Lest anyone thing it's all fun and games around here, my darling daughter chose to remind me that she is healing and not yet healed yesterday. It was a nasty scene with growling, drool, spitting, biting and hitting. She hasn't done this in ages and all I can think is that she had too much of a good thing. While Corazon has made tremendous progress, her sense of self worth grows in very small increments. She is hitting puberty and is often on an emotional roller coaster. One of the side effects of this (along with healing) is that she is "feeling" more. If that makes sense. Things that used to roll off her back or by the wayside now stick. She thinks about them and tries to process them. One contributing factor was being around a bunch of NT girls in large doses these past two weekends (recitals and birthday party for my niece at our house) have given her an extra huge dose of the not-so-nice behaviors this peer group of hers often engages in. She doesn't understand the games, especially the mind games, or the cattiness but she does notice them these days. The other was that I had recently complimented her several times about her behavior (helpfulness, lack of attitude, cooperativeness and even a hint of trust). I think that was too scary and too much. Her default is still set to "bad kid" and she has to work hard to convince herself that she is a good kid. I got her a gift to thank her for her amazing help in preparing for grandparents visits, helping me manage Milagro's class during recital and then all the prep for her cousin's birthday party. That totally set her off. It was something she wanted but she acted as though it was an insult. Then she threw a tantrum and blew up about something I asked her to do. Finally she decided to do her cat chores (check food supply and change water) by spilling the water on top of the ottoman (hard to do) and hiding the food she spilled (about a cup and a half) under the ottoman. When I found it and told her to clean it up she blew up. Started screaming, grunting, growling and then groveled on the floor. When I just calmly looked at her and told her to let me know when it was over she tried to bite me (hasn't happened in who knows how long) an hit me. I held her arms and told her she needed to go to her room to calm down and she lost it even more. It took about 30 minutes to calm her and then I got her to tap and rub. Then I sent her to lie under her weighted blanket for 20 minutes. That seemed to reset her system. She apologized and did the appropriate restitution for the destruction in the living room. The rest of the day she was still a little off but last night we were able to talk about the things I thought were setting her off and she admitted she really liked the gift but didn't know why she had behaved the way she did.
I have to remember that this is huge progress. In the past it would have been days and days of cycling and tantrums without any clue about why she was set off. She would never have been able to regroup so readily and she would have denied all the reasons I suggested for her falling apart. This is what progress looks like. If I am not careful I totally miss it. This was true for Tortuga as well. He has been so jealous about the weekend festivities for my niece and last night we unexpectedly got a chance to see my younger brother who was in town for a conference. We all went out to dinner to one of the kids favorite BBQ places. My niece, her cousin and my sister joined us and Tortuga was impossible. Usually they are pretty well behaved when we go out but he could barely hold things together. By the time we came home he was being pretty nasty and I could see his anger rising BUT he was controlling it. By bedtime he was mad that no one had "noticed" his anger so he blew up at me. I told him I knew what and why he was doing it, would talk to him about it later but he needed to not cut into my time with C. An hour later I noticed on his monitor he was still awake so I checked on him. He immediately apologized, asked if he could give me a hug and told me he loved me. Progress.