By now, it will come as no surprise to you that change affects Pickle’s ability to self-regulate. This is common is children with attachment issues. Pickle is basically a slave to his impulsivity, he has a lack of control over his emotions and over his responses to the emotions of others.
One thing I failed to mention in my Trouser-gate rant last week was that there have been several changes going on in the Permanently Pickled household recently.
The main one being that my mother-in-law is becoming increasingly unwell (see The Big C). This has meant that we have had to travel 3 hours south most weekends, disrupting the usual weekend grind. On one occasion, I travelled down alone at short notice without having the opportunity to speak to the boys before I left.
Family was called in to help at the last minute.
Superficially, Pickle often shows little in the way of what most would consider ‘obvious’ anxiety. In fact many people would unwittingly believe that he is über-confident. I have seen this described in attachment theory as “low self-esteem with a big ego”; the perfect description for Pickle.
Pickle’s anxieties tend to bubble away underneath, slowly simmering and then ultimately exploding like a violent sneeze, except more prolonged and far messier!
One of his (many) latest attention-needing behaviours which appears to have superseded the former forehead-smashing against brick walls – which, quite frankly, I feel like doing myself at times – is, quite simply, running!
Yup, he runs.
He runs out of the house, out of the driveway, sometimes down the street. Usually accompanied by a distinctive staccato roar, building to a crescendo of disparaging chants.
Prior to Trouser-gate and during my absence, there was a perfect Pickle moment at school, which involved a Usain-type bolt out of the classroom… almost out of school – had it not been Pickle-proofed!
The trigger? Who knows! A pen tapping? The need for the teacher’s immediate attention? Sitting in the ‘wrong’ seat? Usually something seemingly trivial to those of us with secure attachment patterns hardwired in our brains.
So, Pickle does as Pickle does. He decided he had had enough. He was going home!
The teacher admitted to her momentary panic before realising there was no Tom, Dick or Harry tunnel leading under the school playground – well, not to her knowledge. (I believe a group of our older children know differently).
Remembering our conversations from the ‘Team Around the Child’ meetings, she remained firm, ignored the outburst and allowed him to make his under 10-second dash….to the toilets!
There, he resolutely locked himself away…for the best part of 4 hours!
I wish this were an exaggeration.
However, the four-hour sit-in did stretch over lunch hour and those of you who know Pickle personally, will be far from stunned to hear that he broke from this steadfast protest to feed his forever-famished face.
Stuffed to the gills, he then stubbornly went back to his self-locked sanctuary!
What his protest was about, nobody was quite sure.
One thing is certain, Pickle has bat-like senses when it comes to rumblings of restlessness in the ranks. Even the most minor of changes can still elicit seemingly irrational and extreme behaviours.
When I arrived back from visiting my mother-in-law, we lay together on the “Bladder Bag” (Pickle’s word for the Buddha Bag. Call me cruel but I haven’t corrected him) and talked about what had happened.
After much coaxing, he opened up by saying, “I don’t like it when you go away, Mummy. When you go away I think you’re going to die. And I’m scared our love will end.”
Suppose, both he and I had better get used to many more privy protests!