Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three for the Price of One...

I am not a Robot.

Though it would be so much easier to be rejected, stick poked, have my things stolen and hid, pee randomly showing up everywhere, and being lied too everyday, if I were a robot.

Sometimes my reactions are human, sometimes my “programed responses” of “Wow, looks like you are having big feelings”, “Wow that's silly”, “Yes and...”, “Can you try asking me....”,
“Lets give that another try”....default and go to my natural tendencies to be sarcastic, snippy and or annoyed, which I can turn into rants, my own tantrums of “I HAVE HAD IT”, “THIS IS CRAP”....I am human....I am uber talented at these rants.

I remember, before my first son was adopted, before Bugs had made her appearance, I was 20 and doing child care for my mothers foster son. He was 4, and had some very peculiar behaviors.
He was obsessed with knowing when his next meal was coming and what it would be. He had no hand eye coordination, he would hide, anytime there was a loud noise. He had controlling bathroom issues, and would cry for small reasons, but fall out of tree and refuse to show any signs of sadness or pain.
“Max” knew my buttons, and how to make me batty.
I was 20 years old, studied child development and special education and was flabbergasted at the amount of crazy he could toss out. How? How could a kid that had been so severely neglected and not know his colors, know how to do this?

I learned yelling, putting him in his room, or giving him negative attention for his behaviors were not working....and lets not even talk about the “Good Behavior” sticker chart made him.

BUT; when I came up with somethings that helped him feel safe, and used complete consistency, reminded him in gentle ways, or let natural consequences reign...things slowly got better.
The day we decided to cut up all of my recipe magazines and make a flannel graph of “What we are eating today”...was AMAZING...he didn't have to ask, I didn’t have to be annoyed...It wasn't about control, the kid had lived with a Meth addict, whom would forget when the last time it was either of them had eaten...I learned empathy for his weird behaviors, and patience for the times in his own way he needed to let go of his pain.

Had I only known all of this was so very preparatory, for my life 13 years later.

Yesterday I had some precious reminders of my humanity.
My four Haitian children had their Medical Physicals to complete their citizenship. We had to drive 45 minutes into a rural farming area, majority servicing the Immigration needs of our Mexican brothers and sisters....we dealt with racism for my children, I was profiled as a Hippie mom, with a nose ring, who home schools and has too many biracial children. I went toe to toe with a nurse who wanted to give my kids 5 immunizations each.
I stood my ground, not wanting my kids to have that many injections, on top of the chemical reactions and how tough that many anti-bodies would be on their systems...my kids watched me fight for them.

Even though I had to hold kids down, even though I was punched and bitten in their terror of getting hurt, even though all of their eyes looked wounded as we four hours later walked out of that office grasping a pathetic assortment of stickers (those kids full on deserved medals)...as we stomped in rain puddles, and walked over to the neighboring gas station/mini mart for some junk-food booty...soaked, exhausted but invigorated by our mad dash and puddle stomp. A well meaning civilian asked if we were a field trip, I did not have my “sing songy”, “Nope just a family” available, I reached down deep and , nope,there was nothing...I wanted to say something rude and ignorant, because I was DONE with idiot people today, but I practice biting my tongue often and
so my inner thumper silenced me and I glared and ignored....

Cookie came to my rescue “Ain't you never seen a family before?”

“Yeah” answered three or four more children, “we are a family.”

As we got back in the car, and I buckled and and opened goodies the kids winced and whimpered...
I rubbed lavender oil on all of their foreheads and tucked them in for our long drive back home.

Tears were reaching my eyes as I looked back at my kids and softly said “ Guys I am so sorry that hurt you and scared you, and made you feel like you weren't the bosses of your own bodies.”

and Chatter said “But Mom, you fought with them you told them you didn't want them to give us so many shots, worried that we would get sick, we knew you didn't want us to hurt. We know.”

I stopped an fed them a lunch of apple slices and french fries. Once we got home I tucked each child in with our special saying.
There were no fall outs, there was not a single tantrum, or wall being kicked.

As I walked away and went to tidy up the wet shoes and socks, It hit me.

Therapeutic parenting isn't just for them.
Even though it is hard, and against every natural urge I have to react. I am having to have better practices, and the more I practice modeling healthy loving reactions to crazy hurtful things, they are learning and healing, and I in my very messed up, crazy, unhealthy habits am getting better, smarter and kinder too. Three for the price of one.

The harder I am trying to love and respect my children, the more I practice empathy and understanding where they are coming from, the more I am loving the person I am becoming. The more I am loving my messy hard, the more I think I can do and be more, even when I screw up.

I am not a robot.
But I am a bargain shopper;
and three for the price of one, is a pretty damn good deal.


  1. You aren't a robot?! ;)

    I totally agree and tell that to everyone who oohs and ahhs over our family and how "amazing" I am... that when I am able to stay calm and rational *I* feel better... it's not all about the kids.

  2. I can't tell you how much I love this. If only I could get the whole thing for half off on Wednesdays.

  3. I LOVED reading this Lindsay!! I'd say you ARE getting a pretty damn good deal... those super couponers got nothin' on you!

  4. I LOVED this! "We are a family." Amen and amen. Thanks for sharing. I'm learning so much from your journey.

  5. THis was such a joy to read, my friend

  6. WOW, what progress! You all do an awesome job! But really, a hippie mom? I would have never guessed. A couragous mom, a great example for folks, a 'life saver/improver' mom, maybe. Still freaking out over the moving thing BTW

  7. This brought tears to my eyes.