Monday, October 22, 2012

The morning routine

This morning was "a morning" and then some.
I got the elementary school aged kids up at their usual 7 AM.  Our bus stop is 7:45.  45 minutes is plenty of time to get dressed and eat breakfast.  K catches the high school bus at 6:30.  After she left I did something totally out of the ordinary.  I brought coffee and 1/2 a grapefruit for each of us on a tray and got back into bed and had coffee with my husband and watched CNN.  Little grown up moments like this seem to never happen.  But I paid for it.

But Bitsy didn't get out of bed.  (Bitsy is in Kindergarten.)
I went back up to find her in the yoga "child pose" head in the pillow, legs tucked up under her, behind in the air.
I said something along the lines of "Bitsy you have school.  Lets get dressed" and pulled her pull up off of her (pull ups are their own post) and handed her a turtle neck, and some panties and went to the closet for her jumper.  There are two ways this morning is going to go right now, 1.) Bitsy will rally and get going.  She loves school.  She has a best friend.  Her teacher rocks.  or 2.)  She is going to resist every step of the way.
I step back to the bed with her jumper and note that Bitsy has chosen option 2.  She has her head in the turtleneck (its a mock neck, not a real turtle, and a hand me down, not tight!) and is flailing her arms and whimpering in a mock attempt at not being able to get her shirt on.
This reminds me of a post I recently read on "Rage Against the Minivan" about what the author, Kristen, calls "Purposeful Pokiness"  whatever you want to call Bitsy's behavior it relates to this Pokiness that Kristen's son pulls.  Completely.  And to whatever you want to call what Dragon has been doing since he was 3.  He's 10 now and showing signs that he'll out grow it, but I remain skeptical, hopeful yes, but for goodness sakes people lets be realistic.
I do manage to successfully get Bitsy into her school clothes and find her shoes and I go back downstairs to continue packing lunches and overseeing breakfast.
And I call up the stairs 5 minutes later.  "Bitsy! MLyons! Girls you are taking a long time and you need to eat!"
And eventually I find Bitsy by the front door, moaning and whimpering, fingers in her mouth.  "Bitsy is something wrong?"
no answer.
"Bitsy, if something is wrong maybe I can help."
no answer.
"Okay Bitsy, if nothing is wrong then take your fingers out of your mouth and come on.  You need to eat."
I get Bitsy to the table and pour some cereal.  
She stares at it still whimpering.  At this point I realize we will not make it to the bus stop.
Dear God Almighty - let me get this kid to school today!
I am down at her level.  I'm talking in my preschool mom voice.  "Bitsy, I cannot take you to school without breakfast.  In 5 minutes the bus will come.  We are going to miss it.  If you eat then we might be able to catch it at MLyon's friend's stop and then you can sit with your best friend.  But I need you to eat honey."
More whimpering.
And then finally she has eaten her breakfast.  I ask her to get her backpack.  It is in her room.  As slow as humanly possible she gets her backpack.  Now she needs a sweater.  It is 8:10 AM.  School starts at 8:30.  I get the 4 kids loaded into the car and Bitsy is crying.
"Bitsy what is wrong?"
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"Okay." and I unbuckle her and send her in to the use the bathroom.  As slow as humanly possible.
Thankfully my husband is home.  He is not part of our morning routine but at this moment he magically appears and I say to him, "I need a really big, strong hug *right now*" and he wraps me in a bear hug and I squeeze until I'm calm enough to focus on breathing.

We get Bitsy back into the car.  On the way to school Bitsy asks if she is going to ride the bus.  Um no.  I try to explain in a neutral voice that the bus comes on time.  And when people don't get out of bed, and don't get dressed, and don't eat their breakfast then they will not be able to get to the bus.  The bus will come and they will not be ready.  It is against the rules for the bus to wait.

I arrive at school at 8:28.  Dragon gets out of the car.  MLyons gets out of the car.  Bitsy just sits there.  
couple more big breaths and I get her out of the car and on her way into the school.  Silently I say a prayer of gratitude that she is in school and not at home today.  And then I say a prayer for her teacher.

And so I related to Kristen's post about her son.  And I have seen posts like this on the pages of others with adopted children and fostered children.  And I am not sure it is a behavior noted only in these kids,  how many children of single parents, or children with deployed parents, or children from "normal" (and what does that mean in modern day USA?) families display these kind of behaviors?  And like Kristen I wonder what to tell the school.  Do you tell the teacher that this is regular behavior?  The principal and I had a talk when she had an issue with Dragon and he lied to her, repeatedly, about it.  She started angry, and "wanting me to know" and I wanted to laugh at her.  Yeah I know.  He steals and lies about it every damn day.

There are people who judge me daily as I handle this nonsense better or worse on any given day.  I find that I am angry with those people and not the least bit interested in their opinions.  I also find that there are therapist who have been the children in these situations who advocate all kinds of impractical options.  "Sit down.  Cuddle.  Hug.  Take at time out with your child."  Do those therapists not understand that there are other children who need to go to school?  Do they not understand that there are other children, in this house, getting up and dressed and ready *on time* who deserve my time and cuddles too?  I cannot reward this ridiculous behavior no matter what need is driving it.

So if you are a parent to adopted kids - who exhibit these behaviors - and you have other kids in your house - I ask you to let me know what has worked for you.


FoxyMoron said...

Emily, who is not adopted, displayed this behaviour for most of her school life. We tried everything, but many school mornings were a battle, and honestly I don't think it's all that unusual, I just don't think a lot of parents admit to it.

Michelle said...

It happens in my house a lot. My children sometimes act like going to school in the morning is something they have never heard of. I agree with FoxyMoron...I think a lot of parent admit to it.