On October 1, 2015, my whole life changed. I became a parent. Of two. A 6yo boy and a 3yo girl. Trauma babies as they are sometimes called in this crazy foster parenting world.
It has rocked me to my core. It has been scary, beautiful, tragic, delightful, and everything in between. I have grown more than I could have imagined. And I’m a completely different teacher because of it. Because of the trauma on my babies’ faces. Because of the trauma in their bones. Because of the trauma deep, deep in their hearts. Because of the trauma that I can now see in my classroom. Because I don’t just have 2 trauma babies at home. I have many more sitting in desks in front of me. And down the hall. And in the cafeteria.
There’s a lot of research about trauma and how it affects a person’s brain development and ability to learn. There’s a lot of research about children’s very extreme fight or flight responses to seemingly small stimuli. And I won’t bore you with that. But if you think it’s just a matter of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps to get over trauma, you’re wrong. And I say very little with that level of certainty these days. Trauma changes everything.
But that’s not to say you can’t overcome it. That you can’t thrive despite it. I’ve seen a little girl transform from a 2yo I thought could never bond with anyone to a 3yo that strokes my hand when I’m upset, tells me thank you for getting her milk (without prompting), and apologizes to others (again, without prompting) when she knows she’s wrong. She cares about others and their feelings (albeit in a very immature, 3yo kind of way). I couldn’t have imagined that even 6 months ago. And she still throws the most insane tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. But she’s growing.
As my time with my babies at home comes to a close, I have a renewed energy for applying what I’ve learned in the classroom. I’ve got more thoughts in my head than I can possibly communicate right now. I’ll try to organize them and get them into words that others might understand. I’d like to think that this is more than just renewed summer vigor.