Friday, March 23, 2012

Evil Siamese Twins *************************************and "NOT" talking about it!

Soooo Today was Awesome, but no, not really it wasn’t.

So many people say “I would LOVE to be a fly on your wall”…but no, really you wouldn’t.  I Promise.
I would give you a tour.
“Here is my Laundry Room, pretty sure the floor is Checker board, but I don’t remember.
Here is the Swamp, aka, Bathroom.
Here is the Bedroom, where the magic used to happen; now we are lucky if we sleep.
Here is the back of my closet, where I cry on really bad days…(I am still trying to con Trev into getting a power outlet for a mini-fridge installed)

….. Here is the dent in the wall, in which I like to bang my forehead.”

Today was HARD.

 Dude and Potty Training= Not.going.well.= understatement

Two year old Faith found economy jar of mixed homeopathic chest rub…and spread it all over the bath room. It took a spatula, and 3 towels and vinegar to clean up.
Down side, peeing in my bathroom now gives me a slight headache, upside, man can I breathe.

Other Wonky behavior ensued, every which way…

And Diva, well she  got booted out of Kindergarten today, again = now what.

See I have been bragging talking about how fortunate I am that my daughter goes to a Trauma Pre-School/ Kindergarten that is run by women that happen to be Catholic Nuns, with Maters in Education, and Social Work, AND opened a Trauma School in the Holyland.
Perfection right.

Well, kinda, sorta, no.
I really wanted it to be the answer, It worked great for Chatter, but Diva, isn’t Chatter.
Diva is MUCH craftier, and uses her adorableness in AMAZING ways, that terrify the snot out of me.

She is tiny, and sassy, and funny, she is the exact DSM definition of “Superficially Charming” her profession is wrapping people around her little finger, so she can stamp, “Chump”-stupid-friggn’-idiot-I-can-manipulate” on their forehead.

I have to give the kid props, she is a MASTER.

When I go to pick her up and she has three adult women chasing after her, cause she asked them to try to “catch her”…
3 points for Diva.

When she can tell grown Women they can’t go to Lunch, because she will miss them, and they stay.
5 points for Diva

and as the points added up. As she hid her food that I packed, and ate other kids snacks, as she threw her own lunch away and feigned starving, as she affectionately ran to hug every adult in the building acting sincerely loving…they.were.all.fooled.

and behaviors popped up 10 fold.

NOTE: Darling teeny 6 year old hugging random people, and charming them with her sassy, spicy demands and affection is adorable…A 16 year old randomly making out with the check out boy at the Piggly Wiggly she just met,
Hence. BOUNDARIES are important.

Because as MUCH as she wants to control her environment, as MUCH as she wants to prove the adults in her life are idiots, as MUCH as she wants to be the boss, If they can’t help her keep her boundaries, she becomes terrified.

Deep Sigh,
Phone call.
We pick her up half way through the day.
It is over, no second chances.or third , or fourth…or you know, one hundred and fifty seventh.
Chances are up.

She came home. In full blown Trauma freeze mode. Not speaking, cold stare….saying “you can not break me.”

The pure dichotomy of Trauma and Attachment is this. For her Trauma she needs to be reminded she is safe, she needs a comforting environment. She needs people to be sensitive to her triggers. She needs exceptions made on days she is stuck, she needs ways to re-regulate herself, she needs loving understanding.

For her Attachment she needs to know I and my husband are her safe place. She needs to know appropriate ways to get what she wants. She needs strict boundaries socially. She needs to be called on her crap, and not be able to manipulate people. She needs distant, committed teachers. She needs consistency.

Trauma and Attachment are evil Siamese Twins Beating the shit out of each other.

Which is why none of this is working.


How this went down:
(The only reason I share is because of no matter how CRAP-TASTIC this situation was…it walked away beautiful…and well if this helps a Mom, or a Dad from driving off a cliff, I have served my purpose.)

She was SO ANGRY.
Her little face stone walled.
Her fists tightened up, she was not giving a thing, heck if she could have held her breath during that hour, she would have done it.

I sat on her bed.
I thought, “What would Billy do?”
(Shameless plug for PARENTING IN SPACE, but it is true)

and I remembered the “not talking about it approach”…it really works well for Diva.

“Diva? I know you don’t want to talk about it right now, so we won’t.”

Steel eyes shot daggers right through me.

“So, we are NOT going to talk about feelings, and we most defiantly are NOT going to talk about feeling sad about losing school, because we don’t want to talk about that right?”

Head shake ‘yes’.

“So we are not going to talk about how maybe, this is making you feel, nope, and we are NOT going talk about why we have rules and how even if we HATE rules, they keep us safe, cause if Mommy wants to drive she shouldn’t have to stop at a stupid stop sign, or drive as slow as the police thing I should drive, heck I shouldn’t have to pay for things I want in the store, I should just take em, RIGHT?”

Weird look.

“But Mom, if your don’t drive safe, we could get in an accident.”

“True, maybe THAT rule is good, but the rest of them…WHATEVER. Right, and we aren’t talking about rules anyway, or how you feel about losing school, we are DEFIANTLY not talking about you feeling sad.”

She froze, popped back into “forget you mode.”
and screamed, “I’m NOT SAD, I AM MAD.”

“O.K. well good, MAD is Good, it’s a feeling, a BIG FEELING, so are we talking about it, or not?”

“NOT talking about it”

O.K. well good, cause if we are not talking about your feelings of being mad, then I wouldn’t mention with all of that MAD and ANGRY, that there might be a teeny, tiny amount of Sad in there…like this big?”

nope, she shook her head.

Going smaller with my fingers, “this sad”…

‘NO, NONE of it is sad, it is ALL MAD.”

“Well O.K. then.”

“ Since we are not talking about it, I won’t tell you, if I was a little girl, and as much as I loved my Mom, I got mad at her for reasons I didn’t know, but I so wanted to show her, so I started breaking rules, only it never hurt her, it only hurt me.  AND THAT might make me MAD, worse, if I lost things I loved, by not keeping my boundaries for my brain to feel safe, I might be really, really sad that I lost something like school, that I loved so much, but since I am NOT a little girl, we aren’t talking about that.”

FULL BLOWN TEARS, like the real kind. This was NOT a rage, this was sincere, real, little girl tears. And I sat there are cried with her. And she crawled up in my arms and let me hold her. It was lovely.

“Mama, I’m not Mad, I am so so Really sad.”

“I know baby girl, I know.”

“Diva do you understand the difference between “MAD” and “SAD?”…

sniff, “kinda”

“Mad ( holding fist really tightly clenched) means being tough, not letting anything in or through. Sad means being Brave (I opened my hand) and saying you need help or something to hold, and I am so proud of how brave you are being with your Sad.”

We connected.

She gave feelings a try, vulnerable, beautiful ones.
 We made a plan, we talked about how she might feel when the other kids got up and got ready for school and she did not.
We talked about her doing extra chores to earn some new work books, so we could do our own school.

I know things will suck, I know we will have digression….
I also know how very far we came today.

So there…I let you be a fly on the wall, on a very Good/Hard day.


  1. That was great! I didn't get to meet you in Orlando but I'm glad I've started reading your blog. I wish I had all these trauma mamas with me when we started our journey 12 years ago. We've made tremendous leaps and bounds but it seems to have taken a lifetime! Your kids are blessed!

  2. wow Lindsay.....I can't believe I"m saying this, but maybe getting kicked out of school is a GOOD thing :)
    That was some serious healing. Of course, there will be digression, but if she can just remember the fist......the fist......sad....mad.....
    Linds, you rock it momma. I know it's hard. I know you are terrified of the future, but you are rocking it right. now. and that is so important. So proud of you.

  3. Oh, boy...sorry, I still want to be the fly. The atmosphere would be just the same, but I'd learn stuff.

  4. That was wonderful. I'm working with a trauma mama who is just beginning to learn what she needs to know to help a very strong 9 year old boy. I think this will help her a LOT. Thank you. Thank you.

  5. Love you with great buckets of love. SOOO wishing I could go to Parenting in Space! And yes, I too am having a really hard time seeing the "therapeutic" in a school situation that could be so easily snowed by a kid with RAD.

  6. don't want to be a fly on your wall - would rather be a friend who lives nearby.
    You totally rocked it mama - - chocolate - on the beach!

  7. so, so, good. thanks for letting us in.

  8. Wow! You are SO wise! Kuddos to you and Diva!

  9. This made me cry. The way you were able to say all that. You are AMAZING. You DID an amazing thing for your daughter, and the way you are able to capture it in print here for me, us. Amazing. Thank you. Wendy

  10. Just getting around to reading this.

    I totally get the "now what?" feeling when it comes to school. One of the reasons we are only fostering littles is because I don't trust our local at handle children with any kind of trauma, or communicate with us properly for that matter. Like, I've been having anxiety attacks over the possibility of having a school age foster child that would have to go to that school. Yikes!

    Sometimes reading your posts makes me mourn for what could have been with J. I want healing for him so badly, and now I have lost the opportunity to be actively involved in it. It makes me incredibly, deeply sad. I just pray that where he is now is truly helping.

    Did I mention lately how proud of you I am? I am. Like super duper proud.

    And I get to see you. Like soon. Which totally makes me smile.




  11. Sent here via my reader and a link.... now sitting here big, ugly snot-crying about your interaction with Diva. Hearing my little guys voice and seeing his face throughout. Thank you for sharing this. Just... thank you.


  12. Miss M is so FAR AWAY from being able to process like this. I am jealous!