On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Monday, February 14, 2011

Face Melt

Let's do an activity.

Step One: put ear plugs in your ears

Step Two: put your hands in front of your face close enough to occlude your peripheral vision but not so close you are touching your nose
Step Two Part B: unless you have a huge gonzo-sized nose in which case, I've got nothing for you except tough break having such a huge honker
Step Two Part C: If I actually say those words to you, act like it makes you extremely angry (instead of roflyao like you want to do) and scream loudly at me that it's not fair, everyone hates you and that you want to die.

Step Three: if you can hear any noise over your ear plugged ears, loudly shout la la la la la la la la la I can't hear you! I can't hear you! la la la la la la la la over and over.
Step Three Part B: if that gets boring or if your tongue gets sore, hum from the back of your throat so it sounds guttural, like a growling dog.

Step Four: Jump up and down as high as you can go and with extreme anger. Do this over and over and over.
Step Four Part B: it is preferable that you do this while wearing dress shoes and over a hardwood or linoleum surface because it makes the most noise.
Note: Noisy anger is excellent: a much desired attribute. In fact, if you can hear your noisy jumping over your humming and ear plugs, so much the better.
Step Four Part C: Try not to get dizzy and fall over.
Step Four Part D: If that should happen, scream at the top of your lungs like you're about to be murdered with sharp knives and chains. When you regain your balance, resume steps one through four.

Step Five: When your legs and knees are sore later from all the jumping, blame it on something, anything, preferably some absurd, completely unrelated event.
Step Five Part B: Whatever you do, do NOT accept that the pain is from your actions.
Step Five Part C: If you are cornered and feel like you have no choice but to admit that it's your fault that you ache, repeat steps three and four paying close attention to step four part D.

Step Six: Do this from the moment your brain is turned on until the moment you reenter a sleep state.
Note: brain awakeness may or may not include your eyes being open - do not miss opportunities to do this while your eyes are still closed!!!
Step Six Part B: if you exhaust yourself with these antics and find yourself napping midday, wake up screaming that you were most emphatically NOT sleeping and resume steps one through six until it is your scheduled bed time.

Confused? You shouldn't be. This is how a RAD perceives their day. The ear plugs equate to RADishes refusing to hear what they don't want to hear (say something like "and now we'll all gaily skip to Disney World and you'll discover that your RAD has superman hearing.)  The hands in front of your face equate to RADishes refusing to see what is directly in front of them.  RADishes would rather do all of this insanity than... oh, I don't know. Brush teeth? Bathe the body? (and actually USE SOAP *gasp* such a reprehensible mother I am). Do homework? Put dirty socks in the laundry bin?

When I send Sissy to her room for this insanity, she jacks it up exponentially: pounding walls, chucking crap, banging her head, screaming insults, etc. for hours and hours and incessant, mind-numbing hours. We've recently discovered that if we put on the stereo cranked up to volume #30, we can almost completely drown out her screaming.  Almost.

Her rages have gotten so frequent and over such mundane things that I now say to her, "well isn't that a nifty little trick? You rage so much I have no choice but to send you to your room so the rest of us can be safe. voila! you've gotten out of doing the task i asked of you. Pretty sneaky!  'Cept jokes on you, Sissy. After you're all done doing this insanity, you'll still have to do what I originally asked AND you'll be tired from all this nonsense plus have a consequence for the raging we had to listen to for the past *enter number here* hours.  That doesn't really work out for you in the long run, does it?"

Her response? Loud guttural growling while shooting me eye daggers, complete with arms crossed and pursed lips.

fun times.

Some days it's comical. Those are the days I have rebuilt my resolve because either I got some decent sleep or The Dad gave me a break. Most days start out with me being strong but by the end, I'm looking as haggard and wrecked as she is. Heck, I've been known to do primal scream back at her - not because I'm cranked up like she is but because it gives me the chance to calmly say afterward, "Gosh Sissy, you're right. that DOES feel better." Which usually makes her angrier.

Hey, I try. Gotta give me props for trying.

And all of that insanity is horrid. Short-circuits my brain. It is so hard on my body, emotions and mental acuity that The Dad will ask me a simple question like "Hey hon? Where's the remote?" and I can't answer. I can't answer because my mind can't translate his words. It sounds like blea doei woaslk woetkcibn? and I'll just blankly stare at him and blink. Sometimes my mouth will hang open a little. Then he'll repeat and my brain will translate but the words forming the answer to his question won't come out of my mouth. They just get stuck right there, on the tip of my tongue that is slightly hanging out of my mouth. All he'll get is "uhhhhhhhhhhhh..." Then something will snap inside my body, as if someone has yanked on my spinal cord and snapped it back the way bullies yank on a kid's suspenders and I'll reanimate and spit out the answer at warp speed, in a rash of prepositional phrases and with too much volume: "ONTOPOFTHETVNEXTTOTHEANNIVERSARYCLOCKINFRONTOFTHEMATCHINGBRASSCANDLEHOLDERS!!!!!"

Then I'll shake my head a little and return to normal and mutter something like "Good GOD, the kid's crap makes me lu lu!!!" Then AB and WG giggle because I said lu lu which may or may not morph into another rendition of AB's nighttime! daytime! (that's another story) for the next five minutes until we all holler "STOP!!!!" and we move on.

Do you remember the scene at the end of Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark when the dudes' faces are melting off because they looked at the ark? Yeah. that's how it feels raising Sissy - Face Melt.

All of that is pretty rotten, agreed?

No. No, that's NOT the worst she throws at us. The worst is when, after days on end of her insanity, sometimes even weeks, she'll suddenly wake up and be ...


happy. making eye contact. Approaching us for appropriate affection. Speaking kindly, politely even. Obeying on the first request. Does all of her hygiene routines without prompting. Wears tennis shoes on PE days without being reminded. Makes herself look pretty, even asks me to do her hair for her. Will WAIT UNTIL I'M READY TO BE SPOKEN TO to ask me politely if I will do her hair for her. Will say, "thanks mom, it looks pretty." Will laugh appropriately. Will engage in appropriate conversation. Will act like a developmentally normal 11 year old.

you'd think geez mom, that's friggin' awesome! What's the problem?

but the rest of us, ALL of us, not just me, want to do steps numbers 1-6 on her crazy @$$.


makes my hair stand up and my skin crawl. makes me want to puke and scream.



Not a peep of remorse or even shame. Not even recognition of her behaviors. Just a snap of the fingers and she's Pollyanna. Worse yet, we have no.effin.clue how long Pollyanna is sticking around to play.  Just for breakfast?  For the whole day?  A few days?  Makes us kitschy thinking about it because the rest of us are numb, stressed, depressed, exhausted, freaked out, bleary-eyed and weepy because of the crap she does. And she's perfectly perfect. Not even a sore muscle or a raspy voice from all the raging. Just ... perfect.

Leaves me sitting there blankly staring, eyes blinking, mouth ajar, tongue hanging out muttering, "uhhhhhhhhhh..." while my face melts off.


Kristi said...

Oh my god why are you blogging about MY daughter? It is an insane ride isn't it? A ride that I would like to get off of NOW.

Where is that emergency STOP button???????

Ranger said...

Pollyanna as a horror story - I can understand it, I really can. {} I so admire you for somehow not running away to Australia, or Mexico, or anywhere really, even though it must mean hanging on to the doorframe with your nails dug in to keep yourself there.

Any news yet on RTC?

FosterAbba said...

For a very long time it felt like we had two children living in one body. Most of the time, we had the nasty one, but every so often the nice one would come out. The only problem was, the nice one never stayed around for very long.

Oh, yeah, and usually when the nice one came out, it was because she wanted something.

Julie said...

May I suggest:

You're probably doing some damage to everyone's hearing, exposed to that industrial-grade noise for hours on end. As you shop, the higher the NRR value, the more protection it provides. As a musician, I like the little plugs that have a cord on them. They don't get lost as easily. However, it "sounds" like your family could even use the big earmuff ones. You could all play Air Traffic Controller! Industrial Factory Worker! The games are endless. If you don't laugh, you'll cry. Hang in there.

Integrity Singer said...

@ Julie -YES! i was thinking of this just yesterday if we would all eventually suffer some hearing loss and wondering if we should try to do something to protect ourselves. I've even thought about getting a decibel level reader just to see how bad it is. It's bad. Maybe I don't really want to know how bad ...

thanks for confirming what I already thought!!!!!

GB's Mom said...