Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Try it, you might like it!

If anyone ever asks me what is the one most important thing I would want them to know about having kids this is what it would be.

NEVER make the mistake of thinking you know what you are doing.

Now, that sounds defeatist to say the least. And actually for some reason in 4 years no one has ever asked me so I have never had the chance to tell anyone. But let me explain anyway.

When I had Teena, I read the books. All the same books everyone else has read. And I decided after having Teena in the house for a bit that every single one of those books was worthy of being read closely and thoroughly and then thrown under the crib. It is important to be educated and know what the pervading theories are, then, as I have said before, you wing it and do the best you can. Cuz when the time comes, you are too tired or too freaked out to look for the damn book.

Time after time, poor Teena would be crying and I would be insisting that she did not need anything. (I should probably explain another theory of mine, called "3B's", basically when you have a crying infant you check out these 3 things. Bed - may need a nap, Bottle- hungry, Butt- wet or poopy). So there she would be howling her little head off, and I would be all, she CANT be hungry because I just fed her the amount of food she always eats. She just took a nap and her diaper is dry. So THere! Teena, there is nothing wrong with you! So finally I would give her a bottle or a cracker or whatever, and she would be all her happy self again. And I would think to myself, Self, you gotta stop thinking you know what you are doing.

Which leads me to the point of this post. When Genea came along she was off the charts. I mean this literally. Everything from her failure to thrive, to her rages and tantrums, her medical problems, things she would eat/ not eat, to how she spent her play time, all of it. The Wango Tango visited all day every day. Before she met us, in the original adopting family, she used to sit quietly in her room and look at books and do puzzles. In that home she was in an almost constant state of dissociation. When she started her little visits with us, she had to be prodded to play. She was calm and polite and 3 years old. The day she moved in, she was 4 by then, seriously, that day, she went nuts. Nuts is not a technical term but it is a great descriptive term. Wow. It was both stunning and shocking how different this kid turned out to be. And its all good, we just had to turn everything we thought we knew upside down, inside out, throw it in the river, run it over with the car and drag it back in. A year and a half later, we battle maybe 30% or 40% of the Wango Tango and its related issues, above and beyond what a regular 5 year old does.

My resources have been the books I have tagged over on the side of my blog here. Those books I actually refer to often. But primarily, my lifeline, the thing that shoves me back into the light every day has been listserves and blogs by moms who are here too. We are the people that took the kids NO ONE else would. It is ugly, and damned unfortunate, and absolutely true.

Geez, I am really rattling on here. I also need to purge, and to line up my thoughts into a coherent concept. Instead of screaming my voice into oblivion. Or smashing my head into a wall. So I write on my little blog here.

So 16 paragraphs ago, I meant to write that you really should try everything. If your kid is having a problem and you read about or hear about some stupid sounding ridiculous idea, try it. I thought "prescribing the problem" sounded silly. Really silly, and since my child's issues were so complex there was no way something so silly was going to work. Sure, that is a cute idea for a tantrum when a kid has been told no more candy bars. But for the rage and fury of my brain damaged daughter? Please.

The idea of "prescribing the problem" is that you tell your kid to do what you do not want them to do. So, when Genea is having a blow out meltdown I send her to her room like usual only I calmly follow her in there and encourage her to let it all out. Scream honey, come on, louder! This is your chance! Get it all out! Baby, why are you just sitting there staring at me? Cry! Lets go! I can't hear you!

She sits, she stares. Actually, she sort of glares only I "heckle" that too. Crunch your eyebrows down a little more honey, you don't look mad enough. (Well, it feels like heckling. It really isn't at the time, it is a way to calm a raging brain and change up the dynamic, I added this part later.)

It works. This mom HERE is collecting ideas for handling rages in your kid other than holding and physical containment. Coincidentally her blog is chock full of great ideas for moms of kids with attachment disorders.

So, that was the point of all this in the first place!


  1. Oh yeah.....try all the things you think won't work. It certainly keeps me on my toes. Every. day.

    Blogging keeps me sane and connected with other crazy folks.

    Plus I never know what I'm doing....

  2. Hey Lisa, I resemble that remark!

  3. Ooh, "prescribing the problem". I had no idea it had such a fancy name. We do that all the time. Works wonders with kids who have ODD. Me's gots to think about the rage resolution. We hardly ever "contained" our "wee" one unless she was trying to hurt us. But what is it that we did? I seem to have blocked it out of my memory. Self preservation I guess. Or maybe PTSD.

  4. I love prescribing the problem. It annoys the hell out of them. Although as I look up and see Tubaville, I wonder if telling the urinator to pee all over the house would be something I could commit to:)
    Anyway, I found blogging to be better than therapy, you all have actually lived it, and therapists can only read about it. And you all know what it's like to sit back and say "$&*^%, what did I sign up for?" and not judge those of us who have the guts to admit it.
    Anyway, love this!

  5. ooooooh, telling my urinator to have a great pee is a fabulous idea!!! But do I have the guts, the cajones, the staying power for that?

  6. I didn't know that term either. But I actually started using it with my husband, "Honey, if you yell at me about it, I know it will calm you down - yell some more!" Unfortunately it only worked half the time, the other half, he'd say, "I damn well will!!!" and carry on.

    With Nastya's wango-tango visits (I actually introduced HER to that scientific term; she liked it) you have to catch the wave. At a certain point "prescribing the problem might work". At a slightly earlier stage imitating her might stop her in her tracks and make her laugh. (Boy, was it a great day when my intuition told me to try that one!) There's also a certain point at which ignoring her helps, or on a rare day, distraction or surprise. i.e. Said to child rolling on the living room floor yelling loudly "You HATE ME!" "Hey, Hon, I'm going to Sears, want to come?" She can either roll around unheard, or come with and possibly get something out of it. She's no fool.

    Empathy is another fun one. As she is looking for something to kick or throw. "Here, Nastya, why don't you tear this up; I think that might make you feel better." Just confuses the heck out of her. She might make one tear and then you can tell she feels really stupid. Especially with me sitting there, giving her 150% of my attention: "Come on, Nastya, it will feel good - rip it up - come on!"


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