Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

The 10,000 Wars

Sometimes as I lay in bed in the morning, I instictively begin to prepare for the day, as a soldier prepares before the battle. Even before I open my eyes, I secretly wonder to myself, How am I going to make it through today? What will I say to him when he starts his first rage, when he ignores my requests, when he glares at the baby with his death eyes again? What can I do to make the day go by quicker, to make the screaming less piercing, to make my heart stop pounding and my hands to stop shaking? How will I comfort my babies and help them to see that they are still safe? What will I say to the police if they are called to my house today? Brace yourself, woman. Here goes another day, another 10,000 wars.

When I open my eyes, the big round faces of my two healthy children are starring at me, blinking, smiling, excited to see me once again. My daughter says, "Mama, it's awake time." My baby boy laughs and starts rolling around, over my tired body. Despite my exhaustion from the wars of yesterday, despite my fear of the wars I will ineveitably face today, and despite my saddness that I will have years of these wars to come, I smile and I reach out to them. I am so, so, so happy to see their faces smiling back at me. I draw them in close, hugging them tightly, and I feel their hearts beat, their chests breathing in and out. I think I feel my daughter try to wriggle away, but I hold her in tighter and I think "not yet". A silent tear drips down one cheek and slips into my hair behind my ear. I love my babies so much. Their innocence and gentleness and unconditional love is so powerful to me that I can literally not get them close enough to me to satifisfy how I wish to hold them. It's not even something I can explain. I just love them too much. Patsy Cline was right. It does hurt.

I will crawl out of bed, and carry both kids into the living room with me where I rock them in my infamous rocking chair — my son on one leg, my daughter on the other, both kids burrying their faces in my bosom, holding on for dear life. They want me to hold them so badly. They can't get enough of my arms. They fight for my space, my attention, my love. This little daily episode is so endearing that no amount of midnight waking, no amount of fussiness, or crying the day before, can take away from our morning rocking session. If their behavior affects our rocks at all, it would only be in the opposite way. The harder they were to parent the day before, the sweeter their smothering of me becomes. Because no matter what happens between me and my two healthy children, they still love me and I still love them. It is a natural occurance. Nothing in me chooses it. It just is because it is.

After a few minutes, I put down the kids, make a cup of coffee, feed all the animals, and then go get Tyler from his room. When I see him, I smile for him. Despite how forced it might be, I still do it. But he doesn't smile back. He won't even look at me. He sighs several times as if being in my presence absolutely kills him. I say "Good morning, Sweetie", and I try to pat his shoulder or rub his back. But touch to him feels "not nice", so I am always aware of an invisible barrier between me and Tyler. He keeps it up and if I break through it with a hug at the wrong time, or a pat on the back in the wrong way, I will send him raging, a rip-the-moulding-off-the-wall-kind-of-tantrum.

Regardless that I've told him two thousand times that he doens't need to ask, he chants his usual morning chant, "Mother, may I please go to the bathroom?" Even though I want to ignore him, I fight the urge to roll my eyes, and I simply answer "yes". Because I have learned too many times that ignoring his ritualistic chants result in breaking-windows-kind-of-tantrums. The kind that starts at 7:30 am, and I end up crying myself to sleep at 11 pm.

Tyler goes to the bathroom and then he walks up to me and chants his other favorite mantra, "Mother, what would you like me to do?" I say, "I want you to start creeping." He hunches over his shoulders, sighs a huge, depressing sigh, and then falls to the floor like a dying holocaust victim, where he finally begins to creep….and whine. He will stop several times and start crying. Or he will be "forgetting" how to do it. Either way, the timer starts over. 4 reps of 5 minutes each. This simple, 20 minutes exercise can last for hours. Meanwhile, I cannot leave the house, or answer the phone, or even leave his sight long enough to use the bathroom. I am his prisoner. And this goes on every day, day after day. Sometimes I secretly wonder, Who am I anymore? Is he the boss of this house, these children, my very will, or am I?

After creeping, it's crawling time, and the same battles ensue. The 20 minutes of crawling turns into an hour, or two or three, of control battles and tantrums and arguing. Me comforting the babies, me wishing to God that someone would for once comfort me. I sit in my rocking chair and try to read a magazine or try to wash dishes. But it is too hard and I am just pretending to be untouched by his screaming and kicking and otherwise emotionally vomitting all over me and my children and my house. And I wonder, How many more days can I do this? Are my babies as drained as I am? Can I keep protecting them while I help this boy? CAN I help this boy? I don't really know anymore.

After creeping and crawling comes patterning and masking. We also have sensory and vistibluar stimulation to get through. Another 2 hours of exercises if he does them straight through with no problems. But, that has only happened once. As with the other exercises, I am still his prisoner, he is still the one in control. My resentment builds, my sympathy for his feelings disappears. By afternoon, I am just hoping to get through the day alive and intact and still with two healthy children.

By dinner time, he sits at the table and complains about the food, gagging on every bite he puts in his mouth. Although he's spent half the day begging for and probably hoarding food, he now can't stand to feed it to his body. Like mama's love, the very thing he needs and wants, he won't allow himself to take in. My heart breaks a little more each time he gags. My babies stare at him and Daddy tries to pretend nothing is happening. But I can hardly pretend anymore. My whole day, my whole life, is devoted to this child who thinks he hates my devotion. I feel as if I have nothing left to give.

Sometimes I just lay in bed at night, at the end of the 10,000 wars. I am exhausted and hurt and very, very sad. My eyes shut, I secretly wonder to myself, How will I do this again tomorrow, and everyday for the rest of this kid's life?


May 27, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. My heart goes out to you. Please do not just blow this off it could mean a the world to your family and could not possible cause any harm. Remove 100%, as this is not a nutritional but a chemical issue, food coloring, artificial flavor including artificial sweeteners and the petroleum based preservatives BHT BHA TBHQ. About 15 years ago my husband compleatly lost it for an extended period of time. I had plans to leave. All that was wrong with him was the dye he was getting from brushing his teeth with blue Aim. There was none in any of our other food stuffs due to my own problems with these substances. I invite dialog.

    Comment by Lora Hollins | October 26, 2006 | Reply

  2. I’m curious, why would he ask to use the bathroom? Where did he come up with an idea like that?

    Between that and “getting” him from his room, it sounds like a Nancy Thomas sort of thing, from what I’ve read of her theory.

    As for the neuro work, I presume that was so he would “relive” his missed stages? I’ve been looking into Dr. Bruce D. Perry lately, it’s interesting work.

    Comment by Suzanne | May 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. At the time we were following the “expert” advice, which basically said this kid would grow up to be a sociopath unless we kept him under complete control at all times. The theory is that over time he would learn that I was trustworthy and safe and that authority is not life-threatening. I had two babies in the home at that time and I was afraid of what he would do. He was very, very violent and very, very angry. Sadly, however, this constant control over him only made his behaviors worse. I tried to tell the doctors and therapists they were wrong, that their advice wasn’t working, but they didn’t want to hear that. They said to keep going. That it always gets worse before it gets better.

    But I couldn’t afford for him to get worse. He was already headed straight for RTC, and that was not my goal for taking in this child. I wanted him home and I wanted to be able to love him. I wanted him to know what a family was.

    That was when we broke away from the nonsense of Nancy Thomas in lieu of what did actually work: helping him express his feelings of rage instead of supress them. In just a very short time, his violence stopped and he was processing his emotions, like a normal child.

    Today, he is virtually a different child. No, he IS a different child. Thanks to Heather Forbes and the Beyond Consequences Institute. Also the Consciously Parenting Project, where I took my classes and studied under the brilliant guidance of Rebecca Thompson, who taught me what acceptance and unconditional love really are.

    The neuro work is definitely an attempt to rewire the brain by reliving the motions infants make while they are developing, in utero and during the first year of life. The problem is that you can achieve the same rewiring with positive repetition through relationship. It is not necessary to have them rewire through mandated exercises on the floor.

    For instance, on of the common problems in neglected infants is the lack of necessary vestibular stimulation during infancy. You can rewire that part of the brain through rolling, jumping, twirling, and similar exercises. My son was put on a daily regimen of 5 different exercises which were to be done 5 different times throughout the day. It was rigid and impossible with my ODD child. But what I’ve learned is that you can also achieve the same goal by wrestling together on the floor playing tickle matches, by rocking in a rocking chair together everyday, and by swinging on the porch swing while you read books together.

    I am a believer in relationship. It is through relationship that the human being survives and thrives. Everything else is just extra and I’d even go so far as to say unnecessary and in some cases actually damaging to the relationship.

    Of course, that is my opinion according to my own experiences with these children.

    Thanks for asking. Hope that helps.

    Comment by amazingparents | May 2, 2008 | Reply

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