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Oranges

Oranges

My daughter woke up and decided that we should take oranges for “all our neighbors” which meant taking a bag of Cuties to preschool. I don’t see any harm in handing out Cuties at preschool, so I said yes, and also she loaded the whole bag into her backpack and is walking around with it which is probably good sensory input, or something.

“I hope all my friends like oranges,” she said.

Preschool both is and isn’t great. The weekly break is great (they go once a week because we are poor). The teacher is great and my daughter actually feels safe and seems to trust her. I want her to mentor me. I want to absorb all of her magic and transform my parenting.

At the same time, my kids are challenging. I don’t think they’re too extreme compared to kids I’ve known, but they’re busy, pretty much always in fight or flight mode and there are two of them. We’ve already had one meeting and the preschool sought me out when I failed to sign up for conference week. I get the importance of communication, but school conferences put me in fight in flight mode, and we’ve had a rough few months. It’s not really on my radar right now. If they’re safe… I’m good. I’m aware of all their behavior, because we spend every waking moment together. I know it’s difficult and challenging. I do it every day. I’m sure I should probably care more and have a more positive attitude, but I don’t. But we have a conference scheduled for tomorrow, whatever.

So apropos of nothing (except her undying love of oranges), my daughter woke up wanting to gift the world with oranges. It looks so contrived, especially as I go into every meeting expecting they’ll be expelled. But this is truly who she is. You don’t see it when she’s biting you and melting down because her brain is telling her she’s going to die (and neither do I, honestly), but this is my real daughter, and she will absolutely destroy you but her apologies and gifts are always genuine, and always her idea. I don’t force apologies and I don’t need to. When she’s functional again, she knows what she needs to do and she does it.

But I know it looks like I’m trying to win favor and it looks super cloying, my little girl with a backpack full of oranges for “friends and neighbors.”

It’s all her, though. This is who she is.

We’re a lot alike.

Both

Both

Today I laughed.

My son was spinning circles in the living room with his Lego spaceship and my daughter was playing a video game on my phone and suddenly burst out singing Old McDonald at the top of her lungs.

OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM, E-I-E-I-O. Painfully loud. Yelling more than singing.

And I laughed. Gasping for breath. The more I laughed the louder she sung, and she was laughing too.

WITH AN OINK OINK HERE AND AN OINK OINK THERE

And he was spinning and she was oinking.

And I was laughing.

I don’t know when I last did.

I thought of you. I was thinking about you. And I thought of me. And I thought of how not one of us has a brain that functions anywhere close to normal. I looked at the manifestations of my sensory seeking children, and my own gifted, too-intense, hyperfocusing, depressed self, and you and all the struggles you had, and must have had. How I wish we’d all been more open. How I wish I’d been less frustrated, how I wish you had felt less pressure to be more “normal” and less concern about what everyone else thought.

I wish you had felt free to spin in circles in the middle of the room (though it gets annoying and triggers my own sensory overload, that’s on me), and to scream Old McDonald at the top of your lung when the silence was too loud.

That is what I would want you to know. That is what I want them to know. It’s the same. I want them to know they are loved, completely, as they are, with no pressure to conform to anything. I want them to feel safe. I want them to feel free.

I want to give to them, in some way, what you gave to me.

So much love. So much love.

So I laughed. And couldn’t stop. And then I was crying, and my son was asking, “Mama, are you happy or are you sad?” I said I didn’t know. I said maybe both.

So, so happy to have known and loved you. So sad and so heartbroken to say goodbye.

I love you so much. I love you forever.

Things That Have Been Said, Episode 1

Things That Have Been Said, Episode 1

Throwback Friday up in here!

I could make a list of “what not to say” but I always struggle to think of everything at once, so I’m going to post Things That Have Been Said as they occur to me, with no regularity because that’s how I do everything, and then we can all learn from the experience. Also this means I can just use things I wrote before and not have to string words into sentences which my brain is no longer capable of doing. Also this means I could ALSO use this space for positive things, but that requires I a) remember to post again and make this an actual series and b) remember positive things and my brain is more wired towards finding what is wrong with things.

 

So with that said, here’s the first: Don’t imply that I will ever leave my children.

This is probably a good thing to avoid for any family, because that’s scary as heck. But for families formed by adoption, they are literally only families because for whatever reason, the child’s first family “left” in a legal sense.

 

You want some secondhand embarrassment? You could go watch the Scott’s Tots episode of The Office or you could read this blog.

This is pretty much how things went down, and maybe it won’t sound as uncomfortable but it was

NORMAL DAY: PROCEEDS NORMALLY
NO REALLY: EVERYTHING IS COOL
Me: goes to pick up children from daycare
Me: walks in room
Children: eeeeeeee
Young teacher who could be my daughter: See, I told you she would come if you put your shoes on! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Me: 🙂 🙂 🙂 hahahaha positive comments it’s magic yay lol 🙂 🙂 🙂
Young teacher who I COULD HAVE BIRTHED: I told her you wouldn’t pick her up if she didn’t put her shoes on.

…ENDLESS HORRIBLE SILENCE THAT ACTUALLY LASTED NO TIME AT ALL BECAUSE I STILL COULD NOT FILTER MY REACTION…

Me: …please don’t tell her that.
Young teacher who HAS NEVER KNOWN A WORLD WITHOUT INTERNET: *still lighthearted* hahaha okay
Me, incapable of putting together more words and instead just futilely repeating: No. Please don’t tell her that. Please don’t tell her that.
Other new teacher: TRAPPED IN THE AWKWARDNESS
Me, fighting whether or not to explain: Please don’t – I just – it’s just – it’s – no, please don’t tell her that.
Young teacher who I have now probably traumatized with our trauma: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean –
Me SO AWKWARD CAN WE JUST NOT COULD WE JUST NEVER: I know you didn’t mean, just, it’s, just, please.
Children: running running eeeee noise loud books look at this
Young teacher who probably has never worked in a job before: STILL APOLOGIZING

This is how hard it is to be me:

I go back and forth about it in my head. I wasn’t unkind but I was firm. It was awkward. IT IS AWKWARD to confront somebody. It is more awkward to confront them when they are just basically a little kid.

But.

Beyond the fact that I don’t want my anxious kid manipulated using fear, beyond the fact that any child at her age would not be able to understand that statement is a lie, beyond the fact that it is a lie,

SHE HAS LIVED IT.

IT HAS HAPPENED TO HER. Repeatedly.

And I don’t really want to make small talk about it at daycare pickup when it’s none of your business. I WILL NEVER LEAVE HER. I WILL ALWAYS COME BACK FOR HER. THERE IS NOTHING SHE COULD EVER DO, CERTAINLY NOT REFUSE HER SHOES, TO CHANGE THAT.

And I feel bad because it is a STUPID KID, and I say that affectionately, and I’m not even angry. She didn’t know not to say it and now she does and that’s it. I wasn’t unkind and it’s proof only of my anxiety that I am this hung up on a perfectly acceptable sentence but so wrong, so wrong, so wrong.