life on the funny farm

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's the "new pregnancy"

I've decided that dealing with an RAD child is a lot like a pregnancy. When you're going through it, all you can focus on is the negative. Oh, once in awhile you have those "becoming one with your baby" moments when you get the kicks and wiggles and such. But for the most part, it's swollen ankles, achy backs, peeing 4,000 times a day, and stretch marks popping up in new places every day. And the actual labor/delivery? Please, I don't even want to go there.

But of course, once your little peanut is born all is forgotten. You certainly don't hold a grudge against your baby, not when they're newborn, not when they're a teenager. Seems all the wonderful parts about being a Mommy simply sweep away all the horrific parts of being pregnant and delivering a 9 pound baby through an opening that is normally the diameter of a pencil. But then you get pregnant again and it all comes flooding back and you think to yourself, "am I a cotton-pickin' lunatic?!"

And so it is with an adopted child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. We have so many wonderful moments. Times at night when he's lying on the sofa with his head on my lap and I'm patting his face and smoothing his hair. He closes his eyes and looks like a puppy getting a belly rub. If he ever had a loving mother's caress, I'm sure it has faded to a distant memory by now, and so he just soaks it up. Or times he helps out because he wants to help out, or asks for a story while we're out driving somewhere. I need to hold onto those thoughts with all the fortitude I can muster, b/c when things get bad I feel miserable.

Like last night. He was mad at me because I wouldn't allow him to use my computer b/c of some disrespectful and obnoxious behavior. So in retaliation for me taking the mouse and hiding it away somewhere, he took my keys. Yes, my car keys, and he hid them and wouldn't give them back till this morning. He thought it was tit for tat, though I explained to him that though I hadn't taken anything of his, he had taken something of mine. Times like those, all you want to do is throttle, but all you can do is try to have the patience of all the saints in Heaven. I have long since learned that threats and loss of privilege don't work with this kid, which goes against all my experience. Time and space and not getting drawn in are the only things that seem to eventually bring us right again. But it ain't easy. I'm used to having the upper hand. I don't very much care for the lower hand.

I'll take stretch marks over this anyday.

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