The problems with weekends in our house, is they rarely turn out to be the two days you were expecting. Some sideways force will often come and knock us for six and leave us reeling for the remain hours of our two day break or on the flip side you will batten down the hatches for a whirlwind approaching and it never happens. Either way Sunday evenings Mr H and I are often in shock over just how well it all went or just how utterly terrible it’s all been.
Stig and I had been planning this weekend for a while, a mummy and son day out. Our favourite place to go together has always been The Manchester Museum, but having been with school just recently we thought we’d be daring, change things and go to The Science and Industry Museum. There would also be a small amount of shopping for boys things and lunch at Wagamama’s. A real treat of a day for both but, unfortunately, we didn’t get to go.
Saturday morning Stig got caught doing something he knows very well he is not allowed to do. Sadly knowing that what he’d done was quite serious, and something he’s been in trouble for before, he decided to weave a web of whoppers to escape any possible trouble and then when this didn’t work he decided to become at first stubborn and rude closely followed by aggressive.
As is often the case, the original action was soon no longer the problem, Stig’s list of misdemeanours was growing, lying, rude language, and then lashing out. As the boy realised the mistakes he was making, his fear unfolded and he saw how much worse he’d made things, self loathing began to sink in and he turned the corner to “I don’t care”.
“I don’t care” is the slippery slope of self esteem sliding from under him and sending him tumbling in to the oblivion of his anger. Frustrated and angry with himself for not getting it right he starts to destroy.
He is removed to his bedroom as his anger starts to grow, physically moved but with plenty of warning and opportunity to take himself, relative containment is what we are after. This is when destruction begins; there is the sound of banging and smashing and I decide to leave as missiles are launched at me. I take myself out of the situation but keep a close eye on it without making my presence known.
The boy empties the contents of his bedroom onto the landing. All his toys, books, his mattress and his drawer unit, which he has dismantled. Mummy and daddy step around it, stay back and avoid odd things being thrown but we do not restrain, intervene or respond to the abuse that’s being heckled. When he barricades his door with the mattress, I push it down and explain calmly that he must not do this “I need to see you are safe” I say, but I also then walk away. The mattress stays down.
As I pass to check another time he starts to head butt the wall, again I show little interest, listening for signs of real pain but I don’t lift my head, rush to stop or hold him back. It hurts more than he thought and a hole remains in the wall, his face starts to crumble.
Finally there are tears, tears and acquisitions of how we don’t love him and don’t care for him, how he hates us and wishes we were dead. I want to go to him now but he is still throwing things and as he’s hit me with something and launches a chair in my direction I again decide to keep my distance. Time passes and eventually the cries change, the boy pleads hunger. “I’ve not had breakfast I’m hungry.”
I see this as an opportunity to move on; suggesting he dresses, then he can come and have something to eat. I leave him 10 minutes and return to find him calmer, dressed and waiting.
As we descend the stairs he says “I’m sorry” and I thank him for his apology. As we enter the kitchen he tentatively asks “Can I have a hug?” Of course he can have a hug and a long squeezing embrace is enjoyed.
“I feel much better now, thank you” he says.
I check his head and then we sit, him with a big bowl of cereal me with a mug of tea and we chat. Not about what’s happened, not about where we should be but the little things, the weather, the cats, the view from the window.
Once he’s eaten his breakfast I brace myself slightly and say “right now you need to go and put your bedroom back together” and that’s it, he goes.
One hour later the contents of his bedroom have been returned to their home and a neat pile of rubbish, including ripped up magazines and broken bites of toys is all that’s left on the landing. He smiles and so do I, he’s done well. We hug again.
Manchester is off the cards, some of the day is lost but the boy is shaky, so instead we visit the local shop for provisions and spend the afternoon playing games together. We have a lot of fun; it is warm and meaningful to both of us. There is laughter and giggles as we jostle to win a card game, there is respect and understanding as I teach him how to play Yahtzee and there is joy and delight as I allow him a sip of my diet Coke, a normally forbidden beverage.
So we move forward and on with relative ease and a huge lesson has been learnt, the learning curve has reached a plateau for once. By removing ourselves from his anger and remaining at arm’s length from it. Ensuring his safety but also ensuring our own inner peace, we have remained strong and calm for him in the aftermath and by doing so we ensured that the road to recovery is quick and the damage is limited.
So as Mr H and I sat last night reflecting on our weekend, we were in agreement that this weekend had actually been a good weekend.