It’s a strange thing, after nearly 9 years, to have to learn who your child is all over again.
Sometimes it’s so easy to slide into the old ways which inevitably leads to chaos.
It’s been roughly 38,920 minutes since I picked him up and in that time this is what I’ve learned:
- My full moon theory holds true. Behavior gets worse for everyone.
- Loud noises are too much. He ran from the garbage trucks this morning.
- Crowds are too much.
- He responds incredibly well to countdowns: 10 minutes until x, 5 minutes….
- He’s still going to rage occasionally. Loudly. If we don’t engage he tends to settle down relatively quickly.
- He’s brought back some awful habits from the academy. Language, certain behaviors, certain go-to phrases. We’re working on it.
- He’s desperate for friends (He’s not quite ready for “unsupervised” and extended play dates). It’s hard to find people who get it or who are patient/sensitive/compassionate. I get it, it’s scary. Baby steps.
- When he gets upset and closes in on himself, I’ve learned it’s best to let him have a few minutes. He likes to hide in his clothes or bedding. So I’ll join him wherever he is and silently copy him- but I make it look like I don’t want him to catch me peeking at him. He’s usually much calmer and sometimes even smiling within minutes. I learned that one completely by accident and it’s worked several times now.
- He needs to be allowed to feel his, well, feelings. He doesn’t need to be afraid that he’ll be restrained or sent away. As long as he’s not harming anyone or anything I give him that space.
- Eight p.m. is the witching hour. The rest of us had gotten used to a casual evening with dinner sometimes as late as nine. This is a no go. Tonight I got him and his little sister in bed at exactly eight and they were both out within 15 minutes. No meltdowns. No push back.
- This child loves to love, but very, very selectively so. He’s incredibly affectionate to the dog, the kitten, and me.
- He’s a fantastic helper.
- He says he’ll probably be an artist when he grows up.
- His self image is destroyed, so there’s a lot of positive reinforcement happening.
- Sharps have to be locked up for real this time, not just squirreled away. Did I spell that correctly? Not because he’s threatened anyone or said anything. He’s just got this strange curiosity about cutting things.
- You wouldn’t think a can opener would be a “sharp” thing, but the plastic coating on the drainboard would beg to differ. I’ve never seen anyone use a can opener on a drainboard before.
- He’s still afraid of swimming.
- He’s stopped talking about his father.
- You absolutely have to be careful what you say around him. The power of suggestion is strong with this one. To him, suggestions are tangible truths. So right now I’m trying to save money for a certain kind of watch that helps children stay on track. My big mouth has cost me about $80.
- He learned a lot of off the wall “facts” out there. They may have dumbed him down a little….
And that’s pretty much it. It’s been hard on the kids. The oldest wants to be in charge and doesn’t like that Little Thunderfoot gets concessions. The Middle has a way of thinking it loud and often Little runs with it. His sister- the poor, lonely thing- is still an area of discomfort for him. He still feels like he needs to be in charge of her. Occasionally he actually lets her within a foot of him.
That being said, I’m so grateful for friends that have stepped forward this summer to keep them occupied. Everyone has someone and although it’s occasional at least they get the random break.
That pretty much covers it. As always it’s wildly intense in the moment but the rest of it smooths it over pretty well. Any questions? Here’s some random pictures…