Wednesday, November 19

Table time

We've been doing table time for the past week. Rather than pretend this isn't happening and everything is wonderful or at least normal at my house, I've decided to give you a peek at my reality.

We've had a string of sneaky and destructive behaviors which have resulted in the kids needing more direct supervision than usual. I will not spell it out in detail, but they included markers, cough drops, the pantry, bits of the dining room table, and more lies than I can count. Normal children do these things, yes. But the malicious intent and remorseless response of children with attachment disorder and fetal alcohol exposure are not normal. These children are at risk of escalating their behaviors to nightmarish levels. And children whose behaviors are that deviant or aggressive do not belong in a typical home environment. Yes, these are the very sort of children who sometimes go on to harm themselves or others, even becoming the ones you read about and just cannot comprehend. There, but for the grace of God, go we.

Imperfect as my methods may be, I believe it is my job to protect these children from their own lack of conscience by reducing their opportunities to engage in behaviors for which the consequences are harsher than they can handle. And of course I must also protect my children from each other when the need arises.

We don't have nearly enough functioning alarms in the house to adequately help with that right now. I need to know where the children are at all times, because lately, if they cannot see me, they will almost inevitably do something they shouldn't. Because the children feed on each other's attitudes and behaviors, I also need to limit their opportunities to interact with each other in secret.

And so we spend time at the table. There, they receive instruction from their parents, learn God's Word, do school work, eat, drink, and listen to music. Bathroom visits are supervised, and there are breaks for physical activity.

It is not all fun and games. Michael wore out his pencil earlier. I have a pencil box full of replacements. Instead of asking for another pencil, he had a tantrum, ruining both pencil and paper. It took him an hour of encouragement to find a better solution and some exercise time to finally calm down and ask for another pencil.

I've had to change my routine a little to make this work. Getting a shower, working on the other side of the wall in the kitchen, rebooting laundry... all of these require help and creativity. I'm grateful that the rest of the tag team is pretty reliable. And thankfully, I've had plenty of work to do which could be done in the dining room like labeling soap, addressing Christmas cards, tweaking computers, and placing online orders.

I don't know how long we will be at the table. I'm waiting for a change in attitude, a softening of their hearts, at least a hint of "calm submission," as Cesar Milan would say (regarding dogs, but it’s helpful in children as well), that lets me know they're ready to play in the next room or do their chores without inevitable disaster. I have hope that we will get back to that point. I pray that none of us completely loses our sanity in the meantime.


  1. (((Heidi))) I'm sorry the days are so hard. I'm glad that they have you for a Mom, though.

  2. May the Lord continue to strengthen you and your family! Heidi, we will continue to pray for the Lord's wisdom and guidance in you and Loren and that by the continual love of Christ that you are showing your children, they will then be transformed. God Bless all of you at this difficult time!