The full day’s work that takes place before 9 am
A typical morning with an anxiety filled, adhd, attachement disordered, insecurely attached, developmentally traumatised 12 yr old. We’ll start after the 40 minutes or so, it takes to coax him out of bed, using lots of soft voices, encouragement, gently eeking him from his sleep into the start of another day, opening the blinds only an inch to let in some natural light, but only an inch, as more that that will let in too much light, (resulting in me “blinding him” which will inevitably mean it’s impossible for him to open his eyes for the next 5 minutes) then using a variety of silly animal noises & voices, and the clever choosing of a transitional object that she needs to bring downstairs for breakfast, to help him end one period of time and start another (the first 40 minutes of the day deserves a whole blog of its own). He seems quite “wound up” which from experience, I know means he will be on a “very” go slow, avoidance fuelled, get dressed, a very go slow is far slower than just a go-slow (which is actually quite fast when compared with a very go-slow) and is reminiscent of a very slow turtle, on a go-slow getting dressed and out for school. “Wound up”, means pretty much complaining about most things, mostly complaining about breakfast (but not the usual everyday kind of complaining, “wound up” complaining is a harsher, sharper type of complaining. It’s not like the legitimate kind of complaining we do as adult when we feel the need to tell the check-out wummin that there’s not enough tills open for the size of the queue, knowing full well it’s no her fault and she jist works there, “Wound up” complaining is the type of complaining that we do when we completely and wholeheartedly believe the check-out wummin is responsible for everything from the size of the queue, the over pricing of the messages, and the fact that you’ve no cash in your purse and you can’t get your bank care oot cause its stuck in that tight stupid wee sleeve that I keep putting it in, in the cheap phone case I ordered from ebay for a few quid.
Anyway, I kept my cool through the wound up complaining, and I changed his socks for “another” pair, when it became apparent that the inside seam was like barbed wire against his big toe, that was a wee bit tender this morning after some anxiety provoked nail picking during the night. (I quickly whip out my tube of germaline which is actually a cure for everything that itches, scratches, or is generally troublesome) reach for the spare socks that I keep handy as a back-up plan – (and internally check an imaginary tick in an imaginary box in the space just above my head), and then I take it to another level altogether, when I automatically turn the new sock inside out as it seems that the socks with the “softer seam” still doesn’t have a soft enough seam and is actually still out to get him – back-up to the back-up. (P.S I will be eternally grateful to my good friend Lou for teaching me the importance of always having a back-up to the back-up, this principle has stayed with me over the years, and it has certainly made many a difficult situation much better).
Just as I think we are edging toward the door and his exit for school and the clock could start counting down (at superfast speed it seems) the 6 hours until he’s home again, I could see it coming, the next need building and growing in front of me. It’s the “my bag doesn’t feel right need” this is where the weight of the bag, doesn’t fit the weight he needs to carry today to feel ok, to feel grounded, and that the heavy book, placed in the bag purely for weight purposes only, and not for actual reading, is not positioned as it should be and is sticking into his back, like a spear jabbing him in the upper back. So, off it comes, and unpacked it gets, and repositioned and repacked to ensure no more jabbing in the back, (jabbing in the back is like a pain in the neck…only much more annoying) another need met and another mini victory and another step closer to the door we get. He turns before opening the front door for the obligatory “toothpaste check”, this is the NEED to face the world with a toothpaste free face. So, just to make sure there’s no spots of toothpaste on his face that could result in name calling, poking fun, bullying, or any other kind of general social suicide that would inevitably result from having the tiniest bit of toothpaste on his mouth. I have a good look, holding his worried wee face in my hands, scanning this face that he NEEDS to present to the world like a mask hiding his true deeper worries and anxieties, and tell him there’s “no toothpaste …. Just handsome-ness” (he likes this and usually elicits the tiniest minute inkling of a smile on the very corner of his lips, or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking and positivity imagining it. He unlocks the door, (if it’s already been unlocked this morning by the other half taking something out to the recycling bin, then he has a NEED to lock it first so he can then unlock it) open the door, peer out and tentatively take a step out into this scary new day with its abundance of new worries, new fears, and new insecurities, and walks towards his 6 hours of school where he’s expected to learn, pay attention, solve problems, communicate with others, manage friendships (or not on most days) and generally engage with the outside world. While I shut the door, feeling empathetic but relieved and proud that we’ve done it, another mini triumph …. And I put on the kettle for a cuppa and rich tea biscuit and rejoice in the many possibilities that the next 6 hours might bring my way… and I wonder and I hope that by meeting his NEEDS, in the years to come my wee “wound up soldier, might at some point in the future, unwind enough that the day will come where he looks forward to the amazing things that a brand new day might bring.