Thursday, March 18, 2010

Triggers and such

A couple of weeks ago I accidentally triggered Ahren. For those of you who don't know about triggers, they are something that causes a child to become disregulated. Often times they don't even know why or can't express why they begin to fall apart. It is something deep down in their subconscious that causes them to become extremely anxious, angry or out of control. They don't understand why they feel so awful and it makes it that much harder to deal with. They are scared but don't know why. It's a terrible feeling for them.

One of our favorite things to talk about in the car is how each child joined our family. Levi grew in my tummy, and they cut me open to pull him out, screaming and messy. Ahren came from Guatemala and Kaytee and Mommy went and brought him home on an airplane. Little S became ours when I heard about him and we went and picked him up at a store called Buckee's. We like to stress how special each way was, how each child is special and their story is unique to them.

We were talking about this and I mentioned that some day I wanted to take Ahren back to Guatemala so he could see where he came from. Poor baby misunderstood and thought I was taking him back....for good. leaving him there. He started to cry and tell me he wanted to stay in 'the yellow house' (our home). I immediately told him we would just be visiting because it is a great place to visit, we would stay in the hotel, swim in the pool (things he remembers) and then come home to our yellow house. He calmed down and I thought I had fixed it. Yeah, not so much.

That night, after he had fallen asleep, he started screaming. I went in to hold him. He wasn't really awake but he was talking and crying and screaming. He talked about the yellow house, and was crying for Mommy even though I was holding him. It took about 40 minutes to calm him down and get him back to sleep. Then every hour or so all night he would begin to thrash about, scream and fight, all while still asleep. I stayed with him all night, reassuring him, holding him and loving him. The next day I talked to him again and he seemed much happier. I made sure to reassure him all day that he was ours, we loved him and he was safe.

Poor baby. Something so innocent as the desire to share his wonderful birth country with him scared him to pieces. I really need to be more careful, but there are triggers and pitfalls everywhere. Maybe it's a good thing to work through them.

This week is also hard. Spring break. No familiar routine. Even fun things cause the anxieties to rise. It is a balancing act. I want to do fun things with them, but if we try and do too much no one ends up having a good time. Sigh. All I want is to enjoy our time as a family and that is so hard. Boring routine = good. Fun and surprises = bad. Sigh......

6 comments:

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Accidents happen. I guess you are probably not psychic to know ahead of time what is going to do it.

You got Lil S at a Buckee's? What is a Buckee's?

Reba said...

Poor little guy. Like you said, you just never know what will trigger something like that. :( I am so eager to take our five year old to visit Guatemala, but I really don't think she could handle it at this point. I think there are more memories there (she came home at 2) than I realize. I always enjoy reading your blog because I learn so much how to be the mom I need to be! Oh, and so very true on the routine thing. Much needed!

Nora Glenys said...

We've had a similar problem in our household this week. We were just looking at pictures of our visit trips and it turned our lives upside down.

Diana said...

Oh yah, I know all about those triggers - and especially about the ones associated with their birth country. Much to my surprise, my yougest son remembers plenty about his former life. The combination of starting to verbalize and process all of that coupled with him being on spring break (but not at the same time as the other two kids are) sent him flying over the edge.

One thing that time has taught me is there is so much we really DON'T know about our kids' former lives. We might think we do, but we really don't. I've also learned that the reality of things was not necessarily as it appeared to be. My little guy's orphanage put on such a good show for us. They appeared to be so loving and kind and to really care about the kids. I do believe that some of it was geuine and there really were a few people there who really did care about the kids. But those walls still held many dark and ugly secrets - secrets that left deep and festering scars on his tender little soul.

BT said...

About 4 months after arriving on Cdn soil, my Ukrainian son overheard me talking with a friend about taking my son to the doctor. He started flipping out. I didn't even think he understood english enough to understand my conversation with my friend. Not only did he comprehend, but he also linked it back to the only other place he'd been to a doctor: back in Ukraine. The freak-out was immense and full of fear and pain for him. He thought we were going to take him to Ukraine and leave him there. It continues to be very sad to me to realize how fragile our kids' sense of security really is. They have known such huge changes in their young lives that they can't really let themselves feel confident of stability.

Dana said...

Youa are truly an amazing mom. I only wish I could be as energetic and as dedicated as you. All except for that sausage stealing incident... Love you!