Thursday, October 25, 2012
Whole New Strategy
The carnage of late has been great. In 8 days, 7 new tubes of toothpaste went down the toilet in 3 separate incidences. I will not buy smaller tubes because I'm afraid they'll pass through the toilet and clog up the sewer lateral. Imagine the cost of ripping up my driveway to get to that pipe!
Also add another contact lense that Blossom ripped in half and the handicap parking placard that I've been looking for since last Friday. Today, Blossom adimitted that she threw it out the car window, probably last Friday as I was taking her to the doctor for her rash. Last night, we were all in the car and my car key was missing. Awhile ago, it was my housekey, but I didn't realize it was Blossom as that time until I found it on the highest note of my piano when I opened the lid to play weeks later. Thankfully, I did find the car key, but only by luck. Blossom would not tell me where it was, no matter what. I don't know what else might be missing, but I am missing the container of Jie Jie's baby teeth and the time frame points a finger at Blossom.
I realized that she is a master player. Her goal is to get me so angry that I'll send her back to China. She doesn't trust that I'll keep her, so she's rather bent on proving that I'll give her away or send her away.
My new girls are so fragile right now. Last night at my meeting, the man happened to be Chinese and as we all sat there, I watched a change come over Sissy. She was nearly in tears by the end of the meeting and when I asked what was wrong she said she didn't like America and wanted to go back to China. This is definitely not true, so I was puzzled and wondered what was going on in her mind. Out on the sidewalk, on the way to the car, I asked again what was wrong and she burst into sobbing tears. They lasted all the way home. Instead of a bath, I put her straight to bed, her safe place where she talks of her scary things. Sure enough, she admitted that she thought I was in that meeting to do paperwork to send her back to China. The minute I assured her she was wrong and that I'll never let her go anywhere, she was smiling and happy.
Sissy is doing very well. It's been three months since her adoption and she's done remarkably well. I'm 5 weeks in with Blossom and she's right about on par for her past experiences, too. However, what I've been doing so far in reaction to her carnage has not changed her behavior at all. In fact, I've fallen directly in with her plan and didn't even know it. Although my anger lessened, my appearance of anger did not since I believed she still needed a consequence and/or punishment for her actions. I'm certain she associated the increased severity of the punishment with an increase of my anger, so she felt she was achieving her goal.
As of today, finding another torn contact lense of mine, my anger was real, but completely hidden and it's changing from anger to planning. I continued with our day without a hitch, in fact, giving all the girls a special little snack. This gave them all great pause. Then, as we cleaned out the van in search of the handicap placard, I told the girls that whoever found it would get to pick a cookie from the bakery. They all scrambled to find it, but, of course, it didn't turn up. As usual, Blossom couldn't contain herself and said a few things in Chinese that clued Sissy in to the fact that Blossom had something to do with the missing placard. With the promise of no punishment for telling the truth, Blossom confessed that she'd touched it. Soon, with a few questions from me, she confessed that she threw it out the window. Since the only time she's been alone with me in the car was last Friday to go to the doctor's office, and that's when I noticed it first missing, I deduced that that was when she committed the crime.
I praised her for telling the truth. It wasn't false praise. This was a good breakthrough. Then, I lamented that it was a shame we couldn't recover the placard and have cookies. Then, later, of course, we had to park quite far away from the door of our destination because we couldn't park in a "blue" spot. Too bad we can't get ice cream since I've had to pay for parking twice now, $4 total, which is what 4 cones cost us at IK&A or the local fastfood place that starts with Mc.
This is a plan that is positive. Punishment, of course, is negative from the perspective of my kids. I didn't like being punished as a kid, but at least I knew I deserved what I got. I don't think our orphanage raised kids know this, or, because the reasons for their behavior are quite different from what mine were as a kid, normal methods just don't work. I've been smothered by all the negativity Blossom's behavior created and now I've stopped it. She also felt the reward of telling the truth. My other two girls didn't have to see me angry and see Blossom punished. They've missed playing with her.
Now, don't get me wrong. Blossom is in lockdown for sure. She cannot be out of my site for even one second, and I've really had to discover what one second truly is. She cannot go into any bathroom alone or any bedroom. But, I've made the time to be able to watch the girls play out in the yard, where she can't cause any real damage (as far as I can tell). And it was interesting watching them play. They played "family" but one that was an imitation of Blossoms bad antics with the following consequences, but with a childish spin toward exaggeration and cruelty. Instead of a dinner of plain food, the poor pretend child didn't get any dinner at all. Could this have been a punishment used in Blossom's orphanage? Most likely, yes. Pre-Blossom, Jie Jie's version of playing family was to be a mom adopting kids in China or taking care of daycare kids, etc... See how impressionable our kids truly are?
I feel much better about my new strategy. I think that it will finally set Blossom on a new course. Meanwhile, I just have to remember where I keep hiding our toothpaste!