Friday, January 29, 2010

Braids, Bribes and Therapy

This morning's hair request was braids. Braids JUST like her doll Katie. Prim loves Katie's beautiful, thick, glossy braids. She wants braids that look just as pretty as Katie's. Unfortunately for my sweet girl, she has not grasped the concept of actually needing a substantial amount of hair to achieve her desired look. After much pleading with her wide liquid eyes we came to a compromise and did piggies, braided them and banded them at the bottom. They did stick out quite a bit and she struck me as an Asian version of Pippi Longstocking but she was tickled pink and that meant my morning got a little bit easier.
Our first stop of the day was an appointment with a family counselor I found who specializes in adoption. It's been a long time coming and a part of me wishes I would have done this while H was deployed, but I thought I could handle it on my own. For seven months her days were fine but her stress manifested again in night time dysregulation. When H came home it immediately subsided but began again after we moved (twice in three months) and now that we are stable but have more visitors it has been an issue. I don't know what it is about her nights. All of her fears, all of her worries and insecurities create a deep, intense reaction at bedtime. It's either fighting bedtime or waking up in the middle of the night temper-tantrumming because she can't sleep in our bed and feels alone. First, let me say that she shares a bedroom with her brother-she is in no way alone. She says this because she is apart from me and I am her security blanket. Second, Prim has this bizarre internal clock that will wake her up at midnight on the dot (my mother was amazed) and the struggle begins. Of all of the things I wish I could give my daughter as her mother, I wish I could give her peace. Peace in emotionally understanding that when she goes to bed at night we will still be here in the morning. Peace to be able to be in a room by herself and not feel insecure or abandoned.
To get to the point I need guidance. I want to be the best mother to her that I can and I don't have all of the tools to do it on my own. I don't know how to get past her fear. I don't know how else to assure her, to love her, to comfort her. Maybe it will just take time but I need someone to tell me that, too.
Our counselor is nice. A Christian, a wife and a mother. She recommended an AMAZING book that I myself had just finished reading (I'll blog about it soon) and was hoping to put into practice. Thank you God for giving me a clear sign that I was on the right track! Prim was great and watched Tom and Jerry on her portable DVD player. She ate a fruit roll up for snack which I soon regretted b/c I didn't bring a drink and her thirst became a quick topic of discussion. A very LOOONG topic of discussion. Did she not understand that I was paying by the hour for this session? I tried the compromise: "Please give mommy ten more minutes and then we'll discuss getting a drink". Five minutes later when she exclaimed that she was 'weally, weally, WEALLY thirsty!' I went straight to bribe mode: "Prim, since you have been sitting so patiently what do you think about mommy getting you a special treat after we are done talking to Ms. Sarah?". I swear my daughter must have a mental list of the bribes she is willing to accept at any given moment. She quickly whispered in my ear: "How about chocolate milk?". I agreed, she was satisfied and it only cost me ten minutes of billable time and a chocolate milk.
As we were leaving the building a few young girls walked by and giggled, whispering how cute Prim was with her braids. I smiled because her braids today suit her. They are little but strong (they stayed put all day!) and even though they stick out straight off the side of her head they are nothing if they are not endearing. That's my girl.


Hirally said...

You are on the right track, the fact that you try to educate yourself and find help is enough to know you are on the right track. I wish I knew what is it about night time.

And boy I do hear you on the hair dept!!


Wendy said...

I don't know if Grace had enough hair at the time, but our mutual foster parents used to really do up Lily's hair--what there was of it--all the time from what we saw in pictures. When we met her for the first time she had the teeniest pigtails on the top of her head and two tiny thin braids at the nape of her neck! I am a total fail in the hair department, so I feel your pain and I also have new respect for how Grace and Lily's foster mom managed with Lily's hair!

April said...

Wendy, unfortunately grace had very, very short hair when we traveled and it's been slow growin' ever since then! it's nice that it's finally started to get longer but i anticipate another year until she's got some decent hair growth going on!!

Robin and Kyle said...

April, Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry that Grace is having a hard time at night. Our son is very insecure in being alone also. It can really tear at a mom's heart, can't it?

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