The World at 1:00 AM

I am sitting in the dark with a bottle of Jelly Belly bubbles. The clock reads 1:14 AM. Sleep eludes me tonight because my thoughts are racing. I breathe in the smell of Very Cherry and I exhale a gentle stream of scented bubbles. This is a technique taught to us by our children’s longtime trauma therapist, L. It’s meant to slow breathing down and bring you back to a calm and logical state. L gave us our first bottle and now I buy them in bulk.

The last few weeks have been challenging. Carl was raging out on a regular basis. The crisis clinician now comes to our house twice a week to work with him. We call for any additional emergencies, but that just means waiting for hours until someone shows up to say, “You handled this very well.”

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

I had to take him home from camp because he threatened a female counselor. She was scared. After being corrected for something he sneered at her and said, “You’re lucky I don’t go crazy on you right now.” His defense of this statement was to say that she was, indeed, lucky he didn’t get mad and hurt her. The little boy I love so much is a nightmare sometimes. He also isn’t so little anymore.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

After this incident I dragged him to the police station. To tell the truth, all of my connected parenting and therapeutic techniques were for naught. He needed to see what the consequences would be if he continues down the path of domestic violence. The Lieutenant there is (sadly) very familiar with our children.

He really scared Carl within an inch of his life. He threw down his handcuffs and had Carl hold them. He shouted like a drill Sargent and demanded Carl stop the violence. He promised to arrest my son if he laid a hand on me or did any further property damage.

I was glad. I was honestly glad that the Lieutenant promised to come and take my son if he tried to hurt me.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

After this Carl was less destructive. He didn’t threaten. He is still mad and yelling. but he isn’t domineering. He isn’t trying to intimidate women in the same way. This could be due to the visit to the police station. It could also be due to the time of year. We are at the point where his aggression decreases again.  I wonder if anything other than change of season affects him.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

Mary was having a difficult time at her program. She had to be secluded once for violence. For a few weeks her conversations consisted of yelling at me, refusing to speak to Luke, and demanding we buy her things. We had a visit scheduled on a day that Carl had a massive meltdown.

Rather than leave him with Nana and Papa, I stayed home. I cancelled my visit with Mary. I made sure Carl was stabilized and performing his restitution. After that I simply went to bed. I shut off my phone because it was too much to talk to the world. I drew the shades and shut out the world. It was too much effort to explain the crazy of my house. It was too much to hear suggestions. It was all too much.

I took a day off and laid in bed watching my favorite shows. Behind the safety of a closed door I snuggled my kitty. Luke brought home takeout. I didn’t go down to dinner. I didn’t do a thing because I just didn’t have the emotional bandwidth left.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

After my “day off” I was ready to face the world again. I rallied and went to see Mary. Carl actually wanted to go with me, which was amazing. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her in 6 months. Because he was so traumatized by her murder attempt and her physical abuse, we never push him. I’m not even sure how to put these two back together again when she finally comes home.

The visit worked out. I brought a huge bin which we filled with soapy water. We played with water guns and water toys for over an hour. The visit was a beautiful thing. I try to hold on to this.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Bubbles.

It isn’t easy. It’s 1:14 AM and I am caught between sleep and stress. All I can say is that I’m trying. I think I’ll sit here with my bubbles awhile longer.

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


17 thoughts on “The World at 1:00 AM

  1. I’m so glad that you have your bubbles. It’s the little things that get us through and help us survive the big things. I hope the time of year softens the behaviors, at least for a time…you are an extraordinary mama❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. C says:

    So sorry you are having a rough time. I think taking Carl to the police station was a good idea. If nothing else now he probably has motivation behave better and participate in therapy. Maybe it’s time to ad a small amount of toughness to the therapeutic parenting. So they know you serious and making things better. Maybe ask the therapist. I know his violence and behavior towards women has deep roots. I know from other posts that Mary has been emotionally demanding. Have she always demanded material from you? Just wondering if this teenageness kicking in or is something she picked up at her program from other kids. Sending good thoughts and vibes your way!


    • Thank you, C. So far Carl is doing pretty well. The rest of the world will see violence, not his trauma. I needed him to see what might happen.

      All of the kids, especially Marcus and Mary, equate material goods with love. They were in survival mode for so long that it’s their default setting. Since they can’t tell the difference between wants and needs due to social/emotional immaturity, they feel desperate for obscure material items. They have a very different idea of love. Basically they will go with whoever can provide what they “need” at the moment. Hence the revolving door of mother figures.
      Mary can connect at times and she really is trying. She just doesn’t understand love. It’s hard. It’s not her fault, though.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. C says:

    Yeah. I understand that. I just didn’t remember from past posts. It’s tough overcome social/emotional immaturity. Sometimes I feel like it’s a game of catch up I can’t win.


    • It is a game of catch-up and it is NOT your fault at all. Please remember that you are winning. I probably didn’t blog much about it before. We just had bigger fish to fry, so to speak. If you think about it I’ve gone from worrying about homicidal ideations to concerns about materialism. I’d call that progress! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. JK says:

    Oh. Oh wow. I feel you. I feel your struggle. Our kids’ paths are so different, but so similar it’s scary. Mine is struggling with suicidal behaviors. She spent 6 months in a mental ward for escalating attempts. She’s been home just a few months, but tried again last night.
    Her first attempt, I wasn’t even angry. I was so sad and heart broken. My husband was angry.
    Her attempt last night? I’m at the end of my rope, being steadily pushed further than I think I can go, with no signs of stopping. I was so angry and downright accepting. I’ve accepted that if she continues to try, she’s gonna succeed. I can hardly believe I’ve reached this point.
    I understand the violence from your child as well. Mine started that way, and every time she attempted to harm me, I would drop her to the ground and physically restrain her until she wore herself out. I recommend aikido if you want to feel safer. It’s all about taking down stronger opponents. Mine hasn’t attempted to harm me in a long time. She knows I’ll take her down, and backs off. I don’t know if you’re interested in it, but it’s an option.
    I just had to say that I feel you. I feel how it’s like your holding a rope that’s steadily unraveling and you feel like you’re going to be dropped into a ravine. I do. I don’t know you, but I love you. I love that you keep trying. I understand the rage. I do. I understand snapping. You’re human too. You adopted them because you want them. You love them. You can be angry and scared and anxious and you can say that. They sometimes need to hear it.
    I’ll check in again sometime. Thank you for writing.


    • Thank you for sharing your story, JK. It’s very difficult to keep a child safe 24/7 when they are in this mental state. I understand. We did use restraint with the little ones. I’m trained and certified in the same kind of safe restraint they use in schools and hospitals. Unfortunately, it’s hard for a healthy person to lock in a restraint for over 30 minutes. It’s almost impossible to do that repeatedly every day. I now have a back injury and I cannot restrain. Our daughter is in residential because we couldn’t keep her safe. She’s almost my size now. Carl is a linebacker on his football team. Akido sounds great. After I heal from my next back surgery I’ll check it out. Thank you!


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