On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Friday, June 4, 2010

The End

Attachment challenge finished. I'd give myself an 81%. (Hey, once a teacher, ALWAYS a teacher).

Scoring using rubrics [1]:
10 hugs every day: 5/7
20 minutes every day doing what child wanted: 5/7
10 minutes of touch time: 7/7
Total: 17/21 or 81%, B-

I'm a chronic overachiever so this score is low for me. Kick-myself-in-the-pants low. And why? Because 10 hugs a day was tough to do and because two of the days every moment was so busy I forgot to allot time for "playing", an issue I have always suffered from, even as a child. I was often reminded: "all work and no play ..." Something to work on for myself.

Cleaning up Sissy's space yesterday, I did NOT uncover contraband, only enormous clutter. She was sleeping on top of dirty underwear, doll clothes, misplaced hair scrunchies and socks. Many forgotten items were lodged between the wall and the bed. Many more items were on the floor under the bed. Nearly a trash bag's worth. HOW did she do all that? HOW did she not notice the items in her bed when she slept at night? As we tidied up, she kept saying, "oh! I wondered where that went to!"

Bugger. Even with severely limited personal items allowed in her space, she still managed to clutter it up with trash, miscellany and stuff, stuff, stuff. It boggles the mind. Which makes the point, this clutter is how her mind is. I've said it a thousand times, visual clutter is mental clutter. In Sissy's case, it's the reverse. I have a sneaking suspicion that unchecked and untrained, Sissy will be a compulsive hoarder as an adult. She just doesn't notice it!

We returned her dresser to her space, upgrading her from the under-the-bed bins for her clothing items. The reasoning was two fold. First, she has been rage-free for five weeks and I felt she could now be trusted with more furniture and a few more personal possessions. Second, the table in her room became a catch-all place for her items, piled three and four layers high. I was hoping the dresser would provide a better opportunity to encourage tidiness and if nothing else, an extra drawer to hide the clutter.

She was NOT given more clothing items however. Sissy has the typical RAD habit of dressing in odd outfits on purpose. Limiting her number of choices and selecting clothing that nearly matches everything else in the wardrobe has eliminated that issue although not entirely. Sissy still has the uncanny knack of pairing impossible items all to get my attention. The irony is that she only brings unwanted attention to herself.

With a catch-all drawer that is officially designated as the place she is to put all of the life skills, social skills and DBT workbooks the IFI team is teaching her, Sissy's toy-bin is nearly empty. She has access to all sorts of things to play with in the house but only a few items are permitted to stay in her space. Those items must fit in her bin which is slightly larger than a washbasin. Her first question, "Can I have more to fill it up?"

"Let's see how you do with the increase of personal items we added today. We'll discuss it again in two weeks. Prove to me you can earn more by being responsible with what you have."

She nodded her head with a smile. Internally, I knew that she would fail this test but that's OK. More opportunities to learn, retrain and teach with love.

We also had a long talk about the fish. Some of the comments suggested we help Sissy accept her inability to take on the responsibility by encouraging her to find a new home. It was a success. We used the opportunity to discuss adoption; why it's necessary, how hard it is to accept that someone is unable to meet an obligation toward another living being and the emotional challenge of letting go even when it is "the best" choice for all. It was a great platform to discuss her own adoption, BM's personal struggles and the like. Initially Sissy thought WG should adopt Felix but I pointed out that if WG proved capable of being able to care for the fish, it might make Sissy feel worse about herself. Sissy agreed that would be the case and even added that she'd actually be jealous. Hooray for such big steps! Now we only need to keep the fish alive until we find a suitable home. No home studies or court proceedings required.

We're off to the beach to celebrate WG's upcoming 6th birthday. I'll be sure to post pictures as well as WG's adoption story. It is making me a bit melancholy, my baby turning 6. At 35, I still have baby fever pretty badly but alas, infertile women don't get many choices about that, especially since my OB has already discussed the need for the "Big H" before I get to 40. Adoption is the only way we add to our family and ... *sigh* That will have to be a GOD thing, I just don't think I have it in me.

[1] rubrics - as a student, did you ever wonder why your project that was AWESOME got the same score as another student whose project seemed seriously lacking by comparison? Teachers use rubrics to score performance on the more subjective tasks.


GB's Mom said...

5 weeks! That is cause for celebration in itself. Leave the adoption to God. He will let you know on his time. {{{Hugs}}}

Bren said...

"the uncanny knack of pairing impossible items all to get my attention. "

YES! I can so relate to that. I tell her, "If you never wore it together before, don't start now!" Still she continues her shock and awe behaviors.

Gwenith said...

I found your blog through fosterparentmaze and love reading about your dedication to your family.

Just so you know, in Canada an 81% is an A- so I think you should boost your grade since by the sounds of it you deserve an A!!!