Friday, August 07, 2009

Dima's very bad day

It's been a while since anyone's had a bad day, so I guess we're about due. :)

Yesterday, Dima had a really bad day. Now, I need to qualify that by saying that for some parents, when their child has a really bad day it involves hitting or screaming or running away. Thankfully, we have experienced none of those behaviors with any of our children. Dima's bad day consisted of a bizarre amount of regression. He spent pretty much the whole day in his old wailing fits, more or less one after the other. What was even more bizarre is that it carried over into speech therapy yesterday afternoon.

When his speech therapist came out to get him, I didn't mention anything about his bad day. I was hoping that he would behave differently for her (as has happened in the past) and I didn't want to bias her in expectation of poor behavior.

Apparently, I should have warned her.

She kept him the whole hour, but afterwards she said she basically spent the last half-hour redirecting him. He chewed on his hands/fingers until they bled, couldn't focus, and whined enough to drive her to distraction. She said she's never seen him act so much like a baby (her words). And from what Mark described of Dima's behavior yesterday at home, what the speech therapist saw was just a continuation.

What's frustrating to me is that I can't figure out the trigger. I have three guesses--a new stuffed animal he's been playing with (that he's had for a long time but just started playing with), the concert the kids went to yesterday with Mark, or school starting in a few weeks.

OR--maybe it was just a bad day.

That's the hard part about having children with an unknown history. I'm always second-guessing, trying to make sure we're doing everything we can to help our children heal. But it's really hard to help them heal when you don't know what hurts! And how do I know that he wasn't just having an out-of-sorts of those days where everything just feels wrong (heck, I have those days too)...and he just doesn't have the language to help him talk about it and process it?

Last night at dinner I asked him a few leading questions about the concert on Wednesday. I got normal responses and nothing that would indicate that that was a trigger for his behavior. I've pretty much ruled that one out. I'm leaning towards school starting as the trigger, but it's just puzzling. He says he's excited to go to first grade (and he really is--you should she his eyes light up when he talks about it!). He knows his teacher's name, he knows other kids in his maybe it's just that he's anticipating the change in routine.

So...we'll keep plugging along, being consistent, and trying to get to the bottom of the problem if there seems to be one. In the meantime, I hope he has a better day today!


BT said...

Oh, I hate these kinds of puzzles. Sometimes you know there's a trigger but you cannot for the life of you figure out what it is.

That book I mentioned in a previous comment talks a lot about all sorts of changes being triggers. Even changes that our kids perceive as changes that don't even occur to us. And what they are triggering is huge fear. Becuase, according to the author, our internationally adopted kids have experienced at least one Big Change, where pretty much Everything changed and nothing was ever the same again. And they remember how scary it was and how they felt totally out of control. They may only remember this on what the author calls the level of "implicit memories." (She says that a lot of the anniversary regressions that internationally adopted kids go through are based on implicit rather than explicit memories.) The idea is that any change -- even one WE know will be little and mostly inconsequential or one the child is excited and happy about -- can lead to unconscious fear that it will bring a Big Change. The fear of the Big Change sparks the flight-or-fight set of behaviours, which regression is often part of.

So Dima's regression could very well be the upcoming changes associated with the start of school. He may not be able to articulate it.

According to the author, the antidote is all those parenting things that stress safety and security and stability.

Leslie G said...

Oh! I hope he has a better day too.

One thing I have had to learn, is that GOOD,FUN, EXCITING things are triggers for bad behavior also. (think Christmas and too many presents.) He may really be excited about school, and looking forward to it, but that could still be a trigger.

I wonder how many smells and sounds are triggers too, that we have no idea of????

Tami said...

Praying for a better day for him today and for the trigger to be revealed. I have such a hard time putting two and two together with this stuff. This part of parenting these kids is all so new to me. With Alek, Anya and Nick, the behaviors were so much different. They were younger, and I was a naive little parent who just kept parenting right through everything and didn't really pay attention to triggers.
Now with Maddie EVERYTHING has changed. The rules of the ballgame are all completely different and its thrown me for a BIG loop. Especially lately. Hence, the reason for no posts lately. I'm working on a post for the private blog. Hopefully I'll have it up this morning.
Let us know how Dima's day went. ;) ((hugs))