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Posts Tagged ‘attachment’

Andrew and I worked a bit late last night so one of Blitzen’s babysitter extraordinaires took her to the hair braiding place to get her hair done.  Just as they were leaving the salon to head home, it started to pour down rain – not misty, not drizzle, more like monsoon.  And no umbrella.

Blitzen burst through the door, happy and laughing, telling the story of how they ran all the way home and showing off her wet, soggy clothes. Smiling, giggling, giving her babysitter a hug goodnight and moving along into the evening routine.

Now some people are all – so what?  Lots of kids like the rain.

And I am thinking back 2 years to our first spring with Blitzen when we got caught in a similar downpour and the child simply ceased to function.  Hysterical, sobbing, unable to move — not a cab or dry awning to be seen.  It was awful.  We practically had to carry her home — she just came completely undone.

I will try very hard to remember this triumph of emotional regulation and happy embrace of childhood wonders the next time Blitzen balls up her fists and growls at me (her latest thing).  I’ll remember that even the growl is an improvement, heading in a much more socially acceptable expression of negative emotion.

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Last night, after about 30 minutes of bedtime reading, I concluded a chapter and said, ‘That is it for tonight. I’ll read more tomorrow.’ To which Blitzen replied in all seriousness, ‘You’re refusing to read to me?!?’ Keep in mind that the 30 to 40 minutes of reading that she and I do each night are followed by 15 or more minutes of Andrew and Blitzen story telling in her room as part of the tuck in ritual.  She and Andrew are ‘writing’ a book together and they tell a new chapter each night.  I have never met a kid that loves a story as much as Blitzen. I really enjoyed books as a kid and still do – it is my main downtime activity by far – but Blitzen just craves stories.

It has been fascinating to look at the many many ways books and being read to have positively impacted Blitzen.  Even going back to the very beginning when things were so tough and Blitzen couldn’t slow down — we’d go to the library every Saturday and she would make me read 2 or 3 storybooks right there (after complaining the entire way to the library about how much she hated the library) and then we would go to the park and run around for hours.  Finally when she was just about to fall over, we’d go home and she would lay down on the couch, almost falling asleep, and listen to books for 30 minutes or so while she recovered.

Engaging with a book is clearly one of her best calming, connecting, coping strategies.  And of course it has been amazing to see her vocabulary and critical thinking grow and how much is learning about the world and people through stories.  I hope that this is something that she carries with her throughout her life.

 

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I won’t go into the details but in the middle of it all, Blitzen yelled at me, ‘I suppose you are going to tell the FBI on me.’  Now, it was bad but it wasn’t that bad.

 

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So, I left the house early for a meeting which I explained to Blitzen but that she didn’t quite digest.

First she called me, crying, and said, ‘If you think a half hug that you give someone when they are laying in their bed is a real hug, I don’t even know why you became a parent!’  This, I hear, as I am riding to work in a taxi.

Then she calls me again to say that she is sorry for yelling at me but she can’t stick with it and gets mad at me all over again.

Finally, she video texts herself getting ready for school and says, ‘I thought it was going to be a happy day but it is going to an upset day. Because of you, because you never learn.  So now, I am going to wear high heels and makeup to school!’ Well, that will show me, for sure.

I remember back in the day before all this crazy technology. If I got mad at my mom in the morning, I just had to stay mad all day and tell when I got home from school. Or, more likely, forget about it before lunch time.

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Blitzen was chatting with Andrew as she was drifting off to sleep last night, talking about the fact that her little sister Dasher is kind of having a rough time.  She is ‘acting up’ and often ‘on punishment’.

We all went to see Aladdin on Broadway this weekend – Blitzen, her older sister Dancer, Andrew, me and Blitzen’s mom (yea, I know, but it was actually a very nice night) – but Dasher couldn’t come because she has been having so much trouble at school – throwing tantrums, lots of anger and uncontrolled emotion pouring out and creating behavioral issues in the classroom and I suspect at home with Nana.  None of this is surprising although it is quite sad.  And Blitzen, upon sleepy reflection, said to Andrew, ‘Dasher is having a lot of trouble controlling her anger.  She should stay with you and Carrie for awhile.  You guys really helped me when I was angry all the time.’

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‘Sure, B, that is fine.’

‘Can I listen to one my shows – no, wait, wait, LISTEN to the voices of one of my shows on my ipod while I am in the shower?’

‘Well, Blitzen, that seems an awful lot like watching tv – you’re just not looking at the pictures.’

‘When you read a book, isn’t that just like watching tv without hearing the voices because it is all in your brain?’

‘Go take a shower, Blitzen.’

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Apparently, Blitzen is meeting with both her therapist and her social worker today because there are ‘discrepancies’ when she talks to people about her desires for placement (stay with us or go home).  ‘Discrepancies’ about that and ‘other items’ – we were informed via email.

The funniest thing is when Andrew and I both lose it over different things in the same asinine email.  He hated ‘discrepancies’ and I am not fond of the vague ‘other items’.

First that email was stupidly cryptic.  Second this adversarial system makes every human interaction sound like something out of a crime drama on tv.  I can picture the room with the 2-way mirror and the metal table.  The cold cup of coffee and bad lighting. The institutional representative stands there, arms crossed.  ‘So, Blitzen, last week you told your therapist that you wanted to stay with Carrie and Andrew, this week you are claiming that you want to live with your mother – which is it, huh?  Make a decision – you’re 11, you’re traumatized, you’re confused because you love the people in your life and want to be with them, all of them.  Well, too bad, make a decision and be quick about it.  We don’t have time for emotional ambiguity.  I mean, we’ve told all the adults in your life to simultaneously plan for two possible outcomes and work their hardest to make sure that you are expressing your emotions about all possibilities but you know, come on, make a decision already.  Which set of grown ups do you love best? It is a simple question – just answer it and don’t change your mind, ever, especially not after a not fun family visit or having to clean your guinea pig cage  — you’re 11, you really should be way beyond that kind of wishy-washy waffling.  And what about these other items?  Do you care to clarify your feelings?’

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Blitzen, Andrew and I were walking home.

“You know that guy, you like, that guy.  Would you marry him and not Andrew?” Blitzen asks.

“Ummm, honey, what guy?” I replied. I probably should have just said – Of course not! Sorry about that, Andrew.

“You know, that guy, that rock and roll guy, Louis.”

“Louis? Louis? tell me more about him.”

“You know, Louis, you go to his concerts sometimes and he has a guitar, he is an old guy.”

“Bruce? Do you mean Bruce Springstein?”

“Yes, that is what I said, Louis Bernstein.”

“No, honey, Bruce Springstein.”  I doubt she heard me clearly though, I was laughing too hard.

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“I can’t believe that I’ve loved you all these years!”

“I used to believe – when I was eight, when I was 9, when I was 10. Now I am 11 and I don’t believe.”

“Every time I sneak down here, you are just reading quietly.  Instead, you should be helping me!”

And during our discussion about the fairy notes 2 days ago, Blitzen, upon hearing that I was the author, blurted out “Fine, I am going to tell K* there are no fairies!”  She was quiet for several beats and then said, “No, I wouldn’t do that.”

*K is our niece and another big fairy fan.

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Did you really write all of those fairy notes? Blitzen asked me after a particularly challenging evening.

And I said, Yes, yes, I did, honey.  We were using our imaginations to talk to each other in a way that was really hard as we were getting to know each other.  And remember, you were 8 years old – we were pretending.

Blitzen dissolves into sobs, I knew it. Everything is a lie.

And I reply, Blitzen, I am sorry this is so upsetting to you now.  Lots of moms and kids play games like this.  It is ok to believe in it when you are younger, it helps kids to express hard things. And you remember – we’ve talked about this before. It is ok to believe if you want to believe.

Blitzen looks at me and says bitterly, You never tell me the truth.

And I am feeling very badly now and say, But it is just like Santa Claus, honey.  I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings or deceive you.  It was fun to pretend that the magic existed.

Blitzen, with shock and awe, Are you telling me that you are Santa!!!????!!!

And then I just give up, Oh, Blitzen, come on. You told me before Christmas last year that you knew that I was Santa and you didn’t believe any more, remember??!!!

Blitzen grudgingly agrees that she had, indeed, said this.  And then says, but now you are admitting it!!!

 

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