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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When a Step Back is a Step Forward

Hubby and I have done our best to create a safe and open environment where every member of our family is permitted to speak their heart. That even includes Swar, who is always voicing his displeasure over the lack of cookies he receives.
Swar has no problem showing his feelings; hunger, fatigue or ANGER 
Buddy has never been very interested in talking about his feelings, especially grief and anger. Lately it seems like his walls are beginning to crack. An example is what happened to us on Sunday night.

Buddy and I were in a heated debate over which Skylanders characters he should put on his Christmas list. It was a pretty ridiculous argument, but Buddy and I are both stubborn as dogs. Each one was trying to convince the other that s/he was right. We both ended up frustrated, and Buddy stomped off to his bedroom.

We know that when Buddy physically withdraws he often needs us the most. I knocked on his door and asked to come in and he responded by shrugging his shoulders. So I did, apologized and gave him a hug. He laid down on his bed with his back to me in the fetal position. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. We had been doing so well lately, but two steps forward, one step back.

I tried my usual repertoire of back rubs, hugs, soft words and even resorted to tickles which usually works to stop the dominoes in his head. We were going down the road to self hurt and I was getting worried. So, I tried something which had never worked in the past.

"Buddy, if you're mad, you should punch the pillow."

And he did. And again. And again, and again, and again. For 20 minutes straight. The bed was creaking, the walls were vibrating and Buddy was almost in a trance. The only time he paused was when, with his face buried in the pillow, he said to himself; "Why am I so mad?"

When he finally ran out of steam I laid down next to him and we had a big hug. I talked about how it's OK to feel sad and mad, and it's OK to let me and Hubby see those feelings. Then he had a drink of water and went to sleep.

My Sweet Boy hasn't completely bought into the fact that we will still love him even if he isn't always happy. I am so glad that, for those 20 minutes, he allowed himself feel his hard feelings.

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