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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

THE UNSEEN CLOCK

We have had such a smooth couple of weeks. Really.... everything has been surprisingly smooth!
In fact, yesterday when we went to the Library, Alli was so cute because she was wanting me to look at each book to make sure it was ok for her to read.  This is a HUGE difference from 5 months ago when she first came and would say, "I can read what I want, why would you care!"  OR "I hate reading books, I don't like libraries, I don't like reading!"
YES.... MUCH has changed!
Now, she jumps into the car to go to the library and even created her own book bag from one of gramma's old bags. She doesn't just check out one book like before but lots of books! And she LOVES being at the library hunting for something new.
Last night, Sarah brought a book home that had something questionable in it. Sarah didn't know it was in there, and she and Alli were looking at it together. Alli saw the material covering a ghost and magic spell and told Sarah, "You need to show that one to Mama and see if it is ok!"
So, you can see we have come a LONG way!

Today however, when Alli woke up, there was a different feel to her. She seemed "contemplative", even though she was smiling.   I sensed there was something on her mind or there was something weighing on her emotions.
She seemed to struggle to day with bossiness.  And then, this afternoon, she  asked demanded that she be able to be alone in the bedroom that all 4 girls share.  Something in me said that she needed this time, so I asked her to be nice about it and I would think about it.  She was, and I did.  I decided to let her be alone in there and listen to her favorite CD by Phil Stacey.  I really like that guy's music. :)

After about 30 minutes, I went in to check on her and she was laying on the floor, surrounded by her stuffed animals. They were not the stuffed animals she usually plays with, but ones she brought with her from before.  She just looked so little. She was sound asleep.

I carefully woke her, by rubbing her back. I asked her if she was ok, and she said yes. But I could feel her heart beat and it was FAST..... If you have not read "The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog" by Dr. Bruce Perry...I would highly recommend it.  In part of his book dealing with the Branch Dividian Children from the WACO disaster, he mentioned that the children were highly anxious, though their outward behavior didn't show it. They were self controlled, but their heartbeats were beating VERY fast.

Anna was very much like this for a few years.  Alli was at first, and then hers slowed down.  But today, it was fast again.
You may be thinking, "does this crazy mother actually check her kid's heart beats?"  The answer is yes. :)
It can be very telling.  It isn't that scientific.  You can tell if somebody's heart is beating as if they just finished running.

Alli and Sarah started to play together and then I saw Sarah coming out of the room upset. "She won't let me play with my own doll!"
Hmmm. This hasn't gone on for a long time.

So I called Alli. She didn't come. I called her again. She didn't come. I called her one last time and she came, angry. "WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME?"
"Umm. When I call your name, I expect you to come. I kept calling you because you did NOT come."
"Now, don't speak to me disrespectfully!"  "Come and sit with me."

She said, "Oh brother, were going to sit and rock and talk..... rolling her eyes." But she came.

I asked her  if she knew what today was. She didn't.  I told her today is our 5 month anniversary!
She smiled.  (melted a little bit)  :)
Then, I asked her about the stuffed animals she picked to lay down with. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "they were from before".  She said, "I can't remember which family, but they were from before. "
I asked her if she had a "feeling" like she would be moving or going?
She looked at me very puzzled and said, "Yes."

I asked her, "Are you worried or scared?"  She said, yes.  Is that why you wanted to be alone and not play with anybody?  She said, "yes."

I'm telling you, these poor kids who have suffered so much trauma bear silent burdens and are misunderstood so much!  Behaviors can be guides that tell us something is going on.... getting them OUT of the behavior, in a constructive way, is the hard part.

Because of Alli's AGE, it is so easy to discuss things with her. She understands so much more than a younger child would.

So, I let her know about a "hidden clock" within her brain.
"Let me tell you about a secret clock!We all have one. It holds our memories, and when we smell something, or hear something, or the weather changes, it reminds of of a memory we had from before.  Sometimes they are good, sometimes not good." 

She was intently listening by now. :)

I said, "you know you aren't going anywhere, right? " She said, yes.
"But your clock doesn't know that. It is telling you the weather is HOT, and it is August, and that means you are:
1. leaving to a psych unit
2. leaving for respite care
BUT YOU AREN'T.   That is just what happened LAST year! :)
So, you need to reset your clock! Would you like to RESET it?"

"That means, give it a new memory to replace the one that is bothering you so much."

She said "yes"!
We snuggled for a few more minutes and she began to relax and her heart beat went back down.
Her anxiousness left and she was back to normal....

So, the activity to reset the clock????
DADDY, ANNA and ALLI, left about 1/2 an hour ago to take the BOAT on a test voyage!
She was so excited!  They aren't going to be gone long, as this is family worship night, and the purpose is to make sure the motor is adjusted properly and the boat is lake worthy.   But Alli has been longing to get that boat into the water.
It was God's grace that on this anniversary, Alli would have something positive and exciting with which to reset her clock! :)

6 comments:

KC said...

Pretty touching and insightful. This is why I love your blog.

Mike and Christie said...

Thanks KC. :)

I totally get the unseen clock myself. We moved a LOT when I was a child. After I married, and we had lived in our home for about 6 months, I had this insatiable desire to pack and look for a new place to live. This is what happened my whole life.
I would start separating myself in preparation for a move as a kid. And I even started doing the same thing as an adult. It was a hard battle to beat... but I am happy to say I have done it! But along with staying in the same place comes a lot of "junk" in the closets. LOL

Joy said...

What a GREAT way to describe anniversary grief! I'll have to use that with my kids. :-)

Mike and Christie said...

And this is what happened: They took the boat out...and they didn't come back until 9:00!!! They had a blast with Alli jumping off the side of the boat and swimming in the waters. She wasn't one bit scared... :)
So, we had our family worship when they got home, and they are just now getting to bed at 10:30! Glad it isn't a school night! LOL

Frankity said...

That's a great observation about heart rates. I have a history of trauma, and my resting heart rate is always a little "up." Even though I'm in reasonably good shape, and my heart always checks out ok, my resting rate is between 90-100. I think it's a part of hyper-vigilance.

OK, I'm just sitting here at the computer and it's 87. I must be pretty relaxed! lol

Muddled Muse said...

I just want to wrap Allie in a big hug - it must be so stressful to have all these emotions and not understand them. I'm so glad she's with you and you can help her sort through the confusion!

And the boat was absolutely providential to make her anniversary special!

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