Parallel Lives

See that sweet, toothy looking thing?  She is nearly exactly as rough as she looks.  She tries my our patience like nothing else.  She is so needy, and tiny, and scrappy, and has so many little aches and pains, and did I mention that she is needy?  Very, very needy.  She is a middle child, after all.

Sometimes I think she will make me clinically insane.  Some nights I think I already am clinically insane.  Two nights ago, we had just such a night.  I was just about ready to research adoption online, when I accidentally ended up on this article.  It felt like an answer to prayer.

I’m not endorsing the organization that puts out these articles, and I’m not even sure if it would be as poignant to me if I reread it tonight, but I think it saved my sanity two nights ago.  Just so you know, the article is really long.  I didn’t even get to the section “Answer Number Two” because after reading Answer Number One I felt like I knew what I needed to work on, and how to tackle it.

Near the opening of the article is this little verbal tableaux.  It is as if the author has peeked through our windows and was able to sum up exactly the feelings that were making me feel so hopeless.

“This divide begins quite innocently. Mother does the dishes while the eighteen-month-old entertains herself. Mother cooks while the children watch a good Christian video. Mother cleans and serves the children until she is “worn out”. Having spent the day policing them, she seeks an escape when she gets the chance, leaving the kids to try to “stay out of trouble”….The children are sent off to “play.” To keep the herd placated, parents throw TVs, computers, books, and toys at the children. Mom and Dad expect the kids to entertain themselves, and thus create a protective “Do not disturb” aura, which leads the children, for lack of purpose, to end up fighting amongst themselves.”

Here’s another exert that really struck home to me, in fact, I’ve already been trying to think of this throughout the day.

“The most troubled kids today are those who grew up without anyone expecting anything from them. Children grow and mature as they succeed at things that matter. Children need to be needed for their contributions to their quality of life and to the preservation and maintenance of their habitat…. if you give your children rousing visions, and then work with them to accomplish even the smallest of “their” inspired dreams, they will love you for it and quickly dream up another. When you become your child’s favorite fan, you make yourself indispensable to him.”

So, that’s what we’re working on, these last few days.  And it seems to be helping.  The girls are excited to help me prepare meals and make the house nice “for Papa and Trux”.   They’ve taken on the care of their room, and have a great deal of childlike pride in the results.  They help to look after their baby brother, and they offer to check on the farm animals “by myself”, even in the dark.  A confirming smile from their parents seems to give them much to go on!

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