"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."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Trigger

It seems every time we solve something with Princess, we get a "hey, wait a minute, what is THAT" moment. Take away one thing, another is revealed.

People who think parents seek help for their children through medication are looking for a bandaid or a quick fix are insane. We have been trying to balance medication for Princess for over a year. It's extremely frustrating. Recently, subscribing to the theory that Princess's rages are caused by an overflow of anxiety caused by frustration caused by (da da da DAAAA) ADD, we began a newish medication that seems to have some success with children who have ADD and issues with anger or rage. And it seems to be working.

So that layer is peeling back, and the one underneath is beginning to show. It is not a pretty layer. It's full of cheating, lies, sneakiness, and general deceit. I first noticed it the Sunday after an increased dosage seemed to be leveling out.

We picked Princess up from her class at church, and she was wearing band bracelets that were not there earlier. I said, "oh, those are really pretty? Can I see one? Where did it come from?" I was suspecting another one of these suspicious "trades" that seem to be happening every day at school. She handed me one, and it was one of the Cuddle Bear's. I was then informed that it came "from the white box in the basement," a box containing the clothing she and Peanut were wearing when they were placed with us that I, unfortunately, had never crossed her name off of. This wouldn't be an issue, because it's her stuff, except:

a) All children have  instructions regarding the boxes in the basement; specifically, do not touch them, and
b) The bracelets absolutely did not come from that box.

I said, "nope. Try again." Then I was informed that she found them on the counter. Which she did not. At this point I realized that I never should have handled it this way, stuck out my hand, and said, "fork 'em over." Then I began to realize that I wanted to make this into a big, huge, hairy deal. I wanted it baaaaaaaad. My hair was prickling on my scalp, and that, my friends, is my signal that I am triggered. So I told Josh to cover my mouth if I opened it. And we went on.

I told Dr. S about this episode at therapy while we discussed the new medication, and I added, "I don't understand why these things trigger me so badly." We talked awhile about how important recognizing your own triggers is, and I said, "is it enough to know what they are? Or do I have to figure out why? Because I do not know," and she said,

"I know why. Should I tell you?"

Well, yeah.

Turns out it's the Ten Commandments, folks. It's that list of rules God handed to Moses to hand to Israel so that their society would work. And, whether or not you believe it happened (and I do), they are the rules our culture and society are based on. They are the rules that keep us from having chaos centered around a gold cow.

And when my child breaks them, a spot in the back of my mind screams deviant! Deviant! Put those bracelets back now and confess, or you are certain to have no friends, fail school, have too many babies too young, be fired from your job, go to jail, live your life on the street and everyone will think  it'sallmyfaultbecauseI'mabadparentGAAAAAAH!!!! So tell me the TRUTH! And put the bracelets BACK! Put them BACK!

Just a little irrational.

Trigger: I will be nice to you and do what you ask and give you hugs and tell you I love you, just as long as you are not my mom. Commandment #1.

Trigger: You are a stupid, poopy, ugly mommy, and I hate you. Commandment # 5.

Trigger: I am going to hit the people who love me with my shoes. The ones I got for my birthday with the really hard heel. Mom, you get that too, but I will also bite you and kick your shins until the bruises become difficult to explain. Commandment # 6.

Trigger: Refer to the bracelets. Commandment # 8.

Trigger: I've been doing homework for four whole weeks now. I really think that's enough, but I know you don't. So some days I'm going to pretend I forgot how. Some days I'll just do part of it. Some days I'll put it in my desk and pretend to forget to bring it home. And some days, just for a little spice, I'll turn in the paper saying I did it when I really didn't and hope my teacher doesn't notice. Commandment #9.

Trigger: For some reason, I am really really reallyreallyreally jealous that Peanut and the Cuddle Bear take gymnastics on Mondays and I don't get to take it with them. Even though I take dance on Tuesdays and they don't get to take it with me. Even though I would hate gymnastics because I'm not flexible, I'm cautious, and I hate it when Peanut is better than me at something. Plus, people touch your legs and but.t in gymnastics. Shudder. And, for the record, I am really ticked that it didn't work when I pretended I wanted to use the bathroom for the first time in a week right after you said it was time to get in the car, and also that when I started to have a snit at the studio you let me so it looked like I had issues but not you. So pthsbbbbth. Commandment #10.

You'll notice we did not cover worshiping false gods, name misusage, the Sabbath or adultery. I guess we're just not there yet. Some of them are easier to train than others. Also, I was unable to relate a Commandment to pe.e. Which was surprising for me.

Five triggers; a random six of which will occur on any given day. That's a lot of scalp-prickling.


  1. Oooh I like this soo much better than feeling guilty because getting triggered is obviously all my fault for not having "dealt with my own issues." This makes a lot of sense!

    Thank you!

    Mary in TX

  2. Your comment made me laugh Mary!

    I'm new to this parenting trauma thing. Only been at it one month now. But my foster daughters didn't give me a honeymoon so it feels like 1 year already!

    I can so relate to the scalp-prickling big hairy deal response. Now if only I knew how to put my hairs back down as fast as they prickle up.

  3. I'm not even parenting trauma and I had all those triggers, maybe still do even tho my "baby" will be 19 this week. The "peoplewillthinki'mabadmom" - gah!
    Love, love, love your blog and SO impressed with your parenting, honestly!

  4. Does the new med start with an "I"?

    Genea started on the I med and it has done wonders for her. However, she has become much more brazen than she ever has been.

    Just curious.

  5. And ends with an "ntuiv?" Yep. With Princess, I'm pretty sure the "brazeness" was always there; it's just getting first place now. I'll take it. Sheesh I'll take it.

  6. LOL, yep, the ntuniv has done nothing for her ADHD but has come the closest of anything to leveling her constant anxiety out. She has a joy I have only seen glimpses of before and her anger and rage fizzle at times. But lordy, the brazeness!!! For the first time ever she has acted up in school. She has been getting up at night and stealing food. Just a bunch of things she would NEVER have done earlier. Anyway, that's really interesting. And you're right, I'm sure the brazeness was always there, it was just covered up with some other er... stuff.

  7. Great post. I want to blog about triggers sometime too..