I really can’t believe we’ve already been home for three weeks. This week has flown by! I looked up and realized it’s already Thursday.
This week has seen a slight shift in DoubleShot’s bonding. Yesterday she actually came and got me when something was wrong. The MP5 resurrected itself but the audio wasn’t working. DoubleShot came into the bedroom and gestured for me to follow her and then showed me that she couldn’t get the player to work. This is huge. Before yesterday, she’s never sought me out when something is wrong. I wonder if she’s finally starting to understand that we are available to help her whenever she needs it. We’ve told her that she can ask us for anything. That she can wake us up at night if she needs something. But until last night, she’s never voluntarily sought out my assistance.
The biggest challenge for me as a parent and as an emotionally sensitive person is the constant push and pull of our relationship. DoubleShot wants to be close to me but I sense that she is afraid. She is probably afraid that I will disappear at some point. Maybe that I will abandon her eventually. Maybe that I will hurt her, either physically or emotionally. She will snuggle up to me at times, hang all over me at other times, reach out for physical contact. But at other times, she is completely pushing me away, calling me names in Chinese or not wanting to be near me.
I was very aware of the possibility of this issue from my adoption and parenting training. But being aware and understanding the meaning behind the behavior does not protect my heart. I completely melt when DoubleShot wants to cuddle. Then it hurts my feelings when she rejects my offer to help her with something or calls me a pig. And yet throughout it all, I need to be loving and warm and bond-able. She needs to learn that I am reliable and that I will love her regardless of her behavior. I do love her regardless but it’s hard to act on that love when you’ve just been shoved and called a pig.
I made a massive parenting mistake earlier this week. DoubleShot is addicted to electronics, like most children. I have a love/hate relationship with electronics. I prefer that they be used primarily as a tool and used sparingly as entertainment. DoubleShot is still gaining confidence with our home and still seems hesitant to get out toys or games without being prompted or demonstrated. When I pull out a new toy and start playing with it, she’ll usually join in. But she doesn’t initiate much playing on her own. One day this week, DoubleShot had already spent several hours playing games on my computer. I told her to find something to do besides electronics. We have books (in Mandarin and English), games, toys, etc. available to her. She moved to the couch and started playing with her handheld Tetris game. We took it away from her and repeated that she needed to find something to do that wasn’t an electronic.
That resulted in two hours of her sitting on the couch doing nothing. I came over and sat with her for awhile, reading my book. I asked her if she was ok. She nodded. I offered to do something with her and made suggestions. She said no to each of my suggestions. I later realized that she probably didn’t understand my instructions and that it felt arbitrary and punitive when we took away her Tetris game. Whoops! I’m not sure what shook her out of the lethargy, but all of a sudden she got up and got involved in what I was doing. She was back to her giggling self. I wish I knew what triggered the change. I also learned I need to spend more time with the translator to help her understand my instructions! I felt so bad about the misunderstanding.
This week seems to have been more about my growth than about DoubleShot’s. She’s made progress in her bonding and is becoming a bit more communicative in both English and Chinese, though we’ve yet to hold a conversation. But this week it felt like I was learning more about how to be a mom than she’s learned about how to be a daughter. Her growth is sometimes hard to see because I have no idea what’s going on inside her head!