Thursday, October 28, 2010


Note: I am not a doctor I only play one in my own home- nothing I suggest should be taken as literal or even factual for that matter.

What Melatonin has done for our family...
  • I can parent my kid at night
  • I can sooth my child at night
  • I can rock my child at night
  • I can hold my child without regret
  • I can talk to my child without fear of it adding 30 minutes till sleep
  • I can sing to my child again
  • We can revisit the days activities with smiles and laughter 
  • We can talk about what tomorrow brings and it ends with a kiss, a snuggle, and laying still until sleep visits and is welcomed in.

I can not begin to say all the ways Melatonin has helped us. ... take the edge off. I admit, to giving him this before bed. Although it was suggested by our therapist and agreed to by ped. It has taken a long time to get the right stuff and the right amount for him. At first too much and he was in REM for almost 12 hours straight, eyes almost wide open, thrashing, moaning, laughing, kicking, having apparently many very active dreams involving boxing or kickball?- while mommy spent the nights avoiding elbows, knees and kicking feet. I even had a fat lip once.

I've lowered the dose substantially. To the point, one would wonder if it really is having any effect at all. It is. Trust me.

A slightly higher dose would get him to sleep faster, but in the morning, he'd hit the ground pushing limits. As if, he felt so out of control, he had to "take it back" in the morning.

My co sleeper, was an active "fight the sleep" guy. Doing painful, ridiculous and hard to watch stuff just to NOT go to sleep. Some of these things were so so so so so hard to watch or be subjected to- that I admit- many of our sleep failures (ok- all of them) were directly related to my inability to PARENT him pre sleep.

Many- ok- MOST of all my MOMMY FAIL moments are related to this time around sleep. And going through what we are now, I realize, had stunted his ability to let the security in- because- in all honesty- there were many times I was Unpredictable (i.e. not consistent) and and Ugly (i.e. not nurturing) watching this very frustrating and painful thing happen to my son and NOT KNOW HOW TO HELP!

I hope we are soon in a place where he feels secure enough that we can go without using this, but for now.... call me a bad mother if you want to.... but the truth is, I can now parent him properly and he can let me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gaining Perspective Takes Time..

We are healing.
He is healing.
We are becoming a stronger family.
We are getting more securely attached.
We are growing... together.
We are happy... together.

You know that itchy, scratchy, bothersome feeling when a scab is healing and you just can't leave it alone. It nags you constantly never letting you forget it is there. It half hurts- and half 'feels so good' to dig at it. Healing is like that. Even emotional healing.

As a parent, a single parent, I watch this happen. Watch him dig, and be soothed and hurt at the same time. I feel his pain. And it hurts, as a parent, to not be able to fix it. To know, we have to go through it all.

The therapy we've started is incredibly helpful. It is also incredibly heavy. Last week I was on my 'therapy high' for a few hours after leaving her office. And then, I started really thinking about all she said. Oh, the pressure. It's hard not to get weighed down over it all again.

There is so much I want to share. As a single parent, I've never read another single parent, write about attachment. Specifically. Attachment process. Write about the issues and problems and process and healing. It is heavy stuff. Going through it with no back up is intense. Cause, as great as having a parent, brother or sister close by to help out in a pinch... they are never going to 'get it'. They will look at him and say- 'he's perfectly fine. Normal. Just like every other kid."

"I'm glad that is what you see." is all I can say in response.

Cause really- he will be ok. He will and is healing. He is perfect as He made him so. But he will never be "just like every other kid." My son is exceptional. Truely. For a child that experienced the amount of neglect, trauma & malnutrition that he did- he has AMAZING AH. MAZE. ING Spirit!  Which is why he is doing so well. I do not wonder if he will get through this. He is strong and driven and sensitive. I am weak, prideful and from time to time- everlovingfreakingTIRED.

So to the single parents out there. I want to give back. I want to share. But I want to write with some perspective as well. So I'm taking some time to finish what I started here, and make sure I give you something useful and not just the emotional wave we are currently riding.

For now- I will say this- schedule your breaks. Whether it be time out of the house and away. Whether it be play dates. Whether it be babysitter just to play with the kids while you work around the house for a few hours. Schedule your breaks. Recognize when you start feeling overtired and less then you want to be and nip it in the bud before hand.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moving Forward...

Here's what is going on.

Some hints of secure attachment are showing up.

(shshshshhh. no sudden moves... )

For those of you 'waiting'- you hear about
  • -indiscriminate affection
  • -crying tantrums
  • -regression
  • -multiple developmental phases all showing up in the same day
Here's the thing though. None of these really happened in this house... Until recently.

Until recently- we were firmly bonded and functioning in the 'anxious attachment' model. In fact if you look in up "Anxious Attachment" on wiki- it may have a photo of us for reference. (ya never know?!? could happen). Anxiety has REIGNED in this family!  The days of letting it rule are OVAH!

He's happy. Seemingly so, since we met. Healthy. Joyful. Loving. Affectionate. Contagious. Polite. Generous. Smart.(REEEAAALLY SMART!) Bonded. Connects to extended family. Silly. Gregarious. He comfort nursed for months. Still "co sleeps" (which is a misnomer, by the way... only ONE person gets any sleep). Clings to me. We are clearly "bonded". And yet.... there were red flags. Red flags that only someone that goes through this would see.

Red flags, listed in Deborah Gray's book regarding Phase 1 developmental attachment (or something like that... book is in the other room.) In the book she listed a handful of behaviors that signal attachment disruption from the very FIRST phase of life. Both me and another adoptive mom recognized about half of that list, in my son. Some of which- I could address from home. And honestly- with his history- I was thrilled at "anxious attachment!"

  • Wandering off without me.
  • Little to no eye contact.
  • No mirrored behavior. No give and take.
I could fix/stop the 'behavior'- but that wouldn't address the underlying problem. I knew I needed help. I knew he needed healing. And...there are professionals that do this for a living! Thus, therapy commences!

I've got more to share. More to learn. But those of you reading that are 'waiting' or are looking for that secure attachment hints.... know this... when they show up- it isn't all smooth sailing- but- man- the other side is GOOOOOOOOODDD!!

Stay Tuned!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Confessions-

I admit-

  • I (Heart) therapy.
  • I (Heart) good therapists.
  • I feel 50 lbs lighter after spending time with a good therapist.*
  • I was kicked out of therapy a few years ago. I begged to stay. She said- "Go. You are healed. You have all the tools already, just remember to use them...." or some garbage like that. I cried. Told her I was broken and needed the rush every time I leave her office, that she was my drug of choice, I'm an addict- only she could fix me.... yada yadayada. She laughed in my face and called security.**
  • Come Monday I will have been in a Children's therapists office 3 times in 7 days. Once with no child.  
  • I feel like I should think that is weird, but I don't. I loved it. 
  • After leaving therapists office, realized how validated I felt as a parent, and then wondered why being validated was so important all along and how am I just realizing that now and am I thinking in circles now??  I should bring that up in therapy.

The scale hasn't noticed yet- but I'm sure by tomorrow it will read the weight loss.
** This is only partially true.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adjusting. Attaching. Healing.

All of it hurts. All of it is hard.

It is hard for kids. It's hard for parents. And its hard for the parents to watch their kids struggle. It pisses me off quite frankly. And most days I'm quite sick and tired of it all. It. Is. Exhausting.

Everything he does, is necessary. Everything he does is based on his drive to survive. Everything he does, is to keep what little control he has in check. All of this to make himself feel safe.

Which is hard. Hard for a parent to watch. Only a parent sees. Only a parent recognizes that he doesn't feel safe. He doesn't feel safe with her. He doesn't feel safe regardless of where he is. He doesn't know she's going to protect him. He doesn't know that he'll have all he needs. He doesn't know that she will keep him warm. Safe. Fed. Clothed. Alive. Loved. Honored. Joyful.

Being that parent is hard to live through every day. Every day when you try. Try so hard. You see triggers triggered and you prepare yourself. You look into your bag of tools- set your emotional grade- prep the environment and psych yourself for all the possibilities that may come.

Even when- you handle each and every single minor and major traumatic transition, event, moment, noise, bump, disagreement, struggle, (etc) ---- even when you handle them with consistency. Make yourself sick and relieved all at the same time cause it was so hard to keep it there.... keep it consistent and nurturing. When after 9 months I want to kick and scream. Holler and Yell. But as a parent- you suffer through- stay sane, controlled nurturing and consistent- for him. The more he pushes these buttons- you know- he needs you more.

Consistent & Nurtured. Even then- he still will pause... he'll pause- something inside tells him to stop- to NOT DO WHAT SHE ASKED. Something inside tells him, he doesn't deserve this love. Something inside tells him, it is uncomfortable, overwhelming and too hard. He can't help himself. And I the parent. Watch it. Watch this internal struggle unfold- right there on his face- in his body language.

You think- pray- let him know he is safe. Don't listen the hurt lying to him. This. You. Can. Do.

But no. Not today. It's not you he's listening to today. Its the hurt and the pain.

What else can you do?

Consistency and nurturing.

Then he turns up the dial and goes for something he knows I can't let go. He ups the ante. And ups it and ups it. And if I'm unprepared- I will not respond appropriately.

His behavior is not at issue. Mine is. His is necessary. Mine is short sighted, prideful and hormonal!

We are almost at 9 months. There are signs secure attachment is starting (starting) to take a hold where anxious attachment has thrived for so long. Many of those signs are directly related to him fighting it off. What if I mishandle it? What if I do it wrong? I'm tired.  And I don't want to make it harder for him. OR ME! When does it stop getting HARDER?

Single parents, here's the thing. When you need a break-- really need a break- we risk alienating our child. Generally- there is no one else here. When we need 5 minutes to calm down- when we need 10 to figure out what to do- when we need 15 to pray to God for wisdom--- we risk alienating our child. I'm reminded of his past EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. EVERYDAY when I want 2 minutes to go to the bathroom by myself and he begs to come in with me- I'm reminded that he cried for touch so long he could no longer cry. I'm reminded, every time he pushes me away that he remembers being abandoned multiple times. I'm reminded, every time he doesn't use gentle hands- that he may be unaccustomed to their feel. I'm reminded that when he can't let go of me for 12 hours every night- when I, myself am lying there crying cause I need some breathing space, I'm reminded that there was a time he wasn't here. There was a time- when he had no one to cling to. I'm reminded that time was probably longer than I want to believe.

I'm also reminded- that this time- this time when he is pushing and pushing and pushing me away as fast and hard as I'm letting him.... is exactly the time when he needs me. ME. Not a pinch hitter. It's the time he needs me being consistent and nurturing, the most. And if I can tough it out. Figure out a way... perhaps... maybe... there's a chance, it'll ease up on both of you (us). Consistent and Nurturing the most. So single parents- we have to get it together, in the presence of the chaos overwhelming our children- be the anchor. Be the voice. (someone come over to my house about 9am every morning and remind me of this, will ya?!)

Despite almost nine months of adjustment, attachment tools and healing steps, it continues to be hard. And grows harder. But someday soon. Someday it will be better. It will get easier. I know it. He is doing exactly what he needs to do. Children are good that way. They know no other way to live. Adults... adults know the options and make the wrong choices all the time. ( sulking in seat, raises hand). I on the other hand am enlisting professional help.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This is only a test

If this was a real emergency it would be followed by detailed instructions. I'm re working some things. Format. Material. Settings. Bear with me. It may take a few days for me to get it where I'd like. Please let me know if you have suggestions! I'm no creative genius.

And just cause your here.... 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Confession-

I admit...

- I am not a homemaking maven. I am- Clutzy. Disorganized. Overstocked. These three adjectives alone add up to "MESSY", although I could add a bunch more.

  • Example 1- Dutch oven on the stove top. Spiced butter melted. Moroccan Paprika and Berbere added and 'sauteed'. In an attempt to keep it from scorching, I slide the dutch oven over to an unused burner, so as to turn and grab the blender full of Margarita onion, garlic & ginger puree which is to be added to the aromatic mixture in the dutch oven.  As my back is turned (2 seconds.) dutch oven slides off stove top and onto the floor, denting itself and permanently staining the lovely carpet a lovely shade of Berbere. (yes.. my kitchen is carpeted... don't ask).

  • Example 2- Upon pulling out the kitchen trash bag, which is full to capacity, I carry it off to the "entry way"- where I expect I'll bring it to the outside bins, on trash day on my next trip outside. (NOTE: This is New England. So the "entry way" is an additional little space 'added on' to the house that is usually part inside part outside where mud and snow covered items can be shed before entering the actual house. Mine also happens to serve as an intermediary for trash placement and the drop off for add deliveries and has astro turf as a floor covering. Don't be jealous.) Returning to the kitchen, as I go to put in a new trash bag, I notice there is.. 'trash fluid' at the bottom of the bin. "Uh Oh!" Knowing I just dripped 'trash juice' through the house and left the bag to drip all through the entry way- I don't just leave it there. No. I return to take the trash to the outside bins immediately. On the way, I quietly pat myself on the back as there was a day Id've said, screw it and left it to drip on the porch anyway. I open the door and what do I see? The trash bag has collapsed and dumped the top portion of its contents onto the lovely astro turf. So now there is little bits of sticky wet trash on the floor needing to be picked up and put back into the back that is dripping gross trash juice on the same astro turf. 

I bring you this picture so you can see how well I've "got it together", which is plainly observed by my choice of clamdiggers, sport socks and bright pink puddle shoes. Yes. I went out in public like this, and I didn't even think anything of it.
Someday... common sense will reign again.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cracking Up...

 When he woke up.... This is what we did for over an hour.....   he just cracks me up sometimes.
My Alien Child

Nice Hair

Conjoined twins

Funny Faces

Hand Print

Just weird
Still conjoined

Rest assured... he's all boy. It got uglier as he attempted pictures of his belly, back, nostrils and then i had to stop him as he started taking his clothes off. Weirdo. Funny. Hysterical. Boy. God, I do love this kid.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Confession- Mommy Fail

I admit-

- that everytime we have a 'nap fail'= it is directly attributable to 'Mommy Fail'. ETA: "Mommy Fail", at least in this house, is not a singular event, but each failure is simply compounded onto all previous failures magnifying each successive failure as larger, heavier and suckier than all previous failures carrying the weight of the compounded failures as a whole.

It's what he does. He's three. And a button pusher. He pushes my buttons and like the energizer bunny.... I go and go and go. So of course- what's going to happen??!?!?  "TRYING" to get him to sleep is the sure way to "KEEP HIM AWAKE". It's a sick cycle. 

I got frustrated, and worse, showed it.

I told him I was leaving the room (cause I didn't want it to get any uglier). I walked out. Closed the door. He cried. "Mommy. Mommy. Please."

It sounds bad. But as I listened (from 3 feet away) it was not a grieving cry. It sounded much the same as his 'recently- learned- how- to- control- and- delay- Mommy- leaving- school- cry'. 

This is a tough parenting question for me and my child. I had to teach this child to cry. Tell him it was OK to cry. Talk about 'when' we cry. 'Why' we cry. Actually 'show' him how!  So when the little bugger turns it on its face and starts to manipulate with it.... I'm not sure if that is progress or bad parenting?

Outside the door- I checked the time. It was getting late. As soon as he is calm and not crying for 3 minutes I'll go in calmly- talk and be done with the entire nap fiasco.

Six minutes in (that was a loooong six minutes! NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN BEFORE!) he grew quiet. Nine minutes in I poked my head in. Sound asleep.

We'll see in the coming days what this really was.
Picture from last week...finally