- bitten a kid in school
- gotten into a fist fight in Sunday School
- hit me
- punched me
- kicked me
- said he doesn't want me
- ... and that was just in 1 week
Today was a good day. We headed out early in the morning and spent the day at a local water park. A much better outting than the boring museum, or sewer boxes... Mr Snuggles could run and play and dragged me all over the park. We had a great time.
But by 2pm, his mood started to change... he started to get tired... a little less 'compliant', maybe even a little naughty.
There were a few more glares and "NO!s".
He started saying "I don't want to listen to you! I never want to listen to you!"
Precursors to a meltdown.
It's remember that whole piranah tank reference? Yea, well, I was being lowered into one slowly.
But after spending the whole summer with him, I was able to manage his behaviour and calm him down. We had a good afternoon and made it home by about 4pm. Reflecting on the day, that is when the phrase "managing my child" enter my vocabulary.
See, when we had issues our daughter in school, we were able to pull her out and home school her. The time spent with Mom had an immediate and beneficial impact on her and her behaviour. We could see her coping methods, and replace them with healthy behaviours. This, has recently been discussed with Mr Snuggles since his behaviour is not so great at times.
Re-wind a bit... see, when school ended for the summer, Lukai spent more time at home with me. And I was able to see a week by week improvment in his behaviour. He was getting into A LOT of trouble in school. But when school ended, well, we would go whole MINUTES without him screaming at me! I mean, we almost went a whole day without him making me bleed! This was good stuff! The tantrums became more manageable, and then, we would go 1 day, 2 days, maybe 3 days without one. Things seemed to be improving!
I got excited thinking, this is good! We can take him out of school like we did Ping and things will improve! But my day at the water park highlighted something to me...
See, Ping was ANGRY. She was... oh, so ANGRY. Mr. Snuggles is angry too, don't get me wrong. But it seems to come from a different place. See, Mr. Snuggles would be angry because:
- I would not cook him an egg
- he had to sit down while eating
- he had to wash his hands
- he had to stop hitting me
- he had to stop trying to take over Russia with my computer
- he had to wear socks
- because he wanted X and I gave him X
- because he did NOT want X and I did NOT give him X
See, with Mr. Snuggles, everything was based out of this self-centered narcististic (I need to learn to spell) attitude. So he REALLY felt he was wronged when he had to wear socks... so he didn't see, "Oh, I'm angry, and maybe I'm over reacting to having to wear socks." ... he honestly believed that I was some cruel evil overlord who was punishing him by making him wear socks. Point it, it is hard to try to convince someone that they are NOT a victum, when they so clearly believe they are.
If someone is just angry and mean, you can point that out to them... but how do you teach someone empathy, selflessness, patience? By eating McDonalds in front of them! Oh wait, that's a different post... someone remind me to tell you about the McDonalds object lesson later.
What I was seeing in Mr Snuggles, was not an improvment in attitude or behaviour because of a heart change. All that happened, was that I was a smarter parent more able to control his moods and surroundings to ensure he didn't HAVE a melt down. But we could have the most funnest day ever, and when we get home, if I ask him to wash his hands... then all bets were off. Tantrum city. No "thank you" for the awesome day, just "I don't want to wash my hands! I don't want to listen to you! I will never listen to you!" And cue the tantrum...
I will ask him, "Did you listen to Daddy?", and he will tell me "No, because I don't want to!"
So, no heart change... all I've done in the last 2 or 3 months, is learn how to:
- phrase questions so he thinks he has a choice (and no, a simple "OR" questions won't work - he will say "I don't like those options!" and scream away)
- watch for warning signs when he starts to get angry
- avoid high stress enviroments for him
- avoid high stress environemnt for me
- how to open a Bacardi Breezer using a butter knife
- that I can drink approximately 5 Bacardi Breezers in the amount of time it takes for him to stop crying
|Number 1 down... 4 more to go.|
I've not blogged much lately... because, well, this is hard. Adoption can be hard. Biological children can be hard. Life can be hard. It's hard to blog when everything I write just sounds like I'm complaining. :-)
If I've ever made life look easy... trust me, its (OH JUST GET BACK TO BED BEFORE I GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT) not. I don't think life has been easy for about... oooooh, 37 years now.
These past 2 years with Mr Snuggles has really been a wonderful opportunity for me to grow as a parent. :-)
I love my Mr Snuggles. He is our joy, he is a little ball of wild energy and makes everything fun and exciting. But he is still hurting. And although he can be so well behaved for 23.5 hours a day... it's the 0.5 hours which exhaust me.