Children who have been through trauma live in hypervigilent mode always watching for danger. When you live like that long enough, you miss a lot of stuff. One of the things my guys missed was the ablity to be in touch with their feelings. They don't have a lot of emotional logic. One of the ways that it shows up is that they do not understand what I am feeling or would even logically feel.
Often they think I will care about things that I have never been concerned about. I have had people say "He was so worried he got ketchup on his shirt. He said you were going to kill him." Really? We do have a washing machine. Clothes get dirty. I've never made a big deal over it. Other such statements. "mom can I turn on the light?" "Can I have a drink of water?" "Can I watch tv with you?" are all questions that are things I would no dream of saying no too and don't.
Then it goes the other way. The big stuff, checking in if they are running late, asking if they can go to a place, etc. Those bigger things I do care about they are more likely to skip.
I'm sure it is all very confusing to them. They were born into chaos and lived ther for some time. Now they can't figure out what is supposed to make sense.
Understanding how our kids think can help us in with dealing with them. Reviewing what they don't have to ask about, or reviewing what they do have to ask about may help. But nothing works as well as healing from the trauma. It is tough work but so worthwhile.
The other day our oldest daughter called home and apprently got Teddy on the phone. She asked if she could leave a message and his answer was "No I won't remember it." Did he think of writing it down and putting it where I could see it? No. What he did seemed perfectly resonable to him. He thought it was the right thing.
Remember those chaotic early years and remember that a child who has been through great trauma may still have some pretty chaotic thinking. That front part of the brain where logic develops just didn't get the work that the fight, flight and freeze center did. As hard as it is to parent them, it is harder to be them.