And here comes the disregulation again.
They're getting stuck in their needs.
They're getting stuck in their feelings.
They're locking up, freaking out, stomping around, getting in snits, picking at or on each other, feeling fragile, feeling lonely, hurting more when they're hurt, staying loud longer when they're angry, forgetting how to talk to each other, forgetting how to be safe, forgetting what respectful sounds like, being wildly unpredictable about kindness, rolling their eyes when asked if what they're doing seems to be effective, stomping out of the room, refusing to get in the car, changing their minds like the weather (and it's April, so that's pretty turbulent weather), insisting, refusing, demanding, begging, pushing, and then being totally stunned when this doesn't solve all their problems.
At least we knew it was coming.
My mom forgot. And she had them all day. She also had them last week, before any of them had really ticked over. It was blessed. Glorious. They worked together, they solved problems, they were considerate, they were functioning perfectly, every one of them. And then BAM, this week, three of the four ticked over (Mr G is in the age zone - that is, 10+/puberty - where he may not have quite the same pattern anymore, he's still working pretty well, but he does get set off by the others a bit when they're haywire, which is totally fair, since we do, too). And yesterday was merry heck. Only not so merry. My mom aged two years in one day, her hair was pointing every which-way, and she groused when I showed up to drop off Easter candy.
And then I reminded her. Oh, yeah. Right. Dang.
See, she had kids all around the calendar. So she always had SOMEONE who was in regulation phase of their development. Some were ticking along beautifully, others were falling apart. It gave her a cadence of handle-these, let-those-roll on an ongoing basis. But me? No, all mine are born at the same time, three literally the same date (month/day), and the other only about two weeks off from that. They all fall apart at once. and they all get together on track at once (approximately, their patterns are a little unique, but if one is even close and another tips over that edge, it magnifies the 'even close' behaviors in response).
But, it is not a shock to me at this point. I've been bracing for it. Girding up the mental and emotional loins, so to speak. Reminding myself to work harder on the reflective listening, the non-violent communication that is useful when they're working great, and E-freakin-SSENTIAL when they're off-cycle.
My posting rate will probably go up, too, because I seem to post more when I'm problem-solving, because it is a way to work through what I'm thinking. And for the next six months or so, there will be a lot more solving to be done. Skills coming online, mental function coming online, new tender issues growing up for each of them (whee, three of them are coming into social processing at once - friends, more friends, more friends, and all the pain of learning how to make friends, discovering that you've lost a friend, wanting more friends, not being sure what to do about un-helpful/unkind friends, etc.).
I do actually enjoy teaching them this stuff, and working with them on it. Mostly because I can see it take root, and having seen it go by in one already, I'm more certain that skills will take hold, even if it takes a year or more to get them settled on the skill. Actually, it usually takes at least a year for a new skill to settle into a strength, so ... hey, it's okay, they're kids, it takes time. KNOWING that it takes time is the important part. That keeps me from losing my patience all the time. Not that I don't lose patience in the midst of it. I do, pretty regularly. But I remind myself that they're new to this, whatever it is, most of the time. Even what's not entirely new is new in scope or depth or variety, and that means it's more complicated for them to learn. It becomes learning finesse, which takes as much time or longer than it takes to learn the basics. Three years to mastry, for most skills, so... so we take on the next layer, and carry on.
Deep breath. Suppress the urge to duck and run. Remind myself that it is actually quite satisfying.
Which doesn't mean it won't be work. A lot of it. Much of it tedious work.
Yeah, right on schedule.
(Trying for a cheerful attitude about it) Here we go.
Er. (paste on a cheery face)
Here we go!
*cough* (trying again)
Whoopee, here we go!
It's more like the sensation of bracing for a bad landing. Deep breath, let it out, squint one eye in a half-wince, and TRY to relax into a protected position... at least I know it's gonna be bumpy, and that it isn't going to be an actual crash. Just a lot of uncomfortable and rough and uneven and out-of-balance and stressful.
That's all. Strangely, that's also okay. I think that's the Acceptant Loving Faithful coming into play. It is what it is, they are who they are, I love them enough to help them, and I have faith that we'll all grow through it and come out the other side into the next easy zone, and enjoy that, too.