Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today's going well so far...

Don't wanna jinx it! I think the boys and I will head to a park later for a walk around, maybe feed some ducks. Seems like a nice day for it!

Paxton is definitely doing better with more attention. We gave him a ton during the first several months he was home but his natural toddler/preschooler independence forced a slight separation once he was fully attached. I think we've just become too used to our independent little boy and didn't realize he'd need so much extra love on top of what we already show him. Glad we figured it out, for all our sakes! He's super happy and adorable again. Guess it never hurts to go through the steps of attachment again every now and again, neh?

It's weird, I've been reading up on adoption (required reading) and about issues you deal with. It's true, there are a lot of issues we deal with and that we handle typically pretty well. There are phases he goes through, like the "screaming/crying at someone he recognizes" phase we're in right now that comes around every other month or so for two weeks maybe. We just need to hug him a lot and let him hide from those he loves until he calms down. I still wonder why people take offence at this. It's only because he loves and trusts them but sometimes their presence is simply overstimulating and he needs to calm down before he can handle them. It's okay, no biggie, and just letting him calm at his own pace works much faster than trying to force him to interact with friends or family who are waiting with open arms.

I guess that's the thing I've realized about all of this. There are issues. There are orphanage behaviors that sometimes resurface, there are violent behaviors that sometimes pop up, there are overstimulation issues and there are even a few sensory issues that appear only when he's very, very overstimulated (echolalia anyone?). The vast majority of the time my son appears to be, and is, a completely normal, completely on target, totally attached and loving little boy. Even on his bad days he's still great a majority of the time (it's that super crappy minority of the time that gets ya though...). But my son has been through a considerable amount of trauma in his first couple years of life and like any child who has been through trauma (loss of parent, abuse, molestation, etc) he still has some issues pertaining to that and will very likely always have issues pertaining to his earliest experiences.

And I'm fine with that.

Oh, sure, it used to scare me that I might have to reaffirm our bond throughout our life together. And the thought of consistent testing behavior, grief that I can't completely put at ease, and a fear of separation used to make my stomach churn and certainly made me second guess adoption. But the fact is that I'm totally, 100% fine with this. Why? Well, duh, he's my son. And his experiences have helped to make him who he is and I love him for who he is, all that he is, even if it is difficult sometimes to deal with things that I may not feel totally equipped to deal with.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess sometimes I worry that my love for my child is questioned, that even I might question it if I feel I'm doing a bad job. But... well, I love him. He's my child, my first, my big boy, my little bean, my silly button, my son. He's the brightest light in my existence, my constant companion, my little co-conspirator and somedays my nefarious minion. He's my pupil, my dictator, my charge and ward and little lovey dovey. He's the person who has hurt me the most in those moments when he's just so angry over something so insignificant, but the pain he's caused me only hurt so badly because I love him so fiercely and want for his joy and adoration more than anything.

This child, my darling little son, went through hell before he joined my life and I will never, ever be able to change that. All the love in the world will never completely wipe out the hurt he experienced, and while we can make so, so much of it better there are some instances where we're just going to have to let him work out his grief in whatever way he can find.

Sometimes this means holding him so tight while he fights us. Sometimes this means letting him pretend to nurse on my arm. Sometimes this means hiding under the bed with him. Sometimes this means holding the cup or the spoon and reassuring him that he will always be fed. Sometimes this means not punishing, not reprimanding, and simply moving on from whatever he's done because there are times when it's simply not worth the battle with him when he's already fighting his own battle inside. And sometimes this means crying with him, letting him know that it hurts us too because we love him so. damn. much and his pain, whether we understand it or not, is also our pain because we are his parents and he is our son.

And so his battles are becoming shorter and shorter and he calms down quicker and quicker and he's happier far more often and he figures out new, positive ways to work out his grief over his past. Lately he's been finding little things, like a flag or a rock, and pouting and saying it's "poor baby ___" and it's "lost his mommy!" I look for the mommy with him. He hugs the little flag or rock or flower or seed to his chest and tells him it will be okay, then tells me how sad it is that it's all alone and just wants his mommy to love him. We find the mommy (a larger rock, a tree, the American flag down the road) and he rejoices that the poor baby ___ is no longer alone. And we hug and smile and he's calm and happy, and I'm calm and happy knowing what he may not know, that he's now found a positive outlet to reveal and deal with his past fears.

Alright, I think I'll have to leave off. I really ought to think about my blog posts beforehand so I can have, iunno, a good ending. Maybe I'll do that next time :)

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