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Memories without Words

Only the soft sounds of sucking his thumb next to me, otherwise it’s just black.  The other kids are asleep, and I lay next to him as he asked.  We had tried forever to have him stop sucking his thumb, but it’s all he had for so long, his only comfort month after month with no mother there when he felt alone, when he felt intense fear.  Just a thumb, it’s all he had.  The only way to sooth himself was himself.

It wasn’t that long ago when it was time for bed, he he wouldn’t say goodnight, he would scream, angrily.  He wasn’t showing fear, it was anger.  He would yell at us, his tiny frame filled with rage, firey until he fell asleep.  As tired parents, we weren’t sure what to do, he’d push us away, then scream when we left.

Many children who have experienced loneliness or fear before the age where they have any language, may develop a chronic sense of loneliness and fear–but without the language they aren’t sure where these feelings are coming from–feelings but without concrete memories.  Their brains were still forming and were not able to to form tangible memories to connect to these deep feelings.  Fear is vulnerable–it’s scary and can present horrible feelings of being unloved, unsafe and not valuable.   Those feelings are so scary and painful, that anger can mask them temporarily, it can feel more empowering, like you’re trying to do something about what’s happening to you, it’s more forceful that the feelings you have settling inside, even if you can’t actually change anything.

It’s hard to grasp memories you don’t have language for, when you were too little.  To have feelings, but no understanding of why.  When you have tasted deep loneliness and fear, but can’t explain the source.  To feel pain you can’t remember, and that you can’t find escape from now.
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And so we try to find words together.  Catch them, identify them, and replace them with truth.  Tap into the hidden feelings and memories, say them out loud.

As we lay in the dark, before sleep takes him over,

“Elijah, one time, when you were too small to walk, were you ever all alone?”

My tough little guy, well, tough on the outside but very sensitive on the inside, instantly lays his green bean arm on me, I am still surprised by his initiated touch with an instant, “Yes.”

“Was there a little baby one time alone in his crib and no one heard him?  And was he scared and no one came to him?”

His thumb is back in his mouth with his blankie, and I feel him nod as the blanket moves up and down.

“I bet that felt scary and sad,” I tell him, I don’t prod him for answers, I want to help paint.  I reach to hug him, but he won’t let me right now.  His back is to me, and he has his thumb, and he’s remembering.

“Do you want to hear a story?” I ask him

“Yeah,” he whispers just over his thumb.

“Once, there was a teeny tiny baby boy…”

“Was it me?”

“Yes.”

“And that little boy lived in a crib.

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And one day me and daddy went to go see that little boy.  And he was the cutest little boy!   He was so little and sweet, with big, big eyes.  I loved it when he looked at me with his big, beautiful eyes.  He was all alone with no one to pick him up, so we picked him up.   We said, “Look at this special guy!  He is so precious and good.  We like and we love him.”   And picked him up and rocked him and we held him.  He was the cutest.  And we said, “We’ll have this baby forever and always take care of him.  He will always have us, and we’ll feed him all the food.  And give him his special blankie.”

Elijah is making happy sounds, they sound young, like a baby’s sounds, even though he is almost 5.

“And do you know what that little baby liked?”

“Wha?”

“He loved it when mommy would pull his ears like this.  The baby would get so sleepy and his eyes would start to close, and he would be safe and warm and cuddle with mommy.  And he was the cutest baby in the whole world.  You should have seen him, he was the cutest!”

Elijah makes more happy sounds, “Ahhhh, dee – dee…”

He slowly raises his tiny hands up as I finish my short story, palms open and away from him.  And with a tiny baby voice, slow, as if he is just learning to form words, “Ma – Ma.  Ma – Ma.”

Hearing the story, he is that baby.  He is that little boy, but he is hearing the words he didn’t have back them as he lives it over, the neural loop is forming fresh.  That baby is hearing, “Good” and “Loved” and “Precious” and “Safe.”

“Oh here he is, here’s my tiny baby,”  He snuggles into me the way he couldn’t while I held him in Russia, he had been stiff and rigid.

“Ma -Ma” I hear the tiny baby voice coming from him.

That angry explosive boy is gone, he is a safe boy in my arms.  He always is now that he’s here with us, but it’s hard for him to know the deep, forever truth of that because of his past.  The lonely boy, drowning in fear, who couldn’t get his needs met no matter how hard he tried from the inside of his crib.

I rock and shush him like I did with weeks old Finley.

“Ma – Ma, pull my ears,” I do and he slowly falls asleep.
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***

Trying to control his angry bedtime behavior was fruitless.  Connecting to the root of the anger, which was masked fear and a sense of feeling unloved, and then replacing it with connection and a sense of being wanted, nurtured and cared for is what let that fear and anxiety seep out of him to allow him to be peaceful at night.

 

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Freedom.

 

It is for freedom that Jesus has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. //gal. 5.1

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Rainbow Nice Cream

The other day we saw a recipe for “Nice Cream” and wanted to make our own version.  It’s a rainbow colored dessert, but only made from healthy plant ingredients, and tastes like ice cream.  (Actually, we think it was better)

Makes us feel like:

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Earlier in the day, I set Finley up with a cutting board and a container and he peeled and sliced all the bananas and we froze them for at least 6 hours.  He thought he was pretty cool using a butter knife, which, he was–life skills!

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Once they were frozen, it was time to mix them with the ingredients that will create the rainbow colors.  We avoid artificial colors due to a link in behavior problems and use ingredients that look brighter and taste better, and are filled with vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies glowing from the inside.

First we mixed 1/4 of the frozen bananas with about a tablespoon of Spirulina that we bought in powder form at the grocery store.  Once blended in the Vitamix, we layered it in the bottom of our town containers.  We rinse and did the next layer, yellow with a sprinkle of turmeric.

Pink layer made with raspberries, well, the raspberries that weren’t snatched before blending, and the purple layer made with a handful of blackberries.

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Once we layered them together, we couldn’t believe how good it looked!!!  Something like this would be SO expensive at Coldstone, or and ice cream treat store.  The kids were so excited, even I was, I kept saying, “Finley!!!  Look at these!!”  and Finley was so proud of his creation.

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I even let the kids eat them before dinner, a first, since I knew it was so good for them.

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I poured them into bowls, and it looked like neon rainbow sherbet.  Elijah thought he’d died an gone to heaven since we limit treats in the house, and we told him he could have as much as he wanted!  The kids kept saying, “We love this ice cream!”

And Finley would correct them, “It’s NICE Cream!  It’s good for you!!!  It’s not ice cream!!”

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We give all our thumbs up for the recipe!  We think you would love it, too!

pin for later —-> https://www.pinterest.com/pin/181762534939635709/

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Bananas not Ninja Turtles

Spring!

We even grew our first bananas, I am feeling very swiss family about it.  These–came right out of OUR DIRT.

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They tasted like regular bananas, maybe a little sweeter, creamier.

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Today I was helping in Finley’s school and he told some boys, “I can grow anything out of the dirt!”

“Even a pumpkin?”

“Yeah!”

“Even a Ninja Turtle?”

“…Yeah! ….?  Wait, no.  I can’t grow that.”

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Now if only we could find some Ninja Turtle seeds.  Someone link me if you have a sweet hook up!

 

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