"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Big Feelings, a Theraputic Moment, and More Big Feelings

We spent the day at the beach yesterday, which turned out to create a kind of buffer zone between the Cuddle Bear's disappearance and today. But I knew it would be coming.

The police.

I had the presence of mind when the police arrived to get down in front of Princess and say, "the police are NOT here to take anyone away. The police are here to help me find the Cuddle Bear." But still. A mob of uniformed police officers, a hysterical mother, well, see a pattern?

I was surprised at how well everyone held up yesterday. There was even a babysitter in the evening, and bedtime was still relatively calm. Peanut was the one to lose it first. She had bug bites, and she sobbed and scratched violently and screamed that she couldn't stop itching. I gave her all the medicine I could, and then Josh held her on the sofa with her MP3 in until she fell asleep.

Peanut woke up kicking this morning, crabby and rude to everyone. Slapping, name-calling, and tattling picked up between Princess and Peanut. Peanut escalated, and I ended up holding her while she screamed. I read once in an otherwise pretty useless book that if you guessed at your traumatized child's feelings you'd be right more often than you were wrong, so I took a stab. I said, "it was pretty scary having all those police officers here, wasn't it. It reminded you of other scary times with police officers." She vehemently denied it, but then mumbled,

"I only liked the German Shepherd. I'm only going to have German Shepherds and Chihuahuas when I grow up."

After that she calmed down. When she had sat calmly with me for five minutes, I suggested we work on that Big Feeling by drawing. She thought that was a great idea. Here is our collaboration:

After drawing the police officers* I suggested we draw ourselves and how we were feeling. I drew myself, and Peanut insisted I draw her in my lap. After the Cuddle Bear was found and I had held her squeezed the bejeebers out of her for a while, Josh took his turn. I had to hold somebody, so I grabbed Peanut (who was nearest) and squeezed her for a while. It's hard to see in the picture, but she had drawn a kind of /\/\/\/\/ mouth on herself, and actually articulated that she had felt crazy and scared. Then she skipped of on her merry little way, fully regulated.

Princess watched this entire process vigilantly. Something about watching Peanut successfully process this affected her, but I'm not sure exactly what. So Princess herself also had a giant rage, topping the charts and reminding me why "no neighbors" is a criteria for our house hunt. Four rages, in fact. So far. Although each one has decreased significantly in intensity. Thank goodness. After she had been calm for five minutes (each time), I said, "wow! That was a big feeling. I wonder what words you use when you tell me about it." And she'd start off on another one. Finally, she paced around the house (with me following six inches behind her) and asked me for things she knew she couldn't have. At first she mumbled everything except "mom?" so I could get away with just saying, "I'm right here." But then she started enunciating, so I had to switch to, "it's really hard to hear 'no.' I love you even when I have to say 'no.'" Eventually (a loooooong eventually), she went outside to jump on the trampoline, came in, and found a quiet space without me directing her to. Right now, she's successfully re-entered sibling relations.

Not that we're done, I imagine.


*No. I do not know why one is naked and endowed.


  1. I love your blog and subscribe, but when I add it to my blog list on my blog it shows an old post.

  2. @Penny- There's something wrong with my feeds, and I'm too incompetent with technology to fix it. I have a friend working on it, but she's busy. If you click on the link on your blog list, I believe it will take you to the most recent post, even though it shows an old one. Sorry for the inconvience.

  3. Wow. Sounds like you handled that beautifully, and it really helps me to read these descriptions. I had to laugh at your desire for a house with no neighbors. Oh, do I relate!!

    And, that's an interesting quote. I find myself guessing right, too, most of the time....or, close enough to get things progressing.

  4. I just want to hug you for a while. You are navigating the toughest parenting there is. I know you know, but I want to tell you anyway.