Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...

Sorry for the silence... I had intended on blogging last night but I was so exhausted by the time the day was over I ended up falling asleep with Samuel. Yesterday was a great day... up until the end. I'm refusing to dwell on the negative though so let me start with the positive.

The Good: Despite another trip to the doctor and pharmacy yesterday (that's twice since we got home - see below), Samuel was a real trooper and I was so proud of him. The last time I took Samuel to the doctor and pharmacy he refused to let his feet touch the ground and I had to try to pay, rummage through my purse for the insurance card, etc. all with a 50 pound 5-year-old on my hip. Yesterday however, he walked just about everywhere and stood holding my hand while I was checking in, paying, etc. The girl at the pharmacy remembered us and when I made a comment about how good Samuel was doing standing on the ground she said, "Oh yeah, he's the big hugger"... "Big hugger" - hey, it could be worse!

Samuel was in great spirits yesterday afternoon and we had so much fun playing together. We were playing with his wooden blocks when Samuel took a small rectangular block and a wooden stick and started blowing and stirring like he sees me doing with his soup. My son has a great sense of humour and an incredible imagination given that he has never been given the opportunity to play before. I copied him with the stirring and blowing and then took a bite, making a big deal out of how it was too hot. Samuel thought this was hilarious and was literally rolling on the ground laughing! Thus began our little impromptu tea party which lasted nearly an hour... Without any prompting, Samuel said and signed the words "hot", "more" and "water". After he was finished with his soup he found a tall, skinny block and used it as a glass. When I tried to ask if mama could have some, he kept saying and signing "water". At first I thought he was telling me what it was but then I realized he was making me say water before he would give me any (like I've been trying to do with him). Oh my goodness, this kid is too smart and he is apparently taking in a lot more than I realized! It was so great to see him playing with me, and in English no less!!! My son is amazing and watching him learn and literally blossom before my very eyes is one of the greatest privileges God has ever given me.

After we finished out tea party I took out the easel and Samuel painted his very first painting. Samuel's attention span for anything crafty is only about 5 minutes but he was still super cute.


The Bad: Unfortunately, this is where things went down hill... At 4:50 Samuel wanted to go outside. It was kind of late but I decided we could go for a quick walk. We made it about 12 feet into the parking lot but then Samuel refused to walk any further and wanted to get into the stroller. I tried to get him to go just a few more steps by placing the stroller about 5 paces in front of him like I did the other day but he dropped to the ground and began throwing a fit. I somehow managed to get him and the stroller back into the apartment (no small feat!) where he continued to scream and cry. This time it was a full blown tantrum because he didn't get what he wanted which elicits a lot less sympathy from me than when he is having a fit because he is emotionally distraught. I was going to just let him scream it out as I clearly wasn't giving in to his screaming and then it happened... A neighbour knocked on the door. "What's going on with that child? He is always crying..." I felt like saying, "Actually, up until just now he has only had one fit in the past 72 hours". I felt like saying, "Actually, he laughs a whole lot more than he cries but unfortunately his laughter doesn't carry as far"... My child was still screaming in the background however and I was too tired to string together a comprehensive sentence in French so all I said was, "He just arrived from Vietnam..." and apologized as she headed back into her apartment. Samuel's tantrum continued... Unlike his other fits, he did not want me to hold him and just kept pulling me towards the door. I tried to give him another chance and put my shoes back on but he wouldn't even walk out the door and only wanted to be carried so I said no. The tantrum continued. I tried ignoring him, I tried distracting him with anything and everything. The screaming continued. After an hour and a half when his screaming had not died down in the slightest and he was still pulling me towards the door I just didn't know what to do. I was worried about the neighbours and it felt like he was going to go on forever. Out of sheer desperation I called my mom and she came over and distracted him within about 30 seconds... It's not a long term solution but it allowed us to get on with our evening and Samuel ate dinner, had a bath and went to bed happy. 

I have never been a confident person and have always been indecisive but I have never second guessed myself as much as I have since I became a mother. I guess it makes sense given that it's the most important job I have ever had... Maybe I shouldn't have pushed the walking thing? Maybe I should have kept ignoring him? Maybe I should have kept holding him? Maybe I shouldn't have had my mother come over?... I don't know. I'm open to suggestions as to how I can deal with something like this in the future (I know he's more prone to meltdowns towards the end of the day when he's tired but I don't want to let him get away with too much just because he's tired...). All I know is at the end of the day, after his bath, when Samuel points to the mattress and I drag it into the living room... When he climbs into my lap on the rocking chair and drinks his bottle while I sing to him... When he lays down on the mattress, pats the spot beside him for his mama to lie down with him and then has me pull the blanket up over both of us... When he leans in close for a kiss and then giggles until he feels asleep... In those moments I know that I am doing at least one thing right because my son falls asleep at night feeling happy, safe and loved.

We got Samuel a body pillow (thank you Cecilia - you're brilliant!)
which takes my spot in the bed after he falls asleep and until
I go to bed myself... It seems to be working well and I'm
hopeful that eventually it will help him feel safer once
he is sleeping by himself. At this point however,
it looks like that will be a long time from now
and I am totally ok with that.

The Ugly: You may remember that Samuel had quite a bad sore on his bum when we got home from Vietnam. I took him to the doctor the day after we got home and she prescribed some antibiotic cream which worked beautifully. Unfortunately, he has since developed two more (hence the return visit to the doctor yesterday). He is now on oral antibiotics as well. Poor little guy, they are nasty and so painful! The good news, he is finally expressing pain for the first time since I got him but it just breaks my heart to see him hurting. Please pray that they heal quickly. Between the sores and being sick, Samuel has been experiencing physical discomfort since I brought him home and it is so hard to tell how much that is contributing to the emotions/behaviours I have been seeing. He has been doing so well, in spite of all the physical stuff, but I just can't wait until he is feeling 100% so we can focus on his emotional healing.


Kathy said...

I am enjoying reading your blog so much and I love little Samuel. I think you are doing a wonderful job, keep up the good work. He loves his momma and that means so much. I am thinking about him not wanting to walk and it may be a crazy thought but maybe he has some physical pain in his legs. When I was small I didn't want to walk and my parents forced me (I was about 5) and I cried and they thought I was just being spoiled and lazy. I complained about pain and again they just thought it was a cry for attention. My parents just had a new baby and thought I was wanting to be like a baby etc. However sad as it is I was tested and found out to have extreme low vit. D I was treated for it but not long enough because even doctors weren't educated enough about it then and now I have MS. The doctors feel had I been better treated when I was a child I may not have developed MS. I am not in any way saying your precious boy will ever get MS. I am just saying how my parents often thought it was just a phase I was going through or an attention seeker when in reality I truly had pain and was too uncomfortable to walk. Try not to be doubting the things you do. Remember anything you are doing for Samuel weather it is something he likes or something he don't like that you are doing that particular thing simply because you love him so much and you want the best for him. Boo to the person that knocked on your door complaining.

Anonymous said...

Kathy makes some excellent points. I also think you're doing a wonderful job. Always go with your maternal instincts. God gave them to us for a reason. Don't be doubting yourself!

I tend to think Samuel is being stubborn on the walking; however, Shannon had very severe growing pains between the ages of 5-10 and would often complain about the pain. She needed to have her legs massaged to alleviate the pain. Your doctors appointment and regular follow ups will help you monitor if it could be associated with vitamin deficiency, growth spurts or not.

In the meantime, stay on track and keep doing what you're doing. Consistency in your love and limits are critical to developing and nurturing the right behaviours.

As for the neighbour, don't worry. Perhaps a bilingual friend in the building could be of some help?

Stay true to yourself. Your a great Mom.


Anonymous said...

You are doing a great job. 2nd guessing yourself as a mom means you are a caring, giving, loving person.(with her 1st child!) No child has ever arrived on this earth with an instruction manual attached to his/her ear! You have to figure them out & do what works.Pick your battles. You have both been through a lot in the last few weeks.You said yourself far fewer fits in the last 72 hours.(I think less grieving,too.)As far as your stroller struggles, I would let him ride without insisting that he walk first. Maybe his bum bothers him more when he walks,or maybe something out there frightens him,&/or maybe the stroller just comforts him. He's not to old for a stroller & he needs some babying (night time bottle)right now. I think asking for your mom's help was a great idea & worked for all 3 of you. Being a single mom is difficult.( I am one) Be gentle with yourself. As for your worst fear with the neighbors, you handled it very well. I think it's good she asked because What IF it was a child abuse situation? She cared enough for a strangers child to inquire. Hang in there! Linda H.