Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wicked Witch of the West

I recently found a new blog. It's new, new... like it has maybe 5 posts so far. It has been very interesting to read because the stuff she is talking about describes my kids to a T. She describes how she handles things. It's called the Deep End. I even had to read a few short parts of it to Steve and his eyes grew wide like, "seriously? That describes us." Vanessa didn't know I wasn't reading my own blog.

When you are dealing with the hard stuff... the very, very frequent, or shall I say, constant stick poking and acting out, it messes with your head. You begin to think that maybe you are the problem.  Just figure out what makes her happy, already!!!!  Alas, it's like banging your head on a concrete wall, and so reading someone else describe the very SAME scenarios and promoting the same sort handling of those scenarios is a strange comfort.

James is doing very well. Relatively speaking, he's doing fabulous. He has certain things that he just won't do, though, and when confronted with these little things he delves into the world of manipulation. Used to be he would not tie his shoes, use the toilet, fold his clothes, tuck in a dress shirt, make a bed, etc...  but months and months of working with him on them and he will do those things now without ado. The list is still long. For example he won't fold his collar down. Not on his shirt, not on his jean jacket, not on anything. Won't do it.  Never has the two years he has been mine.

Missy is all over the place. There are not certain things. She is way more random.

This week it has been untying her shoes. Won't do it. Particularly on the way to school when she should have already had her shoes on she doesn't because they are tied and she won't untie them. She ties them herself, and has untied them for two years. Suddenly she can only slip them off and can't untie them. It's only one more way to try and get a reaction because she knows I hate dropping her off at school late. Suddenly she can't buckle her seat belt either, etc.... etc....

Yesterday I waited in the car in the church parking lot for more than thirty minutes for her to get her shoes on. After she finally got her shoes on, I asked her what she had to say about it all. First she said, "Sorry, I not be nice." Then she said, "Sorry I not obey"....  all very scripted and routine words with little meaning anymore. I just kept looking at her like there must be more she needed to say from her own heart. Finally she said, and it was very hard for her, "I sorry I pretended I can't untie my shoes". Her very own words.

Today, I told her if they were not on by a certain street we would come home and she could work on it on our front porch. She fussed on the front porch for 40 minutes. Her fingers were "too tired", she didn't "like" untying shoes, she "couldn't", she cried.... Well, instead of undoing the laces she chose to tighten them into a huge knot.

Steve had just said to me that she has zero problem solving skills. I didn't know whether or not to agree with him... I went out on the porch and saw that indeed the knot now was bigger than ever and impossible, so I told her, "there's only one thing left to do now "

and she started yelling, "DON'T CUT IT!!!!"


NO problem solving skills, eh???

I did indeed cut it and then I drove her back to school


We had this whole song and dance for nothing.

I burst out laughing.

I guess if she is going to be that late it's better to be late when no one is waiting for you.

This is so typical. Both of the kids will pretend they can't complete the task and they will work very hard to prove it. They want you to believe you are asking too much, that you are the Wicked Witch of the West and after awhile I start to wonder if I am. When I watch their hands at first glance I see them "working" very hard trying . . . but if I watch more carefully while they think I don't see I will notice that they do and undo their task over and over.

It takes a HUGE amount of patience to see a task through and a million times you wonder if it's worth it.  The best approach so far has been for me to say, "I have all day. Take your time. In fact, I have all week so I'll wait until you do". Then WALK AWAY (lest I buy in to the power struggle.)

The new plan is; velcro shoes.  She will not get to wear her school shoes to school anymore. I have to find a way to eliminate the battle because she could make this an issue for the rest of the school year.

The only other thing I could do to take away the battle is to do everything for her . . . .


I am not sure is the right thing. My guess is that she would figure out how turn that into grief as well.

Any thoughts?

How do you other moms deal with this? Do you face it head on and wait for them to get with the program, or do you take away the battle? Would you buy her new velcro shoes, or make her wear her well used, old ones? It's only manipulation game number 5364.... and we are sure to face thousands more so how would you handle it?

Our last choir program at Abundant Life


Sophie said...

I deal with this with Jackson and Delaney constantly. Delaney can't do her math most days. Jackson can't untie or tie his shoes this week after doing it every single day for 1.5 years, at least. Jackson can't dry off after his shower. Delaney can't find the right bow even though it is hanging on her bow holder at eye level.... You know the list could go on and on.

Annoying. Manipulation.

I DO NOT have the answer for this. But, I have tried many things. The thing I am trying RIGHT NOW is this:

Delaney CAN do her math and CAN answer ALL the problems correctly. So...if she does them she gets a piece of candy. (My kids rarely eat candy so this is a big treat) If I have to help her no candy. If she does find the right bow...she gets a big hug and high five and lots of verbal praise. If she does not then I go get it, put it in her hair and I do not give her the extra attention.

Jackson doesn't respond quite the same way as Delaney. He would rather have the fit and fight attention than praise. So...I have him untie his shoes and agree to tie them after he gets them on. If I refuse to do neither he will throw a tantrum but if I "work with him" and "meet him half way" he tends to do his part so I HAVE to do mine. But, along with me helping him he has to thank me for my help since it was something he could have done himself. I am working with him on thankfulness right now so these things go hand in hand. I am making him thank me for every single thing I do for him..even simple things that I am "expected to do". If he fails to notice and thank me I am pointing it out and he then thanks me. It seems to be helping him realize I don't sit on my can while he does "everything".

I DON'T HAVE THE ANSWER and next week these things my not be the answer. But for now they seem to be working. They will find a way to turn things around and manipulate but I will just pull out another tool and try it. Parenting hurt children requires flexibility more than anything else. I am by nature NOT flexible but I am learning and things seem to be smoother right now.

Jennifer P said...

Velcro. Pick your battles. Save energy for the big stuff. Was at a psych eval for my 11 year old and we were discussing the lack of problem solving skills. Interesting that you mentioned that.

PS She will probably bend the back of the shoes down and still say she cannot get them on. Ask me how I know. :)

Mama D’s Dozen said...

I read your blog for the same reason that you so enjoyed finding the new blog ... you GET IT. We are walking the same journey. It reminds me that I am NOT ALONE and it's NOT MY FAULT.

Your question at the end of the post, about whether or not to "take away the battle" is exactly what I wrote a post about last weekend "Conflict Avoidance". If I don't require anything of LIttle MIss, than I can avoid most conflicts. However, I do NOT believe this is good or healthy for any of us.

So sad.

So hard.

We had a battle before school last week, and she ended up running out of the house and "running away". It's the first time she's run further than the alley behind our house. She totally took off, and made it about 1/2 mile before a friend drove by and picked her up. (Friend is also adoptive parent of kids from Ghana, and knows we would not have Little Miss walking across town by herself.)

Our Little Miss does the same thing ... she spends hours trying to prove to us that she CAN'T do something. (It was HORRIBLE when we home schooled her for the first 4 years. You wouldn't believe all that she suddenly "learned" in her first week in school ... things she COULDN'T learn for 4 whole years.)

Hope your week is BLESSED!


schnitzelbank said...

Pick your battles. I don't have this at home, but I have seen it so often in the classroom. It's power-grabbing. Trying to draw you in. I disengage. This isn't worth a battle. Make it a non-issue. I would say something very calm, like, "Hm, looks like you don't want to wear your shoes today." Shrug and walk away. Continue on with your day. She will figure it out, or deal with the consequences of showing up to school without shoes. Keep a pair of flip flops in the car. Whatever. :)

momof4boys said...

All I can say is that you are very blessed to have a nice network of people who get it! I know exactly what you meen when you begin to question if the problem is you. I did that for years and only had people who didn't get it confirm that I must be the problem. When Ian's psychologist said that he was normal and that I needed assesment, I was truly ready to believe him. He said I was the crazy one.
I,m here to tell you something you alreasy know but need to hear that other people know it too. "You are not crazy! You are doing great! You are an awesome mother!"
There now that I said it, can you raise my kids too? lol
Cleaned out Ian's room of all his stuff the other day. There were empty rum bottles under the bed, a dope pipe in his drawer, and as if that wasn't enough, the brand new pillow I had bought for his bed was all slashed up with a knife when I turned it over. He is absolute mental train wreck and I wish with all my heart that I would have known about RAD and FAS and had a support system when he was 4 yrs old. Maybe I would have done a better job. Maybe things would be different now.
All I can say is that I'm greatful that you have support. You need them for sanity's sake!

Betsy said...

Our "James" and "Missy" have been with us since 11/05. "Very resilient and well adjusted", was what it said in the info we got with them. Well, they survived a horrible birth home and an equally horrible foster home, and developed some survival skills that left them with behaviors that defied any reason or logic in our world. We did a lot of reading, and took a lot of classes but, other than the Bible, the most helpful thing we came across where books and a DVD by Bryan Post. (I think we may be in the same state, and these are available through the DSHS lending library and can apply to your training requirements). His perspective just made sense to us and helped us see their behavior from their perspective which helped us in dealing with them.
They are both doing quite well, now, and the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter all the time. Not that we don't occasionally have our dark days when a, "Velcro" solution would be very appropriate just to get us through.

On another topic, I noticed that you have a link to AAI on your sidebar. If you don't mind sharing, Did you use them for your adoption? If so, did you have a good experience? We used WACAP. They were great, and our foster license is through them, but AAI's fees are much less, and they are closer to us. We still have 1.5 years left on our license and are looking at options. Thank you for any input you can provide.

Melanie said...

I read your blog because I have a feeling in my gut that we are going to have a challenging adoption. We are still waiting our official approval which should come in late August. While we are waiting we are reading and learning. I pray that God is leading me to resources that I will be able to recall in my times of questioning my sanity!
I send you prayers and hugs from across the country each time I read your post. I feel the urge to write/caution "misery loves company" though I don't think it is directed at you. While we search out or stumble upon others with similar struggles, we must guard our own hearts against all of Satan's attempt to steal our joy. Others have made it, are making it, and will make it through. You will too! God Bless

Mama in Uganda said...

I am the wicked witch of the North...atleast according to two of our thirteen. I too used to blame myself for their nasty behavior, now I know better!
Sin is to blame and Jesus is the only answer. I would love to be part of an ongoing discussion if the Lord should so lead.

Blessings and wisdom,

Anonymous said...

Have you watched her videos on Therapeutic parenting? They helped us *a lot* when we first realized we were dealing with RAD. :)

child of The King said...

I think you are on the right track with Velcro shoes,
or shoes with no fasteners
or lace up shoes with no laces.

If laces are going to be a big issue, you can make them a no issue by removing them completely. You did fine.

I've got two girls of my own who are 17 and 20 now and they made me wonder sometimes if I was the one with the problem.

Remember the good days. Remember who the enemy is, the one who wants to kill steal and destroy.
Remember Who it is who wants you all to have hope and future.
Keep on keeping on.
Don't be weary in well doing.