Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 4 Comments
Rory is mortally wounded several dozen times a day. Rarely do ten minutes go by before the refrain begins: OUCHIE! OUCHIE! I know, I know that this is more of exactly what I blogged about two days ago. I know this is Rory, who just wants as much of me as she can get, and a true wound is an excellent way to get my full attention. But oh, it is getting old. And hard on Wyatt, giver of all wounds and injuries. “WALLET HIT ME! WALLET HURT ME!”
I blogged a while ago that I’d decided to always believe her and oh man, did it backfire. I often don’t see, and I’ve been erring on the side of believing her, but getting suspicious. Here’s what happens (I’ve been sneakily watching them around doorways): she puts herself in Wyatt’s way. If he is spinning, she is right there where he will whack her. If he IS kicking her–the annoying poking kind, which still isn’t ok–she’ll position herself even closer and start to yell. This morning I watched as he gave up a chair she wanted to her (rare) and then, when she didn’t take it right away (because she was on the floor, hoping that I would respond with massive sympathy to the fact that Wyatt took her chair), left, then came back with the clear intent of sitting down. She got up then, ran for the chair, ran into him (not hard) and flung herself to the ground. “WALLET HIT ME! HE HURT ME! HE HIT MY EYE!”
Well, no, YOU hurt you (and not much, either).
I know this isn’t some massive conscious plot on her part. I know she doesn’t actually think, well, I’ll just lay here and scream until Mommy comes over and does the whole, oh, poor baby bit. I do. But it’s a real problem, and one I’m struggling with for a lot of reasons. For one thing, we do this, oh, four or five times an hour when we’re home. Seriously.
For another, again as I’ve said before, she has no speed in between OH MY GOD I’VE SAWED MY ARM OFF AND I AM BLEEDING BUCKETS and WYATT’S FINGER BRUSHED ME IN PASSING AND THEN HE GIGGLED. She is the boy who cried wolf, and I never ever believe her anymore–which Wyatt then takes advantage of, because it’s not like he never hits her, he does. (She hits him, too.) Plus, she doesn’t get anything when she really needs it. I really, truly can’t tell the difference between actual hurt and the kind that, if she realizes I’m in the shower, will go away in a heartbeat. She’s that good.
So she loses, I lose, and Wyatt loses–no one is coming out well in this little game. And I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried pouring on the sympathy, on the theory that in some sense she’s always hurt–meaning that she always needs me. But sympathy isn’t enough; it has to involve punishing Wyatt too, and it has to be big, and long, and drawn out–which doesn’t work three minutes before we have to leave for school. Plus, to be honest, I HATE THIS. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for whiners, especially when they’re requiring “fairness”, and I know she’s physically as tough as nails. I’ve seen her fall four feet onto a concrete step, get up, brush it off and smile–if she’s desperate to get back to the playground, and if there’s no possible argument that someone else did it. (You should see her when she thinks I did it–as in, I leaned over her and the string from my hoodie hit her in the face, as it did yesterday. The outrage. The confusion. How to both get Mommy to punish herself and give Rory big time hugs and snugs and poor babies?)
And yet I know that the universe has scarcely been fair to Rory. I don’t exactly blame her for trying to get some justice now. Well, I do blame her, but I get it.
Let’s just say I cannot WAIT for this phase to end.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 2 Comments
I went into the bathroom as Rory was supposed to be brushing her teeth, and found the mirror covered in suds of some kind, all over the back of the sink about where she could reach. What is that? I asked–and she froze.
Did you do that? Dumb question, as it was wet, and she was the only child in there (or anywhere nearby).
Did you put soap on the mirror?
Did you put water on the mirror?
How did you do that?
Tell me how you did that.
Show me. I’m not mad. I just want to know what you did.
Tears, and the edge of wailing.
Wyatt comes in. It will just wipe off, he says, and gets a washcloth, and I take it. I know. Look, Rory, it comes right off. I’m not mad. I just want to know how you did it.
We go on for about ten minutes. She won’t show me, she won’t tell me, and every time I begin to lose patience (and you have to understand that I really really didn’t care about the mirror, but the refusal itself did push me–just a little, I never even raised my voice or got fierce–) tears would well up, and the lip would start, and the wails would begin.
I gave her a chioce, again, and again, too many times. Tell me, or show me, or go straight to bed with no books. She WOULD NOT. I brushed her teeth, put on her pajama top–all with her cooperating–then offered it,again, one more chance–and the wailing and sobbing began, and she ran away, away from the pajama bottoms. I don’t like you! No! I don’t like Mommy. And she grabbed the bottoms
Fine, I said, and left the bathroom, and gently closed the bathroom door, and left her kicking and screaming, and came back a couple minutes later, and said–do you want to tell me? Fierce head shaking. Do you want me to put on your pajamas? Nod.
SO I did, and put her to bed with no more than a sniffle or two. And I have no idea why that happened.
It was so frustrating. I know she understood the question. I don’t know if she was overwhelmed by stuborn-ness, or if she thought, not matter what I said (and if there are any three words I know she gets, it’s “I’m not mad,”) that I WOULD be mad, or what. And when the tears would well up and the lip would start–I have to say it again, i really was patient–I just wanted to shake her! Tell me, and read a book. Show me, if you don’t have words, and we will read a book. I am not mad. You have to answer me.
I really did want to know-because it pays to be specific with Rory, and I wanted to say “don’t put soap on the mirror” or “don’t put toothpaste on the mirror,” but it wasn’t anything I’d ever scolded her for before, or anything that would ever be a big deal. But lying, or lying by omission–can’t do that. You must answer me.
At least we got out of it without a major tantrum. But now I just want to know why she wouldn’t talk!
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 7 Comments
I totally love Rory now–no hesitation–which makes it ok for me to say this: sometimes I like being mean to her.
In a totally virtuous way, of course. I just reviewed the dvd of Olivia for DoubleX, and in one episode, Olivia refuses to wear her soccer shirt–she doesn’t like dressing like everyone else-and she’s rewarded, in the end, by getting to play goalie and saving the game, and I just wanted to slap that pig upside the ears. Sometimes you have to play by the rules. Sometimes you have to do exactly what you’re told.
Doing exactly what she’s told isn’t really Rory’s special gift. What Rory likes to do is make up some alternative version of your instructions, which allows her to remain in control while still, in her eyes, fulfilling your wishes. Tell her she can’t eat a popsicle in the living room and she needs to go to the table, and she’ll go sit at the bar. Your goal, her decision. It makes me wince, to be honest, but in that case, I can live with it.
But today, as the light turned green to allow us to cross Hanover’s busiest intersection (so not much, but a speeding car is a speeding car and it only takes one), I took Lily’s hand, Lily took Wyatt’s hand and I instructed Rory to take Wyatt’s other hand as we stepped into the street.
She didn’t want to. She dithered. She ran around us. I no hold Wyatt’s hand. I hold your hand. I didn’t have a hand, I had Lily and a basket. I hold Lily’s hand! She yanks Wyatt away from Lily. Mind, we’re standing in the street, the light is counting down and a car turning right could take us all out in an instant. I throw the basket back at the sidewalk and shove them all back up out of the street. If you won’t hold Wyatt’s hand, we’ll have to go home, I say, then back off–oops, can’t do that, this is dinner–ok, then, but only BIG KIDS can hold hands while we cross the street. And now we have to wait for a whole nother light, and it’s all because Rory wouldn’t listen.
I pick her up.. I make a big deal. Look at Wyatt and Lily, holding hands. They’re such BIG KIDS. I thought I had three BIG KIDS who could hold hands, but I have two BIG KIDS and one BABY.
It’s sick how much I’m enjoying myself, really. Rory is crying–although she’s still saying she’ll hold my hand, or Lily’s hand. (Who held whose hand was just about where we were standing, btw, and getting across quickly.) She’s not crying hard, but she’s not happy.
And at every street corner, for the rest of the expedition, I pick her up and remind her that this is because she’s a BABY, and Lily and Wyatt are BIG KIDS WHO LISTEN.
Honestly, I enjoy this because it works. She doesn’t want to be a baby, and I’m sorry–there are times when you need to do exactly what I say, and quickly, and crossing the street is one of them. If I told her to run to the sidewalk because a car was coming, and she decided to run, instead, to the sidewalk on the other side of the street, she could end up dead.
So I know this is not very zen. I know it’s not in keeping with the book “Beyond Logic and Consequences” described in an Adoptive Families recently. The author of that book would prefer me to stay calm, and be open to understanding where Rory is coming from. I say, I was calm–and I do know where she’s coming from. She wants to make every choice, because so many choices have been made for her. Got it. But sometimes, in life, you don’t get to make the choice, and there isn’t time to talk you through it. Sometimes you need to grab the hand of the nearest person and run across the street before the light changes. Sometimes you have to do what I actually told you to do.
It truly is my job to teach her that, just as it was my parents job to teach me–and I didn’t like it, either. I think that’s why I secretly enjoy these little teaching moments. I don’t always want to do what I’m told either, kid. But sometimes you do it anyway.
And sometimes you have to wear the green soccer shirt, Olivia and Olivia scriptwriters! Geez!
I am trying to be more zen and open in all things, and to let much of what Rory does–and Wyatt, and sometimes Lily, for that matter–come into me as though I were water and flow out without leaving a mark. But allow me my little tiny pleaures, won’t you?
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