Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trauma Drama

So for those who missed my post in December about how I won mother-of-the-year by traumatizing our 3 year old, go here.

For the rest of you, here is part two of the ongoing saga.

It's actually super sad that I am having to write about this again, but at least if Preston should ever wonder why he has a fear of being left alone, he'll have our family blog to go back and read all about it.

So the other night, I was having a rather challenging night as a mom.  Not because my kids were being crazies but just because things kept happening, like Taylor rolling himself right off the diaper changing table right as I turned out only to find him face-planted on the ground (followed by a wailing scream from a stunned kiddo).

Well and then later that evening, after I'd gotten them both to bed, I went to my office like I do every night to try and finally get some things done that I can't really get done during the day when they're awake (keep in mind I've basically been a single parent for months now).

It was about 9:30pm, and I heard Preston up out of his bed.  He's been doing this thing for the past month where it takes like 10 tries to finally get him in bed and staying there.  It usually goes, in this order:

1.  "Mommy I have to go potty!" (even though he just went to the bathroom like 5 min earlier).
2.  "Mommy I have to go poopy!" (and me, every single night, asking "Why don't you please go poopy before you get into bed instead of after?").
3.  "Mommy my water bottle is all empty!"
4.  "Mommy stay with me for 5 minutes." (which I do).
5.  "Mommy I need you to put my blanket on me".
6.  "Mama I have to find my flashlight!"

And the list goes on.  And after each of these, I have to get him back into bed. Again.  It seriously takes an hour.

But the other night, it was different. I knew he had already been asleep for at least 45 minutes so it was weird that he was up walking around.

So I got up to go to his room, only he wasn't there.  Then I hear him downstairs crying.  First, I was concerned because why would he be downstairs all by himself?  He never goes downstairs alone if I'm upstairs, especially when it's bedtime.

I could tell it was one of his scared cries, so I hurried down the stairs. I found him standing near the bottom of the stairs crying, big huge tears down his cheeks, and hands down his pants (a comfort mechanism he does, which I wish he would use his pockets instead of his underwear. We've been working on that).  Anyway as I was hurrying down the stairs I was asking him "Preston, what's the matter? Why are you crying? ...Why are you downstairs?"

I got a hold of him at the bottom of the stairs, and pulled him towards me.  He was really scared, like kind of doing a little dance and acting really nervous.  Then I heard a little trickle trickle and realized he was peeing his pants.  Huge puddle underneath him, all the way through his pajamas, all over me too (because I was holding him close).  Preston does not just pee his pants.  He has only had an accident one other time in the last 6 months and that was when he climbed to the top of the SUPER high slippery-slide at McDonalds and then looked out and realized how high he was and freaked out. Peed his pants.

I just held him for a minute, and tried to calm him down. I asked him if he had a bad dream, and he just halfway nodded his head while crying.  He wouldn't really answer any of my questions.  After a minute, I told him that we needed to take his wet PJ's off and get cleaned up.  I said it in a really nice voice because I felt so bad for him, I didn't want him to think he was in trouble for peeing his pants.  Well, then I decided he just needed to take a bath because it was everywhere and it might also take his mind off of things.

So I filled up our master bathroom tub and put him in it, and sat there asking him questions and trying to make him feel better. He STILL looked stunned.  Yeah, I was totally concerned.  I kept thinking "What in the world scared him THAT bad??"

After his bath (at 10pm!), I asked him if he wanted to watch Elmo and he did. So I popped a bowl of popcorn and we sat on my bed and watched an episode of Sesame Street. That seemed to do the trick, because he was feeling much better and much more tired too.  When it was over, he let me take him straight back to bed and he fell right to sleep.

Afterwards, I went back to my room and started getting ready for bed and still feeling really concerned for Preston, I was trying to think in my head "Did he watch a scary movie?  Was there something he saw that made him have a nightmare?"

And THEN, it dawned on me.


I realized, he must have woken up, went looking for me but saw the lights on downstairs and went down there.  He was probably halfway out of it and realizing that I wasn't down there, he probably thought he was all alone again (just like my previous post I mentioned earlier).  I imagine he must have relived his trauma all over again and just started to freak out.

Once I put the connection together, I felt SOOOOOOOOO terrible.  Wow.  Like ultra terrible. What have I done to my child??

And that wasn't the only other time either. Last week my mom came over to watch the boys while I went to the store.  I didn't say bye to Preston because he was too busy being excited that Grandma was there and so I snuck out the front door.  When I got home like 45 min later, my mom said Preston was up in his room crying for me. It was so weird, because usually he is so excited when Grandma comes over.  And it was then that I realized that he must have thought he got left.

I guess I didn't realize that something like this could traumatize a 3 year old so badly, and for so long. The first incident happened over a month ago and yet he is still deeply affected by it.  I do know though, that Preston has a really really good memory.  Yesterday we were going to Costco and as we passed Target, he told me that that was the store where we bought his car puzzles....which was over 6 months ago. I was amazed he remembered that!

So anyway.  I'm trying to make an effort now to make sure he always knows where I am and where I'm going, and that I'm continually reminding him that I would never leave him alone.  He is usually such a tough independent little guy too, and sometimes I forget that he does need his mom more than I think he does, or more than he will admit he does.

That's it.


Brian & Veronica said...

oh, poor guy! Just read your other post, so SAD!!! Jenni, I really want to talk to you! I miss you so much, maybe I'll have time to email tomorrow. ;)

Carolyn said...

I feel so bad for Preston. It will take a while to get past the feelings that he has. We'll just give him lots of hugs in the meantime!

Aby Runyan said...

Don't kick yourself too much (really don't kick yourself at all anymore, I'm sure you've punished yourself enough to last for years). EVERY single kid has tough days. Yes, that one stunk. But he won't be traumatized for life, he has WAY too good of a family for that. He'll take a bit to normalize, but then he'll get past it and on to other things to worry about. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just that kids go through different phases all the time. There are a lot of changes going on in your life, and his, right now with the new house and Will being away. And right now, this is a phase. So just keep doing what you're doing. Be extra careful like you said about him knowing where you are. Tell him you love him an extra lot. He'll be just fine. And tell yourself just as much that you are a great mother - cause you are.

luvs, aby