|Sitting in the sun with Robert snuggling in my arms. |
Oh it felt so good!
I have been on cloud nine lately after realizing just how far my little Robert has come over the last year. Many of you may have read the article I recently wrote for the Fostering the Future campaign, if not, you can read it Here.
During our recent camping trip I was enjoying a good conversation with my mother-in-law, and she commented on how far Robert has come. It got me thinking...
Just six months ago....
His behavior now....
He hated reading books or sitting in my lap.
He will read two books in my lap and chimes in about the pictures.
He had huge tantrums and was unable to calm down.
I can see him taking breaths, trying really hard to calm his body.
He mainly did independent play.
He plays pretend horses with Mia and monsters with Jabar.
He screamed and threw his plate if he was asked to eat food he didn't like.
He will take a few bites when I ask him to, even if he doesn't like it.
If he fell down and got hurt he would get mad if I tried to comfort him.
He will now run to me and let me kiss his boo-boo's.
He was uncomfortable sitting in my lap and his body felt stiff, he usually got down after only a few minutes.
He asks to cuddle with me and melts his body in my lap. He even lets me rub his back or play with his hair!
He cried every time my husband cooked something in the kitchen, unable to wait for food.
He sits at the table in his chair with such incredible patience as we get meals ready.
I have also changed.
I purposefully create more opportunities for Robert and I to have alone time.
I am able to show Robert grace when he is in an overwhelming situation and might react with strong feelings. I don't expect him to never have a meltdown.
I try to seek God to be my comfort and not push Robert to show affection in the way I might crave.
I pay attention more to Robert's cues and realize that he communicates more subtly than others, and that is just fine.
I am so proud of how hard Robert has worked to break away from some of his barriers and let his guard down. While the list above shows amazing improvement, I want to be clear that it is not about having a well-behaved child, it is about having successful communication and connection with a child.
In this last year of discovering who Robert is and how I can bond with him, he has taught me a thing or two.
I have been inspired by Robert's love for rocking chairs, while it may be a sensory seeking behavior or self-soothing behavior, it doesn't really matter to me. What I love is his ability to just be content with quiet. I have always been one to thrive on busy and and even crave a little chaos now and then but as time goes on I realize that I also, very much need quiet, I need to be still.
Before the school year was over, Robert and I would wait for the kids to get off the bus from pre-school. We waited on my front porch two mornings a week.
I have to admit, after I finished my Rocking Chairs, this was way more relaxing for both of us. :)
Because we are on the end of a very quiet street there was nothing to hear but the occasional airplane or birds chirping. We would rock and sit. Every now and then we would glance over at each other and smile. What an amazing moment to share with my little guy.
We could just be together.
And even though I sometimes wish Robert always wanted to snuggle in my lap and give me a million hugs per day, I have learned that Robert lets me into his world and connects to me while we simply sit together.
If you are a parent struggling with an angry child or adopted a child who is having a hard time bonding to you I encourage you to not give up. Think outside the box, seek professional help and support for both of you. It can take its toll. I was once so discouraged and felt lost when it came to helping Robert.
It is easy to put our own timeline on children and create expectations but I would remind you to give your child time and grace as you navigate your way around those barriers.
I urge you to find a way to simply be present with your child. It is easy to take them on dates, as we do with each of our kids, but we can quickly get distracted by the activity and surrounding fun.
It is hard for me to remember, but simply being present with my children is just as important.