Come here buddy, let me hold you. Want to rock and pretend you are my baby? Yes, I used to rock you like this. And sing a song. I’ll hum and let’s just hold each other. You are precious and safe. Lovable.
I was awakened last night by a series of screams and crashes with my mind’s vision obscured by clouds of dust and smoke. It was a dream. Sometimes dreams play behind our eyes and are silly, fun, or can be dangerous or scary. Mine was scary. I’d been following the news from a country called Haiti where people needed some help after the ground shook really hard, called an earthquake. I was thinking about the mommies, daddies, grandmas and children there when I went to bed last night.
I got up for a glass of water and thought about my upcoming visit with you (in only two more days) and fell back to sleep. This morning I am pacing with worry. Pacing is walking a few feet then turning and doing it again. Back and forth. I do it when I am amped up about something and need to think using my whole body. It’s a “can’t possibly sit still” state. Agitated. What happened was that my Haiti dreams were mixed with Skype. An experience that we had with your daddy on Monday.
I sent daddy a tiny camera to use with the computer so that we could all see one another while we talk. I could show you the dogs , wave at you and laugh. It’s better than the phone. So daddy tried it on Monday, but I don’t have a camera on my computer. Grandpa does, and he was at work. I could hear the trailer noises and daddy’s voice but he couldn’t make the picture work. We fiddled around with it and then I went away into another room. But I could still hear the people in your trailer. Daddy didn’t hang up after I said good-bye and I didn’t either. That was funny hearing a conversations for about five minutes; a scream, a laugh, someone looking for who ate their burrito and I even heard daddy burp. Then it stopped being funny.
I heard a child scream, Mommy yell and Daddy shout. “Okay it’s about time I got some respect around here!” Then he slammed his hand six times. I know it was a spank. Too many spankings. I know it was you. And I cried. You screamed, mommy shouted to put you down for a nap. Then daddy and you were gone. I heard mommy tell someone that you had hurt Nathaniel for no reason. Daddy returned. I had written a message, “I can hear you.” He said Oh, shit. And the line closed. It was quiet. But not for you.
I am so sorry that happened to you. Daddy was wrong to hit you. I’m sure you are okay now. But I doubt if daddy got what he wanted. You are all under a great deal of stress. It is crowded, unfamiliar, lots of adult interaction that must confuse you, worry you and your cousins. And you can’t get outside to dig in the sand. I called your daddy that day and we talked a long time about what to do about hurtful behaviors. I let him think of ways to support the positive interactions between you little ones and also find outlets for your needs. We brainstormed what you might be feeling. And then we got to daddy’s feelings. I hung up and cried. Thank you, Skype.
You can ask for roughhousing time on the bed with your daddy. You can ask for snowplay, a walk. Your mommy and daddy have to be ready to find special moments for the four of you. That is really really hard to do, I know. They are working so hard to make their idea work. You may just have to remind daddy not to hit. You can both work on it. As you control that you will find self-respect, pride in your actions and be better able to accept when you blow it. Afterall, everyone of you is under pressure, and working to do your best. Looking for your best includes noticing what isn’t.
I am working hard, too. gma
Ck out this radio broadcast on aggression in children. Good discussion!