Monthly Archives: January 2013

Aside

What do you say when your ten-year-old walks out of the psychiatrist’s office, nonchalantly looks over his shoulder, and says to the doctor: “see you later, bourgeois suckers”?

Like many of DJ’s favorite retorts, this gem was taken from the Regular Show. But I don’t think the doctor got the reference. In response to my profuse apology, she replied through slightly gritted teeth: “He’s so cute.”

To add to the fun, this was after a 20-minute session where DJ pretty much refused to talk because I made him spit out his gum before the appointment, and I was practically hoarse from a sore throat. Yes, it was one of those weeks…

Things got even worse this morning when an epic meltdown occurred over the “chunkiness” (or lack thereof) of his mac & cheese and us trying to get him to eat fresh pineapple (which he has actually eaten before on several occasions but this morning was tantamount to Chinese water torture).

And yet, here it is Saturday night–or at least it was when I originally started writing this post–and I know for all of the challenges and tantrums, good and bad parenting choices, that our family is a little bit stronger, a little bit closer than we were a week ago. Because it’s only when we reach those low points–when DJ pushes us to our limits & those doubts of whether or not we’ve bitten off more than we can chew start to creep in–that things get “real.”

Forced to confront my own insecurities, it becomes so obvious that DJ’s insecurities must be ten-fold. That the tantrums over seemingly nothing are about everything. That smart talking his psychiatrist or declaring us the worst parents ever are his ways of testing us. He wants to know–like all children, I’m sure, but especially adoptive children–if we’re in this for the long haul. Or from his perspective, if it’s only a matter of time before he’s sent away.

Eventually his tantrum on Saturday ended, like they always do. In the quiet conversations that followed, apologies were given and accepted, and reassurances offered. I might be imagining things, but I couldn’t help but think that today he woke up with a renewed sense of confidence and serenity–we had made it through the storm together.

Bourgeois Suckers & Fresh Pineapple

Resolutions of a New Adoptive Parent

Standard

My uncharacteristic flirtation with holiday cheer started to run out around 11:00 p.m. on Dec. 23rd, but our first Christmas was still a success. There were some ups and downs–thankfully mostly ups–and I’m happy to report that we were all in good spirits to ring in the new year last night.

We spent New Year’s Eve watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers after going to see The Hobbit earlier in the day. That’s a lot of LOTR, even for a Tolkien fan like myself!

I have to admit though that I’m a little reluctant to bid adieu to 2012. It was an incredible year of firsts: the first time that we met DJ, our first overnight as a family, the first time that he met our extended families, being called “Mom” for the first time (although to be perfectly honest, he was trying to persuade me to run down a hill & recover a soccer ball at the time), and our first Christmas.

Frosty Footpath - winter snow

Photo credit: blmiers2

As I imagine they are for many waiting moms & dads, the holidays have been pretty difficult for me in the past. I’ve often felt more disorganized than usual amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas. By Jan. 1, the introspective nature of the season has propelled me into an all-too-familiar cycle of self-pity. Despite my best efforts to be present and be grateful for all of the wonderful things that I did have in my life, I’ve struggled to be genuinely optimistic about the new year.

This year, of course, my attitude about the new year is dramatically different. Instead of my standard resolution to work harder on the adoption process, I’m resolving to make 2013 the very best possible year for our new family–physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Here are a few of my parenting resolutions:

1. Continue to work on DJ’s self-esteem. Like many adoptive children, he’s developed a very negative image of himself. We’re very quick to correct him when he says these types of things, but I’m hoping with the adoption finalization and our continued reassurances that we’re his forever family that he’ll learn to be kinder to himself.

2. Work on incorporating more whole foods into Dom’s diet or at least expand his daily menu beyond boxed mac & cheese, mini ravioli, frozen burritos, and candy.

3. Keep up the good fight against screen time (video games, TV, computers) and promote DJ’s creativity and appreciation of the arts in any form. In particular, I’d love to see him spend more time drawing, writing, and knitting. He got lots of great art stuff for Christmas, and we bought him both a diary and knitting book for kids.

So what kind of family resolutions are you making this year? Any advice on how I can accomplish mine?

Happy New Year! May 2013 be filled with health, happiness, & peace.

New year's eve, 2000, pittsburgh

New Year’s Eve, 2000, Pittsburgh (Photo credit: DeathByBokeh)