Saturday, November 05, 2011

Maybe I should have gone as Plato

I'll spare all y'all from another poop post tonight. Just know that everything is moving along as we had hoped. *snicker*

I intended on writing about this a couple days ago, but some shit got in my way. Literally. *snort*

Anyway...I wanted to comment a bit on Halloween.

Overall, it was fun. 

Kiel was adorable and sweet. And so excited! And as always, my sunshine. It didn't hurt that later in the evening he told me I was the best mommy in the whole world.

Noah made a great ninja. He has the whole routine down pat and would prefer we just left him alone to do his thing and stop slowing him down. There were no melt downs, which is a huge improvement from past years. There were a couple close calls, but we managed to tip toe around them. 

(Dayum but are we good at tip toeing around things with Noah to try and avert the melt downs.)

So it was all good you are thinking, what's the point of this post then?

Well you see, I have a problem. I have this compulsion. I believe the official name for it is "politeness." 

(My momma raised me to be polite, and damn it my children will be too.)

Except sometimes Noah isn't. Like on Halloween. When his focus is to get from house to house as quickly as possible while grabbing as much candy as he can get away with.

And that pisses Mommy off. Because damn if the neighbors are going to think she has raised little brats. Even if she is 1 for 2.

See, I had a hard time just letting Noah do his thing and accepting and understanding that Halloween is total fucking sensory overload for a kid like him. (Hell, probably for most kids.) Or that the sensory overload, combined with everything else that challenges Noah, may just make it difficult for him to slow down, make eye contact, and say "thank you" with unquestionable sincerity.

Especially when Mom is hovering a few feet away insisting that he make eye contact and say thank you. And telling him he is rude when he asks for more than one piece of candy. And insisting that an unsupervised bowl of candy on someones front porch is not an invitation to grab handfuls because no one is there to say he can't. Because I am saying he can't, and yes I do count, even if it isn't my porch, or my candy.

As I thought about it afterwards I mentioned my frustration to a wise friend of mine. Her response, which I have paraphrased a bit because it was four days ago and I can't freaking remember what I had for dinner last night so remembering exact words are beyond me, was something along the lines of "well duh, Halloween makes most kids a little crazy, just what made you think Noah was going to behave better than he does in the best of circumstances"

To which I went "huh." And mentally reminded myself that occasionally I am a real dumb ass when it comes to parenting Noah. (And don't waste your breath (or typing) saying I'm not. Because I am. It comes with the job. As parents we all screw up along the way. The important thing is we learn from it and try to do better the next time.)

So I've been thinking about it and wondering why I couldn't just let it go. In general he is a polite kid. We work on getting him to make eye contact, and I do have to remind him more often than I do Kiel, but considering how his brain is wired, I think he does OK. And Halloween is probably not the best occasion to use as a learning tool.

So why couldn't I just let him have his fun and stop pushing him?  

You know why? If I'm absolutely and completely honest, it is because I was embarrassed.  I was worried that the neighbors would assume I am a shitty parent because my son was asking for more than one piece of candy and mumbling thank you as he quickly turned away to run to the next house..

And that is fucking crazy on my part. Really, it is. 

Why do I care what they think? The truth is that I hardly know any of my neighbors. For a number of reasons, which I'm sure I've gone in to somewhere on this blog, I only know a couple by name, and a few more by sight. Why do I think they even give me or Noah a second thought? Or if they did think that, who cares? I never talk to them anyway. And if they think that then they don't know Noah or me, and again, who cares.

I worry far too much about what others think of Noah, and then assume that it is reflected back on me. 

This is my problem. It is NOT Noah's problem. He has enough of his own to work on. This is mine. 

Keep reminding me of that, OK?

Halloween may not have been a good time to teach Noah, but I think I may have learned something about myself.

I don't think it is going to be easy to change. It is after all fairly deeply engrained in me, which is a topic for another post at another time. But, I think acknowledgement is a step forward.

Baby steps, right?



  1. This is precisely why we gave up Halloween. It was just too stinking much of a trigger for them. Rather than being fun and festive as it had been in the pre-adoption years, it was stressful and the behavior issues we experienced around this time of year were insane. Once I was finally able to put into words what was making it so hard on the kids and why they were both triggered by and attracted to all the images of trauma that are so often glorified at this time of year (links to those posts are on my sidebar if you are interest) it was a no brainer for us. There was nothing we could do to cut back enough not to trigger the kids and have crazy behavior for the weeks before and after except completely eliminating any and all celebratory observances of it. Things have been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better the past couple of years since making a clean break.

  2. I think you are probably right about the reason it got to you. But I have NO words of wisdom for how to stop feeling that way. I have the same problem a LOT. Things my youngest one does on the playground, or at soccer, or in preschool, or around the neighbors. I know they are behaviors that we are working on...sensory issues & whatnot...but DAMN it is hard not to feel judged and then let that judged, embarrassed feeling affect how I react to my son. (And then if I come down too hard on him, I assume that they are all thinking "Well, there's the reason for his aggression issues!! lol). I find it so, so hard. Sometimes I feel like I should hand out a brochure titled "Yes, I know how my son is acting, and NO I didn't raise him that way, but his issues are x & Y and we are working them, and I apologize." But I'm sure even that wouldn't stop the judgement, or perceived judgement, so it wouldn't help. I need to work on my OWN reaction to hard!!
    I'm just a lurker, btw, who is always praying for easier times to come your way. I think you're doing great.