Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Even October 13, 2012

Filed under: adoption thoughts,Matthew — Elizabeth @ 8:48 AM

I really hate to say this.  I do.  But I think that in the end The Great Loveseat Coloring Incident actually ended up being a good thing.  In a way, I think it is something that Matthew has been waiting to do since he met me.

(I’m about to get all psychological here.  Y’all bear with me.)

I truly believe that Matthew has been testing us (and me, in particular) since he joined our family.  And who could blame him?  At 2.5 he had dealt with a lot of broken attachments (many of which he can’t physically remember, but I know they are there, tattooed on his soul somehow) and then, for reasons he still doesn’t completely understand, he was removed from his foster family to join us.  There is still a part of him that believes that he did something wrong to cause this.  And from day one, I think, a part of him has been wondering what it is going to take for me to leave.  Or for me to say, you know this kid is just too much.  I’m done.

We tell him “forever” all the time, but I don’t know that he really, really believes it.

So when he colored the loveseat, I think this was it.  He had finally worked up the nerve to do the absolute worst thing he could think of.  And I have to give him mad props here–it was very personal and hurtful.

He must have been terrified, waiting to see what I would do.  And then…..we all ate dinner together.  And he still got a kiss goodnight.  The next day, our family took a walk in a park and went on a picnic.  The world did not end.  His punishments were doled out and the incident was forgotten.  How anti-climactic.

Shortly after the incident, he and I were playing Wii bowling together.  He is really good at it (he’s even bowled a perfect game before), so I definitely try my hardest.  This particular time, I beat him by one point.  Matthew is traditionally not a very good loser.  He usually cries.

But this time, when the game was over I gave him a high five and told him what a great game he played.  He was on the verge of tears, but he stopped and said, “You love me?  Even when I lose?”.

Yes, child.

Even when you lose.

Even when you claim not to love me.

Even when you color on a brand new piece of furniture.  Out of spite.

Even when anything.

No matter what and forever.

I vow to show you this everyday, not just with my words, but with my actions.

Until the only thing etched on your soul is “forever”.


And Your Punishment Is…..

Filed under: everyday life,mama of boys — Elizabeth @ 8:24 AM

Many of you asked that I update with what we decided to do as a punishment for what will heretofore be known as The Loveseat Coloring Incident (I wanted to go with The Day the Music Died, but that event has apparently already been taken).

Anyway, if you remember, it was important to us to make the punishment loving and logical.  And I also wanted to find something that would “get to him”, as he really doesn’t care about so many things.  So here is what we decided on….

First thing, that night at dinner, we took his money and explained that it would go toward cleaning the loveseat.

The next day we wrote out 5 sentences for him to copy.  We had him copy each sentence 5 times and this was done during his regular Wii play time.  The sentences were:

  • I will obey my parents.
  • I will take care of our things.
  • I will use my words when I am angry.
  • I am an important part of my family.
  • My family loves me.

The sentence writing was done happily and without complaint and I think he finished it up in 2-3 days time, at which point he was allowed to resume Wii play.

That week I was painting our entryway and hallway, so I had him help by cleaning the baseboards.  Again this was done happily, and we worked as a team.

The only punishment that really rattled him was that I made him throw his pumpkin in the trash.  The day after he colored the loveseat, we were having cuddle time and we were alone and I began talking to him about it, and he finally admitted that he was mad at me for taking his pumpkin away and that is why he colored on the loveseat (which I knew).  I asked him what he thought we should do about this, and he immediately started to sob, saying “don’t throw the pumpkin away!!”.  I should say here that I intended all along to make him get rid of the pumpkin, but this was him handing me on a silver platter, the one punishment that he actually cared about.  So we walked into the kitchen together and I watched as he threw it away.

He cried for at least 20 minutes and I held him.

The one thing that I have vowed to myself not to do is to bring it up again.  I am not rubbing it in his face and this won’t be something I will hold over his head.  It’s over.  He did his punishments and I forgave him.

And the most remarkable part is that the marker (it was a washable type) has almost completely faded to nothing.  We haven’t wiped it or washed it.  I haven’t called the professional cleaner yet.  Every day the marks get a little bit more faint.

But I’m still keeping the money 🙂


Morning Milestone October 11, 2012

Filed under: Matthew,special needs — Elizabeth @ 9:20 AM

Kindergarten has been going great–for both boys, but surprisingly well for Matthew.  We have only had one morning that he has woken up and cried about having to go.  But a cupful of my coveted carbonated water helped turned his attitude around very quickly (it’s the closest thing he gets to a soda and he loves it!).

The one problem has been morning drop off.  He cries every morning.  And I’m not just talking about crying.  He refuses to get out of the car and stays frozen in his seat.  Parents aren’t allowed out of their cars at drop off and I finally had to contact the special education department about having an aide there specifically to drag help him out of the car.

Even with the aide there, the shenanigans continued.  But at least she was there to get him out, and help him with his backpack (which is another problem–the backpack is heavy and he is so tiny!!  He only just now has grown out of his 24 month pants!).

I felt like the crying was simply becoming a habit.  I could tell his heart wasn’t in it anymore, that he was doing it just to do it.  And I knew we just needed to break the cycle.  So at the advice of his preschool aide from last year, I decided to institute a sticker chart.  Every day he doesn’t cry or whine at drop off, he earns a sticker, and after 5 stickers he gets a reward (which will probably be a piece of homemade chocolate).

Let me do a little sidebar here on why it has taken me so long to do this.  It is very hard for me to “reward” behavior that I think should be expected.  For instance, I never understood parents who paid their kids for good grades.  I also didn’t feel that it was fair for Matthew to be earning chocolate when Isaac does this without thinking about it.  But in the end, they are totally different kids, and I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t hold Matthew to the same standards that I hold Isaac.  I want to.  But I can’t.

So this morning, we talked about the stickers.  And how he was going to be brave.

And we pulled up to the school, and the aide approached our van, and I told her, I think he is going to do it by himself today.

And for the first time in 39 days, he climbed out of the van on his own (with a slightly wobbly chin).

And everybody on the sidewalk cheered.

When you have a child with special needs, the milestones are very different.  But usually a lot sweeter.