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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chilling Away

Having kids with a trauma and neglect background requires some really heavy lifting on a daily basis. The kids carry the weight of their long, sad, horrific, histories around and as a foster or adoptive parent your job is to lift that burden from their shoulders and put it squarely on yours. The children test and push make sure you will stick around.  And it is exhausting at times to try and teach them the things they should have learned from the start.

They don't know touch is supposed to be comforting and loving. They didn't learn that parents will take care of them. They didn't learn to use words and reasoning to solve problems. They aren't confident food will always be available. Children with this background need you to start over and parent them as if they are infants and toddlers in the bodies of school aged kids. 

Smiley and I are currently walking this path. She's trying to push me away because she is starting to attach appropriately and that is terrifying for her. This week she will have lived with me a year. And I have to show up every day no matter how tired I am because if I don't, she can't heal and we won't be able to move past this stage.

She is still refusing to complete simple tasks that she can do just fine when just Hubby is home. Yesterday she cried from the moment I woke her up until the moment she left for the bus. She couldn't find clothes or socks. She couldn't find toothpaste. She didn't have her snack. When it was bedtime she couldn't get her pajamas on. And then we needed the pillow spray, music on, light on, she was thirsty.  It was a different version of "stay Busy with me". There were tears and she just shuts down and refuses to engage. She won't do what you ask. She can't answer your questions and she cries harder and harder. These meltdowns can go in for over 45 minutes.

And I feel helpless. I'm her Mom. I'm supposed to be able to soothe my child. To help her. But she didn't learn that so I have to teach her. We have to stick with it. I know we are chipping away at the wall. She wanted no part of a stroll through our new town with special hot chocolate and Christmas Lights. But she was able to say, "I don't like this. I am hungry." Big step forward.

This morning I woke her up and I tickled her like she was an infant. It was a great morning. She got dressed and out the door with no issues. Yoi win some, you lose some.

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