I have written about the major steps that Tortuga has taken in the last weeks around recognizing and naming his emotions. It is excellent progress indeed and I certainly don't want to make light of it. Yet, it doesn't mean we aren't having issues. We are. Big ones. There are still soooo many behaviors and attitudes that terrify me--for his future and for ours as a family. He continues to just be mean and hateful to Corazon and Pollito whenever he can be so we really have to continue limiting his exposure to them and the rest of the family. He doesn't understand why he cannot be around them. He truly doesn't and of course he feels it is unfair. We have explained that the downstairs of our home is "family space" where everyone needs to feel safe and comfortable. In return everyone is expected to work hard to honor our family values--respect, responsibility, niceness, safety and obedience--especially in this space. He has noted he doesn't believe in those values and doesn't want to have to live by them. We have not done anything to try and "force" him to change that but it means he doesn't get to "hang out" in these areas with other family members. It is tough because he literally begs to spend time with the family yet within minutes of being anywhere near these two he is mean or rude to one of them. He can hold it together for small periods of time (e.g. dinner) but pretty much any small thing (real or imagined) will set him off.
Our days still change at the drop of a hat. From one moment to the next I have no idea if he is going to be able to handle anything even if he was able to handle it just fine the day (or the hour) before. The unpredicatable nature of it all makes things challenging and frustrating. This weekend we had several moments where we wished we had a neighbor who could just pop over and watch him while we did simple everyday things with the other kids. Instead, we took him along and I kept him close to me (even though I really wanted him as far away from me as possible) and tried to let the other kids (who had each had great weeks in their own ways) enjoy themselves. It was challenging to juggle but we managed it and I survived having a very unruly and unpleasant apendage for the duration of our "family time." It is sooooo hard sometimes.
Another factor that I am becoming aware of is that as we have peeled back some of the ugly layers (e.g. very disruptive behaviors) we are able to actually see some of the underlying and equally annoying/disruptive issues and behaviors. It feels like these are new behaviors but in fact I realized they have always been there just masked by the crazy, outrageous ones. So I am on a mission to tackle these behaviors AND the underlying causes but am failing miserably thus far. Our life is quieter and calmer but it feels like we are in a rut and I haven't figured out a plan for moving us forward. I will.