The bedtime routine makes me want to stress eat! Seriously! Ok…I know a routine can’t make me do anything, but you get the point. This is a stressful time of the day. Our little lady starts the bedtime routine at 7:40 p.m. This is the witching hour for everyone. Our oldest realizes at 8:00 p.m. that he has homework to do. The youngest is asking me to search for Minecraft Mod in the App store. The dogs need to go out, and I still haven’t gotten all the dinner dishes picked up. Good Grief!
Bedtime must have historically been a really traumatic time of day for our little lady. This is the time of day I get the weird smiles mixed with the oppositional behavior. If I say sit down, she stands up. If I say don’t make that noise again, I get it full bore for five minutes straight. If I ask her to please chew with her mouth shut, I see every particle of food in her mouth.
Meds are given. I wonder if they are effective at all?! Brushing teeth is the next hurdle. I try to be patient whilst the girly is brushing the same three teeth the whole time. I demonstrate the right technique. I attempt to stay calm while she tells me she “already did that!” Rinse and spit. That should be next. The problem is aim – or lack of it! The toothpaste mess is now dribbled down her front, the cabinet, the floor and on the mirror. Clean up on aisle three! One last potty break. I figure I have at least 30 seconds to put the towels by the washer. I don’t. Half a roll of toilet paper is on the floor, and she is grinning at me, “See, I got my own paper.” “Ok,” I say, “just wipe and flush.” That is not hard. Not complicated, but it is. The paper is on the floor. The flush is only half done, and the lid is slammed down hard. The streak is off. She is headed into open territory without a stitch of clothes. I sprint out the door with a fresh towel, not thinking to grab the one by the washer. Toss it on her and scoop her up. The rest of the family never knew how close they were to getting a show they didn’t want. Oh my head.
Now, on to the jammies. This is our biggest challenge. Just getting a leg in the jammies is, well, almost impossible. She is dancing around, leaping onto the bed, jumping on the bed, diving under the covers and generally avoiding the jammies. They are comfy. Cute. Who doesn’t like fleece rainbow colored jammies? I want some. They didn’t have them in my size! Once I have finally wrangled the bunking bronco into the jams, I am tired. She is showing no signs of slowing down.
I pick up the room enough to avoid catastrophe if we have to navigate to the light switch in the dark. Every small plastic toy in the place is scattered on the floor. All headbands are tossed around the room. Every Barbie shoe is separated from its match and is hiding on the rug – waiting for the next barefooted adult to step on it. They are almost as bad as Legos. I have to hang back up every sweatshirt, every dress, every stitch of clothes out of her closet. Her shoes have been hidden in her shelves. I am quickly trying to spot the ones I want her to wear tomorrow. I can find one of everything. I have to remove the stuffies hiding the shoes and finally find at least one pair for tomorrow. Music is on repeat -classical lullabies. My secret hope that music will soothe her soul. Fan is on for white noise. I convince her it is too late for a story (too late for me, I am done). She agrees and finally says she is sleepy. Goodnight dear child. Door is shut. I am ready to collapse.
Random interruption – That Minecraft mod is about to bite me back, too. Sam just showed me that each piece of furniture in the mod costs $2.00. I pointed out that it may not work with Pocket Edition. I hate it when I am right. Now, he is out (I am out) a few dollars, and he has no couch. I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I love that it is a blank slate to build anything they want, but it creates a ton of frustration when they build together. Little brother can’t navigate as fast as Big Brother. I try to play, but I get motion sick in the first 30 seconds!
Back to our crazy Reactive Attachment Disorder life- we are talking about adoption a lot lately. Logan keeps telling us that things are going to change. I ask for details. She says that she will start behaving and not being sassy. She said she will do everything right when we adopt her. We see an uptick in her behaviors. She is really testing us. We are on the brink of stability, and she is trying all her best tricks to sabotage the happy event. We know it. We are not falling for it. I think that is actually worrying her. She has no idea what to do with people who will simply commit to her, no matter what.
Stability is a given for most of us. For Logan, stability is elusive. Biological and foster families have come and gone. Sadly, she is sure it is her behavior that has caused people to leave her. It is tough to handle, but she is still just a little tiny person who is desperately in need of love and stability.
I will admit that the first few months of our journey with her, the thought crossed my mind – that her behavior was just too much to handle. So many folks asked why we were doing this. “Why do you keep going? It is too hard. You didn’t ask for this, just walk away.” We surely thought these things, too. However, it almost makes the situation harder to keep thinking that there is an easy way out. Just quit!
Problem is…I have never been a quitter. I am too stubborn to give up. God knew that this was the right family for this kid. She has finally landed in a place where people just won’t walk away. Just before she was placed with us, we had heard about her. Our agency said a little girl needed a home. We prayed. We wrestled with this. We knew that this little girl didn’t just need a place to stay for a bit. She was destined to be grafted into our family forever.
If we hadn’t heard from God that this was meant to be, we could never have survived the initial shock of her behavior. We have had kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder in our home in the past, but we weren’t really prepared for the challenges we experienced over the last several months.
I am glad we have had support from our network of friends, family, and community. We are truly blessed to have simply survived this far. It is dawning on me that this walk is closer to a marathon than a hundred-yard dash. We are learning skills. Coping the best we can. Todd and I use humor – a ton of it. Some of it wacky at this point. I am baking more. Shows in my waistline! I did mention stress eating, right?!
I hope you come back to keep up with this crazy journey! I am hoping to write more about other topics soon, too. For now, RAD is so consuming that it is the focus of the blog for the moment.
Have a great night!