Hi Kathy, thank you so much for your response. We had already been thinking all of that, but needed to hear it from someone else! A few days ago, my husband was able to do a long (hour) stay listening session with our daughter. She fought and cried and shook and sweated – it was really intense. Earlier in the evening my husband and done a short staylistening session, and Maya (5) had stopped fighting at the end and said, “I love you, Daddy!” She got out of his arms and went about playing happily. This experience gave him the confidence, and hope, that this could work. So later, when her pillow was just too flat, and itchy, etc. at bedtime, he held the limit around the pillow/bedtime and that led to the long staylistening session.
Since then, Maya has been a lot more relaxed and happy. She has spit at us a few times when frustrated, but no hitting, kicking, pushing, etc. She has even been able to use words to tell me about her experiences (not when she’s mad, but at other times when she’s thoughtful about things). One example was, “Mommy, I feel really stuck when I’m mad.” Another time she whispered in my ear, “I’m not going to hurt you anymore.” I responded by telling her that I knew how much she loved me and that I feel her love even when she is angry.
So, thank you again so much for taking the time to give such a detailed response!