Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today hope is a 4 letter word.

I don't have much hope today. I have a little more than I had yesterday but it is only marginally more and only because after having a meltdown yesterday morning I found people to help me through it, made some choices and then went to bed knowing that today is a new day.

After I wrote yesterdays post I was feeling overwhelmed by what has been going on with Fudge. I decided to email Fudge's therapists and see what they thought/could say and in doing that I was really honest about how I was feeling in that moment. Which turned out to be a really good thing because then we talked about how I was feeling and what I needed to do and that gave me some perspective.

I am scared.

I am scared that Fudge will not attach to me. It has been 2 years and everyone told me he was going to be the easy kid. Calvin was the hard kid and yet he is attaching, he has made huge strides, making those strides with him makes me feel proud. I feel proud that we took this really tough kid and helped him to turn that around. I am proud that we have success story of what can happen with older child adoption and at the same time I also terrified that we have a worst case scenario on our hands as well.

Twice yesterday Fudge said things that caused me seriously consider that he may never get to the place were he trusts me enough to let me in. I can not figure him out, I can not find the pattern and help him to change as I did with Calvin.

Hope is 4 letter word today.

I don't have much hope and I am working on being okay with that for now. I am taking a huge step back from parenting Fudge and letting P take over for a bit which works in some ways and not in others because I am the one that is home. I have bought goodnights and given the boys an alarm clock and I will not be pulled into the struggle over wet beds and water drinking any longer. I do need to not start each day with a fight.

I have a plan and that will help me cope but at this exact moment I am still scared and I do not have very much hope that things are really going to change. I am terrified of all the what ifs.

I feel defeated. It is hard to feel this way. It is hard to admit that I feel this way and that an 8 year old has made me feel it. But I do and I know that I am not the first and I will not be last.


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

If determination is a factor, you WILL get thru this. I only have 1 "challenged" child and there are days I could fall into a coma after an hour. You have 2. Give yourself some credit and take a moment to regroup.

GB's Mom said...

You were smart enough to get help. You have a plan to change what isn't working. It sounds to me like you are doing a great job. I don't know about everybody else, but there are some kids I have a harder time working with than the others. How "tough" they are doesn't seem to be my issue.It is more about how our personalities mesh and about how much adjusting I need to make things work. {{{Hugs}}}

BT said...

With "scared," you sure nailed it. I think that became my most prevalent feeling for very long stretches of time during the toughest years of our time with P. You are wayyyyy better at the attachment parenting stuff than I was/am, and I have no doubt that Fudge will attach to you. Now that you have acknowledged your deepest feeling, you can move forward adjusting your reactions to Fudge based on knowing that you are scared. Try not to think too far into the future, but just take it day by day or even moment by moment. I say this to remind myself as much as to remind you!

Is there any chance that, because you thought Calvin was the hard one, you "overlooked" Fudge somewhat? We did this with our B. He was the "easier" one -- relative to P. Then once we were not so deep in doo doo with P anymore, I started noticing areas where I thought we'd sort of shortchanged B. We had to go back and make up for it. And it has paid off. The fact that he was the easier did not mean he didn't have deep inner hurts. They just didn't get expressed in the over-the-top ways that P's did. So our attention went more to the bigger crises that P seemed to present so routinely. The good news was that we were able to make up for the lost time with B.

Juggling two is hard stuff, but you can do it. You are amazing with this stuff. Just keep hanging in there.

If Cda weren't so spread out, I'd run down the lane and give you a bit of a break. Know that I'm thinking of you.

Diana said...

Oh, do I ever hear you, my friend. We're in the same boat. Except it’s a 5 year old who makes me feel that way. My older one was REALLY scared when we adopted him and his behavior reflected it (except we didn't recognize it as scared at the time.) We very nearly lost our boys because of his crazy scared, completely unattached behavior.

Everyone told us at the time that my little one was the "normal" one and that he'd be just fine. Even before our adoption was final and long before we left Ukraine, I knew that wasn't going to be the case. My hubs saw it some, everyone else was lying through their teeth, and I saw it plain as day...and I did it anyway. What in the blazes was I thinking? Oh yah. I knew these were my boys and leaving one there would have meant leaving the other, too and I couldn't do it.

Here we are 3+ years later. My older one is not even close to the same kid he was. We still have "stuff" with him, but for the most part, he's working hard at healing and attaching.

My little guy, the one who wasn't yet 3 when we adopted him, very definitely still has RAD. We're all scared of him at times, he still pulls his crapola every single day, and there are times when I wonder how much longer I can do it. We're in this deal for the long haul, though. One of the hardest things for me is not getting on that fear horse. Lots of people do it for me, but I can't get on. If I do, I'll ride that beast right over the cliff! And so I have this moment. This moment is the only one I have that can make a differnece. Sometimes that moment is for me to step back. Sometimes I NEED to put my kid in respite so I can regroup. Sometimes I'm the one that needs the time I can regroup and dismount and find the strength to keep on doing it.

As for the pee stuff, it sounds like he's using it as a weapon. This is pretty typical stuff for hurt kids. Not fun stuff, but typical stuff. So what do you do about it??

The method I’ve found that works best is just dancing with them. If you engage in a tug of war, you'll lose every time. They know they’ve got your goat and this particular thing will push your buttons and they’ll keep doing it and get more brazen about it, too. But if you step back and dance and provide no resistance for them to pull against, it takes the power out of the weapon...which very often makes it go away. Seriously. It’s worked wonders with pee, poop, f-bombs, and numerous other things at our house.

So what does “dancing” with something like this really look like? I guess the best way to describe it is just by stating what I would do if it were (and has been) my kids doing this same thing.

First and foremost, take a minute to listen again (and again and again) to dear Christine's pee song at That’s a must!

Now that you've got things back in perspective regarding pee, it’s time to start dancing.

If the kid is going to pee in his bed, let him. You can calmly and nonchalantly suggest he get in the shower and clean up the mess, but if he resists, drop it. Let him know that you know he’s been using pee as a way to try to hurt you, but it won’t work anymore. End of conversation. After that, leave it. Walk away. Shut the door to the bedroom and let the wet sheets sit on the bed. Let the kid go to school smelling like a toilet if he wants to. Let him know that is a choice he can make and it's fine with you if he does. But don’t engage in a battle over it. Just walk away, move on with normal life, and shift the focus to something else.


Diana said...

He'll figure out pretty quickly that the teachers and kids at school won't be impressed with the smell of pee and it also won't be very fun to climb into a wet, stinky bed the next night. If he decides to change his sheets right before bed because he doesn't want to sleep in it, let him...and then give him permission to pee in these nice clean sheets if he wants to, too. On the other hand, if he doesn’t want change the sheets but would rather sleep in wet sheets, LET HIM! And let him keep on doing this little dance until he's ready to clean up the mess (and/or at least ask for help in doing so.)
Oh yah, there's some major gross factor there, but let it go. Give him the opportunity to own that pee and what he’s doing with it and realize that it’s really only hurting himself. Don’t allow the opportunity for him to have a twisted payoff (getting a rise out of you and feeling the morbidly terrifying thrill of control) by continuing to do it. And the do the same thing the next day when he puts his pee where pee doesn't belong again...or when he pulls some other RADaliciously wonderful trick. It might sound like it takes forever and you'll be swimming in pee for eternity, but surprisingly it doesn't take them very long to get the message. As my friend said about the f-bomb, we just have to make this kind of stuff no more offensive to our ears, bodies, and souls than “peanut butter!”

Scream and shout all you want to about pee on your blog. We get it here. We’ll laugh with you and cry with you and Christine will even sing about it here. But with your kid, just dance. Offer no resistance and just walk away and leave it alone and make it no big deal. Easier said then done, but it works and it’s worth it!! {{{HUGS!}}}

waldenbunch said...

I think we just get worn down from trying so hard to make a difference, to be up to the challenge, and prove to ourselves and the world that this is possible. But in reality, we can change no one but ourselves. I say that over and over and over everyday. With my husband, my kids, my mother, everyone, I can only change me and how I respond to everything. But when we reach the depths of fear and despair all our beliefs and knowledge and faith just disappear. You're doing the best thing by letting go of everything you can. Good enough is just that, good enough. Getting through the day has to be good enough. Living and surviving with the kids has to be good enough. One day I believe you'll look back and see how far you've come, but it may be a long time before that happens. I'm just now, after 10 years, seeing how far we've come. Sometimes I didn't want to live through it. But I did and you will, too. Don't let the fear monster strangle you. TODAY is all that matters. Find something that fills you up inside, whether it's a book or a walk or blogging. Know there is a community of women surrounding you who get it. You are awesome!

Acceptance with Joy said...

I'm here to say, I understand the feelings....

I've had some similar days to yours this week. We are doing OK at the moment. I'm finding that the least amount of attention given to Miss Muffet over her shenanigans the better. She hates being ignored and she hates when I don't notice how naughty she's being. She certainly is a control freak :-). Better days are ahead for you and for me.

Saying a prayer for Fudge.

And remember, we don't have to live by feelings... faith is more productive.

mom2spiritedboy said...

I keep coming and reading this and wanting to respond but wow it hits so close to home it took until now. Such wonderful support and advice offered, many by people with a whole lot more experience than me.

I will say I am glad that you reached out for help around the bed wetting and I wholeheartedly agree with removing yourself from it as much as you can.

I too have engaged in many bouts of "fake it til you make it". And there always comes a day where I stop and realize that there is far less faking and that most of my day is genuine hope and connection replacing all that fake. But fake can be our ally to embrace while you need it.

We are over 8 years into this parenting an older adopted child with attachment issues. I know my husband has borne the brunt of our sons rage and anger and nasty attachment stuff. Not to make you despair but it wasn't until last year that there was this awesome bonding occurring. And while it took a long time it DID happen. It really did.

I recently lost my ability to hope for a while and fear reared its ugly head and ruled around here for quite a while. I reached out and asked others who knew my son and my family to hold hope for me for a while. To gently remind and reassure me that there was indeed hope but I still acknowledged and in a way went through a grieving and then acceptance about our situation. In the end, hope has been restored but some days are easier than others.

Elspeth said...

I can never remember: is Calvin the older one who is outgoing and Fudge the younger one who didn't speak to you for the first little while? I was thinking about your family this morning and trying to look at the situation through the "lens of shame". If he is a little bit quieter and more introverted, he may hold a bit more inside.

Like, it's possible that there was one time that he didn't drink water and still wet the bed and he would rather you think that he intentionally wet the bed then that he's a baby and can't stay dry through the night. (obviously I'm working with extremely limited knowledge here. It's possible, though. I had a sibling who wet the bed until they were 8 or 9). Even if it's not true most of the time, if it happened just that once, it may have been enough to set the mindset.

Really, I'm just musing. I think that your the strategy is an excellent one and I hope that it improves the household dynamic as soon as possible. Good luck with everything, you seem like you're a great parent.

krlr said...

We haven't adopted...yet. Need to straighten up the finances first. But I'm reading, reading, reading, trying to prepare myself. I only mention this because I don't want my question to be misinterpreted. I am genuinely curious - how do you distinguish between Fudge acting up because of attachment issues vs just being an 8 yr old boy? My 10 yr nieces are already acting like teenagers (talking back, etc). My 5 yr old boy, potty trained for years w/out a single accident & otherwise willfully independent, suddenly started wetting the bed & baby talking when he started kindergarten this year. ALL kids constantly test limits/push boundaries/challenge their parents. They alternate between clinging & trying to carve out their own space in the world - that's how they learn to be their own person. Is it that there is no intermittent "clinging"?

I'm wondering if you do actually conceed this point to Fudge -it's his bed/his space & he can do whatever he wants to/in it that you actually win by default. YOU decided to withdraw from the argument, & win because you get the last word & there is no more power struggle. You win because you took the ball and went home (I'll stop w/the lame analogies now). Anyway, just curious, not offering advice. I realize it's a different game.

Lisa said...

You hang with me and I'll hang with you and together we'll get through this. What would we ever do without our friends in the tubes????

I love ya!

Rubypat said...

I think Diana said it just right. It isn't easy - it is incredibly hard - but inside that hurting child is a longing to be loved. Just as inside this hurting adult is a mother wanting recognition of the love she is offering. Keep your chin up, keep praying, and it WILL eventually work out. Good luck and God bless.