Therapy was yesterday...just a full day of fun. My therapy in the morning and the kids (and mine again) in the afternoon. Seriously, how can one person be taking all the fun away from everyone else? I'm trying to find a way to share all this...
I found out in therapy that I've jumped a bit of a hurdle. I'm sounding and really, feeling, ok with what my life is now. May seem strange - but really, it's my life and there's no use walking around feeling bad for myself. I look to the future and don't see all good, but see all things that I'll handle. I do still have those moments of emotion and wanting, wishing, praying for a normal minute, hour, day, week, month, year - heck, a normal life - but overall, I'm satisfied with what it means to be me.
Therapy for the kids is sometimes hard for me to witness. You know, he's right, they need to be confronted with the truth from someone who isn't me. He can actually be a little more compassionate sometimes, however there is pretty much all straight talk. You know, they can't take him in and make him their puppet - that stinks for them. They aren't happy about it at all - especially DD. She says it's because we have to "drive forever" to get there - it's really 45 minutes...but I know the truth and so does he. Dealing with those nasty feelings is not a fun thing for her. I had mentioned the fact that she seems to "play dumb" a lot...you know, trying to get me into arguments and exasperating circular situations where nobody wins. While he was talking to her he used this anology:
If I wake up one morning and act like a chicken and keep doing that for a while, I'll eventually become a chicken. Not in body, but in spirit and I'll forget how to be a human. It's the same with playing stupid...if you wake up every morning and pretend to be stupid, you eventually become stupid.
She is/was a smart girl - I can see the smart in her. I'm not talking book smarts here - life smarts...knowing when and how to use her words, when and how to show emotions...I know it's in there, but she's masking it big time. She's becoming what she pretends to be. It scared me. I don't know if it got to her or not. Really, could she forget how to be smart? Could she convince herself totally that she's stupid and unable to carry on normal daily interactions? I wonder now. If you become a chicken, can you ever learn take off your feathers?
DS2 is dealing with his past trauma. Another enlightening moment came when they discussed his last day of seeing his mother. In DS2s memory (which I believe to be true), that day was very chaotic. There was no order, no common sense in how the day progressed. The last time he saw his mother was when she handed him a glass of water. Through a window, after he had escaped his house...you can see that this is not a normal day in the life of anyone you know. He was picked up by the police - he doesn't know who called them - he never got to go back in his home after that glass of water. Never. That chaos still feels very real to him...he likes to create it as it has become a comfort to him. A situation that could be very low key - becomes chaotic under his control. Whatever that means at that time. He continued to say that he lies and acts out of character to keep from getting in "big trouble". The discussion of what big trouble means - here at home versus in his old life was a deep one. What is big trouble here? I suppose he probably knows that it could mean that our family could not continue to raise him day -to-day...but that is not what he discussed - big trouble is being grounded, losing Xbox, losing other privileges. When you think about that as big trouble - it does seem pathetic somewhat. I wouldn't change what constitutes big trouble at our house, but it is interesting to think about the difference between being beat by a shoe (in his orphanage) versus losing Xbox for a week. Why is his reaction to my consequences so volatile?
We are starting two new things today. He is helping me deal with the little behavioral things as well as the big ones. Perhaps getting control over day to day interactions can relax what become larger issues. So our two problems to tackle are mumbling and stupid questions/comments.
For mumbling - whenever anyone does it, we will simply say "could you write that down?". Will they always write what they actually said? Probably not...but I know I won't miss anything important and hopefully we can create more conversation from that starting point. Trust me when I say that having to ask your child "what", "excuse me", "I didn't hear you" a thousand times a day can, in fact, become a HUGE power struggle. I started last night and both DS2 and DD had to write a few things. For five minutes afterward, they would really speak clearly and plenty loud to be heard. We'll see how it continues to go.
Wrestling point 2 is the harder one - we have a LOT of stupid questions/comments. I am not just talking about a kid saying "I like to fart". Yes, stupid...but not the level we are at. I'm talking about a child saying "Hey Mom, when is my birthday?" right after I heard them say "I'll be XX years old on this day" and knowing their birthday. The biggest one is when I tell them something (If we go to Washington D.C., we'll visit our family in Virginia, they are right beside each other) and I get this question "I wonder where Virginia is in the country?" Again, it may not sound like a big deal, but I could spend all day dealing with that. So, they each get 3 stupid question chips. If they choose to ask a stupid question or make a stupid comment - they have to trade in a chip. If they use/lose all their chips that day, they may not ask anymore questions - but they may write them down. They will not choose to write down the stupid stuff is the point. We tried a similar experiment with DD earlier - just to stope the constant noise. She makes "alien noises" when she has nothing to say, because the quiet kills her. So, she had to turn in a chip every time she was caught making "noise"...I couldn't believe how often it was really happening. I must say that the alien noises have gone nearly away - although still present during her shower!
We are heading to a rodeo tonight and I'm hoping they'll enjoy seeing it all - something new for the two youngest for sure and something to drag the oldest to - although he didn't seem too bothered about it (only worried about getting homework done...oh, isn't he the studious one?). If things are bad, I'll sign up to ride a bull and maybe get a vacation to the hospital (where no one under 18 can visit!!!).