Defiance and the appreciation of it

This is the 8th month of knowing Jackie. We’ve had great days and very hard days, and making it through has strengthened our relationship, confidence and faith.

For the last many weeks, when thinking to write something pertinent about motherhood and adoption, my sincerity bone would jerk with the guilt of anger. I have lost my patience seconds after telling myself: “you can do this – you won’t get irritated”, and I couldn’t believe it.

After a couple of months of angelic behavior, our social worker said that “the more comfortable and at home Jackie will feel with you, the more she will test her boundaries and your limits and patience.” So for a while we took it as a compliment, because we had the energy and resources, but soon the defiance got old.

I have heard myself say: “Do not misinterpret my calm voice and patience. Please comply! Now!” Only recently she didn’t negotiate herself out of a nap. For months I had put her to bed, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. For two weeks now we started taking turns. Though she loves having her daddy sing to her right before the last good night kiss, she wants mommy to put her to bed …and the routine is 1 hour long. Brushing teeth, changing into pajamas (never a quick thing), finding the right book, reading the book, answering questions about the story, digressing, wheeling her into the story, then singing, remembering she wants milk, or a banana, brushing teeth again, negotiating to stay with her, sing two more songs… and so on. There were weeks when she would bring me to the brink of raising my voice every night. As I would exit the bedroom, I felt like I escaped a hostage situation. I used to be afraid to go back in so she wouldn’t trap me. The solution? Though there were crocodile tears for having daddy do the bed time routine, after two weeks she got used to it and I have regained my sanity. She even went to daddy two nights ago and said: “bed time?” Thank God for team-work-parenting.

Jackie is a survivor, a fighter, she questions everything, she negotiates like a pro. She challenges us and she defies the status quo. I love all these things about her, but often they drive me nuts. We have had a very good week, and I remember to breath and take it all in. In some respects it gets easer with time, as we learn and she learns that we survived harder things together and we are in for the long run, no matter what!