Control, Amputation, and Other Issues in Trauma


“You’re going to lose a finger!” I tell him. He rolls his eyes and shrugs.He clearly knows better than I do because he has achieved the wise old age of 11. He knows it all. It is I, his “over-protective” half-witted mother, who worries about frivolous things like amputation.  He has real problems to worry about like football, kids who cut in line at recess, and making sure everyone can see his knee-high matching champion socks. With shorts. In 30 degree weather.

The thing is, I am just not a cool mom. I am the mom who adopted him and for some  crazy reason, doesn’t want him to freeze. Carl has had frost-bite before he came to us. His fingers are very susceptible. Only, he will play barehanded in the snow without realizing a problem until it’s too late. At that time he will come in screaming at the top of his lungs from pain. Glass shatters, my ear drums burst, he sobs, and its awful. The next day he forgets all about it and heads out without his gloves again. It’s a cycle.

In warmer weather, I let it slide. In colder weather, I let him have options. This coat or that coat? Blue gloves or black mittens? A hat or earmuffs? It’s always the same. He digs in his heals about the gloves. He can never seem to remember the natural consequence of going without them and screaming until his hands are warm again.

They say to pick your battles. As a seasoned trauma-mama I know this. I get it. I still want my son to keep his fingers, though.They are so cute! I’m also rather partial to my eardrums. SOOO this is the battle I choose.

He leaves his gloves on the bus. He leaves them at school. They are lost on the playground. Sometimes I swear he eats them. For some inexplicable reason his sister has decided that she needs to start double-gloving because her hands are extra sensitive. So the ABSOLUTELY ONE TIME he decides to be a gentleman is when he gallantly offers her his own pair to put over her own. Sigh.

It isn’t the gloves, themselves. We have tried every texture, fabric, material, and configuration you can possibly imagine. I’ve specially ordered seamless mittens from a company that sells sensory-special items for children with sensory processing disorders. It’s just the control.

So I’ve decided to become a ninja-mom. There will be gloves and mittens everywhere. In his backpack, in his pillowcase, on the christmas tree, in the school nurse’s office, in his locker, in the cat bed, and between the pages of his favorite books. Electric bill be damned, I’m spending the money on mittens!

I’m pretty sure the dollar store thought they were being robbed today. I walked in and said, “Give me all the gloves you’ve got. No, I want ALL of them! In the cart! Quickly!” Then I paid like a fiend with wild eyes and rushed off to stash them everywhere.

There. Will. Be. Gloves!!!

But seriously…pray for me?



**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.



9 thoughts on “Control, Amputation, and Other Issues in Trauma

  1. A couple of years ago, I had recurring staph infections in one of my arms. A number of different doctors told me that if I didn’t stop burning myself and start actually taking my antibiotics, my arm would probably need to be amputated. But I couldn’t make myself do it.

    I didn’t think it was really going to happen – I was a little worried that it might, but that made me more determined not to give in, because if I did then that would mean I was an overdramatic wuss who was afraid of getting her arm cut off. And I felt like I didn’t care whether it happened. When I thought about the reality of life without an arm I knew I really didn’t want it to happen, but on a surface level I just had this total apathy about my wellbeing.

    The biggest part, I think, was that it felt like a trap – a test. That the doctors were saying they wanted me to take the antibiotics, but they really were just testing to make sure I was strong (the way my parents did), and if I complied then wouldn’t like me as much, and they’d be laughing behind my back and thinking I was a sucker. I did know intellectually that that was crazy, but rationality doesn’t usually win.

    And who knows what’s going on for Carl? It could be completely none of these things, but this post struck me and I wanted to share. Not very helpful, because I can’t think of anything that would have made me comply. I can think of ideas, but honestly, I feel like you’ve got this. You’re a brilliant mother, and you know your baby. And you are hilarious – your last bit about robbing the store cracked me up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rea thank you for this amazing insight. I can’t imagine what that must feel like. I’m not sure what the answer is, either. It must be so hard to accept and trust that others are looking out for you when experience has taught you otherwise. Thank you for your kind words. I’m going to keep trying over here. I’m glad you took your antibiotics eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: When Your Parents are Falling Apart | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

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