Last night, the payback was worse than I had expected. Thanks to my great friend and Trauma Mama from http://mommyneedstherapy.blogspot.com, although Hope bit me, I had a glass or two of wine and some vegetable pizza, and released all the tension of week. It was good planning. Today was tough.
Hope continued her payback this morning into the AT’s office, where we started with the Dad doing a takedown. We spoke for a short time with the AT after Hope put us through our routine… defiance, takedown, sloppy sitting, strong sitting, jumping jacks, reconnect. We filled her in on the evening and morning. She was not surprised. The second therapist came in and introduced herself. She had questions for both the AT and us which took a couple of minutes and then we were asked to wait outside with Hope. We spent about five minutes making sure Hope used the bathroom, helping her pick up, and getting water.
When the three of us were asked to come back, we immediately noticed a twin sized mattress, covered with a blue sheet, in the middle of the floor. There was a light blue cotton blanket spread evenly over the mattress. I started out sitting on the same long couch as The Dad. The AT asked Hope to lay down in the middle of the blanket, moved her head up a little bit, and then swaddled her in the blanket. She spoke softly to Hope, telling that some kids liked being swaddled, some kids didn’t mind it, and some kids hated it, but she always did it to keep everybody safe while the kids had big feelings. Hope gave her the evil eye, and the AT followed up with, “I know you are angry Hope and it is ok for you to be angry.” The AT repeated some of the prep work she had done yesterday. She spoke of the feelings Baby Hope might have had and Hope was willing to go there. She gave voice to the hungry, scared baby who lost her birth Mom and was able to easily repeat what little babies need and how her birth mother was unable to take care of Baby Hope.
Then the second therapist laid on the other side of Hope and was instantly identified as the Texas Mom. Hope had no trouble pretending the woman was the Texas Mom. The AT led Hope back through the things all babies need and then revisited them one by one. Each time she asked Hope if the Texas Mom had done this for her. At first Hope was reluctant to go there, and the AT gave her words to pick from. The AT then used the words to tell the Texas Mom how Hope was feeling and checked back with Hope to make sure she had said it correctly. In a surprisingly short time, Hope was repeating the AT’s words to the Texas Mom with real feeling behind them. The AT then stopped giving Hope words for feeling and gently asked Hope to remember back to when the Texas Mom was her mother and what she did that good mother’s didn’t do. Hope started with being hit with a belt, but immediately added that it was because she was biting, kicking, throwing and was bad. The AT encouraged her to tell the Texas Mom how she felt. She couldn’t in the beginning, so it started with the AT defending her, directly telling the Texas Mom that it was never ok to hit a child with a belt. Hope started with her memories of being beaten will a belt on a lot of different occaisions. She also remembered being put bed without eating for not washing her hands and spending one whole birthday in her room. She remembered being left out while the other kids went out. She remembered that she had been bad over and over again and gotten hit with the belt over and over again. At one point, she suddenly didn’t need the AT to help her defend herself. She started using her own words and her own anger when the Texas Mom told her it was all her fault because she was bad.
The AT then had The Dad take her place and defend Hope against the things the Texas Mom was saying. When The Dad told Texas Mom Hope was beautiful, the smile on Hope’s face lit up the whole room. The Dad did a great job sticking up for Hope. Then it was my turn. I laid down next to Hope and the Texas Mom started talking about her brown skin and how bad she was and how nobody could love someone like her. After two years of seeing the results of the Texas Mom’s words and actions, something in me broke open and I had no trouble telling the Texas Mom exactly what I thought of what she had done to Hope. The Texas Mom fought back and defended her self and I didn’t back down. Her defense started getting ludicrous and I told her she was full of shit. I do not curse in front of the kids, so the look of shock on Hope’s face was priceless. I told her that Mommy didn’t use those kinds of words unless I was feeling something really strongly.
At that point we took a break. Hope stayed swaddled in the blanket and let me wipe her head with a cold, wet cloth. She let me stroke her face and tell her how proud I was of her. The AT told Hope we were almost done and asked her if there was anything she wanted to do today. Hope surprised everybody by saying she want mommy to talk to the Texas Mom again. I happily repeated my performance. When I was done I was the one who unwrapped her from the blanket.
I am glad there is a two day break before we tackle the trauma again. ;