuse done to them or things they have done) won't scare me. I told them that I will always love them no matter what.
Because they can get so stuck in their pathology, I try to give them opportunities to come out of it. I do things that surprise them like walk around the house doing a chicken dance, talking like they do but in a playful way (mumbling, whining, or talking literally non-stop), mirroring their facial expressions, make up funny little stories about one of them and tell it to Makenzie in a very exaggerated way (I make sure they can hear me), walk through the room like a ballerina, anything to make them giggle instead of giving out hate looks every time my eyes meet theirs.
Something else we do is give them something to look forward to so that instead of always thinking negatively, they can have something positive to look forward to. That is what SATURDAY is. It's a day off of school work and a day for family fun.
This particular Saturday was much needed for not only the kids but for ME too.
First, we went to a local gym to go bouldering. This is something we do about 3 times a month. We all have a lot of fun and the kids get a big sense of accomplishment.
The weather was great today, so next we headed outside. It was a much needed break for all of us after a challenging week.
It's during times like these that I am reminded to count my blessings:
- A wonderful, supportive in every way, husband
- An attaching child who settles and relaxes into my lap
- A beautiful house and beautiful country to live in
- The gospel of Jesus Christ to bring me hope and peace
- The sincere giggle of a child
- Rocking my baby to sleep
- Rubbing lotion on my 8 year old's 'owies', taking care of her in a way I wasn't able to when she was young
- Reading stories to the kids before bed
- Bottle feeding my 4 year old Jada, because she still needs to be babied and I didn't get to when she was a baby
- The awkward hug initiated by Kishawn who is trying to let me in his heart but is terrified to do so
- The developing conscience of my sweet 8 year old Jazmine
- The I-love-you sign flashed across the room to me by Kiana
- Playing silly games with my kids and getting them to look into my eyes with excitement in theirs
- A husband who knows how to repair a damaged house
- An amazing therapist who is just a phone call away! THANK YOU!!!!