Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bonding 101

One daughter is severely restricted in my home. She must always be within my site, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. She is feeling like she's not part of the family because she doesn't have the freedom to touch things in the home and go places in the home that the other girls have. She doesn't understand cause and effect, or at least her responsibility in it. She hasn't yet grasped the reality that her behavior is what has caused the restriction. To her, she's perfectly justified in her behavior because she's angry, and when she's not angry, she should not be punished.

The flip side of this, is that my other two daughters sense the division, too, and are having a hard time feeling like the restricted daughter is part of the family and their sister.

I can orchestrate family activities that do not have this division when we are outside the home or when I can be with the girls 100% of the time. This is when we have the most fun and draw closer as a family, but once it's over and I have to do something necessary, like cook, the girls no longer have free access to the entire house and one must stay with me at all times.

This is VERY exhausting. I can't even go to the bathroom in private. Even tonight, after they were all tucked into bed, because the bathroom is situated between the two bedrooms, one called out to me that she could hear me going potty and, because of limited English, used sound effects to let me know. It used to be funny, and maybe in a few years it will be funny again, but I'm dying for a long soak in my tub without having to go through a bedroom and listening out for one of the girls. My washes, because they are barely baths and showers, are stolen moments, usually with an audience. When I shut the shower doors even though I'm bathing and not showering, my eldest daughter has to point it out to me and ask why. When I gave her "the look" she said, "Ni bu shi wan women can can ni body," which translates to, "You don't want us to see your body," meaning, I want privacy!

Developmentally in the bonding process, my new girls are finally past 2 years old and are now 4 years old. They ask why even though they know the answer. They speak loudly all the time. They argue because, of course, they know everything (don't most teens?), they never, ever, ever stop talking to me and when I tell them it's quiet time, they start singing or tapping something, or making noise some other way.

One has done well with the use of toilet paper, but let me know tonight, that in China she only used toilet paper after having a BM so her panties were always a dirty yellow. The other daughter said that she didn't use toilet paper at all, and held up her hand when I asked what she did use. She then made sure to tell me how dirty and smelly it was, which makes sense because, after I taught her to use toilet paper, she kept smelling her hand. She still needs a lot of help with the use of toilet paper. I've got her counting squares to make sure she uses the correct amount and I often still wipe her bottom for her because she can't quite grasp the concept of wiping front to back yet. I have introduced the flushable wet wipe, which has helped a lot.

My girls are definitely Swiss Cheese. They have so many developmental holes and holes from lack of experience that I'm still floored almost daily. As long as we stay in our home, I feel I'm handling it all well and I can see their progress. But the minute we are out in public, it's a whole other story. As I try and teach the girls and they flounder, others stare, comment, lecture me, chide me, etc... as though I'm the worse mom in the world. I'm very tired of being on display, even though I know it's par for the course. I much prefer the people who tell me I'm a saint because the ones who have said it so far, aren't just saying it because they think I "saved" these kids, but because they see the amount of patience I'm exerting every second of every moment of every minute of every day.

I admit my daughters are dressed well and appear very put-together, so it's probably startling to a lot of people when my 14 year old doesn't move one inch out of the middle of the shopping isle when they've said, "Excuse me," a dozen times.

I hate to admit it, but we are still not attending church. We tried it once and it was great, but the powers that be want my daughters to attend their age level classes instead of the primary level where they fit in and had fun. I keep getting the song and dance about language and culture and how we have a very diversified group who have done well, but I can't seem to get through to them that it's institutional delays and behaviors that we are dealing with and that the language and cultural part is the easy part. I could arrange a meeting, but I just don't have it in me right now to put out the energy.

The girls were disappointed that I actually bought a pumpkin pie tonight instead of making one. Yes, it's a first for me, but I can't stand the thought of taking the time and energy to mix and roll out a crust! They are so interested in learning to cook and bake, and I understand this, but this isn't time for it. Not with one attached like velcro, another with a special need, a Monday birthday, Thursday Thanksgiving, and another birthday on Saturday.

I'd skip the holiday altogether if I could, or at least have had it on the Saturday birthday.... Ah, the joys of older child adoption, special need adoption and single parenthood...


Julie said...

You are amazing and I stand in awe of you!

Joannah said...

You have taken on a HUGE responsibility. There is so much intentionality to your parenting. I am sure I could not do what you are doing. You are in the thick of it now, but you will experience the fruits of your labor with your daughters in time. Hang in there!!!

Anonymous said...

I know I could not do what you do. Hang in there, K.

bridget said...

I totally get what you are saying about handling things at home, but it being another story when you leave the house. Mine are only 2 and 3 year old, but I can SO identify with that. My 3 year old absolutely cannot be left in a classroom yet. And I have had her for 2.5 years. She is impulsive, she hits. She just is not ready. She is not like the American children. At home we do fine. But take her to church and look out. And people just don't understand. I do totally get how tired you must be. You are doing an amazing job. I have learned so much from your blog. You have helped me be a better parent to my little girls.