Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't let me fool you...

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.


GB's Mom said...

What great progress to get beyond the crazy, outrageous behaviors, so that you can work on what was beneath! Don't consider it "failing miserably". Instead look at it as one step closer.

I really enjoy reading Corazon's writing.

Carmel said...

I think you have been doing wonderfully. Don't think of it as a rut so much as break for Tortuga and yourself to settle into the changes you have made.

Keep up the good work!

Christine said...

Love you all so very, very much.

J. said...

it is like a peeling an onion, sometimes it makes you cry but it has to happen. He is getting better, slowly but surely.

BT said...

I don't think you are failing at all, and I don't think you're in a rut either. However, I completely get how it feels that way to you!

When P started to progress, I could have written that last paragraph of your post. It was just like there was more and more and more. We'd see one thing improve, only to feel like five more difficult things started, or some old thing we thought we'd resolved would reappear. It was so circular and little-step-forward-several-steps-backward.

I take your observations as signs of progress. I really really do. You are doing excellent work. It is just going to be a long (and scary) haul. (Our psychologist told us at our very first meeting with her that we had to take a 3-5 year perspective on things and not expect anything to happen fast or smoothly progressively.)

Hang in there through these tough times.

(And I don't mean to imply that things are entirely peachy in our world either! This is really terrifying and exhausting stuff.)

Dia por Dia said...

Thank you for all the comments. I think I do KNOW it is progress but it is hard to FEEL that each day when I see what he misses out on and what the rest of the kids miss out on because we are always working around his needs. I know it was this way with Corazon and still is sometimes so I get it. I think his age makes it all feel so much more high-stakes.

GB's mom. She has blossomed into such a wonderful writer. Actually I am noticing that Tortuga has as well and may let him start a blog too. They do daily writing prompts and I think these have helped. Corazon has done them since she was 5 1/2 and I should get her to post some of those. They are precious!

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