Sunday, June 16, 2013

Interesting information: How one as little as Little Man can have to fight the past.

   Most people who meet Little Man or who look at pictures of him comment on how happy he is and then usually comment on his eyes or his smile. All of which I love and agree with! He is a happy kid, most of the time.

 As I have traveled the road of being a mom of a child from trauma I have found that I encounter people who respond usually in one of three ways to the journey we are on: 1) Acceptance and/or even knowledge of the road we travel and what it, at least, generally looks like. 2)  A want to know what  or how something like this can remain in a child who was so young's mind. And a belief that the road Little Man is walking is real and hard 3) Complete disbelief that a child who came to me at a year old can have memories and trauma "when he was just a baby."

From the beginning none of these responses have shocked me.  The people in group one have become my safety, those that I call on in the dark moments; they cheer me on, lift me up and try to help me understand what is going on and how to help. The people in group two have become my cheerleaders and support system as well. They listen, ask and are willing to accept and help when, where and how they can. Some in group 3 move quickly into group 2 or even 1 and some in group 3 move quickly out of my life. I have lost friends over this journey which makes me sad. Please know that I am by NO means an expert at what is happening in my child's brain that causes these triggers and response. I am learning every day with him and how to help him. But I know that look of fear in his eyes, the sound of his breathing, the stiffness of his body and the beat of his heart when he no longer feels the safety of his present and is in the grasp of his past.

The other day a friend of mine from that first group of people, who happens to be walking the road and has intimate knowledge of what it is like sent me this link:  Trauma Doesn't Tell Time

This article does a great job of explaining what is happening and why.

This paragraph at the beginning of the article explains a bunch of the questions people ask me in ways I have never been able to explain it.
Traumatic experiences, even the earliest and preverbal traumatic experiences, remain stored in our children’s brains. The normal information processing system that stores memories in the appropriate places in our brain is thwarted by the cascade of hormones and neurochemicals that are released during a traumatic or frightening experience. The memory- along with the images, feelings, and body sensations, remain literally frozen in their nervous system.

Please go read the article: I learned a lot about what Little Man is going through and even some things to help him. If you are in our lives and want to know more this is a great place to start and then talk to me, ask me questions let me share a little about it with you.  For those of you who already talk, ask and listen, this article just puts it in words that I have never been able to.

Thank you to all the groups of people I encounter, yes even the group 3's because they challenge me to make sure I understand and can explain it. For those who are my support system: I am not sure I say it often enough you guys are my rock when I am not sure how to stand. Thank you so much for all of  the love, kind words, time, hugs and so much else you give to us!

Monday, June 10, 2013


  The last several days have been filled with blessings and I am taking the time to count them right now!   I have recently let myself get caught up in negative thinking and worry so tonight I focus on the positive!

Blessing # 1    Little Man finished school last week and got a wonderful end of year "report card." He has shown growth in almost every area. There are a few of his scores that just made me chuckle at, like apparently he doesn't want to help clean up at school. I asked him why..his response " mommy at home it is you and me and I help there. In class there are lots of people to help the teacher clean up." Just had to shake my head. He is growing so much!

 Blessing # 2   Now because his school ended and mine has not there were a few days I had to figure out care for him  before his camp started. A wonderful teacher that I work with offered a while ago to watch him for me if I ever need it, so I asked her if she wanted to have some Little Man time for a couple days. She happily said yes and spent two days caring for him while I was at work. They had a blast. In face the first day when I came home he was "mad" I was home and that Ms R was going home! It was kind of cute, he crossed arms and stomped upstairs telling me to go away. He went to bed that night and got up the next morning double checking she was coming back...think he developed a little crush!

Blessing # 3   Those words you didn't even know you needed to hear but once they are voiced make such an impact on you. Friday afternoon Little Man and I got to spend some time socially with some people I work with. Now one of the people who was there has seen him since he was about 18 months old, which was about 6 months after we came home! As we were sitting at the table talking, she said to me "Wow he has grown so much. It is amazing what school and everything has done for him." She continued to go on and be more specific about things that she saw as growth and even mentioned that she wanted to share a little with "her man" so he would know how amazing it was to see Little Man like he was that night. She is well aware of all that we have and are going through, but I am not sure she has any idea how much those words, her observations and comments meant to me. I think all parents like to hear that their kids are growing, but as a momma of a child from a trauma background to have someone comment on his "growth" is sometimes all the encouragement you need to keep going down the tough roads. Thank you Tonya for the comment, for noticing..for giving me, probably totally unknowingly, a light to keep holding on to when there are dark moments.

Blessing # 4  Living like family! Little Man and I got a chance to spend some good quality time with an awesome family at church yesterday and today. We spent the day/night with them yesterday and had so much fun. I am always so grateful for the time with them. On top of having us over for the day, we stayed over night and they helped cover the last day of care I needed for Little Man. On top of them helping, two other amazing women from my church came and played a part. One of them was already planning on watching their two kids today while they were at work, with a little conversation another friend and her one month old son came over to add and extra pair of hands so that Little Man could add into the mix of care. That meant that for a time period there were 2 four year olds, a one year old and a one month old! Vickie and Megan I can't thank you enough for being willing to help and add Little Man into the mix today. To the Aguilar family, thank you for opening your home to add us in yesterday and today. Upon giving a thank you "gift" I was quickly informed that is what living like family means. Yes, it is! Thanks for loving us like family and reminding me how my "family" is growing!

I am blessed! Life may have some tough moments and I may be in the midst of them in several areas right now, but if I take the time I am reminded that there are more blessings to count if I just take the time!
Water play with friends today!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bedtime conversations

One of my favorite times is putting Little Man to bed, (not because it means quiet time is coming for me) but because I love the routine of that time. We do all the typical bedtime things and then climb in bed and read 2-3 books. Little Man generally curls up, head on my shoulder and "reads" with me. We finish reading and he begs for another one, no matter how many we have read. Then it is hugs and kisses time; butterfly, eskimo and regular kisses and the now "hippo kisses", invented by a cute little boy who was looking for one more way to stay awake and another reason to laugh. I go to leave the room, he asks me to "sleep with me mommy." I say I have things I need to go get done and he very sweetly with 2 fingers in the air says "2 minutes mommy, just 2 minutes " Generally at that point I relent and lay down for "2 minutes" He cuddles in and I enjoy the sweet snuggles of my little man. Now sometimes it truly is only 2 minutes and I leave him, sometimes I stay until he is asleep and sometimes I stay until I wake back up again :) lol

But tonight the conversation turned a little more serious and a lot more sad. I had left and he came down to tell me he was scared. I took him back up and we talked about what he was scared of and why he felt he need the "big" light on in order to sleep. It started out as simple scared of the dark and then he kept talking about his being scared. Scared of the spooky things he said and then his eyes gave him away.  The sad overpowered the "scared" So I asked "Little Man what are you sad about?" The conversation then proceeded like this:

LM: Mommy how strong is our super glue? ( a phrase we have used to tell him that we are "stuck" with each other)
Me: Super strong buddy
LM: What kind of super glue is it?
Me: A special kind that allows us to go different places like school/work and yet always come back together.
LM: When does it break?
Me: It doesn't
LM: You mean we are together forever and ever and ever and ever
Me: Yeah buddy we are together forever
LM: I thought it went here is your is your is your is your daughter..I thought it went like that
Me: What do you mean?
LM: I thought that soon they give you daughter and I go away. That we not stuck together forever. When you came I was scared of you and didn't want to go with you..I was so little like Charlie the Caterpillar when you came to bring me to this place, but now you help me grow and I would be scared to leave. 
Me: It is okay that you were scared of me. You were little and I was new.
LM: Were you scared of me?
Me: Nope, I knew I loved you, that you were in my heart and that I would take all the time you needed to not be scared of me.
LM: That is good and now we stuck with super glue. 
Me: You still scared or think you can sleep?
LM: I go with you to turn on big light and I go to sleep, not scare the spooky will bring you a daughter and take me away. 
Me: Okay...I love you Little Man.

3.5 years home and man oh man I wonder what goes on in that little man's head. I wonder what great things he will do. 
Sometimes "super glue" keeps us close during nap time.