A few days ago I posted about a conference with Sam’s preschool teachers after an “incident” with a pail of dirt, and the words; “he seems so withdrawn recently” necessitated action.
The dirt was really not the worrisome part for me, the withdrawn was.
I am still uncomfortable with part of the discussion actually. I can feel myself explaining Sam’s loss at birth, how it does impact him during small and large transitions, and how for him all loss rings louder for him than for non adopted children. The discomfort? I am noticing how I felt as though I was describing an illness, or a lack somehow. As if something was wrong with him for having experienced these things.
Is the distinction between the reality, and the feelings I have about the reality something to note? If your child has a learning disability, (I know, I don’t think that word works either) or a physical handicap, or some other circumstance of note, do our own explanatory feelings get mired into the child’s self perception too? How do I see Sam’s circumstances as somehow handicapping? That word is too strong, but I feel as if I am getting at something that is nuanced that I wonder what to do with.
Do I wrestle with feelings of, “well he came this way” Or, “It’s not my fault?” How much guilt or repressed stuff to adoptive parents carry around related to these feelings? Or is it only me who worries these things obsessively?
Can you tell I am in a heavy questioning mode of late? (This is what happens when I decide to give the where do I want to live question a rest. I have to question something!) Are these questions serving a purpose??
On to the praise and happy part of the post. According to his teachers, four weeks later and Sam is not withdrawn, or being excluded. Nor, is he the excluder. In fact quite the opposite–the words used to describe him; leader, draws others to him easily, recognizing with greater ease the need for others to get to do special jobs/activities, sharing space, toys with ease, very empathetic, learning to modulate his energy and voice with success, great understanding of cause and effect with things having to do with outside world and self, very thoughtful with his words. States things in a way that others will feel OK. Example “I do want to play with you. I just want to play by myself for a few more minutes…”
Areas we need to work on; wanting to control everything (no idea where that comes from!!!) and making safe choices on the playground/with his body.
Well, one of the teachers said, most of what was going on, can probably be chalked up to a phase. Kids go through them all the time.
I smiled and disagreed. She has more experience than I do with preschoolers. But, as a teacher I also know that we have to look at what we are doing, or not doing, and the impact that has on the behavior, I added. I think we have all been focusing very positive intention on Sam. He thrived in that light. And, now we all know a little more about what works and doesn’t work for him.
On the playground I hugged him so hard. Then we all went to get an ice cream to celebrate. Rewards for good behavior with sugar? Bring it on! And, by the way, that all happened on Monday, and he has been having a stellar week.