Saturday Morning Tantrums

Middle son was a good boy all day yesterday, and then lost it at dinner. This is his second week without naps, which might have something to do with it, and today he had his first session of EMDR.
I do not know if aggravated symptoms are normal after EMDR. I have read very little on the typical experiences of children other than reports of immediate or gradual relief.

He usually has his tantrums on Saturday morning. For throwing shoes at me, being rude in front of his grandmother, and then pushing his poor sister into a door knob he lost his computer privileges for Saturday. Which makes Saturday more difficult for me, because the computer would keep him occupied and out of his siblings hair. So I knew, when I went to bed, that I could have a rough time.

I did.

But not as bad as it has been, no one got hurt. He did be generally unpleasant for about two hours, and it was evident that he was exhausted, as he was unpleasant from a reclining position on the floor. I kept my focus on the housework and the laundry and gave him a timeout for kicking out at his brother, or pushing. The rest of the time I tried to ignore what he was saying. It was borderline, not directly punishable. Annoying borderline bullying, definitely not nice, but not a zero tolerance issue, either. So after a few hours of continuous laundry and cleaning I succumbed to the backache and I sat down on the couch in front of my middle child.

The baby crawled up with me and told me her brother was not being nice and that she needed a huggie (her word for hug). I didn’t mean to, I just started sobbing. My eldest son got on the couch and hugged me while I cried and tried to tell me his brother was bad, so I wouldn’t feel so sad. But I told him I was sad about his brother’s choices, that his brother was good, and I knew he could do it differently.

When I dried my tears I saw the culprit creeping down the hallway to put away his blanket, something I had asked him to do hours before and he had refused and complained bitterly about on and off since. When he came back out of the bedroom after a few minutes he was back to his normal self.

This means he has empathy. This is huge. I have so much more hope now than I did last year.

Despite the triggering today I did not lose my cool. I never hit fight or flight. I cried, and who wouldn’t? I don’t want any abuse in my home and it was there, being felt by the smallest of us, years later. I was tired and in pain. But I never lost it. I am getting better, too.

I can see, in how he and I handle the stresses, how our PTSD is doing. Today it is doing well. Yesterday the psychologist said the meds are helping him so much, that she started his EMDR. He wouldn’t let her do it before, not for the past year.


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2 responses to “Saturday Morning Tantrums

  1. I had a very similar day today – had to drag my youngest around the block to do my paper route at 9am, kicking and screaming (my neighbours must love me) and then another tantrum later in the day. I, too, ended up in tears. He brought me a glass of water to cheer me up.
    I see empathy in my autistic child (adult actually) as well – it is a great thing, isn’t it?
    Anyway, all this to say you’re not alone. Hang in there, as will I. We’ll make it. And so will our kids. 🙂

  2. I have had my neighbor request (through management) that I leave the house early in the mornings on Saturday. I rent, so this is a bit serious, too many complaints and I have to look for another place. These improved Saturdays are the best proof I have of working meds. I have not had to leave for the past two Saturdays.
    I am sorry for your day, it does wear you down. That is so smart of him, to bring water. In some countries, that is the custom, to bring water when someone is crying. What a sweet boy.
    The empathy is priceless, it is so hard to teach that the relief is profound when you see they have it.

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