"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Princess is stuck. I am stuck. We're both knee-deep in some kind of unidentifiable yuck and cannot move. I can see the patterns. I can predict what's coming next with the ease of Houdini. The defiance and noncompliance and tantruming are so the same day to day that I am actually bored. But I can't. get. change.

So I'm tiptoeing back into the land of attachment parenting. When the girls were placed four years ago, I tried to hit the ground running, but attaching with a three-year-old who is not, as far as anyone knows, in a permanent placement is difficult. Maybe impossible. At any rate, Princess was not accepting any of it, and it felt wrong to spend hours holding her and babying her and fighting for eye-contact when all it seemed to do was cause MORE of what I didn't want. I gave up the formal aspects (although not the attitude), and figured I'd try again if/when the adoption ever got finalized.

Well, now it's been almost a year. And Princess is shooting out some strong signals that she might be ready to try again. Sure, the signals are wrapped in "don't come near me or I'll self-destruct," but they are there. Mary the Mom put up a timely synopsis of a Katherine Leslie seminar; I keep going back to that for refreshers. I shrunk up Princess's world. Took away privleges and responsibilities she's clearly not ready for: allowance, chores, free-choice time. Brought back the basics: making her choices (clothing, structure, etc.), lots and lots of Mommy Time. I keep her close. I have left her to her own devices for too long.

This morning, Princess came downstairs and handed me a box of cereal to pour for her. This is her normal routine, the one I have allowed for too long. Each morning the OTHER THREE children come find me, snuggle or hug me, and tell me good morning, and this morning the difference glared out at me. So I took the box and set it on the counter. I took her arms and put them around me. I said, "this is where you say, 'good morning, Mommy." And she said it. And she hugged me. And she smiled.

It's become clear to me over the past week that this is what she wants. She wants to connect, she just has absolutely no clue whatsoever how. Watching the other children for four years has had no effect. She just does not learn that way. Subtlety flies fifty feet over her head.

Yesterday she had a tantrum about cleaning up after a tantrum. Not a problem, honey. If you're not ready to put the storm window back up, then that's just telling me you need some extra mommy time at the soccer field. The playground is just too far away. Here's your book. Here's my arm to snuggle.



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  2. Great post. My daughter, too, likes to set the tone right away -- morning, right after school, etc. -- and it's usually something like what you described. I am halfway through what you did. I can calmly take the cereal (or in her case not get it out) and not get mad. I'm getting close to being able to do the next thing which is showing her what to do (and I will have to do this every single day for who knows how long). Good for you!

  3. Fabulous! Connecting the dots is oh so helpful.