Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hello, my name is…

Despite my apparent inability to blog, I think about it often. I find writing is cathartic for my soul even if no one reads and no one responds (although it is always good to have feedback!).

From my previous posts you know life has been challenging lately. I feel a bit bad for not updating you on Duc’s nee-nee/sleep situation, but I am happy to say it has improved. I think I needed to get far enough distance between living it and writing about it. Despite my assertions that I am not superstitious, I still find myself crossing my fingers and trying not to jinx myself.

The night following my last post I talked to Mom. Every woman wants to believe she will be a better mother than her’s was. You think you will find the patience that your mother lacked. You promise yourself you will never say “because I said so” and especially as adoptive parents you think you will never get tired of hearing your child chant “MOM!” at high volume. You tell yourself that you know everything about your child—more than any other living soul on this planet (a fact that saddens me and empowers me to make better decisions). As an adoptive parent you educate yourself on attachment issues and can spot those times when your child struggles.

I’ll be honest, hearing Duc scream and cry for hours on end simultaneously tears my heart out and makes me want to scream at him in frustration. I finally shared this with my mother. I didn’t want to admit that I was failing. Failing him and failing my sanity. I didn’t want to admit I was over my head, at the end of my rope and feeling up a creek sans paddle. She gently reminded me that I always have Duc’s abandonment issues in mind and that whether or not it was intentional, Duc was playing me. She couldn’t be right, could she? I excused him and explained “you don’t understand. you don’t hear his panicked cries or see she tear soaked face. His anxiety is real”

But my mother has been a mother for 30 some years. She has counseled hundreds of children in the last 15 years of her career and most recently began working with children and families in the foster care system (among other things). I couldn’t deny the fact that she knows children and their psychology.

That night I tucked Duc into my bed with my mom’s instructions rolling through my head. I assured Duc that I wasn’t going anywhere. I told him I would hold his hand for a few minutes and then I would return to the living room to work on laundry. I told him that I would not be returning to the room no matter how much he screamed and that I would only come back when I went to bed. His response made me cry later:

D: Mommy, go to work?

M: I’m not going to work. I’m going to work on laundry just down the hall.

D: You not going bye-bye?

M: No, honey, I’m not going bye-bye. Did you think I was going to work and leaving you alone?

D: Yeah, mommy. I thought you leave me.

Wow, I had no idea. Once I assured him that I was most definitely NOT leaving he quieted down and slept fine.

We still struggle from time to time with sleep now that he doesn’t have his nee-nee to pacify him. He has had to learn to rely more on me for comfort and to learn how to self soothe. And at times I realize he is trying to manipulate me—maybe not intentionally, and maybe not related to adoption. Every person was born with the ability to manipulate. It is what carries on our species and what drives our self preservation—whether it is our corporeal being or our mental being. We are given the tools from birth that allow us to get our needs met.

I’m just glad to have my happy boy back (and to be able to sleep in my bed alone).


Anonymous February 16, 2011 at 2:14 PM  

So glad he is settling.

a Tonggu Momma February 17, 2011 at 9:49 AM  

I am so glad he was able to communicate that to you. It changes everything, doesn't it?

kitchu February 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM  

parenthood is such a puzzle sometimes, add adoption to it and then it's a true jigsaw. we do our best to find how the pieces fit and sometimes it's as simple as this, others it's not.

i'm so glad you are both getting better rest and that he is assured of your presence.

i miss you guys. i miss our emails :)

Erica February 18, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

I do too, Kitchu.

Where did time go? If not for the fact that D grows so much I would have no way to measure the passing of time.

Michele February 20, 2011 at 1:21 PM  

I am glad that you are finding solutions and he is reassured. It is never easy and they can play us like there is no tomorrow. We struggle and there are 2 of us. I can't imagine what it would be like as single. I give you a ton of credit as he is doing well. Don't be so hard on yourself. Parenting is a tough job and although it can be wonderful and drive us insane all at the same time, their smiles and snuggles makes all the tough moments melt away.

Kelli February 20, 2011 at 11:12 PM  

Glad things are starting to settle down (or were :D). You'll need to be my go to, my rock, when I decide to put Aiden back in his room.

Anonymous March 16, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

Thanks for the nice words. It's easier to recognize what is happened when not personally involved in the situation. Since i dont' have to hear his crying, it is easy for me to tell you to ignore it. His behavior does get better all the time. last week he was a joy to be around and so delightful.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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