Just what is it that makes us drive all over the place, spend our retirement and consider enrolling in one therapy after another and another?
This was written on 8/10/11:
7:00 am up and grouchy, breakfast takes about 15 minutes to decide. Usually we get waffles (gluten free of course) or scrambled eggs. We also add a hefty dose of whatever pills he is taking this week. Today that was 2 cold snap, 3 Calm-PRT, 2 Vitamin C and 2 Kavinace. Next week it will probably all change thanks in part to our homeopath and her kineseology assessment of his supplements that week.
At 7.30 we usually start asking for him to get dressed, one of us will keep checking in every minute or so to see if he has actually managed to leave the dog alone, quit playing with his Lego, put his Mario figures down, in time to just get his shorts on. Inevitably it will be that one of us will go ahead and just start to help him put his clothes on, this also includes taking to the bathroom and helping to get his face washed and teeth brushed. If we don’t accompany him he will wander off and start playing, drawing or rolling on the floor with the dogs.
At 7.50 he is in the car and off to school. In the car he will listen to his Brain Balance CD much to his annoyance. Usually he will yell forcefully “Oh my G*D” and hit something, he will tell me it’s stupid, or I am stupid or a moron, but after a while will settle down into some kind of silence. On Thursday when I dropped him off he told me he was running away, today apparently he went in after a brief high five to his Dad. I think as much as he doesn’t want to, he is actually enjoying going to school.
Around 2.45 I pick him up, M/W/F we have to drive straight to Brain Balance, this elicits several different responses, today he threw his lunchbox with a metal water bottle at me, while I was driving. Luckily he is a horrible shot, it missed me by inches. Anyway I am pretty used to it by now, most of the objects that will hurt when thrown have been removed from the reach of his booster seat. Mostly now I get hit by flying socks, not too terrible, much better than the bag of coins he managed to throw at my head one day. All the way to BB today he complained, finally half way there he yelled at me to stop the car (on the interstate) and let him get out, his hope was to be hit by a passing truck. I explained that it wasn’t safe enough for his sister and I to stop, but told him I would happily stop once we hit surface streets. At that point he said “no, he would go to BB after all” so off we went. We arrived 30 minutes early for our appointment so I decided to tackle his homework with him in one of the empty offices. Overall he did a good job, some “Oh G*Ds” some “You hate me, and your’e an idiot” but he had completed the list of spelling words required in about 15 minutes. So while he complained and stalled a little, mostly he whined but did what he needed to get done. Fine in my book.
He also completed his exercises in BB without too much incidence. He even helped carry out some packages to the car on his way out. However, on the way home he continued his tirade of “I hate you, you hate me, kill me, I am saaaaad, I just want to die, I am so sad, you hate me, no I know you love me, I am garbage, throw me away” for the entire 20 minute drive. He was revved up by the time we got home and once his clothes had been hastily removed and thrown where he took them off, he came into my office and instantly started trying to watch Mario Cart videos on YOUTUBE. Banished out to play something else, he decided to lay upside down on the couch watching The Rug Rats. I went in after an hour and switched it off for dinner, he didn’t actually utter any complaints which is quite shocking, usually I will hear the “Oh my G*D” over and over. His favorite sentence is sing songy and comprises of “You hate me, I know you don’t love me, i’m saaaad, throw me away, I should die, just kill me, I know I should just die” He often follows me around repeating this type of thing over and over and over. After dinner he took an Epsom salt bath, the bath is his favorite place ever, either a shower or bath he doesn’t mind. Tonight was a bath, he submerged himself with his swim goggles to play with his plastic Mario figures and the multitude of plumbing connectors he loves to play with.
This, as I already mentioned, was written in August and has been sat in my drafts folder, I didn’t have the time or energy to finish the post. Anyway, I was doing some housekeeping tonight on the site and realized that even though this post was written a little over a month ago, I had almost a replica day on Wednesday! The dizzying array of items he finds to throw at me astounds me, and in fact I had to stop the car twice on the way home to have them both calm down. It’s just too dangerous to drive with missiles launching and the pair of them fighting over nothing in particular.
On the one hand it drives me to keep my car in some sort of reasonable order, at least in regards to heavy objects, but it also serves as a learning tool. Each time I have to stop on the way home they need to learn to cooperate and calm down in order for me to get back in the car and bring them home. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway!…
On a good day (which we do have now) I think “is this really so terrible? Is this not just normal behavior? Doesn’t everyone have these days?” and on a bad day, I really wonder what I did to the universe to deserve this? In a snapshot it all seems so manageable and benign, I hear “oh my kid has tantrums all the time too” I wonder if their kid charges them with a fork, forgets his own name and can physically pick up a full size mattress and remove it from his room. Or I hear “Oh if they say they hate you, you know you are doing your job” to which I think, nope in that moment he really does hate me, he hates me for taking him away from his Birth Mother, he hates her for abandoning him, he hates me for bringing him somewhere he neither asked nor wanted to be. He hates me for ruining his life. That’s his true perception. Why didn’t I adopt another kid? Why did I have to take him? In that moment he truly hates me! 🙁
Having said all that :), I think the days are getting better. I think the tantrums are shorter, the transitions easier, the self hatred slightly less. He asks me a lot now, “Am I doing the right thing?” or he will ask if he has made a good choice, he really needs me to validate that for him a lot right now. I think overall his temper is better, his anger simple flashes followed by an ability to calm himself down. The traits that earned him the labels are slowly being peeled away, some not even applicable anymore. On Wednesday night we went swimming (usually fatal after an already long day) and he played for over an hour with a bunch of other kids, no fighting no stress. One of my friends who hasn’t seen him for a long time remarked “he is getting along so well with the other kids, it’s like his sharp edges have started rounding off!” It felt good. That’s a good analogy, his sharpness is fading, his initial instinct to fight is not as powerful or prolific. He is calmer, he is more composed.
However, not wanting to leave the pool and after struggling verbally to get him in the car things melted down completely. As the night wore on both the kids became unhinged. Sobbing and crying, him about his Birth Mother and G confused about why she doesn’t feel the same way and how she can’t remember ever being adopted. Complex feelings for a 6 and 7 year old. Even I stuggle with how to explain it to them, how to placate them. All I can do is hold them, hug them, love them and let them know this is constant, this is real, this is forever. This is our normal and it’s ok.
On Thursday B’s school had a meet and greet with a little girl adopted from Uganda. She was 5 when her adoptive Mum (a volunteer from America on a teaching project) found her. She was crippled and living on the streets, begging. The only time she looked up or smiled was when money was offered, in the downtime she sat and rocked. Her adoptive Mother told her story and showed pictures of life before they became a family. B’s school has been doing bake sales and car washes to raise money for the family now they are back in the US. My son is totally enthralled with the story and the girl. I think this little girl has helped him understand his journey a little better, and that has given him some peace in regards to why he came to live with us.
I don’t usually quote Bible verses, I admit my knowledge is pretty limited, however on Thursday his teacher spoke from Romans 5: 3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” This really struck a chord with me, and it seems, him. Religiousness or not, it is true that struggle can either devour us or it can make us stronger, it can give us a will to succeed, to excel or we can totally sink under the weight of it. I meet people who have fought cancer, or who have survived terrible tragedies and many come through the other side understanding themselves better, wanting to be better, to make life better for others. You see it with the cancer survivor who raises money, who volunteers, who walks to make someone else’s life better, the homeless person who gets ahead and goes back to help others do the same, the suicide survivor who volunteers at the prevention helpline, they all become stronger because of the journey they endured.
My son seems to have taken this to heart. He is beginning to understand he does have a purpose, that this journey is about more than just him. He is beginning to understand his Birth Mother didn’t toss him away, she actually made a plan for him, made a plan in the hopes that he would survive, excel, become strong. Who knows what his journey through life will be, at least now he has the opportunity to make it great, to do something great, to be educated, to excel. He just has to find it in himself to stop looking backwards and start looking forwards. Start dreaming about what he can do, rather than what has been done. I have great hope for him, not expectations, not preconceived desires for him to be a doctor or a lawyer, just great hope that he will find a path in life that brings him joy, happiness and and eventually some peace.