He also likes to be a mini-parent. He scolds the other kids when they forget to close doors, put their dishes in the dishwasher, or pick up their dirty clothes. He shakes his head worriedly like a little old man and tells me how his brother makes unsafe choices or his sister didn't watch the dogs carefully enough when they took them for a walk. Each day, I tell him that my job is to be the mom and his job is to be the kid...but he has a hard time believing that.
He worries about almost everything from houseflies ("They eat poop and put poop on your food, Mom!") to zombies ("They real, Mom, and they gonna eat my brain!") He also worries about sickness or injury...if I cough, he gets me a glass of water and wonders if I'm dying of cancer; if I trip, he worries that I've broken a bone. When he's in the car, he worries about accidents ("That car too close, Mom, he gonna hit us and we gonna explode! Watch out!!!") and bad guys ("That man a bad man, Mom...he gonna shoot us and steal our money."). He is terrified of the gas stove and tries to turn the burners off if I have a pot simmering, telling me that I'm probably going to burn the house down. Same deal with the oven...it's tough to get a roast cooked or a cake baked when my boy is home. He lives his life in a state of constant red alert.
Sometimes my little guy's hypervigilence drives me a bit batty. Well, OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that at the moment, it's driving me totally insane!!! This is in large part because he is the only one of my 5 kids who hasn't gone back to school yet so we're spending waaay too many hours together. He loves the one on one time and it's been fun for me, too...except we've had a week now as best buds, him in my hip pocket, shadowing my every move, following me everywhere, sitting outside the door even when I'm in the bathroom...sigh. I'll also admit that when his yellow bus shows up next week, I'll breathe a sigh of relief for that 6 hour a day break his school schedule affords me....6 hours in which to regain my sunny disposition, relocate my patience, and actually get dinner cooked.
Well, I guess some hypervigilence and separation anxiety is to be expected with a little kid, right??? Yes, of course...but my youngest is 13 years old. Between his Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and his other emotional challenges, he functions at a much younger age than is on his birth certificate. Given his early history of trauma and abuse, it's no wonder he's hypervigilent, either. He has good reason to fear the world and much of what's in it, to see danger in the everyday course of events....and as batty as it makes me sometimes, I do see something positive in his constant worry about me, his Mom, and all of us, his new family. Even though he joined our family through adoption at age 11, he is able to love us...he frets for us...he doesn't fear us...he feels a bond...and he values that bond. My boy has come so far...so there's hope for tomorrow. I think I'll go out and buy some teal ribbon.
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