These Words Should Never be Uttered by a Four Year Old

Tonight MM and his daddy were playing flashlight all through the house, going from room to room, looking at our house in a whole new “light”….no pun intended. They were having a blast……Daddy would hide an item and then MM would take his trusty flashlight and look all over for it. Well, MM decided he’d rather play “Thomas the Train” in the middle of their games……with MM being Thomas (as usual). Daddy tried to convince MM that they could finish their game first. No go there….he wanted to BE Thomas.

 

And when I say, “He wanted to BE Thomas,” I wasn’t kidding. MM pretends to be Thomas the Train all day long. He chugs along the house moving his arms as if they were his rails moving his wheels…..to which he always refers to his feet as “Wheels.” Then I heard something that shook me to my core……..

“I don’t want to be MM.”

“I want to be Thomas.”

Daddy was expaining as best he thought about he loves MM, not Thomas…..Mommy loves MM, not Thomas. I quickly came downstairs to ascertain the situation.

I outstretched my arms and asked MM gently to “come here sweetheart.” He immediately came to me, let me hold him and he rested his head upon my shoulder. He had the saddest look on his face.

I asked him, “Why don’t you want to be MM?”

“I just don’t.”

This went on for a few minutes.

I started to guide him in his thoughts as sometimes it’s hard to say the words for the RAD kiddos….they know it, but they are afraid to say it.

I asked, “Do you not like MM?”

Shaking his head “no”, “Uh uh.”

“Why honey…..tell me what is the one thing you don’t like the most about being MM.”

“That I can’t be Thomas. That is who I want to be. I don’t like being MM.”

I tell you this…..I wanted to cry for my son at that very moment…..but Knew I needed to stay strong for him……I continued on….

He continued, “I don’t like how I feel.”

I said, “Oh, because you get those feelings inside that you don’t understand?”

“Yes,” he said.

I went on to explain to him that we all have feelings inside of us that we don’t understand and we aren’t sure what to do with. He lit up somewhat.

“Do you not like MM when you get into trouble?”

Shaking head emphatically, “NO! I don’t like it when that happens. I want to be Thomas.”

I stated that everyone gets in trouble, even mommies and daddies. Everyone…..he’s not alone.

His entire demeanor changed at this point. His lil head lifted, his eyes got that sparkle back, and he asked,

“What did you do to get into trouble?”

I explained a few things…..and a few things about daddy…..everyone.

He hugged me.

He said he didn’t really feel a lot better about it and still didn’t want to be MM, but it is a start…….

My heart is broken in a million pieces…………….

 

My son, my son……do not despair……..we’ll get there……we’ll get there someday…….to where you like yourself……and you want to play with other kiddos…..and you finally understand all those jumbled up feelings going on inside of you. I’m here……I’m not going anywhere, my son……..I love you, my son.

 

Blessings to you and your children…..

Mama249

 

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Who Reigns in This Household? It’s All About Control!

One thing I’ve learned, of the many things I’m learning, is that RAD kiddos want “control” of their environments…TOTAL control. This is not out of a deep desire, rather it is out of survival. Survival from their traumas. The Rad kiddos have been so hurt and had little to NO control over anything in their lives….that now, in order for them to “survive,” they feel a need to control the very thing that want you and I to control.

 

Sounds contradictory, yes, but it is just like the RAD kiddo wants to feel close and love us….but they cannot yet, they cannot out of survival, what if they lose us as well? Their hearts can only take so much. Their brains can only process so much.

 

The signs and Symptoms of RAD are as follows:

~Superficially engaging and charming, particularly around strangers or those who they feel they can manipulate

~Indiscriminate affection, often to strangers; but not affectionate on parent’s terms

~Problem making eye contact, except when angry or lying

~A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as they get older

~Hypervigilant

~Argumentative, often over silly or insignificant things

~Frequent tantrums or rage, often over trivial issues

~Demanding or clingy, often at inappropriate times

~Trouble understanding cause and effect

~Poor impulse control

~Lacks morals, values, and spiritual faith

~Little or no empathy; often have not developed a conscience

~Cruelty to animals

~Lying for no apparent reason

~False allegations of abuse

~Destructive to property or self

~Stealing

~Constant chatter; nonsense questions

~Abnormal speech patterns; uninterested in learning communication skills

~Developmental and/or learning delays

~Fascination with fire, blood, gore, weapons, evil; will usually make the bad choice

~Problems with food; eiher hoarding it or refusing to eat

~Concerned about details, but ignoring the main issue

~Few or no long term friends; tends to be a loner

~Attitude of entitlement and self-importance

~Sneaks things without permission even if he could have had themb asking

~Triangulation of adults; pitting one against the other

~A darkness behind the eyes when raging

 

As you can see in the list above, there are many that your child may exhibit, and yet others they don’t. MM has a great majority of them….but not all. The one I want to point out in this post is:

~A severe need to control everything and everyone; worsens as they get older

When I very first went through the list…I was shaking my head “yes” and thinking, “Wow, someone has all this together and knows what the heck they’re talking about because that sounds exactly like my son! Discouraging as it is, it was good to know what we’re dealing with so we know where to go from that point forward.

CONTROL…..wow…..does MM ever try to control every aspect of his daily living and the environment around him. There was one particular time that I honestly cannot remember what it was about…..something trivial I’m sure……that I told MM, “You’re not the one in Control, Mommy and Daddy are.” MM immediately retorted with, “Oh YES I AM IN CONTROL!” I calmly….that is key….to remain calm…it not only doesn’t esculate the situation, but teaches your child who is actually in control and also how to act in a given situation….told MM that he “is a kiddo and you can just be a kiddo, you don’t need to be in control anymore. Mommy and daddy have this covered. You can trust us. We won’t let anything happen to you, honey. You’re safe with us. You can just be a kiddo and have fun. Ppl who are in control have so many things that need to be done and you don’t need to worry about that yet.” You won’t believe what happened next….mind you, MM is only 4…..He said to me, “I can’t let it (control) go. I’m too scared to let it go!” I held him immediately and reassured MM that it was going to be ok and that Mommy and Daddy would help him to let go of it. He cried and cried. I’m telling you…..this is amazing that he was able to articlute this!!!!

 

It is easier said than done, right. I can say all I want…..”It’s time to let go…..(it will be ok)” and I can believe it to my very soul…but the one that really has to believe it is our kiddos. Be patient with them……their traumas were so much so that they don’t know how to live any other way……it is up to us to teach them…..all along the way to healing.

 

Blessings to you and your children….

Mama249

 

Don’t Feel Guilty if You’ve Let it Slide: Strong Sitting

I have read much about Strong Sitting. On one particular website, radkid.org, I really throughly enjoyed all they had to offer…..so much so that I printed off the entire site and use it as a quick reference for myself….I’ve highlighted all I need to refer to…..my paper is mostly all highlighted…LOL. It’s THAT good. On the website, they refer to Strong Sitting as being very impportant in helping children to learn discipline of self-control and quietness….both emotionally and physically.

I used Strong Sitting with Munchkin Man for quite some time awhile back…..but somehow, some reason….I let it slip..I’m upset a bit with myself for doing so, but am just thrilled that I found this website to get ME back on track. So that brings us to yesterday….I had told MM that he’d be doing some strong sitting…..which was followed by much grunting, rolling around on the floor and rolling of the eyes, fussing, and plain and simple saying he wasn’t going to do it. I don’t want to say I forced him to do it….but I’ll tell ya…..I STRONGLY encouraged him to do so in a soft and calm manner. First he said he’d do it later and he’d let me know when he was ready…..UM….no sir, that right there….did you notice what he was doing? Control……he wanted to control WHEN he was going to do them. He couldn’t control that he must do them…..but he thought he could control that. NOPE….not with me, mister. I told him I’d be ready for him in exactly 5 minutes. MM was so upset and began to do that whiney crying sound. 5 Minutes went by rather quickly &  MM gave in to it……sitting with his legs criss, cross applesauce, back straight, eyes closed, hands on either  side of legs or on top of legs…..just be comfy…and then he will Strong Sit for 1 minute for each year of his age. He’s 4…so 4 minutes. He was begrudgingly doing this…..he kept peeking out…..trying to be sly…but I know my lil guy. Also…you want no distractions going on at all when you begin doing Strong Sitting. Later, you may add some….I’ll reference it in another paragraph.

It is suggested that Strong Sitting be done several times a day…..anytime but especially first thing in the morning because it will clear their minds and get them off to a great start of what could possibly be a beautiful day. Who doesn’t want that? Shoot…..I may do some strong sitting myself if it produces such a wonderful result!!! LOL!

Our jobs as the parents, is to not make constant remarks as in, “Wow, look at you! You’re doing great Strong Sitting!” “Hey, look at those criss cross applesauce legs…I’ve never seen such perfect criss cross legs before!” We are to be silent and coach as needed…..and hopefully not much is needed….but always always always be calm, collected, and warm with a smile on your face to show your lil guy/girl that this is a great thing to do. If you are begrudginly putting them in place…..that signal brings with it MUCH negativity to your environment and to your Strong Sitting. You DON’T want that….believe me.  The goal is for them to work up to a grand total of 20 minutes at a time and to be able to have some distractions in the background and still be able to concentrate and Strong Sit without trying to figure out what is going on behind them.

My lil guy is about to arise for the day……and I’ll snuggle with him for about 10 minutes to get our day off to a pleasant, loving and delightfully engaging day. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? It does to me as well. Then comes Strong Sitting…..afterwards….our day together….hopefully regulated and peaceful. I wish this for all of you as well.

 

Blessings to you and your children,

Mama249

Anger, Sadness…..are They One in the Same?

I have broached this subject many times in my mind. Anger is really sadness in disguise. Truely it is with our RAD kiddos. If you haven’t heard of Bryan Post (who I think is great….if you’ve not heard of him…..please do yourself a favor and look him up online)…..he has many Free Webinars throughout the year, will e-mail you free articles on various subjects, and has a great blog. I think some of you may find him very helpful. Some won’t like him at all……that is the way it always is. We all have our opinions and what works best for our children…..but I believe we OWE it to our children to at least “SEE” what is available out there and then make an educated decision on what works for ya’ll. Anyways……Bryan Post says, “All negative behavior occurs from an unconscious state. We first respond from our unconscious at the body level, BEFORE it is processed in our mind. This fear reaction then influences our ability to be responsive….Fear sees problems and Love sees solutions.” Bryan Post is big on there are 2 primary emotions: Love and Fear. Everything stems from one of those two.

I can see his point. When my MM gets upset and starts raging, he’s acting out of a FEAR state which looks an awful lot like Anger to me and all around him. I have said it before and will continue to…..I (we) use the Holding Technique…to calm MM…..and it works, it really works. Some ppl I’ve read say to let them get it “out of their systems” and spend time “alone” because the child is causing havoc on the rest of the family……so in other words….go away until you feel you can be a respectful part of our family!! Seriously!? Are they really really serious that they (the parents) think that time “ALONE” (when they suffer from attachment disorders and NEED more closeness for healing to begin) and letting them “get it out of their systems” on their very OWN….will do anything towards their true Felt Safety and Healing. Rather, I strongly believe and feel convicted to….the Holding Technique, Loving eyes ALL the time, and helping my child figure out what is REALLY going on inside…..not just reacting to the behavior. If I were to simply just react towards the behavior…..then I’d be upset, MM would continue to be upset, never get to the root of what is causing the grief and sadness (meltdown or rage), or  aide in his healing one iota!

I mentioned in my last paragraph, that I see Bryan Post’s point….This fear state my child gets into causes him so much grief, sadness and instability in his thinking. This all stems from TRAUMA. Trauma is an ugly thing. I wish I could take away all of MM’s traumas and throw them in the burn pile……let the smoke of his sadness rise upwards……leaving his tiny heart forever. I love the metaphor of the smoke rising…..we always envision that God is someplace “up”…..and I see this smoke as being lifted by the very hands of God through our hard work towards healing. It’s all about the baby steps…..we cannot expect much to happen right away, to the contrary….he will fight it tooth and nail! As a matter of fact…..RAD kiddos are about CONTROL. One day a few weeks or so ago, MM was in a rage and I held him until he calmed and he melted into my shoulder, playing with my hair.  Then we talked……about Control……he said…..without ANY prompting from me at all……that he is the one in control and after my saying that he’s just a kiddo and needs to be a kid….not have all this control that is scary and unpredictable, he said, “I am afraid to let go of the control and I don’t know how to let it go.” I cried (or at least had tears in my eyes) praising him for telling the truth about what he feels inside. I truly feel his healing will be easier in that aspect because he can verbalize it. Praise God.

We (the counselor, dh and I) all see progress being made with MM. He’s making small steps toward that healing place where he won’t have to hide behind the shield of Anger…..to let go of his sadness….or to make peace with it, at least. When I say, Let go of the sadness, I truly believe this will always be with him……he’ll just be better equipped to deal with it….and to look it straight in the eyes and say….NOT TODAY….you’re not stealing my joy today!!!!

Blessings to you and your children…..

Mama249

I Simply Cannot Sleep, Although MM is Sleeping Soundly in His Own Bed!

Somebody pinch me! No seriously, pinch me! My lil guy is STILL in his own bed and it’s almost 6:30 AM!! This is unheard of in our house! My poor lil fella is so scared of his room……especially the closet and the dark…….that he simply cannot stay in his room a full night without calling out to Mama (he always calls for me) to come and get him & carry him safely to our bed.

It is a rule here that he at least has to start out in his own bed….which he balks at every night….then upon waking in the night, he certainly may come stay in our room and finish sleeping in our bed. I spoke with MM’s counselor about this and she said that this arrangement we have will create boundaries….necessary ones….and that she says it’s ok to have him co-sleep the remainder of the night.

It never fails…..somewhere between 12-2:30 am……he awakens screaming for me…..and I rush down to him and scoop him gently into my loving arms and comfort him, drawing him close, saying to him so that he knows he’s “safe now, mama’s here, it’s ok now.” He nestles his head into my shoulder, tucking his arms into his own chest (presumably to keep warm? Or he doesn’t want to hug me? I really don’t know what the answer is on that one), and breathing a sigh of relief…..as if he’s saying…..yes, Mama, I know you’re here now, I’m safe. Thank you, mama.

BUT…..this night…..last night into this morning……he didn’t do any of this. Boy am I a proud mama! He’s either so stinkin’ tired he isn’t going to wake up even if I were on “The Gong Show” and just banged on the gong! Am I really showing my age here with that last remark!? OR…..he’s getting better about wanting to stay in his own bed. Well, I know better……it’s NOT the latter!! LOL!!  Here’s why I truly believe he’s not ready for that yet…….and it’s just a fluke…..

We have an elaborate bed-time ritual that starts with all of us (myself, dh and MM) on the couch in the front Living Room and we sing about 5 lullabys. Then he gets to choose either mama or daddy to rock him in the rocking chair for 3 more lullabys, which are the exact same every single night….he loves it. We then move into his room……where he proceeds to start to turn his ankles inward, as well as his wrists, saying (actually whining and crying) he doesn’t want to go to bed, that he’s scared. When I see him doing the inward turning of the wrists and feet…..I KNOW, without a doubt, that a meltdown is going to occur very soon!!! I’ve learned to see his cues and work with him there…..meet him where he’s at, ya know, and try to curb the meltdown to a small whimper if even that. Well, after that, he goes into his bed, gets covered up….and MUST MUST MUST have his feet wrapped in a “cocoon” which is what he calls it, but it is just wrapping his feet up tightly in the blanket. With his SPD issues, he’s a sensory seeker…..I’ll write a post soon dedicated to just that subject…..he longs to be wrapped tightly to receive the extra sensory stimulation. He can be so hot….in the summer even….but he wants that blanket on him with his feet wrapped! We all kiss and hug g’night……then it comes…..he is terrified of his room! Of being alone! That darn closet! The shadows in the room! We have 4 nightlights in his room along with the overhead light dimmed. He will ask (always asks for me) me to stay in his rom until he’s asleep. No problem, right? HA……he takes about 1 hour to fall asleep because he’s so afraid and knows that I’m leaving once he does……so he does all in his power to keep me there for as long as he can.

Phew…..that is EVERY night. I’m glad to be able to be there for my lil guy. If it is what helps him to feel safe….then I’m all for it.

Here we are….and it’s now almost 7am…STILL in his own bed!!!!! Yippee!!!! Let’s cross fingers for this happening more often than not. Huh? Nah, I don’t think it’ll be anytime soon either.

Blessings to you and your children….

Mama249

Mashed Up Monday’s: What a Ride, Can I Get Off, Now? Please!?

This week has been a rough go of it from all sides of the fence….from a RAD aspect……from a SPD aspect…..and a general pain in my rear aspect with computer woes. Not to mention that I had a Dr. appt today concerning the surgery I had exactly 1 month ago to the day….and someone was supposed to meet at the Dr. appt. to check on my surgery…..never showed up and when called, said, “I’m not coming. Tell her to call me later and we’ll arrange a time.” UH…..he was supposed to be there today….not “arrange another time!” I was not a happy girl, but I went to my local convenience store and purchased myself the biggest Diet Drink I could…..ahhhh. BTW….I gave up soda pop quite some time ago, but times like these call for the big guns!!

Gosh, where to begin on our whirlwind of a week……I reckon back when Munchkin Man wouldn’t eat the dinner prepared for him because he was “really hoping for something different tonight.” I had made spaghetti. He loves the noodles….plain noodles……yes, you heard me right, plain. No sauce, no butter, no seasonings, just plain. It honestly is part of his SPD…this kid hardly eats a variety of anything. If it’s mushy, he loves it. No texture to it…..gobbles it up. The ONLY thing he eats that is “hard” is cereal. Well, back to the story…..I made spaghetti…..we all love it, although dh is the only one who eats the sauce. Me…butter and parmasean cheese and I’m good to go. MM got to the table after being called to dinner, and saw, much to his disgust I see, what was on his plate before him to eat. He immediately started in……screaming, crying and throwing himself all over the place. “I’m not going to eat THAT!” he screamed. I calmly stated that if he didn’t want to eat it that was fine, but he wasn’t getting anything else….that is what I made for dinner and it’ll be on the table waiting for him until and only until mommy and daddy are done eating. He continued to throw himself all over the place….screaming that he wants X….over and over. Now….had I truly thought this was a meltdown or really something I needed to hold him for….I’d of done it in a second…..but I really think this was about control, and I wasn’t biting and he didn’t like that at all.

DH and I continued to encourage him to come eat with us…..to no avail. We gave up trying…he knew it was there…..and it would only be there while we were eating. When we finished, I took his plate and told him that, “dinner was now over.” HOLY COW…..it was like I told him that he couldn’t eat for a week. He screamed and tried to get the plate out of my hands…..control…..I thought so. I remained calm. I had had enough, believe me, but I remained calm as did dh. A little while later…..MM acted as if nothing had occurred. He was darn hungry the next morning though.

One of the signs/symptoms of RAD is cruelty to animals. We have a very small dog. We’ve had him long before MM came home. MM has been nothing but horrible to the dog. It is increasingly getting more frequent and he’ll keep his eyes on me and try to walk “into” the dog and push him with his legs. I cannot imagine what that poor dog goes through when I’m not keeping constant watch over both of them. Believe me, I try my hardest to keep them far from each other……for the sake of the dog. Well, tonight at dinner……MM kept kicking the dog under the table….I repeatedly (like 2-3 times) told him to stop and the last time I told him he’d lose all his toys for tonight (including the iPad to play with and tv…yes, the iPad is ours, not his…LOL). AS SOON AS I TURNED MY BACK….yep…he kicked the dog again!!! DH saw the whole thing. He lost his toys…..screaming and crying and throwing tantrums ensued. He even…..for the very first time…..tried to pick up the table at the edge and lift it and do what with it??? dunno. This last week, he also got angry at me for something (don’t remember what) and lifted up the mattress on my bed and was going to do something…..I reckon throw it. It scares me to think of what he’ll be capable of if his healing doesn’t progress.

Well….that was my exciting week…..sounds like I could’ve skipped it all together, huh? No….actually, there were some really great moments in there mixed with all the stuff I mentioned. In all seriousness, he’s usually moreso balanced than not. Oh….the computer woes….forgot about that……my computer is dying and now I cannot get online at all, or get to my e-mails (that is what happened first), boy it never ceases to amaze me how much we’re connected to our computers!!!! LOL!! Thank my lucky stars I have my trusty laptop!! Otherwise I’d be in the nuthouse by now!! I hope ya’lls week has been better than ours……but then again…..it could be worse I always say. Take time this week to look for the little moments of serenity….of peace and of love……it is there, I’m telling ya……don’t despair.

Blessings to you and your children!

Mama249

 

Mashed Up Monday’s

In my Thesaurus, “Mash” has other words to take it’s place such as: Crushed, mixed, battered and pounded, pulverized, bruised, and squashed. What is the FIRST thing or person that comes to your mind when you read those words? Be honest.

Before I tell you who I think of first, let me tell you a story that happened here just last night. I was putting MM to bed and he was having a particularly hard time with bedtime…..it terrifys him to pieces. I try everything I can to make it as comfortable and transition to it as easily as possible for him. You see, my lil MM is terrified of the closet in his room. He puts approximately 5-6 LARGE books in front of his face to ensure that when lying down, there is no possibility that he can see the said closet. His fear is real to him. To us, mommy and daddy, it may seem silly or unfounded…..but we MUST remember that our children come from a place of Trauma and nighttime is the time that brings about all their fears. They are seemingly “alone” to fight those fears…..head-on…..and it truly terrifies them all.

Our bedtime routine is LONG and Tiring to myself but I know in my heart of hearts that it will in the long run help MM be able to put aside those fears of say, his closet, and other such fears he faces at night. I mustn’t and should NEVER EVER think of myself and what I want or what I “Feel”..it is about MM and his healing!!!!! I have to be on my toes and always thinking of new ways to conquer the fears and the RAD & SPD. Always.

Back to the story…..I was sitting in MM’s room and scratching his back to help him relax and get to sleep. Somehow (and I don’t remember how it all got started) but MM got talking about who he loves, which isn’t very many ppl. I found out. He then said, I love you and daddy and grandma….and X and X. He said, “But, mommy, I love you right here (as he placed his hands in the lowest position) and daddy up here (highest position) and grandma is right by you, and X & X  are up here between you and daddy!” Did ya’ll get that? I’m the lowest!! I, honestly, was stung a bit…..but truthfully understand that it is the Attachment and RAD talking….not MM. But the mommy heart….hurts. MM doesn’t trust me at all…..he keeps me at a distance and wants to love me…..but has been hurt so much that he doesn’t trust it yet….but I am determined that we’ll heal his hurting heart.

Now…for who I think of when I hear those words…..NO…..not myself in the least. I truly think of MM….he’s been through so much trauma that he feels pulverized, smashed, battered, crushed, pounded, etc. I cannot even fathom all that he’s been through in his short little life. But all he’s been through has caused him to be incredibly guarded of who he lets in. And mama ain’t one of ’em yet. Attachment challenged children cannot form a healthy attachment to anyone until they form the attachment to the mom. Think about it…..the reason for not being about to attach to the mom and it being so important to attach to the mom…..the mother was the one who relinquished them at birth. Very profound. I will never ever give up on MM…..no matter how low I rank.

Blessings to you and your children…..

Mama249