0 comment Wednesday, April 2, 2014 |
On Thursday night the children had grandparents put them to bed, on Friday night dad was out and so they had only me to put them to bed, and then on Saturday night I was out and they had dad put them to bed.
Our children usually no likey such a prolonged change to their routine. Son had some trouble and on Saturday night he tried the bee-in-the-room excuse again for not settling down and going to sleep, but husband dealt with it as I did and it fizzled out.
There was however payback last night from him. It started with him getting a bit moody at my suggestion that his room needs a bit of a sort out, ramped up to tantrum status when his dad cleaned off the face-paint he'd had done that afternoon, and then progressed into a screaming rage when we said he couldn't have a bath whilst he was 'upset' and let daughter go first instead.
I let him carry on for a bit, then went into his room and suggested he rip up the newspaper we put in his room for such occurances. I even did him a demonstration. He refused, what with his ODD being in full swing and everything. So I went and did a bit of housework, occasionally asking him if he was OK and getting a response that strongly suggested he wasn't. Then I had the idea of getting him to do a jigsaw puzzle, because I read somewhere That's supposed to be really calming. I took one into his room and poured the pieces onto the floor. He was curious enough to stop screaming, but he did tell me he wasn't going to do a jigsaw puzzle because he was rubbish at them. He'd benefit from some practice then, I suggested, as I sat in front of him and started to turn all the pieces up the right way.
And do you know what? He joined in. And he was suddenly fine and continued to be fine all night. Had a nice bath, went to bed happily, and stayed in room. Wow!
But what's even more Wow is that I didn't pick up his anger one bit. I felt complete empathy with him and just wanted to 'help him be OK' rather than 'get him to stop'. I would like to be like this with him all the time but I'm not, so I've been wondering what was different?
Well, first, I think husband and I have benefited this week from having some time out together and also some time out with others. Just to feel normal, to not have to do all that monitoring that seems necessary when with the kids to keep them from dysregulating. To be with other adults, have interesting conversations, be completely ourselves, not having to keep ourselves in that therapeutic zone of communicating - what a relief! We clearly needs to have time out on a regular basis.
This had lead onto the second thing - a normal family day out on Sunday. Husband is into wargaming and there was a wargaming convention in a hotel just down the road from us. We dithered about going because taking the kids to things that they subsequently show no interest in is like entering the seventh level of hell. But, we went, and we had one of the best family times out I think we have ever had. We hung our with Daleks and Star Wars' stromtroopers, talked to Doctor Who, reenacted the gunfight at the OK Corral (we were the Cowboys and we beat the Earps! Howzat!), had the kids' faces painted and bought some dice (they love dice, husband has lots of dice because of his wargaming hobby and they've started to collect them too).
But what was really good is that we all just forgot ourselves; the kids forgot to be a pain in the arse and husband and I forgot to get uptight. Daughter wasn't trying to control things, son didn't have a trantrum, husband didn't go off into his own world and I didn't storm off saying I hated my family. We just hung out together and enjoyed each others company! I mean, WOW!
I was remembering last Whitsun half term. Daughter wailed her way through the first four days, amongst other things constantly pretend hurting herself, screaming at non-existent flies, doing a go-slow on her food, hurting her brother. By the Wednesday I was a jibbering wreck, never mind her. Then son took over and finished off the second part of the holiday tantrumming all the time. If ever there was a time that I hated my new life, it was then.
And look where we are now. We can actually, as a family, drop the misery for a while and allow ourselves to trust and maybe even like each other for a few hours.
Biggest thing for me though is to learn that I can feel sympathetic towards son when he's going off on one, not just force myself to act that way through gritted teeth. That is one big WOW for me. One big massive huge WOW.