Monday, April 24, 2006

Major Screamage

The information just keeps on coming. The newest? "Angel" has issues with changes of environment. That's not remarkable for a kid, especially one like her who's probably been through so much. The main surprise to me is that her lung capacity is probably bigger than some industrial fuel tanks.

I have never seen/heard a kid scream so loud, so long, and so frequently as she has since we got back from our trip. Time to nap? One giant hour-long scream. Time for bed? One giant two-hour-long ANGRY scream, and a half-hour of hitches and hiccups in her sleep. That's right. The girl fell asleep mid-scream.

Today, screaming when she got up. Screaming at nap time. Screaming when she didn't get her way. Screaming at bedtime. The wife estimated she spent about 4 hours in all today screaming. I've GOT to get the olympic people on the phone and see what I need to do to train her.

The Wife was a victim of abuse as a child, so she has direct personal knowledge of the kinds of things that are running through this girl's head right now, and she sees the main one as being control. She never had it before, and she sees a chance now to exercise some, and she's pushing the limits in all directions to find out exactly how much she can get.

I agree with that analysis, and I sympathize with her. I truly do. However, if she's ever going to be my daughter, she's going to learn very well that there are certain areas where she will not have any control at all. She will never be allowed to hurt animals or people. She will never be allowed to hurt herself. She will never be the one to determine bedtime. She will be able to use cuteness, good behavior, etc. to squeeze an extra 15 minutes or half-hour, but screaming will get her sent to bed early. She will receive her share of attention, but she'll need to yield attention to others when there are people visiting or whatever. She has issues with that, too.

To provide her opportunities to exercise control, we allow her to pick what movie she wants to watch. We give her toys that encourage make-believe, and never discourage using her imagination. When she makes up games, I play them. By her rules. Or at least as close as I can figure them out. Her games are fun, because nobody wins, and everybody has fun.

This beautiful little person is so fascinating to me. It is so very much fun to try to figure out what she's thinking. Her face and voice are so expressive that the speech problem is less noticeable because you already have a pretty good idea what's on her mind. She's bold, yet fragile. Outgoing, yet vulnerable. Strong-willed, yet very much a daddy's girl, and that's just fine by me.

One last thing. There are marks on her arms that look suspiciously like old cigarette burns. If they are, I hope whoever put them there roasts in hell. Slowly. On a white-hot spit. And maybe that explains some of the issues we're trying to help her through.


At 10:27 AM , Blogger FosterAbba said...

Sounds like you might want invest in some earplugs! Ouch.

I have to say I feel sorry for The Wife, since she's the one who gets to listen to the screaming all day. You are lucky you get to leave for the relative peace and quiet of your job...

You probably don't need it, since your wife is a Social Worker, but it might also be worth checking out Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years.

We've read several of the books in the Love and Logic series, and been really impressed. Of course we can't say how well the techniques described actually work since we are still waiting for our first placement...

Oh well, just keep in mind that free advice is worth what you paid for it. :)

At 12:18 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

Oh dear - yeah, earplugs are a great idea. My DH has invested in a good set of wireless headphones so he can listen to music to tune out fussying/crying that doesn't require his attention. He says its the best invention to date.


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