It's mid-January already. The Christmas decorations are finally put away. I am still sweeping up pine needles which I will probably do until May but I don't mind. It brings a smile to my face to be taken back to the sights and sounds of our holiday this year. It was our best yet and we registered the least number of tantrums and meltdowns ever! Tortuga held it together beautifully and Corazon was ever so helpful.
Of course those more peaceful days are behind us now. As with so many children of trauma when things go well and they are overwhelmed because they feel loved and happy and they don't think they deserve it all, the other shoe drops. Pollito stopped brushing his teeth, started wearing the same dirty t-shirt day after day, and has pretty much interjected himself into every. single. conversation. for the last three weeks. It is driving all of us absolutely nuts. Corazon stopped using toothpaste and deodorant and worked really hard to make herself stinky by refusing to shower. Then she pretends to not notice, or she tries to engage in a discussion about it. I have a particularly acute sense of smell, which she knows, so I know she is just trying to get my attention. Tortuga kicked up the ODD a few notches and invites me to fight with him several times each hour. Currently my computer and table are covered in sticky notes reminding me of those things that I have a hard time remembering when they start coming at me from all angles. The most prominent post-it note right now says "DECLINE the invitation."
If I get invited to join an argument, I DECLINE the invitation.
If I get invited to participate in mediating whatever current attention getting competition Corazon and Pollito create, I DECLINE the invitation.
If someone starts pretending she forgot how to ________________, I shrug, walk away, and wait until another child in need of attention, (who tries to point out to me how silly she is behaving,) decides to go tell her how to do it (which suddenly jolts her memory faster than any prompting from me. Go figure.)
If someone leaves off an important article of clothing because I haven't taken the bait to fight or argue about __________, I comment loudly to no one in particular, that it sure is chilly outside.
If, after a particularly enjoyable family dinner out with friends, someone walks in the door and decides to start a battle about being deprived and treated unfairly because other kids get ___________, I listen for a minute and then as soon as possible smile and say "you are right honey now go get ready for bed."
That is what is working right now. I am able to engage with the kids in ways that are fun, appropriate, necessary, and the rest of it, I am not getting pulled into. It's hard but it works for us. Until I slip...