Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's Not Fair

Blowing up an orange balloon and tossing it throughout the room, Little Bitty has an idea.

She asks for my car keys and I comply.

We knew it was coming, but we all jump when the pop echos off the walls.

The balloon's demise is sprinkled in distorted pieces around the room.

We clean up the mess.

She has her snack and drink. 

We blow a cotton ball across the floor, taking turns using our breaths to make it reach the wall.

We build a house and pretend to sleep.  Little Bitty opens a door to allow light to shine in the darkness of our fort.

She curls up in a ball with her lovey near her face, as we rock her side to side in a well-worn tan blanket.

As we sway, we sing a song about her.

This is all part of our routine in play therapy.

All was going smoothly today until Little Bitty, determined to jump on a pile of pillows by herself, toppled over and hit her head on the wall.

A trigger.

Playfulness and peace lay in scattered pieces encircling us.

Laughter sucked from the room, along with my oxygen level.

A shift in atmosphere-- the room now inflated with sadness, anger, and mistrust.

We discovered today that pain can quickly become a trigger of fear, which spirals to control.

After I hold her and rock, she retreats to the wall.  Alone.

Standing with her back to us.

Quiet.  Reflective.

I move to comfort her.  In a flash, she is suddenly busy-- tiny hands grabbing every pillow in the room.

Angry face and a firm stance she shouts, I'm building my house all by myself!  I don't need anyone to protect me or keep me safe!

Self protection.  Lack of trust.

She sandwiches her small frame under pillows.


Pulling off the top layer, she looks at me and screams, Get out of my front yard!   You're destroying my grass! 

More silence.

She unfolds the pillow again.  Eyes flashing, she yells, I don't want you here!  Get out!

I don't want mommy protecting me.  I don't want daddy keeping me safe!

I will take care of myself!

The session declined from there-- a speeding runaway mine-car in a downward spin.

No compromises could be worked out.

No talking her out of what she wanted.

The session ran fifteen minutes longer that the usual hour.

It was past time to go.

I pushed flailing feet into her shiny kitten shoes.

I carried her out kicking and screaming.

Whispering down into wild hair and feet, I know you like to be in control.  I know you are angry.

Cradling her like an infant, I braved the steep concrete stairs, trying to keep my balance in my wedge sandals.

It surely was a death sentence-- an out of control toddler, wedges, and steep concrete stairs with iron railing.

Halfway down the decline, she shouts, It's not fair!  It's not fair!

A steady flow of these same words all the way to the car.

I uncover a tiny ear and acknowledge, I know, it's not fair.  You are angry.  You wanted to put your shoes on all by yourself.

Car door open, I set her little body down.

I squat to her level on the steamy Alabama asphalt in ninety-degree temperature.

Our eyes meet.  Her demeanor a jumble of vulnerable and furious.

We're both a hot mess.  Truly.

She's still uncontrollably wailing, It's not fair!

I press my lips to tousled hair in the direction of an ear and repeat again,  No sweetie, it's not fair.  It's not fair.  It's NOT fair.

My hands press gently under her mocha chin to lift her face to mine.

I don't know words to say, but these come out:  You didn't get to choose where to live.  You really wanted to live with your brothers.  And it's not fair.  It's not fair.  I know.

The words hit her.

The crying stops.

A connection made.

Fuzzy head and crazy mama embrace on the hot asphalt.

Her head rests on my shoulder.

Her body still.

She releases a big sigh. (so do I)

I strap her into her car seat, my heart a strange mix of sorrow and hope.

My dear boy rattles all the way home about Legos, causing Little Bitty to giggle her contagious laugh.

Sunshine beams through the glass.

Puffed cottony clouds float through the sky.

I take a deep breath and gaze up to the rear view mirror to soak up the giggles of a little girl and her brother.

Light in the darkness.

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