Just this past week I've caught on to two things that Amos does. Now that I'm on to him things will be different!
When someone does something to someone else in our house we require an apology. You look the person that you hurt in the eyes and say “I'm sorry”. When someone does something good for you in our house, you look them in the eyes and say “thank you”. We have always done this with our kids and do this with Amos and Story as well.
The other day while packing for the beach Deacon did something super sweet for Amos and I told Amos to tell him thank you. He refused. I asked and told and he refused. Wouldn't look at me and wouldn't look at Deacon. I walked him over to the wall and sat him in time-out. I sat next to him and talked to him about why he was there and what he needed to do. He refused. He sat. I folded laundry, while he sat. Deacon went on with his life.
I think these are moments are a HUGE power struggle between him and us. He needs control. His whole life has been wrecked and all he wants is a little control. I struggle with when to fight and when to let it go.
Then he hit Story as she walked by so then I was asking him to tell Story that he was sorry and of course, you guessed it, he refused. So now not only am I trying to get him to tell Deacon, Thank You, but now I want him to tell Story that he's sorry. It seemed like the offenses were just piling up by the minute.
Then he did what happens a lot when he's in trouble. He peed in his pants. This has happened a handful of times and I often wonder if he is freaked out, scared, or just trying to piss me off (literally) by making a mess that he knows I'll have to clean up.
So, I got him up and cleaned his body, got him new pants and acted like it was no big deal. I have never gotten mad at him for peeing on himself b/c I thought he was just scared. After that I didn't have the heart to put him back in time- out so we just went on with life. I wasn't sure if that was a good decision or not, but I wasn't sure what to do, so I just went with it.
Then no kidding about 2 hours later he looked at Deacon with a huge grin on his face and said “thank you Deacon”, then looked at me to tell me that he had just told Deacon thank you. Then no lying he looked at Story and said “I'm sorry Story”.
I had a moment where I realized he TOTALLY gets it and he was working me all day long. He held out and held out and when HE WAS READY he did what I had asked him to.
THEN … this morning at the beach house we had something go down and he was in trouble. I think it was him turning the fan off and on when I asked him repeatedly not to (who knows? it's always something minor that turns major for him) and he was sitting against the wall as I tried to hold his hands and talk to him. I kept asking him to look at me and hold my hands as we talked. He refused, so I went back to packing while he sat there.
He then looked at me and said “I'm going to pee in my pants.” That's when I realized he has control over this little thing that happens when he's in trouble. Oh so here we go. I can play this game as well. I said to him, “oh that's fine with me. Go ahead and pee. I don't care.” He looked at me very confused, and then I told him, “you can, but i will not give you new underwear, so you pick.” I love when I change the rules around on him. To make him think that I could care less if he pees in his pants, b/c he really wants to do something that makes me mad, so I let him think it doesn't make me mad at all. 🙂
Guess what? He didn't pee. I guess he decided he didn't want to wear wet undies all day long.
So, I'm on to him. I told Aaron that if I am going to ask him to do something I need to make sure I'm willing to put the time in to make sure he does it. I wonder how long it will take him next time. I'm also not going to let him get up and get out of trouble next time he pees in his pants. I think he'll need to sit in it for a while and maybe he won't do that again.
After all these incidents that happen a few times a day in our home I'm always very frustrated with Amos. Then I get very frustrated with myself for being frustrated with him. IT IS NOT HIS FAULT. He is a hurt child. He has been through hell and back. It is a constant cycle of frustrations. I sit on the couch at night and replay events and wonder what I could have done differently. Did I love him well? Did I do things the right way?
One thing I do know is that we are committed to this child. Not only are we on to two of his “tricks”, but we are continuing to love him through it all!!!! He is our child. We are his family. He is mine and I am his. FOREVER.
you are doing it well! I have seen it with my own eyes!
Such a brilliant kid with such a brilliant mom.
You’re rocking the healing, Jamie Ivey … ROCKING IT! Lots of ups and downs and back and forth and three steps forward and two steps back.
Every little tiny moment is one more bit of solidification in his heart that you guys are what you say you are. It’s so weird for some people to see how beautiful it is, because its appearance can be … not exactly so. Yet, it is. It is a beautiful dance as the trust grows and the walls slowly come down. That is how I view it. It is an exhausting dance. Sometimes you have to let someone else cut in for a bit. Other times you collapse at the end of the day from exhaustion. But you keep on dancing … and the space between you keeps shrinking.
Love you guys.
Oh my, I really think we need to get together. My husband and I have so many days like these that are a combination of frustration, then reflection and empathy, aha moments, etc. It is so interesting raising some children from babies and then coming in mid-way on others. It presents so many unique challenges and rewards.
Sigh…big huge thrilled to know you sigh…Thank you for letting us see all sides of adoption and letting me know it’s going to be ok, even when it’s SO hard!
I’m a first grade teacher and what you’ve described with Amos, especially tonight, reminds me so much of a child in my class. He can be the sweetest child I have but he can also be by far the most challenging. I love a challenge so of course even with that behavior he has stolen my heart. I will be so interested to hear more as you keep learning more about what works and what doesn’t. Your kids are precious!! ~Lee Ann
Wow. We deal with the SAME stuff on an almost daily basis. We do have mini-breakthroughs and it always feels like such a triumph. But when we are living in the *middle* of one of the control-fueled pee fests, it makes me feel mad/sad/frustrated/like I want to hide in my closet and cry. 😉
This has to be difficult to deal with. Praying for you Jamie! I think you are doing an awesome job. Don’t second guess your gut feeling! Go with it…. God will give you wisdom and strength to get through the next “trick”… He knows you love him! I think every parent has questions at the end of the day even without these circumstances. Just know God is not caught off guard by these instances… He’s already giving you what you need to get through it!
Jamie, you are a rockstar mom! The fact that you are questioning things is a good sign that you really really care. But you also need to not be hard on yourself. Your heart is in this all the way, and that is EXTREMELY pleasing to God. He actually loves this child more than you do…and that is good news! Will be praying for his healing, your wisdom, and continued solidification of your amazing family!
one thing i absolutely love about your posts is that they are so honest. i am so appreciative of your commitment to show not just the “glamorous” side of adoption but the hard days as well. praying for you and amos. he’s so blessed to have you as a mother.
Ahh, Jamie, haven’t been here in a time, and, I’m just now reading this post. I can relate, honestly, to both you and Amos. AND…in reading your entire post, the love of God. On any given day, at any given time, under any circumstance that I try to control:) I could be Amos….and, then when I figure out how far I am away from my Father’s will for my life, well, I then remember to ask forgiveness, and, once remembered am again ready to say “thank you” for loving me, God!!!
I, also, think how patient God is with us, you seem to show great patience and wisdom with Amos…again, all God!! I have no real words beside….so very thankful you have been given Amos and so thankful Amos has been given you:)
i tell you what: this is why i love amos! he is so dang smart! made me laugh a little! you are a great mommy. ive seen it with my own eyes!
Love ALL of you SO much!
Wowie- I couldn’t communicate it this well if I tried but… we are experiencing the same exact thing at bed time. Kemly has been home for a month and a half and he now tells us that if we put him in bed he WILL cry. When we caught on it changed our response to the crying fits he was having after we put him in bed.
I’m so thankful for people like you who are willing to be honest about this stuff. We were struggling with what to do and it’s just nice to know we aren’t alone and to also see how other parents are handling these types of things.
When Sprout is on time-out she always suddenly has to pee “SO BAD!” It’s a total control thing for her.
With Small Sun, I can totally relate to a very small thing (like saying “thank you”, it’s not even being “in trouble”) tail-spinning to an all out war zone. Right now we’re doing okay with it, but we went through a really tough season with that issue. I wonder if it is related to rejection/abandonment? It would make sense to me that if a child is struggling with grief about the losses they’ve experienced (early in life or later), that they might push the boundaries hard to see if their parents are going to reject/abandon them. Also, I think it is a real power trip for kids to be able to control everything through their behavior.
I always try to diffuse those situations when I see them developing but I am not always successful. They ARE difficult but I think it is so key that you are seeing the pattern. Now you can take that to God to get the strategy that is going to unlock that place in Amos’ heart.
Beautiful job Sweetie!