Sunday, March 6, 2011
Lately I find myself saying, "it's not always like this" and immediately hearing a little voice in my head speaking up and saying, "um, yeah, it kinda pretty much IS like this".
I realize it is significant that I'm trying to convince so many people that the level of noise and chaos they have suddenly encountered when near me, or my home, is something out of the ordinary for us, when the truth is, I can't escape the truth revealed by the sheer number of times I find myself making the statement.
It is my well-delivered explanation line to the neighbors, grandparents, Fed-ex man, anyone who calls me on the phone, and the older children who assure me they are within the danger zone of suffering a nervous breakdown. How can a teenager possibly get enough sleep to be healthy when sounds that put the haunted mansion to shame start up at the break of light every day!
I have realized my little girls do not have inside voices. They have one voice, and it is often too loud for use even in the great outdoors. How many people have to tell their children to be a little quieter when playing outside?
But still there is a difference in their loud playful voice and their loud wails of displeasure. These wails are the noises that often start early in the morning. And I regret to admit I haven't been able to prevent the wailing. It can be caused by many things. For Delilah, if she is not the first person to get to the potty, then the seat is too warm, and don't you know that you can't expect her to pee while sitting on a too warm seat. She likes her seat cool. Princess complex anyone?
Yet I have learned to deal with the general noises over nothing, even before coffee in the morning. What disturbs me are the rages. Yes, my girls still have rages. They are deep, primitive things that take us all back further than we want to go on any given day.
They come out of nowhere lead us to nowhere. They are just suddenly there, like a rainstorm unexpected.
Cami has a mantra that she repeats while crying loudly. It is usually, "Mama, I want to tell you something", a sentence she repeats over and over while she cries inconsolably. And she never tells me the "something". Some days I can see a rage on the horizon and I know that no matter what I do to change the weather, it will come. This clue tells me the storm is coming from inside of Cami, rather than a reaction to things in her environment.
Delilah is often triggered by being reprimanded or not allowed to do something she wants to do. She is more physical, bringing full force kicking and flailing which prevent me from getting too close to her until she wears herself down.
So I wait it out. I've learned not to say, "It's okay" in the seemingly harmless way we placate our babies. Because Cami told me No, it is NOT okay, and she is right. So I mostly sit quietly. Or I whisper "You are safe. Mommy is here. I will always love you". I can't be sure my words are heard. Maybe I say the words for me as much as for them.
Eventually, and often the eventually is a long time coming......eventually, I am able to touch, then hold and comfort them, and chase the the demons of rage out the door, or under the rug, or wherever they hide.
I don't read about such things on other blogs. And I often feel I'm the only parent spending so much time sitting by a screaming child who wants to lash out or bang her head on the floor. And yes, this is the same child who just posed for the lovely photos yesterday.
In terms of parenting (though it's really not about me) these incidents might be dealt with better if they were few and far between. But lately I feel battered. Rages take me to a place of extreme patience.......patience stores I had no idea I even had. They are button pushing extravaganzas and I have to remember not to react in ways not productive to healing. I have learned to sit without speaking, which is a far cry from growing up in a time where the tag line was "if you don't stop crying I'll give you something to cry about". (Trust me, I've had to choke back that line many times). I've learned what nerves of steel really means and I will come closer to have those in my lifetime than their counterpart.....the "buns of steele".
Yet sitting in the foyer while one child lies crying on the floor, another child wants to sit on my head, and the last light of day feathers through the small windows on the sides of our front door, I sometimes feel so alone. Adjusting the ice pack on my thigh where I didn't dodge a strong kick, and wiping away tears, I can get dangerously close to thinking it must be me. What am I doing wrong?
Other blogs show me families who have incredibly organized color-coded-for-each- child lives, homemade Chinese food, and children who help run a cottage business. That's why I decided to write about the other side. The dark side of loving someone who may still think, on some level, that you kidnapped them.
It is clear my children are living with pain. I feel helpless to stop it. I feel guilty to speak of it. But it seems to come with the territory of trauma, institution, and adoption. I hope it is a season. When all the tears are cried and all the anger spent, will we have been elevated?
I like to think we are being molded and I tell myself we are not alone.
If you happen to meet us on a loud and stormy day, I will probably say to you that it is not always like this........ and you will believe me and smile......and remember that I'm thinking to myself, "it's not always like this.....sometimes it is worse".