This week Squeak, who is 6, has become increasingly anxious, loud and an even more accomplished sleep-resister with frequent bouts of bed wetting.
Yesterday morning she told me that she had been thinking about old mum and old dad – as the girls call them – but she had not wanted to talk about it for fear of upsetting Bubble. Bless her! She decided she wanted to look at her life story book after school.
Usually Bubble runs a mile (sometimes literally) when Squeak’s life story book comes out. Yesterday though, she decided to have a look at hers.
I sat in the middle of the girls and whilst Squeak was asking me if old mum and dad liked taking vitamins (her word for drugs), and were they really allowed to have (insert a number) of children, and if they loved us why didn’t they look after us, and was the old house full of spiders, Bubble sat quietly.
She flicked through her book, looked at some photographs, and sat devoid of expression, not fidgeting or jiffling. Normally Bubble is the jiffliest jiffler in Jiffleville. Then, as Squeak asked if old mum and dad loved them and I replied that they really loved them but could not look after them, Bubble announced she was going upstairs. To her bedroom. Alone. Bubble hates being in rooms on her own.
I gave her a few minutes and followed her up. She was standing by the window, perfectly still, with no expression, still clutching her book. She didn’t want a hug. She didn’t want to talk. She didn’t resist my hand on her shoulder, though. We stood for a while together, lost in our own thoughts. I made the usual declarations about how lovely she was and if she needed a hug or a chat to let me know. How useless and empty those words seemed.
This morning when Bubble Scowled In A Prolonged Manner at me over a Toast Incident I was almost relieved.
It’s hard living with an angry child. That’s what I’ve thought for years now. It’s so hard. But living with a child who won’t let you in is even harder. At least the anger gives you something to work with. So I embrace Bubble’s anger. I will ‘work’ with it, and try to support her the best I can. From it may come strength and resolution. Maybe not, but once again Bubble has taught me much.
And so our adventure continues…