The last few days have been a bit hard with Little Man. Between being tired plus a change of schedule and current boundary testing, he has been off. Trying not to add too much thought into it, this has historically been a hard time of year for him as well. (Yes, I know he is only 4, how much history is there, but there is history) So I have taken tonight after I got him to sleep to sit and look back at where we were and where we are now.
He is also angry about something right now and he is spending time yelling at me, but he trusts enough to yell and know I am not leaving. He is doing all those things he should have done to test boundaries at 2 & 3 but didn't really do because he was dealing with too many other things. He is challenging me and I am tired, but when I look back, I am no where as tired as I was 2 years ago.
Two years ago at this time Little Man was having nightmares (night terrors) so bad I was lucky to be getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night. The terror would wake him at between 12 and 1am and he would be wired, terrified of sleep coming, so he would force himself awake for hours on end. Generally falling back to sleep around 4am. The day would start for me around 5:30 and him around 6:30. I am not sure how we made it through those days, but we did and we managed to laugh and love and grow closer in our relationship. The night terrors went on for a long time; with periods of calm followed by periods of chaos.
I just pushed through until it all got too hard and I finally reached out for help. I called our pediatrician explained the night terrors, his reactions and where we were at. She said it was time to get help. I am thankful everyday for that phone call.
I had a phone conversation with an amazing woman Mrs P., who gave me hope and more importantly let me know I was not losing my mind. Shortly after that phone conversation we met Ms R. and started therapy. We started to work on the things that were causing the night terrors. I learned things about a young mind that floored me, humbled me and inspired me. Therapy has given us nights filled with sleep, days filled with more love and laughter. It has created an attachment between little man and I that never thought we would truly achieve. It has allowed him to rest, to grow, to feel safe and secure. When we started the therapy Little Man was affectionately known as "the floating head" He knew lots of things in his brain, but refused to actually feel the rest of his body. Today he mostly allows himself to take it all in. We still have work to do and we will continue, but we have come so far.
About the time we started to get help with the terrors, we started having the issues with his GI tract. Eating became a challenge again. I overlooked it, blamed it on the sleeping being weird, it being developmentally appropriate anything, but thinking something was wrong. It got worse until we landed in the hospital twice in 2 months and again for a barrage of testing two months later. T
The GI tract is still an issue, his response to physical pain- still a challenge, getting caught up emotionally to his chronological age - still a process. But he is secure and he is doing things a 4 year old boy should be doing and I rejoice in that. We have worked hard at weekly therapy for 20 months, we have started medications to help calm his brain so he can process that this, our family, is permanent. We still are seeing doctors to work on neurological and physical issues, but we are working the process together, with a better understanding of what is going on and how to handle it.
Tonight I am drained, in every sense of that word; mental, emotional, physical, financial all of it. We got not so great news at GI today and so we face the next challenge. But at the same time we got news that the MRI looks good. Therapy is going so well that we are cutting back, scaling down the support. Mrs P. and Ms R. believe that I can handle it, that he is doing awesome and we together are good. I am nervous but excited. They have been my support and understanding in ways that are sometime hard for the outsider/casual observer to get.
But tonight I am also thankful that when he laughs and smiles with me, that his big brown eyes can light the room. The joy goes all the way through him. That tonight he could tell me "God is in my heart and all around me and He loves me."
There will always be growth, as there is with any parent/child relationship. But tonight in this moment Little Man knows the super glue has dried and we are stuck together forever. It will stretch to let us go apart but it will always bring us back together.