Tuesday, February 15, 2011
They have different ways of showing their stress. A couple of weeks ago we were preparing to make a trip to North Texas to celebrate Grandma Clair Simmel's 100th birthday.
As we were bustling around, packing suitcases, loading the car and shoveling breakfast into everyone, The Captain was stressing. He kept dictating the movements of his younger siblings and intimidating the dog. At every turn, he had a tantrum. I kept pulling him aside to reassure him that all was fine, we were just going to Gram and Grandpa's all together and he would be okay.
Paul missed most of this excitement as he was off on an errand. So when he returned home to witness the Captain ordering The Blitz around, then getting sent to sit on the steps, then dissolving into a fit, he said, "What is going on with him?" I postulated that every time we go somewhere, he thinks we are leaving him there -- that he is getting another new home. Dear Hubby sat down by the distraught boy and said to him, "Are you worried that we are going to leave you somewhere?"
He nods mournfully. "No, honey," daddy says. "We are your forever family. We are all going to be together forever. We are leaving together and staying together and then coming home together."
That fixed it temporarily. He needed to hear it from Daddy.
The Tink handles her stress differently. She tinkers. She gets into things, she drops things, she sasses, she refuses to eat or wants to eat all the time. She was a little sass-pot at the in-laws house. I mean sassy. She dropped her milk cup 50 times. She touched everything she got near. She walked around with her hands on her hips. She refused to say "please," or "thank you." (To her credit, she never once wet her pants!) She doesn't tend to outright misbehave, she just constantly pushes the boundaries. This is how stress (or worry) shows up in her.
Monday morning I was bustling around a bit getting The Captain ready for school. As I threw on my shoes to take him to the bus, Tink grabbed my leg. You have never seen a sadder face.
"Are you leaving me Mommy?"
"Oh, honey girl, never ever will I leave you! I'm just putting brother on the bus."
And then her joyful play resumed. Simple as that. No sass, no cup dropping, no touching everything in sight. Just normal life.
These two will likely not have conscious memories of their other homes. They were pre-verbal when they got here, so those memories will largely be inaccessible and inexpressible to them. The trauma of those moves and broken attachments, however, remains in their subconscious. Sometimes that's heartbreaking . . . for all of us.