Odds and ends
Over the past several days I have had a chance to talk with both M. and B. on the phone. M. called from LA during their 10 hour layover between Samoa and Orlando. It was so good to hear her voice! She sounded well and said they had had a great trip. Her calling card only had a few minutes on it so I didn't get to hear very much. I can't wait to see her on Sunday. B. called when he and the rest of his troop arrived back at base camp. He also sounded well and had enjoyed all the backpacking. They are probably close to boarding the train back by now and we will see him tomorrow afternoon.
Not only will we be happy to see M. and B. this weekend because we have missed them, but also because when favorite people disappear for extended periods of time, it is difficult for a certain boy healing from trauma. We noticed a particular decline in an ability to self-regulate after B. left. TM adores B. and from various stories he has made up and dreams he has had, clearly sees B. as someone who can keep him safe. B. is always the one in TM's stories and dreams who comes to fight-off the bad guys, evil robots, monsters, aliens, etc. and save smaller brothers. I am thrilled they have that type of relationship, but it also makes me a bit sad that B.'s absence makes TM feel less safe even though J. and I are still around.
I gained some new insight into the crazy-making behavior of my son when I read this article which my friend Ann, at Crazy for Kids posted. I found the idea of inducement, the need of a child to create the feelings he or she is experiencing in the people around them, fascinating... and spot on. The more I can know what is behind a child's negative behavior, the better I can manage my reactions and parent my child. If you have a child who has experienced any loss or trauma in their life I highly recommend the article to you.
One last story before I close. Each of our children is so different and they each have things that they tend to focus on. It is sometimes amusing how these strengths play out. Yesterday, many children were outside welcoming J. home when I man on a bicycle rode by with a young dog. Through a series of events, he ended up stopping for a moment at which point K. immediately asked if he could pet the dog. (I need to point out the big deal of this. First, K. is now able to 1. know he needs to ask to pet someone's dog 2. can formulate the sentence, "Can I pet your dog?" and 3. be able to be understood by a complete stranger. Huge! Huge I tell you!) But I digress... When they all came inside, the three youngest boys all wanted to tell me what happened. K. told me about the dog. TM told me about the bike that didn't have a chain to drive the wheels. And D. told me about the man. In their three different descriptions of the same event, they also showed what is important to them. K. is all about animals and dogs in particular. At one point, as he was petting the dog, he hopefully asked if the dog was staying here. TM is all about machines... mechanical, electrical, it doesn't matter. He loves them and can't rest until he knows how something works. D.? People. All people, all the time. The whole thing was just so telling it made me laugh.