Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Signs of progress

Since our "intervention" with Tortuga we are seeing glimmers of progress. He is really TRYING to do better. I have caught him stopping himself from making faces and doing mean things. When it does happen the other kids are really good about telling on him and we stop everything to help him make it right. He gets really mad sometimes about being made to thank them and apologize BUT he hasn't let the anger get the best of him except for once. We also had a different kind of breakthrough with him recently. He has a very, very hard time whenever someone else is having fun or getting attention or getting presents. We have usually managed this during birthdays by having the birthday person get presents for the rest of the kids. This usually helps all of them get through the event itself a little better BUT it doesn't eliminate his jealousy. He ALWAYS  has some kind of meltdown or issue that draws attention to him whenever we are focusing attention on someone else. We celebrated Corazon's homecoming day (5 years ago) last week and did alot of prep with him. We always give him the option of opting out if something is going to be too hard. He wanted to participate and he planned to make a card. At the last minute he decided he wasn't going to make a card and I started to get a little worried. Our anniversary celebrations are usually "low-key." I do something special that is just between us and they like to keep to themselves. They get to pick out a special dessert and I get a small gift from the family. Usually these are themed and everyone gets a variation on the same gift since all 3 older kids have homecoming anniversaries very close together (Tortuga's is this week.) We had our special dessert and as we were winding down I pulled out Corazon's gift. This year's gift is a personalized pencil bag and a dozen pencils with their full names on them. Their bags/pencils are different so the "surprise" is with the color/style. Milagro asked for her gift and since she isn't adopted like the other kids (well actually she is adopted but that was strictly a legal necessity when we moved here) she doesn't have an anniversary. We get her the same gift and call it a half-birthday present since she will have that near the end of this month. That was the impetus for Tortuga's meltdown. He was upset because she got a gift and "it wasn't even her anniversary." Forget that he is almost 11 and she is 2! But, there was good news! His meltdown consisted strictly of tears. No screaming, mean words, faces, slamming things, etc. As soon as I noticed I leaned in close to him (he was sitting next to me at the table) and asked him why he was crying. He said "because I am jealous!" Yay!!!!! He didn't say "mad" which would have been his usually word. We have been working hard on naming feelings (sadness, disappointment and jealousy are our current ones) and separting them from anger and HE DID IT! That was huge for him. I praised him for recognizing it and reminded him his anniversary was coming up, etc. He did cry for quite a while and we tried to wrap up quickly and sent the kids off to do their nighttime routines. He did try to move to an "angry" place but we were able to diffuse it and call attention to his "need" to do this when he has had a good day. All in all it was as good as it could be and it was great to see some serious signs of progress.

7 comments:

GB's Mom said...

Such progress! Recognizing jealousy in himself is a big step for Tortuga! I agree- it was a good day.

J. said...

Yipee for feeling words, that is exactly what we have been working on with Calvin in therapy and we have him writing a book for little kids about feelings, it is hard work but good work. We also have this great book by Todd Parr - it is out of print but you can get it here http://www.alibris.com/search/books/isbn/031605707X

I shared some sunshine with you, head to my blog for the details.

BT said...

All that you described is huge progress. Way to go, Tortuga (and you and C and the rest of the kids)! We are working on identifying "the feeling hiding under the anger" too. Sometimes we talk about anger being the easy feeling in that it feels safer, but we need to figure out the harder feeling under the anger. For Tortuga to be able to come up with jealousy all on his own -- no prompts! -- that's just WOW.

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Good work all around! Big steps in naming the feeling and letting it go!!!! Can you come to our house and coach all of us??? Miserable week here...BLECH

MomInTheTrench said...

That's great news!

Jeri said...

It is sometimes amazing to me the little things I took for granted. This "little" thing for other kids is so huge for ours. Yeah for you Tortuga! I'm glad you were able to name that big feeling...there are a lot of grown ups who can't do that. Good for you!

Dia por Dia said...

J. Thank you for the book recommendation. I just ordered it along with a couple of other little kid books on feelings for him (and the others.) I am heading over as soon as I can to collect my sunshine.

Thank you everyone for the kind words. He is trying and that makes so much difference. Don't get me wrong we still have some hellish moments but they are moments and not entire days!

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