India the Turkish Pajama Girl

This is what Mali looks like when she's worried that Leelo is too close by. She looks like this too often. Even though it has been a long time since he has succeeded in making contact, and even though he now only needs to tap her to get an extreme reaction, she gets this look on her face any time her brother is near. And I can't bear it.

Those of you who know me IRL may fleetingly wonder why I've been either totally losing my shit at the least provocation lately, or acting like the world's grumpiest zombie. This is why. I can't bear this. I can't bear, can't contain in my heart or my head the knowledge that the son with whom I spend so much time snuggling and giggling and playing -- who asks me to read him his favorite books with great big smiles, who asks for kisses all day long and gives me spontaneous bear hugs -- is the reason my precious tiny girl spends so much time anxiously on guard or screaming in honest terror.

We keep them apart. We try to convince her to not react just because Leelo is in the same room. We don't give him any reaction other than physical redirection when he tries to hit or push her. We are working on other ways to help Leelo manage his aggression both in the short and long term, but it's not enough, not right now.

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  1. I'm so sorry Squid. My heart hurts for you. Mali, she will be okay. You guys are doing a great job.

    We'll figure it all out...soon. And in the mean time we will help you any way we possibly can.

    Love you and "all of those children"

    jennyalice and Descartes

  2. Anonymous11:40 PM

    OMG, Squid.
    Mali is breaking my heart with that look on the picture.
    I know you must be worried about her emotionally too.
    I wish I could offer something wonderful to say.
    I am sending you love and support.
    If you ever need a hand, call me.

  3. Anonymous5:35 AM

    I'm so sorry Squid. It's not supposed to be this hard. Sending you a hug.

  4. Anonymous6:00 AM

    I'm so sorry for all of you. This is what we go through as well. It absolutely kills me that our daughter can be so afraid of our son. I worry what she is learning from all of this for her future.

    Just know you're doing a good job and it's tough. She'll be okay in the end.

  5. I'm really, really sorry. I cannot imagine how hard that must be.

  6. Anonymous7:05 AM

    What is the availability of intensive ABA residential placements in your area? When a child becomes this aggressive to other family members it is diffcult, but many times the recommendation is for residential placement. Are there any intensive ABA residential settings that seem appropriate? Keep in mind these placements are very different from an "institutional setting." They are an intensive ABA center only the child also resides there and comes home periodically. Not sure if California has this option.

  7. A lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. For all of you. If I were there, I would hug you and we could cry together, for all the wrongness of this.

  8. Everyone, thanks for your support. Mostly this post is for the record, to look back on for when it gets better, because it will and it has to.

    @anonymous, I have not heard of ABA residential centers in California, but I will do some research. Thank you.

    What is killing me is how wonderful Leelo has been recently, 95% of the time. Responsive and talking and sweet and fun. Until he encounters a trigger.

  9. Yegads. Is it worse than when I was there? (Understanding that I have a pretty broad understanding of "bad," since my kids are older.)
    We had some hitting here yesterday, and it left all but Mark in tears, because sometimes, dammit, it is just so effing unfair.

    You should know you are constantly in my thoughts.

  10. When is your appointment to talk about meds? Can you push it up a little? Can you ask for a script to start before the appointment. Believe me, it took us a LONG to consider meds. I waited until there was no other choice (probably, a little longer than that). Now, I am sorry I waited so long. Asher still has his issues but they are reduced 75%.

  11. Anonymous10:51 PM

    I'm so sorry. That must be so unbelievably hard. Your family is in my prayers.

  12. Gosh...I can't imagine how hard it is to see Mali like that. You are having to be Mama Bear toward your other baby who you play Mama Bear for out in the world. That's just not right! Wishing Leelo's body some peace so that he doesn't feel the need to lash out at others or hurt himself. Keeping you guys in my thoughts.

  13. Hi. Just found this blog through Till The Short Bus. I have a five year old with cp, and he regularly hits his sister/pulls her hair throughout the day. She's 3. I know just how emotionally painful it is to see this happening. I often end up telling Sabrina that when Max is doing that she should just move away and go play with her toys alone. Once, I hate to admit, she was so mad at him she pulled his hair back and I almost didn't want to stop it--I wanted Max to see just how it feels when he does that. Hopefully, things will get better. hang on. I just started a blog about my son, here 'tis: www.lovethatmax.blogspot.com

  14. We have the opposite problem. My youngest, who's almost 3, is a tough little cookie, and tends to try and take what she wants.

    Initially, Tristan would share with her when she cried. This actually taught her to share and she shares with him regularly.

    However she also does the typical smacking thing that young children do. This has both taught previously nonviolent Tristan to smack (though he seems to do it playfully), and also taught him to quite frequently push her away or pull out her hair when she gets near him.

    It's somewhat of a mixed blessing. Since both Lily and Tristan are tough little kids, it's more of a sibling rivalry thing, and it's kind of neat that nonverbal tristan has sibling rivalry, but it also worries me.


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