Rushing Rivers Lead to Calm Waters

When you feel like you’re being pulled under by chaos, it may be best to go with the flow.

We’re still at the hubby’s parents for our annual summer vacation – and T is having a blast with his grandparents and vice versa.

While T has made so many gains since last summer, his use of inappropriate language has increased.

During dinner on Tuesday, after repeatedly telling T to stop saying things like “Shut up,” “Shut your mouth,” and “Be quiet,” I had enough and took away his tablet for the evening.

T got angry, screamed at me and even threatened me with his fork.

I kept my cool – and everyone around the dinner table did as well – and our disregulated child soon calmed down.

Raising a child with FASD can feel like you’re being washed down a never-ending river.

Some moments are very frantic and you feel like you’re going to drown.

When we recognize it is T’s brain – impaired with a lack of impulse control and emotional regulation – and not “bad” behaviour, we can stay calm, ride it out, and things quiet down again.

The following day, we enjoyed an afternoon hike at beautiful Pabineau Falls.

The hubby and I last visited in summer 2015, when my Ma joined us for our annual visit.

This was T’s first visit. He quickly found large rocks to throw into the gushing water.

T is a natural curious explorer and he wanted to venture further down the river – something neither the hubby, his parents nor I have done in the many times we’ve visited.

As we hiked down the river, I reflected on the previous evening.

For those unfamiliar with FASD, T’s shortlived outburst and threat may seem horrifying.

I thought instead about how T was able to deescalate, thanks to everyone staying calm, when the intuitive thing to do was to respond and reprimand.

This is not always the case: I’m human and I don’t always stay calm; the hubby’s parents have in the past said things in the heat of a moment.

So this was a winning moment of teamwork.

Our journey down the river of life with T often leads us to unfamiliar territory.

When we leave ourselves open, we encounter the simple joys – like climbing rocks or wild blueberries quietly growing under tree canopy.

When we don’t resist against the futility of angry currents, we are led to calmer waters – like an unexpected swim spot enjoyed by locals of all ages.

During the calm moments, we are blessed with higher firmer ground to take stock of the path travelled and to prepare for the rushing waters inevitably around the corner.

When we returned home, the hubby and I made dinner to thank his parents for their hospitality, spending time with T and giving us a break.

I barbecued chicken kebabs and romaine lettuce hearts, the latter I last made for the hubby’s 40th birthday pandemic celebration in 2020.

They went well with the hubby’s chicken fried rice.

25 thoughts on “Rushing Rivers Lead to Calm Waters

    1. Thanks Gary. This was from last summer. And definitely lots of smiles afterwards and more tears and more smiles. Such is life. 😆😊 Hope you two are enjoying a nice Easter weekend!

  1. Shouldn’t it always be the answer? To respond to difficult emotions with understanding? There is so much we can learn from your collective effort here. Looks like you’re having a great vacation otherwise Ab! Hope you have a calm remainder! 🙏

    1. Thank you, AP! It really should always be the answer but as you know from being a parent yourself it sometimes doesn’t work out that way. 😆 We’re two days shy of ending our vacation and heading down. So sad but grateful for the time away!

      1. Alas, all good things must come to an end! I’m glad you’ve had a wonderful holiday Ab. 🙏

  2. I couldn’t agree more about how in some instances it’s not even worth it to resist and to just go with the flow! Sorry to hear that T has been using more inappropriate language than usual, but it’s good that everyone had a united front and stayed calm. Pabineau Falls looks gorgeous, as do those bright blue skies. And that’s such a lovely picture of yourself. What a delicious feast and a great way to show your appreciation and gratitude for staying with your in-laws.

    1. Thanks Linda. It’s the joys and challenges of raising kids with FASD. The exhibited behaviours are very hard to deal with on some days. But thankfully we have good ways to balance the harder moments and create positive memories. And yes, the Falls were lovely. If you and K ever do an East Coast tour, you may enjoy it! 😊

      1. I’ll have to add it to the list for when we’re out east in September! The falls look gorgeous. I’m sure it’ll be hard for you and the family to leave. Will you try to return next summer?

      2. Ooh, your East Coast trip is coming up. How exciting!

        We visit every summer in the first two weeks of August. Already counting down to next summer. 😆

  3. How nice everyone at the table supported you when T acted out. You took some beautiful pictures and what a great place to see. You have wonderful in laws Ab and what a fantastic picture of you!

    1. Thank you, Diane. New Brunswick, Canada is a beautiful province filled with so many wonderful scenic spots. It helps to have in laws who are also familiar with the local “off the beaten path” spots too.

    1. It really has been great so far, thank you! Have you made it out to the East Coast in your travels?

      And hope you are doing well and that your brother is doing well too.

      1. My brother was released from the hospital today. Thank you for asking! I did find myself under rocket attacks which I did not plan on…we did travel to the east coast and it’s one of our favourite places in Canada. I am hoping to be able to go again!

      2. Good to hear about your brother. Sorry about the rocket attacks. That must’ve been so scary. Stay safe!

  4. Love the picture of you! And the beautiful river. You’ve given me inspiration for those tough moments to just stay calm. It reminds me of the FASD cartoon you posted once – was it pouring fire on fire? Yes, so hard to do with family members around who just want things to go smoothly.

    1. Thank you, Wynne. The hard moments are so tough but thankfully, they are the minority of the experiences during this vacation. The cartoon, for sure, is a very apt one for this recent tantrum.

  5. That could be a lesson for us all in certain circumstances, to remain calm. I’m glad you’re having so much fun and such a lovely vacation! Now, go have some more fun! You guys deserve it!

    1. Thank you, Jill. It’s a highlight every summer for pretty much every August for as long as I can remember. And I wish it could last forever.

      PS. A remake of Staying Alive was just released on Friday by DJ Khaled with a feature from Drake. Two very well known modern acts. What are the chances that you were just talking about it?!

      1. I’m so glad you have that … and I bet you look forward to it all year long!

        What are the chances indeed!!! There have been several such coincidences of late, that I had planned a music post, then somebody just happens to mention that same song before the post even goes out! Somebody in the galaxy is spying on me! 🌌

  6. I love that everyone worked together to remain calm. That takes grit! It is not bad behavior, it is dysregulation and impulsivity. I am struggling with impulsivity alot right now? With all these cool opportunities and vacations I want to take. I am not good at stopping to think, nor am I good when in this manic state to listen to my husband and his voice of reason. Thank you for sharing your adventures.

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. Distinguishing between “bad” behaviour and disregulation/impulsivity is a huge challenge for people, including myself. Are the exhibited behaviours inappropriate? Absolutely and we try to debrief with him when he’s calmer. But such a difficult concept for many, including family members, to grasp.

      I’m sorry to hear about your current struggles. I’m glad there is someone in your life that can provide a voice of reason when you are in your manic state. I also hope you are able to take the vacations and opportunities that you are desiring if you are able to do so. 🙏

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