Friday, July 08, 2016

Extinction Burst - The One Where I Burst Into Tears

Because TLO has yet to speak, she has very unique ways of expressing her emotions. Needless to say, these unique behaviors require special ways of handling too. Yelling nor spanking won't make the cut. One recommended approach is to ignore the behavior (and the child) when she engages in inappropriate behavior. The rationale being that any response is received as an acknowledgement and unintentional reinforcement. This approach works but can be very challenging especially when there is KALAT involved. A modified approach is to "correct" the behavior by guiding the hands (or any body part) doing the nasty thing WITHOUT eye contact.

TLO wanted my phone. I always fail in reinforcing discipline and control but there are days when I get a little hopeful, so I said no. In response to my rejection, she started throwing stuff around. I was working from home that day, rushing to get some reports done. So I just sat there, working, looking to see what she's doing every two minutes or so. I was screaming inside my head. I was cursing and cussing at nobody, a terrifying feeling anchored on that which I don't know how to handle - the unknown. I kept reminding myself not to be mad at TLO but then another voice asks then who should I blame for all these? I will never forget these few minutes when I was controlling rage and tears. I now know that to be hurt and want to hurt but not know how is the most destructive feeling one can ever experience. I thought I was going to die of frustration.

Eventually, TNLO joined the "fun" and started throwing pieces of paper in the air. He said "rain, rain, rain" and then they pretended to be swimming on paper. Both of them did. There were broken things, hair gel, lotion, water and all sorts of liquid all over the bedroom and living room. I could no longer see the floor. Then they started to pick things up and worked together, putting some of the mess in an empty diaper bag. I could no longer see the floor. But I saw love and acceptance. And I knew we survived a big storm. I knew we fought a big fight and we won.

And I know that we will have more of these moments. But for as long as we are together and I keep my mouth shut and my heart open to possibilities, and my husband comes home to pat my shoulder, we will always do. We are unsinkable.

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