With the kids in the backseat, I dropped off a bag of stuff at Goodwill. Among the things we gave away were some beloved purple sandals of Tessa’s, who left them on the stairs when asked to clean up (we practice Love & Logic).
Tessa began to have a fit when she saw the shoes transition out of her life. Can I just say here that Tessa is the Drama Queen of Fits? Reed, always her loyal Knight, joined in with the wailing:
“You’re a mean mom! We wish that our birfmoms and birfdads were our real parents!”
With Roger out of town and my temper rising to match the 100 degree day, I fortunately had the presence of mind to say, “We’ll talk about this in a little bit.”
Later, I gently asked Reed if he wondered what it would be like to live with his birfparents. He said no. I told him that I would probably wonder, and that it’s OK to wonder.
That was the end. For now.
But not forever. I’m gonna need some more tools in my tool kit.
So I posted the situation on a couple of adoption bulletin boards. Here are some comments with great insight and strategies (screen names follow):
1. “They ARE your real parents, just like we are.” Then have a conversation about the word real. (pnmomma)
2. “Tessa, your first mom, loves you very much and every good mom is supposed to teach you to be responsible, and I am sure that she would teach you this same lesson. Maybe you could call her and ask if she thinks it’s OK to leave your sandals out and not take care of them.” (Jensboys).
3. I always respond with a lick of the finger and an imaginary mark in the air and announce a point for myself for being one step closer to a perfect parent because all good parents are mean at some point. (Tudu)
4. Perhaps my favorite: “Well then you are in luck, they TOO are your real parents.. and the shoes are still gone. Maybe you should put them in your REAL closet next time.” (CLB)
5. This blow-up is actually a good sign. If your kid feels safe enough to lash out, it means they are comfortably attached to you. Kids will find your hot buttons and push them. That’s what they do. Think of them as small, very expensive personal therapists. You learn a lot about yourself in the process of raising them. (MomOf2)
I did cry myself to sleep that night, as Spyderkl thought she would.
Any other insights, suggestions, comments? C’mon, lurkers! I see you there on my SiteMeter.