Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Round and round we go...

If I had a dollar for every night my husband and I put the kids to bed, then proceeded to our room only to have an hour plus long discussion about how to handle something with our Ethiopian little ones, I could buy...a whole month's groceries. ☺ When I really think about it, it kind of amazes me that marriages are able to withstand intense parenting situations. There is so much to consider and take into account. It is certainly not always easy to see eye to eye. One parent may feel it's time for some tough love while the other thinks a softer approach is in order. The stress of working to sort out issues and find some type of helpful solutions, a remedy that will bring a measure of the desired peace any family would long for, is continually present. Always. Day after day after day after day. Night after night.

Neither of us has any real answers, the best we can bring to the table is another suggestion. What about this? Maybe if we tried to [fill in the blank] it would help. Perhaps we should stop  doing x,y, or z.

Words can hardly express how much I enjoy sitting down with my babies for a good talk. And oh, how they love to talk! Especially when they have an undistracted audience with their parents, which takes some highly special schedule manuvering in a house full of children. They are always, always in my ear for something. They ask me questions, I ask them questions, we learn about each other. Any time I have one of them alone, they already know I'll be inquiring, "so, tell me about you. How is your life going? Anything you want or need to talk about?" And they do. Or if not, we talk about something else like our favorite movies or foods or what it would be like to live in Laura Ingall's day. I can let them know why a certain behavior of theirs is not ideal. They tell me why they do it. I let them know why a certain behavior of mine is not ideal. {Like any good parent would, I tell them to do as I say not as I do.} We discuss possible solutions. They are eager to talk to me. I am eager to hear from them. We connect.
A huge part of the challenge with Meadow and Flint specifically, as opposed to our other kids, is they are not going to offer us any kind of assistance in figuring them (and their challenges) out. Heart to heart discussions won't go any further than a blank stare in response to a question. I look at them, they look at me, no one says anything. Then, they might start to cry. Talking to adults, any adult, is one of their absolute least favorite things to do. I think they'd rather have a root canal. Or pull their arm hairs out one by one with tweezers. Or eat fresh frog legs. If their dad or I asks them a question, they will say any.thing. to just make it go.away. Lie, truth, half truth, fib, white lie, it doesn't matter. Whatever can be said to end the conversation is what their response will be. Little to no regard is given to honesty. Which sometimes makes me feel like I'd rather have a root canal than talk to them. Or pull my arm hairs out one by one with tweezers. Or eat fresh frog legs. The whole thing prompts me to visit my dear friend, Dr. Chocolate and his faithful assistant Strong Coffee far too often.

Over the next couple of months, I have decided (as much as possible) to stop putting them on the spot. Asking Meadow if she is trying to track with the story when I am reading to her rather than zoning out, so she can begin to retain information, won't bring anything but blank stares, lies, tears and frustration. Asking Flint if he wet the bed and didn't let me know or poked holes in the trampoline net with a stick won't bring anything but blank stares, lies, tears and frustration. Asking them questions, even the every day kind, does not seem to get us anywhere. They are not eager to talk to me. Not just yet.

The school year is over. It's summer. This is a good time to back off and just let them be a little bit. Maybe if they are able to relax and feel confident that they won't be "called out" for anything the oxytocin will flow. I am going to focus on making sure I give them lots of verbal and physical affirmation, without requiring a response from them. We'll see if we can build a relationship that's soaking in sweetness. It won't be easy, we have rooted and perfected our old round and round habits. But I think this is the way to go for now.
I'm coming to believe that my childrens' brains and hearts need more time to mend and my primary concern should be providing an environment where they can do just that.

My hope and prayer is that if I relax on working so hard to help them catch up and learn everything they are "supposed to know by now" so that our family can function more peacefully, it will help them catch up and learn what they should know and our family will function more peacefully.

Because surely there are better things for us to do on a summer's evening than debrief the day's trials...surely.


Courtney said...

surely there are! ;-)

i loved reading this...i will ponder over it...

EM said...

Your post reminded me anew how God just takes me and loves me as I am. He doesn't have a schedule of progress for me to live up to, he just gives me what I need for each day and tells me not to worry about tomorrow. I would like to parent like that.

Tisha said...

Yes, Erin, I so wish it was so easy to parent like that on a regular basis when it's your job to educate your children. Just trying to function day by day can be such a challenge when you can't talk to each other. The ability to hold conversations is still something I hold dear, and its something I hope we can do soon.

Chantelle said...

I hear ya. This is exactly how every.single.evening goes for us too. Frankly it's no wonder to me at all that divorce is so high among parents of kids with these issues. :( I'll pray for you. Pray for us too? :)

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