"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."

Thursday, July 22, 2010


"Mooooooooooom!!! They're teasing me! They're saying I have fits!"
"You do have fits, Princess."
"Yeah, but they're making me feeeeeel bad!"
"If you feel bad, don't have them. You have fits because that's what you want to do. You want the attention you get when you have them. You are in charge of them. Quit whenever you feel like it. But don't expect your brother and sisters and me to enjoy them with you."

The weird thing about these conversations (well, except that no one normal ever has them), is that they're working. Even two months ago, I couldn't say things like that. They'd either be tuned out or cause escalation. After I said it, Princess paced around dis regulated and tried to further engage her siblings, so I dragged her up to her room and sat between her and the exit. When she tried to pass me I set her in my lap and let her struggle, but (loosely) didn't let her out. I mean, she wanted to be there, anyway, really. After she was sitting quietly picking her cuticles, I said, "I wonder why your brother and sister are teasing you? I wonder what could be frustrating for them? I wonder what you could be doing that would bother them so much?" And I waited.

"I scream at them and throw things at them and tell them I'm going to hurt them."

These declarations of responsibility are only the summer-old. And what is even newer than that, is there are no false starts. No claiming to not know, no suggesting rock-bottom stupid things like she had a blue popsicle. Just admission.

So I told her something hard to say. I told her she's been screaming and throwing things at us for four years. Almost every day. I told her Buddy and company aren't going to play with her just because she exists. And that every time she screams or threatens or throws things, she'll make it worse. And I told her that the only way she's going to get their trust and their company back is by playing alone for a while. Maybe a lot. And when they see that she can play alone calmly, without coming to find them and picking fights, they'll start including her again. But it's her job to look calm and fun. It's not their job to include her.

I even know that it wouldn't take much for them to include her. They have loving hearts. But they. are. tired. They practically live in a war zone, and I am amazed at what they will tolerate and forgive. I will not force them to include her with what they already endure.

But I did ream them. After my talk with Princess, she went down to draw armed with warnings about what choices she would not have if she couldn't get along in a family space. The others were playing in Buddy's room. I won't make them include Princess, but they had been literally stalking her in a mean spirited way. I understand they're worn, but still, unacceptable. I told them so. And reminded them that Princess needs absolutely no help whatsoever being miserable; she does a good job of being that way herself. So if they're not going to be helpful, then get out of her way.

She still has almost daily rages, so I've had to get into the habit of looking around them, underneath them, through them for steps forward. I have to for my sanity. I have to find something. I think this is more than a small thing, though. It's been so frustrating for me to not be able to talk to her about her behavior. So this actuall communication? Is huge.


  1. "I've had to get into the habit of looking around them, underneath them, through them for steps forward." Such a great way of putting it. I'm doing this very thing this morning -- not with my daughter with RAD/PTSD, but with our current 7 yr old host child from Ukraine. I almost felt I had reached a point of no return already, and then I read this post, and was renewed by knowing someone else is on this journey too. THank you for that.

  2. We go through this daily .... with Bip ... my little controller as I cal him... it does seem like you are making great head way ...why is it we all seem to struggle with communication, their lack of understanding I find frustrating.

  3. “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
    Dr. Seuss

    Read this and thought of you. You are doing a great job. Hang in there.

  4. I wish you were my neighbor. Or in a group with me where I could talk to you a LOT. I think you are doing so much better a job than I am.

  5. Sheesh, Annie; I don't know...let's compare notes when our kids are 24 with jobs and their own apartments and are raising our grandchildren themselves.