There are days when I feel like I've got this Mommy job wrapped up. I find brilliant solutions to impossible problems, stop tantrums in their tracks, and juggle endless numbers of tasks with a smile on my face. Then there are times when I feel hopelessly unqualified for this amazing responsibility I have been charged with. I'm an impostor struggling hard to keep my head above water and the level is rising more quickly than I can tread water. This week I feel unqualified. I think as an adoptive parent I maybe feel more pressure than some non adoptive parents to get things right. I want to somehow prove that I am indeed worthy of this amazing gift God (along with Tiffany and Mike) has blessed me with, to prove that a mistake was not made in choosing me to be Hannah's mommy. I try to do my best, I truly do. I know in my mind that's all I really can do, but still . . . . I can't stop my heart from wanting the very best for my little girl and wondering if maybe all my ignorance will permanently screw her up. This week just did not help put those worries to rest.
Parenting Hannah is so hard. I want to raise a kind hearted, loving, and respectful little girl who loves the Lord and serves others before she thinks of herself, but I haven't a clue how to go about doing that. Hannah's an only child so I don't want her to grow up spoiled, feeling entitled, and thinking she's the center of the universe. She also has challenges to overcome that most other kids her age don't have and I don't want to create unrealistic expectations for her. There are times when these two desires of mine butt heads and I don't know which should take precedence. Throw the fact that Hannah's one smart cookie into the mix and that she already knows how to manipulate the system and I find myself at a loss for how to handle so many situations. It is often unclear to me when a particular undesirable behavior or action is the result of normal (or not so normal as is often the case with Hannah's creative ways of getting herself into trouble) toddler disobedience or a result of something over which she truly has no control. If she's being disobedient I don't want to let it slide and allow her to get away with being rude, disrespectful, or just plain honory, but at the same time if she can't control what she's doing or the emotions she's feeling then I don't want to punish her for behavior that isn't her fault. Still, if I let her get away with too much that she does have control over then I could see her smart little brain sensing weakness and thinking she can just take control whenever she wants and that would not be a good thing. There are just so many factors to throw into the mix. With some things it's easy to know what's disobedience and what's her simply being overwhelmed. In social situations the culprit is most like sensory overload, but at home when being asked to do something that she has successfully accomplished multiple times before it can be harder to tell. To make matters worse, Kyle and I often disagree on the course of action in these cases so we are left wondering who truly is right. For example, Hannah doesn't really like brushing her teeth, but this is something we can usually at least muddle through. But the last 3 nights in a row, teeth brushing has been the scene of a battle of epic proportions ending in tears (both of us), time outs, and even a few reminders (AKA spankings) over disrespectful behaviors as a result of the tooth brushing. Brushing her teeth has never had quite this violent of an effect on Hannah and the interesting thing is that I haven't had any problems with her brushing her teeth in the mornings this week-just at night. So, I'm left wondering if she's simply being disobedient and trying to get out of something she dislikes because she thinks she can or if there is something more going on that I don't realize and she can't control that is making teeth brushing simply unbearable for her. Because in any situation of crisis proportions (or even minor obedience infractions for that matter) there is a choice to be made in a split second about how to handle the situation, I've had to decide how to handle her meltdowns while in the midst of screams, flailing arms, and kicking feet. Each time in this particular battle I have chosen to view this as a disobedience issue and treated it as such. Kyle believes the opposite is true. Though we both have chosen our side, neither of us is fairly confident of our stance. There seems to be no reliable way of knowing for sure what's going on in this case. If there was an Idiot's Guide to Parenting your Brilliant Child Who Just Might Have Asperger's and Definitely has SPD I'd buy it in an instant no matter how much it cost. I'd skip the introduction and turn right to the chapter on How to Not Irreversibly Screw Up your Child Because of your Idiocy. Alas, no such book exists. Believe me, I've scoured Amazon looking for it! Instead I read blog after blog searching for mothers like me who are bravely going where (I can't really say no mom has gone before since I've read way too many blogs for that to be the case) most moms have never been before and I find solace in knowing that while I have no mommy friends in person who share my struggles, these women are out there and they do understand. They share their stories and I read and laugh and cry right along with them as their children amaze, confuse, and frustrate them. I am so grateful for the Internet and all those who help me get through each day even if they never know how much they've done.