Juliana, Trauma

The Slow Heal.

We’re working really hard with Bubbly this summer.  She’s less than stellar at transitions, so we tried to be cognizant of the fact that transitioning out of her wonderful Kindergarten routine and into a summer routine would mean more chances for behavior breakdowns.  I remember last summer when we were all so excited about the beginning of looser schedules and warmer days, and all the sudden Bubbly went off the deep end and we ended up battling trauma for the entire first half of summer break.  
This summer I came to playing field prepared.  We talked endlessly with Bubbly about how she would feel about leaving Room 4 (her wonderful KG class) behind and moving on.  We talked about how this summer we were absolutely going to let her try joining the swim team, and if it went well, she could try another activity in the fall (she’s DYING to dance like Giggles).  We let her join the summer reading club at the library and try to earn prizes.  We loosened up and told her we were stepping out to let her try to do all the other things the other kids are doing.  
People, she’s rising to the challenge.  
We might be in the honeymoon phase, but usually our honeymoon with her lasts about two days.  We’re a week in now and she’s continually getting better and better. We continually see her verbalizing WHY she needs to try, what she stands to gain, and how she knows she can do it. 
We also implemented this chart.  We’re not usually into giving prizes for things that should just be done (like not having fits at the age of 6 1/2), but in Bubbly’s case, we’re letting her choose a small prize that the other kids usually get, and she doesn’t, to encourage her not to have a fit.  If it’s something small, like a pedicure from mama, she gets it at the end of the week.  We pre-determine the number of “smileys” she needs on her chart to earn it (usually 4 of 7 days) and if she doesn’t make it, we point that out, take down the chart and IMMEDIATELY put up a new one to let her know she gets to try again the next week.  

Bigger prizes get the two week chart.  Bigger prizes are something that requires me to spend money (like a trip to Orange Leaf).  Since there have been about a hundred times where she’s watched the other kids get ice cream while she sat their empty handed due to her choices, I figure I can occasionally spring for that.

We’re trying to be positive with her.  We’re trying to tell her all the things we think are fabulous about her, and how strong we know she is, and how we know she can overcome all these feelings that sometimes rule her choices.

Last night we sat at the table talking about a little boy down the street that our kids aren’t allowed to play with.  He doesn’t make good choices, gets kicked off the bus, swears, beats up teachers, etc.  Sadly, we use him as an example for Bubbly.  We remind her that no mama will let her kids play with him, and that we DON’T want that for her.  We want people to know what a good girl she is, to see what we see.  Slowly, we saw her begin to cry.  I immediately asked her if she needed a hug.  She nodded.  As I hugged her, she looked up at FPD and I and said…

“Did *insert boy’s name* not have a mommy that loved him when he was a baby?  Is that why he doesn’t know how to be nice?  Is that why he hurts?”  

After I pulled my heart out of my throat, I reminded her that he does indeed have a mommy that supposedly loves him, but not enough to want for him all the things we want for her.  That he has no reason to act the way he does, that while she didn’t have us at the beginning, she has us now, and that we know it’s hard to get used to that, but that we’re going to, because we don’t want her to be the little kid no one wants to play with.  I reminded her what we do want for her.

Happiness and a sense of pride over who she is and what she has overcome to be that person.

I’m writing this down now to remind myself that there are indeed little cracks of light in this very dark place.  I can almost see our Bubbly now, standing in front of me as an adult, living on her own, proud of who she is, and very, very successful at whatever she chooses to do with her life.

I can almost see her heart healing.

who vows to re-read this when those cracks of light begin to seem far away again.  

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