Monday, March 05, 2007

She Loves Me Not?

We had a difficult day on Saturday with Lana. I have several theories on why it was so hard, but, who knows, really?

Her schedule had been all messed up since Wednesday, as Wednesday evening we had a Lenten dinner and lecture at church (during which Lana happily went to the children's program with her cousins and brother), and Thursday we were at the T~'s house having Vietnamese food and didn't get home until 10:45 PM, and then Friday night my niece, Taylor, spent the night.

Gabe and Lana and Taylor played well together, until it was time to go to bed. As is customary for when Gabriel and Taylor have sleepovers (and they've been having sleepovers for 3 or 4 years now), I put in a movie and put them, along with Lana, into the guest room to watch a movie and drift off to sleep.

Except, that's not what happened because Lana does not have 3 years of cousin-sleep-over-experience to draw on. She did not lay down quietly (and it was 10:00 by this time and way past her usual 8:30 bedtime for the 3rd night in a row.)

So, I ended up turning the movie off for a few minutes, and taking Lana to her room and putting her to bed by herself. And she fell asleep. Until she was awoken by Gabe and Taylor having an argument about (of all things) the Statue of Liberty. (Taylor had recently been to New York City with my brother, and she insisted that you could go INSIDE the statue. Gabriel had been studying the Statue at school, where his teacher had told them that visitors were no longer allowed inside the statue. If any New Yorkers are reading this please let me know which of them was right!!)

Anyway, the ridiculous argument woke Lana up, and she was crying and upset (probably feeling left out of the fun, but, what was I supposed to do? If she won't lay down and fall asleep to the movie, what are my options, really?)

She fell back to sleep with some comforting from Husband, and Taylor and Gabriel fell asleep soon after. Taylor and Gabe were up again at 7:30 AM (what the heck??), but, Lana slept until 9:45. There was arguing about whose My Little Pony was whose, and arguing about this and that. Typical arguing among children who haven't had enough sleep, nothing out of the ordinary.

My brother came to pick up Taylor, and we went out the mall to run some errands.

Lana was absolutely atrocious at the mall. She ran away from us, she refused to hold anyone's hand, she pushed another little girl...Husband ended up practically dragging her by her arm because she was refusing to walk if either of us tried to hold her hand. There was fit throwing and screaming.

We went home without our errands finished because she was just being impossible.

Around 7:00, Husband and Gabriel left to go finish the errands, and I planned to give Lana a bath and put her to bed on time.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Lana lost her mind when Husband left the house with Gabriel. She went ABSOLUTELY BANANAS. She tried to run after him, running into the garage as she tried to put her shoes on (after he had driven away). She screamed. She bawled. She was in hysterics.

I put some water in the bathtub and she ran away from me yelling "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO". She ran into her bedroom and LOCKED THE DOOR. When she came out of her room she was wearing pajamas and running shoes. I physically tried to pick her up and take her into the bathroom, telling her she needed to get clean. She is strong. She made it physically impossible for me to get her into the tub, or even out of her pjs. She ran down the stairs and back into the garage, screaming, "BA! Ba! Ba! Ba! Ba!" (Daddy).

I dragged her back in the house. I offered her food. She refused. I told her it was bedtime and she went into her room and threw herself on her bed and cried and kicked some more. I offered to read her a book. "NO BOOK! NO BOOK!" she screamed. I sang her a song (the one I usually sing at bedtime) and she screamed "NO MOMMY NO MOMMY! NO LOVE YOU! NO LOVE YOU! NO LOVE YOU!"

She was covered with tears and snot. I told her I loved her (although, truthfully, at that moment, I was not feeling very loving) - she pushed me away from her. I told her Ba would be here when she woke up in the morning. I closed the door. Her angry cries turned to sad cries. "Ba...Ba....Ba....Ba..." I went in the room to comfort her and she screamed "NO MOMMY! NO MOMMY!" again. When I left she switched from crying "Ba" to crying "Daddy...Daddy...Daddy".

It is hard to hear a child tell you they don't love you. And when she says, "no mommy" sometimes, I believe what she is saying is that I am NOT her mommy. It is painful to hear this from a child you have, literally, been to the ends of the earth for. I will be honest and say that, mostly what I felt about her, at that moment, was frustration and anger and hopelessness. She fell asleep a little before 8:00, and I laid in my bed and cried for a while. I turned on the TV and saw that the Oxygen Network had attempted to turn Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride (one of my favorite books) into a movie, so, I watched that for a while. (Um...they tried, and they used Mary Louise Parker as Xenia, really didn't work out very well.) When Husband and Gabe came home, I told them about the last two hours and I curled up like a lump on the couch to watch the end of the movie.

Lana woke up around 9:30, and David went to comfort her. She was furious with him, but, she did quiet down. Ten minutes later she was screaming "bafroom, havva go bafroom" and I went up to take her to the potty. She pushed me away, and then she saw David was right behind me. She jumped into his arms crying, "bafroom, bafroom" - he took her to the bathroom and she fell asleep again. She was up once more at 11:30, but, went back to sleep when David tucked her back in. She slept the rest of the night and was in a much better mood yesterday.

She finally consented to a shower (she has lately decided that she hates water worse than a skittish cat), but, yesterday, we finally had a clean child with no tears and no screaming, a first for her in the last three weeks.

And this morning, she came to me for comfort when she woke up, and let me help her get her clothes on. She happily got in the car to go to school, and, when I was threading the seat belt through her car seat, she kissed my cheek and say, "Love you, Mommy."

I'm trying to focus on that postive response. It's not easy. But, I'm trying to focus on it.



Anonymous Heather said...

Poor Lana- she has been through so much, however it seems she is learning how to manipulate Mom and Dad- how do they learn so quickly? You are a GREAT Mom- sounds like you handled everything exactly right! (Not that I have kids and know these things) :)

Monday, March 05, 2007 2:34:00 PM  
Blogger Perpetual Procrastinator said...

I suppose you might take comfort in the fact that nearly all children will throw a tantrum at one time or another and no matter how well-mannered we were, we've *all* said the 'I hate you' line at one time or another in a fit of childish rage. Remember also that you are both adjusting to each other and that it just may take more time...but in the end it will all be worth it. I think you're doing all the right things, you just have to be patient (even though I know it hurts). One day, you'll look back and barely remember this struggle.

I *know* it will all work out and I know that you have the strength to get through this.

Monday, March 05, 2007 3:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

As bad as it must hurt to hear those words, many good adoption therapists who specialize in older child adoption will tell you it is a GOOD thing when a child feels comfortable enough with her new parents to throw tantrums and say the "h" word. It means she is not worried you'll just toss her to the wind when she's a "bad" girl or acts out from time to time. Sounds like she's testing this out, and you're handling it better than most could ever hope to. Your patience is so impressive and will make all the difference for Lana.
I know it took my siblings a lot longer to get to this comfort level with our parents. The honeymoon of "thank you's" after being fed each and every meal, smiling politely constantly when we knew they had to be in pain, etc., lasted about 1 year! Then again, Lana came from a loving foster home, which is a wonderful thing and probably has a lot to do with her readiness to test you so early.

Monday, March 05, 2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger S. said...

Sounds like a rough night, so sorry for you both. Exhaustion surely factored into it, I know the behaviour of my bio-dd deteriorates after more than one night of being up past bedtime.

Just thinking you might check out are going through something more extreme with their recently adopted toddler from China, and the attachment specialist encouraged her to "claim" her role as her daughter's mother. No time to explain it well, but it might be worth reading.

I think Laurie made some excellent, and hopefully encouraging points.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Poor Lana..and poor you! Definitely a rough time all around for both of you. You did a great job hanging in there and trying everything to help soothe her....I am glad that Lana "bounced back" after some rest and you are both feeling better. Rejection hurts, even if you know the reason why (overtired, schedule disrupted, adoption grief). hang in there!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she is starting to feel comfortable with you and now she has all this "stuff" that has happened to her to sort out.
She needs to be sure you will love bad Lana too.
I think the little kids lose it very quickly at this stage. It sounds like she was too tired and out of her routine. Her bro now had a new friend and special things to do with him.
This stuff is going to come up every once in a while. Sometimes after a terrible episode my daughter will be happier and more sure of herself when it is over. Like it cleared the air.

Thursday, March 08, 2007 3:00:00 PM  

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