One of the first times I realized Genea might be having more than transitional issues, is when I read about RAD and the inclination to chatter incessantly. Nonsense question after nonsense question. AHA! Went my brain- we have that!
Of course, most children go through a stage where they appear physically unable to stop their lips from flapping like pancakes. It begins to feel like someone is slapping you up the side of your skull after a bit. *Smack* Smack* Smack* and your head is going *thud *thud* thud* and all you want to do is scream shuuuuuuuuuuuut uuuuuuuuuuuup! But, you can scream shut up all you want because it will not make a lick of difference. Yammer yammer.
I realized one day that there was an identifiable difference between Teena's unending senseless chatter and Genea's unending senseless chatter. Genea could stop. Without bribing and without threatening, if I told them to go sit on different couches and be quiet, Genea could do it, Teena could not. So I began to think, hmmmm, this appears to something she is far more in control of than I would have guessed.
Lately, Genea has been on a nonsense question streak. It always starts with Mama? Can I ask you a nonsense question? So it is a two for one. And the nonsense question is almost always a "no" answer. And I hate it. I feel like I am rejecting her 95 times a day because she asks these questions all day long and maybe 5 of them I can squeeze a yes into. I am being set up, 100 times a day and 95 of those times I am being directly led to a negative. It used to be that every. single. one. of the questions that was a "no" led immediately to the Wango Tango. That thankfully has lessened considerably. THANKfully.
I think this is Genea's way of connecting with me and her Daddy. If we are being forced into engaging with her, she is alive. She exists if we look at her and respond. She is not invisible or being ignored when she is hungry or needs a hug. She has someone who might take care of her if she can just force that person to acknowledge her in some way, any way. That is my opinion anyhow, I think it is an orphanage holdover.
A few months ago, I started answering a nonsense question with a nonsense question of my own. I have 2. I reply with "Is it dark outside?" when it is light, or vice versa or for some variety I might say "Is your hair purple?", both of which make her think, then say no, then she moves on. This has been moderately successful as it cuts waaaaaay down on the Wango Tango one can enjoy if one responds with "no" too many times.
So yesterday she came home and her friend had been absent from school. She asked if she could have some candy to make herself feel better (thanks you- know- who). Of course I said, no. We don't do snacks after school. I found last year that Genea would not eat her lunch (that costs 2 freaking dollars) if she had a snack to rely on, but absolutely would eat her lunch if she knew that was all she would get until dinner (rigid thinking ya' think?). A few minutes later she asked again. My phone rang, she asked could she get it for me (always no) and asked who it was before I even answered (again, not permitted and forcing my attention to her instead of the call). So I decided to try something I had been thinking about.
I pulled out a jar of these connecting blocks, as seen above, and counted out 14. Those 14 would be the number of nonsense questions she could ask for the rest of the day and when they were gone, no more questions. Regular necessary questions did not count, though only I would determine what was necessary and not. I thought, 14 nonsense question would leave her without any more questions right around 7:00, as it would be 5:00 when we started this, and she goes to bed around 8. See how I think these things through? So I could make my point and there would be a minimum of suffering. I just wanted her to get a sense of how often she really does this. How often she makes up a question just for attention. Just sheerly for the sake of making her Daddy or I stop what we are doing, shift our attention, engage and communicate and then create a negative atmosphere when we have to say "no" to something she did not want or need anyway. There would be no consequences and no rewards, nothing at all. Just to see.
She bawled. But she understood.
The picture on top is how many she started with yesterday. Yes, there are only 13 in the picture, I took it after she lost the first one.
She clearly has waaaay- haaay- ayyyyy more control over this than I EVER would have thought.