Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SpongeBob's On!

"It's 7:30 and SpongeBob's on" This is the statement that I utter every morning Monday through Friday.

"It's 7:30 and SpongeBob's on" I utter this statement as I am knocking on FS#2's door to wake him up so he can make the bus.

"It's 7:30 and SpongeBob's on" Keep in mind FS#2 is 16, a little old for Spongebob, but that is where he is emotionally--about 12. His favorite programs are Spongebob, iCarly, and other programs aired on Nick and Disney channels. And when I make the announcement that SpongeBob's on he gets up, runs down the stairs, throws himself in the recliner and squeals "SpongeBob's on!"

When FS#2 first moved in, he was a pro at getting himself up and ready for school. After 3 months not so much, as I documented in a previous post. A similar thing happen with FS#1. Though the routine was different. "Time to get up" [Silence] "Time to get up" [Silence] (repeat at least 2 more times) "I'm not leaving here until I hear feet hit floor and see your smiling face" Eventually the door cracks open and my job is done.

So why do I think this happens? Is it because I'm being soft, allowing myself to be taken advantage of or some other form of control by the kids that screams lack of discipline in my house?

I don't think so. I was complaining telling one of my co-workers the story about the morning routine with FS#1. Her response "Isn't it nice that yours is the first face he sees in the morning" Well that statement certainly brought me up short and caused me to think. Could it be that this child who has made it a habit to reject every caretaker he has had in his life is doing this to give me the chance to nurture him? A way to nurture him that does not involve any verbal, physical or emotional expressions of love? A way to nurture him that his hurt mind can accept? Hmmmm something to think about.

I read an article by Claudia Fletcher titled "Retracing Developmental Stages to Help Older Children Heal". In the article she outlines some of the developmental stages adoptive families can expect to see as the older child integrates into the family. My take home message? Parent the child where they are and not where you think they should be.

I received some confirmation that I might be on the right track with FS#1 when he announced during Christmas break from college that I am the only person who can seem to get him up in the morning. My translation of this statement, I'm the only person he trusts enough. A little background history with FS#1, when he first came into care, he literally barricaded himself in his room, he slept with a light on and peed in containers in his room so he didn't have to come out at night. Clearly in his world, bad things happen at night in his bedroom. Flash forward, he now only locks his door (and not all the time), doesn't need a night light and gets up to use the toilet in the middle of the night.

So if showing them that I love them and care about them means I have to get them up every single school day, then that's what I'll do.

"It's 7:30 and SpongeBob's on"


  1. I love this post so much! It's amazing to me how a hurt teenager will bring you all the earlier unmet childhood needs if they trust you. I loved the link to the Fletcher piece too. My puzzle right now is that I find it hard to promote attachment and at the same time discipline the behaviors that need attention - skipping class, choosing dangerous friends, etc. I fear I'll go too easy in the interest of attachment only to find that I haven't provided enough guidance to avoid some serious safety issues. If you've dealt with that dilemma I'd love to hear about it.

  2. I have to say that I'm sure your new parenting situations must sometimes be frustrating from the inside, but reading about them from the outside is routinely bringing tears to my eyes. I'm reading through old posts and it's such a beautiful story. I teared up when FS#2 unpacked his backpack and I'm still teary now that he's oversleeping and criticizing your cleaning skills. You are truly a wonderful accidental mommy!

  3. @Lulu Thank you for your kind words! Some post seem to be easy to write than others. I do struggle with the attachment verses discipline. In fact I struggle, worry, think, research and annoy all my friends to death about it, which is partly why I started this blog!

    @Debbie. Thank you, it is always good to get validation for what one is trying. We have our ups and downs but for the most part it is all good the clench teeth times are few and far between, which means I only do it on a weekly instead of daily basis!