Saturday, December 1, 2012

Things we do around here...

Sometimes the way we parent makes no sense. Sometimes the way we parent makes so much sense that all the parents of NT kids are jealous (just dreaming, I know....) Once we get into the "parenting trauma" groove and it seems to be working, we can start to take it for granted. I recently made friends with someone who is new to the whole adoption thing. She absolutely has kids with attachment issues. She absolutely denies this. She absolutely wants it to not be true but is getting to a place where she is open to the reality that her kids need her to be different. I struggled with that for a long time. I just wanted to parent in all the ways that I always knew I would parent. Then reality set it and I fought it kicking and screaming but when I saw it start to work with Corazon I knew I was on the "right" track even if it didn't look like I wanted it to look.

We are 6 years in from having adopted Corazon and we have learned/are learning a great deal on this journey. Our home has gone through more room rearrangements than I care to remember. Pretty much the kids have shared/not shared rooms in just about every possible combination except for Tortuga and Corazon sharing a room. We are currently set up to have each of the boys in their own room and the girls share a room. In order to make this work we have a lot of "fail-safes" in place. Although the girls share a room, they spend almost no time in there together without a third party. Some of our "fail-safes" are absolutely necessary and others probably aren't anymore but they make all of us feel safer. We have video monitors in each bedroom and in the playroom/homeschool/office. Each of the kids' bedrooms is alarmed at night (and Tortuga's is alarmed during the day.) Our pantry has an alarm too. At times the kids' bathroom has also had a monitor for reasons I won't go into here. In addition the hallway with all the bedrooms has 2 motion detectors (Tortuga sleep walks and has almost fallen down the stairs when startled awake.)  Because they have made so much progress we rarely need to use the monitors (there was a time when we needed them on 24/7) but they are there and I can always check in if I need to. None of our children are allowed to play with each other in their rooms unless they are "on camera" at all times (2 of mine have been known to seriously physically harm someone when playing together and unsupervised and 2 resort to all kinds of unsafe behaviors if they think they aren't being watched.) I dream of the day I won't have alarms on doors and video monitors in rooms but the truth is they give me peace of mind, especially where the youngest is concerned. She is just 5 and while she is pretty sharp, she is just beginning to understand that her siblings have different needs and that she isn't always safe with them (as demonstrated by the split lower lip and gash on her arm from two separate incidents this week with the same sibling.)

We have ""rules" that others don't "get." Our kids have to "ask" to go upstairs, to their rooms or to the bathroom. That is because we need to be mindful of who is in the upstairs hallway at any given time and so everyone else knows they can't be in said hallway until the bathroom is clear. Our kids can't go up and down stairs together unless an adult is actively watching (several mishaps and "accidental" pushes have made this necessary.) The may not go into each other's room for any reason without adult permission or supervision (this was where many problems began before we just made a blanket rule.) When we come home from outside, each child has a "spot" where they must immediately go to and "practice patience" (strong sitting if you are familiar with Nancy Thomas' work). This helps us with transitions. Our kids can't help themselves to food from the pantry or refrigerator because food and jealousy issues still plague us. In a restaurant, shared appetizers (think chips and salsa) could set off a world war and our oldest two pretty much always get the same dish because Tortuga would go absolutely crazy if he thought Corazon's was "better"(bigger, more, tastier, or whatever other difference he might perceive) in any way. This is actually progress since it used to be that even if they had the same food he would always find his lacking in some way (hers had more dressing, one of her chicken tenders was bigger, her lettuce was greener, etc.). It may seem crazy to everyone else but it works for us. It takes some of the "stresses" away and even though those things shouldn't be stressful they are to some of our children so we work to make the situation work for them until we can help them maneuver it in a way that is healthy and safe.

1 comment:

Lee said...

It's weird what becomes our reality isn't it? I have friends who don't get why my kids have no toys in their bedrooms. (books and momentos only recently and some stuffed animals but prior to this year nothing). They don't get why TV restrictions are fairly tight, or why if we eat out it is typically at "off peak" times for a restaurant. We had alarms for sleep walkers too but thankfully that seems to have resolved.

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