Monday, May 27, 2013

A's challenges at one year

At one year, A can read a beginning chapter book with little help, swim the length of a pool, dive, ride a bike with one hand, play baseball, use a computer, explain adoption, offer opinions on a wide variety of topics, and make friends with anything that moves. What can he not do?

Two things:

1. Admit a mistake. I'd read in all the adoption books how hard it is for many adopted children to admit to mistakes; to do so would be to give up control, and control is everything. Here's an idea of how that looks in real life:

Parent: The charger only holds four batteries, so you have to wait to charge the fifth one.
A: No, it holds five.
Parent: It only holds four batteries.
A: It holds five.
Parent: Look, here's the charger. Count how many batteries it holds.
A (counts 1, 2, 3, 4): Five.
Parent: OK, try putting five batteries in.
A (puts four batteries in, is left holding one): Five.
Parent: How many batteries are in the charger?
A: (counts 1, 2, 3, 4): Five.
Parent: It's OK to say you made a mistake.
A: But there's five.

2. Entertain himself. He has always been around other children. First in Burjii, where first he played all day and later helped herd cows with the kids in the village. Then in the orphanages where he wasn't ever alone for a second. Here in the U.S. he loves school, organized activities, and playing at the park with the neighborhood kids. But sometimes those things aren't available, and a kid has to play alone. Most children can create an imaginary world, sitting in a corner with a stick or a plastic dinosaur or a toy car talking to themselves and having a grand old time. A can not do this. He can do imaginative play, but he needs other kids around to do it. Alone he clings and hangs on us and sticks his hands in whatever task we might be trying to complete. Forget checking an email or emptying the dishwasher when A has no one to play with.

(And it almost goes without saying that to have been through everything A has experienced and have these be your biggest challenges is truly amazing.)


  1. I relate to all of this, esp. the 5 batteries.

  2. Oh, so parallel lives. We also cannot learn anything, not one single thing, from our parents. Mom tries to teach bicycle hand signals, child turns into a grumpy lump. Kind strange man takes over and child nails it on the first try with a smile on his face. Nope, can't depend on Mom and Dad for anything. Because in his experience, parents cannot be depended on, or trusted.

  3. Lovely update! and WOW, what an amazing kid. I cannot believe it's been a year for you guys. So glad to hear how well A is doing1

  4. I would love to hear what you are doing to try and help A with number 1. One of our kiddos REALLY struggles with this one. We role play, heap on tons of praise when they do admit a mistake (so, so rare, but it has happened once or twice), help them identify the fear that holds them back from admitting a mistake and then support them as they deal with those big feelings, model admitting our own mistakes and moving on continuously...and it seems like we're getting next to nowhere. What are you doing and do you feel like any of it is working?

    Oh, and number 2, we've got one of those too - just the other kid :) - although, despite the fact that this past weekend would prove otherwise, I think we are making progress in this realm.

    1. We do all those things that you mentioned to try to help with number 1. No, they're not really working. I think that's OK for us. His insistence that he's right in the face of contradictory evidence can be annoying at times, but it doesn't get in the way too much. Honestly, sometimes we laugh at him, and he laughs at himself, too. Maybe that's why I'm not so concerned about it. He knows he does it, and I think eventually he'll grow out of it.

  5. We are just the opposite. Ayub can't do any of the things in your first list, but we hear all the time, "Sorry, my fault." Of course, just as often, we hear "That you fault."

    1. "Sorry, my fault" - I've actually never heard that phrase from either of my children. "Your fault" - yes, I've heard that one.

  6. I can finally comment! Not sure what was up, but I haven't been able to--anyway. #1 is so interesting--I'm starting to see it a bit with out kiddo--at least, he always wants to know whose fault it was--a bag falls off the counter and he will ask continuously--"That mama fault? That dada fault? That counter fault? That not L fault!" It's happening more and more.
    Overall, I'd say you have one amazing kid! Can't believe it's been a year!

  7. #1 is the story of my life most days! It's so frustrating! I've given up on getting Z to admit she is wrong. I'm using the same tactic the books say to use for lying (because in a way, it is just lying) and am just ignoring it, then telling her later that it really hurts me when she argues just to argue, or tries to be right just to be in charge. I'm not sure it's really working, so maybe don't take that as a tip to try. It does help me feel like I'm doing something about it, though, so I guess that's a positive. I HATE when there's an issue and I feel like I can't do anything to resolve it.

    1. Just a thought, but if you tell her that when she tries to be right so she can be in charge it really hurts you, that's giving her a lot of power.

    2. In the moment, it is definitely the wrong move. But later, when she's not going for a power grab, she does seem to get it, and she has sometimes apologized sincerely. It's just hard to tell if it's lessening the amount of arguing overall. I think it is, but sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees when we're dealing with a whole lot of issues all at the same time.