Adoption = Worst Case Scenario

I am so far behind. In EVERYTHING. The house is a wreck (let’s be real…more of a wreck than usual…housekeeping has never been my strong point). I’ve only worked a few hours (thankfully, my boss is aware of our circumstances and is very understanding). My favorite blogs are neglected. Writing a post? Pipe dream.

My friend told me, smiling, “I know some of my friends grit their teeth when the kids are out of school, but I just love it when my son is home. He’s so helpful and sweet.” I didn’t tell her my molars are missing about a millimeter since Christmas.

Some days when school is closed, I feel we’ve accomplished a lot. Teachers send additional work several times a month (anytime they get an F or D, we work on the concept at home), so even during unexpected breaks, the kids have practice pages to complete.

I’ll admit, I’m jealous of my friends who’ve had their kids since birth, taught the alphabet as they changed diapers (or nappies, for my friends across the pond), read Seuss at bedtime.

My kids, after being with us four years, are still far behind their peers. Most of my friends who don’t work outside their homes snuggle up in jammies and watch movies all day with their kiddos. We don’t have that luxury.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we play hooky. The day of the Big Snow, we truly had a snow day because I just couldn’t resist my son’s plea, “Snow is precious.” In general, though, our days at home are spent learning. We’ve found that if they don’t continually practice, the kids return to school as though they’ve had a memory wipe. Daily practice (and a lot of it) is necessary. (The school even gives me extra books in summertime and we summer-school at home.)

So, about my worst-case scenario.

The hyenas have been home all week. Every day. Ten days without a break. And these have not been “accomplished” days. The kids took hours to complete school work (pages which could have easily been done in 45 minutes to an hour). They each have a method of delaying or drawing out the school time. Our son dallies and dreams; our daughter pretends she doesn’t understand the concepts. This week, they used their tactics to the height of their talent. The muscles in my jaw got a serious workout.

They completed their few assigned chores but required constant supervision and commentary. “Cleaning the sink does not mean swiping with a rag. If there’s still toothpaste, you didn’t actually wipe it.” These tasks should take about 45 minutes.

I know they hope I’ll give up and say, “Well, you’ve spent enough time on math. Go play,” or “Forget it. Let me do that; it will be faster.” The funny thing is, I can’t think of a time I have, but I’m sure it must have happened. I can’t imagine they’d continue the behavior if it hadn’t worked at some point.

Tenacious should probably be my middle name. By the time they completed their school and chore assignments (which, again, should have taken under two hours at the max), it was time to get ready for dinner. I thought, “Surely, they will see the benefit of working faster so they can go play,” but I was mistaken. Every day.

On Thursday evening, Hubby held my face in his hands, kissed me on the nose and said lovingly, “Your eye is beginning to twitch.”

On Saturday, he took the kids out for three hours, bless him.

Last night, we had a long family discussion about problems happening consistently since Christmas, and increased in the last ten days: lying and not obeying. They have become talented at lying to our faces (we used to know immediately, but now it’s harder to tell). If we instruct them to do something, they either do the opposite or do nothing.

It’s like water torture. I have to constantly supervise them. After ten full days of this, I’m exhausted and very glad ground teeth don’t feel pain. (Until they crack…which may happen.)

At the end of our discussion last night, the children agreed that they have not been contributing to a happy home environment and committed verbally to do better. They recited the list of what they each needed to do in the morning to be ready for school and promised to do it.

This morning, however, nothing had changed. Our daughter woke up before six thirty, showered and dressed, then sat at the table for an hour, doing nothing. Like, actually nothing. Our son was half dressed at the time we normally needed to leave for school. (School has a delayed opening this morning.)

However, they are going back to school (WOOT WOOT) so I will have peace and quiet and can get a few hours in for work. (Conversation with adults? Yes, please.) I can catch up on some cleaning, read a couple blogs, insert my famous “you didn’t ask for this but I proofread your blog post” commenting, and maybe even get a thirty minute nap. This is definitely the best case scenario.

I just looked out the window. It’s snowing. Again.

Well, molars, it’s been a good run.

*Reposted to fix the font

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worst Case Scenario.”

About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on February 24, 2015, in Parent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Oh so much of what you’ve written sounds familiar. My daughters arent adopted but I was a single mum from when they were 8 & 6 and they both had learning difficulties. One dyspraxia, the other dyslexia and both had the associated memory problems, poor personal organisation etc. But my attempts at ‘formal’ extra tuition failed dismally.
    Ironically I went on to teach 16-21 yr olds with learning and behaviour difficulties and in additional irony my experience with my children helped in that career.
    I have a couple of suggestions but I dont know if you’ve already tried them, and I dont want you to think I’m butting in :-\

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, please feel free (I take it you haven’t visited the “about” page on which i plead for input.) 😉 I will take any and all suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hadn’t read it, but I have now 🙂 I’ve also read lots of your previous posts to get a better idea of your children.
        I am slightly in awe of you now. You are obviously an amazing mother, and your husband sounds like a great dad and despite ongoing problems your children seem to have blossomed under your care.
        The cookery book – absolutely inspired way to demonstrate that point!
        I think the only suggestions I have that might still be relevent relate to the length of time studying takes to complete.
        Although one might be useful for night/sleep problems too.
        I am thinking of music. My ADD learners always got more done and concentrated for much longer if they could listen to music at the same time. I allowed them to have their earphones in one ear, basically so I could talk to them if I needed to. But this was enough for them to focus.
        If the work is genuinely hard and they are getting wound up and frustrated, a change of activity can help – have a conversation about something totally unrelated – then when they go back to the work they might (its by no means certain, obviously) be able to refocus because their emotional responses have decreased. I used that tactic a lot
        My daughter found that classical music on very low volume helped her to sleep (she has tactile hypersensitivity so getting relaxed and comfortable was a big issue for her) and helped her get back to sleep if she woke up. She still uses it now – classical radio playing ever so softly through the night.
        But 45 minutes is a long time for a child with ADD to concentrate, in my experience. With my groups I aimed for 30 mins max per activity and then we did something else. So (as an example from memory) 30 mins on maths, then 30 mins on interview skills, then 30 minutes on ways to remember spellings. Then they’d have a proper break.
        It was easier for them to cope with, they behaved better but it made for a lot of planning for me lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you so much for your thoughtful response and great information! I will try those tactics with them. They definitely like music. I agree–the amount of time is difficult for them. It’s not that the work is too hard, at least for our son. He’s brilliant…he just gets bored and begins to entertain himself, or gets distracted by, well, anything. Our daughter does have more trouble with the work but usually only in class. She likes to “beat” him (they’re in the same grade) so her main issue is rushing through. I’ll try the music for sure; hopefully that will keep them more settled. Thank you again!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As a parent to two children who were adopted I relate to so very much of this post. Strength and hugs your way. Some days are tough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your life is no different than anyone else’s. Trust me when you think the grass may be greener in your friends lives, but it is just covered up. They have the exact same issues. There is no easy day with a kid, natural born or adopted. I have one of each and everything you describe is how our daily life it.

    The only difference is that you are brave enough to tell others about your family. Everyone else suffers in silence.

    Liked by 2 people

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