The perfect age for imagination

My youngest son loves science and history. He enjoys learning new facts and is not shy about explaining the facts he has discovered. He is also 7 years old and has a highly developed imagination. This makes “facts” far more interesting when explained by him. Here is what he has taught me so far this week:

1. “The Loch Ness monster eats stones.”

I said I had no idea, to which he explained that it’s simple to understand. “The Loch Ness monster is a modern day variation of the plesiosaur which has been discovered by paleontologists to have swallowed stones. That it is possible the stones helped digest food. So of course the Loch Ness monster swallows stones to help digestion too.”

2. “A girls lifecycle is longer than boys”

I asked if he means average lifespan. He does not. “A girl can have a baby that might grow into another girl, that would have a baby, and the cycle continues. Boys can’t do that.” I had never thought of it that way.

3. “You are a girl momma and you were broken cause you had me and brother.”

Broken? “Yeah, cause a cat that can’t have kittens anymore is fixed so before that they are broken. Momma was able to have the human version of kittens so must have been broken, and is now fixed.”

Children are so beautifully blind

Been at storefronts selling popcorn with my cub scout this weekend, and his blindness to the prejudice of the world is so apparent as he sells. He speaks the same to everyone regardless of color, gender, or age. He doesn’t care if you’re autistic or going by in a wheelchair. He doesn’t notice you wearing a uniform that says you’re working there rather than shopping there. He even tried to sell to two homeless men over the course of the weekend.

I didn’t stop him, I didn’t say anything. As he tried to sell a $20 bag of popcorn to a homeless man today, I just watched. I didn’t answer for the man or get in the way. He politely said no, my son said thanks, I smiled at them both. I knew he didn’t have the money to buy scout popcorn, but I also knew he did have the right to speak for himself. My son sold popcorn to anyone willing to buy, he spoke to everyone the same, he knew nothing of the “groupings” of society.

I am so proud of my scout, and I realized today just how much I can learn from him.

He’s still processing

I could see that my son was stressed, but unsure why exactly. He's 6 years old so doesn't know the words for what is happening in his mind. We talked and I gave him time to process the words while I listened. And I gave him some new words that might help explain his feelings, and make him feel less alone in his thoughts.

He started out by saying he wishes this was a dream.
"Why do you wish it were a dream?"
"I think maybe it should be a nightmare."
"What makes it a nightmare?"
"Um, because I want to wake up from it."
"Why do you want to wake up from this?"
Long pause….
"I just do."
"If you woke up, what would be different?"
"Well, I wouldn't have to eat all the healthy food" pause…
"Anything else?"
"Yeah, my room would be clean."
"Well, you can make that happen."
"But there's SO MUCH. All the toys all around, it makes me like I'm dizzy."
"Ok. Well we can find ways to make that easier."
Long pause….
"Is there anything else that would be different?"
"Well…"
Another pause…
"You can tell me sweetie."
"Well…. my fish would be back."

And that's when it clicked. He's been more irritable since his fish died. I can't believe I didn't connect the two before. So we snuggled for a bit, he began to cry. I just hugged him. I can see he's still processing the loss of his fish and it breaks my heart. We talked a bit more. I told him that maybe he was stressed, and he asked what that means. I described it as when things make us upset in a way that our feelings make us feel dizzy. But not like spinning around in circles dizzy, just an emotions dizzy.

I could see his understanding. I knew that was what he had been trying to put into words. I explained that when our stress feels really big, it makes us feel overwhelmed. I think he understood.

Today my son learned that his emotions have names, and he is not alone in them. Today I was reminded that he does have strong emotions, and I need to help him learn to process them. I never learned that as a child. I have the emotional (and physical) scars to prove it. I will do all that I can to help my kids learn to process their emotions.

Coping with BPD – Motherhood

I was told very specifically that I should never get married or have kids because of my disorder. This statement has haunted me for over 10 years now and pops into my mind every time I screw up.

My children know I have “ouchies” in my head that sometimes make my emotions weird. Until they’re older that is all they need to know. They will likely never know about my self harm, and only about my suicidal ideation when they hit an age that I need to warn them about the mental illnesses that run in the family and how to cope with the scarier sides of it if they ever need to.

When I’m have a bad borederline day I hide in my room. I tell the kids I don’t feel good because it’s better they think I’m sick than they deal with my moods. But even that pains my heart when my son wants to play and asks first “are you feeling ok today?” because he’s noticed the number of times I don’t “feel good” 

Today I am stressed and exhausted. I’m still getting over being sick plus dealing with far too much at work, and I came home and just couldn’t cope. I needed space but couldn’t get it tonight. I snapped at the kids. I started yelling, and it took time to calm down. Yes it was just yelling, but that can be dangerous to little minds.

I’m fairly certain my therapist sees far more people who are grown children of borderline parents, than actual borderlines themselves. I told her once of all my parental fears and she says I’m high functioning and doing very well with my kids. But I still worry.

There are horror stories of borderline parents. Please be careful of these traps. Please remember that it is not your child’s fault you are having emotional issues. Please be honest with yourself on your limits and give space where necessary. Please spend your good days hanging out with them as much as possible. Please explain your mental illnesses to your children overtime, keeping it age appropriate of course. I do these things and hope that I will not ruin their lives or drive a wedge between us as they grow.