Adoption

Part 2 - I think/*hope*/***PRAY*** J's finally going through what he needs to attach

...because if he's not, I'm in big trouble.

Yesterday morning, I walked into his room and smelled urine.  I felt around on the bed but it was dry, and I dismissed it as coming from the cat's litter box out in the hall.  But the smell was still there last night. Ugh....

J has peed in the house to make a point before--usually when someone's in the bathroom he wants to use and he'd rather force that person out and make them feel bad than go use a different on (we have three).  After he did this a couple of times and nothing else worked, I bought pull-ups.  He freaked-out at the thought, and swore he wouldn't do it again.  It worked for a while, until he peed in his room one day.  I made him wear the pull-ups that night, and we haven't had a problem since (several months).

Here's the thing:  I am 99% sure he can control his bladder.  He has only had two accidents since he's been with us, and they both involved situations where there was no immediate bathroom (and one where he was wet from playing in running water). So that means he's choosing to pee in that house.

I asked him about it, and he lied.  Then, when pressed, he told me he peed by the door that day while playing because he didn't want to walk to the bathroom. But I had already smelled it that morning, which means either he did it at least twice, or he got messed up by the concept of time.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but made him put the pull-ups on, and told him he would wear them in the house until I could see he wasn't going to pee anywhere except in the bathroom anymore.  He was very upset, so I helped him calm down and explained that this wasn't a punishment, but I couldn't have him peeing all over the house.  I did also tell him, however, that he couldn't watch TV for two days (which he rarely does anyway) because he lied.  We had a long talk about why we don't pee in random rooms, and I explained that he's too important to live among pee.  I tried to build him up because I know that wearing the pull-ups really embarrasses him and destroys his image of himself as a big boy.  I had him help me clean up the spot (which I really couldn't even find, because it had already dried), put him to bed, and read him a story.

The thing is, he was devastated that he would be wearing the pull-ups indefinitely.  He was so embarrassed, he wouldn't let M see when he came to say good-night (even though M heard us talking and knew what was going on and would never make fun of J for something like that). He wouldn't smile during book-time (his most favorite time of the day), and was just a shell of himself, with his head on my shoulder.  I felt bad for him, but I had promised him last time that if he did it again he'd be wearing them until it was no longer a problem, and I felt I had to follow through.

But then the doubt came.  I know that some people report that NF can result in incontinence.   He told me that he doesn't go to the bathroom because he doesn't want to walk down the hall, but he also said that he doesn't realize he has to go until it's really important (which we've noticed sometimes).  So I spent the evening searching NF websites and feeling awful that I may have come down on him so hard for something he can't control.  It wouldn't be the first time that J doesn't honestly tell me why he did something when I ask, because he always seems sure he's going to get into trouble (even when I tell him he won't).  He just freezes like a deer in the headlights, and we have to ask him yes/no or either/or questions, and I get the feeling he just picks whatever works best (and he often changes his choices).  It's so frustrating, because it brings so much doubt, and I have no idea if I'm disciplining or torturing the poor kid!

I agonized it literally all night.  First until I fell asleep, and when my husband returned from his business trip at 2:30 a.m.,  I woke and told him about it, and agonized about it all over again.

This morning, J's room smelled as bad, if not worse.  I made a mental note of needing to clean the whole carpet with a better cleaner, and went over to open his window...and stepped in wetness.  I asked him about it and he lied.  I asked him about when he pees in his room, is it because he can't make it to the bathroom or because he doesn't want to go.  He said it's because he doesn't want to go.

The wetness was fresh, which means he had pulled down his pull-ups to pee in his room again!  He even confessed to the nanny this morning (she comes to drop M off at school after I leave with J).  In the car on the way to school, he confessed to me.  I told him that because he lied, he lost his train set and his cars (two of his favorite things); I was so upset, I didn't even say for how long.

When I asked J why he did it, and he wouldn't answer.  I asked him if it was because it was dark (thinking he may have done it at night), if it was because he was afraid (to walk down to the bathroom in the semi-darkness), if he couldn't make it in time, or if he did it to make me mad.  He told me several times (I asked him to repeat himself because he was talking very quietly and I couldn't understand him clearly) that he did it to make me mad!  So much for adding an extra night light or giving him a potty in his room for emergencies!  They won't do any good, since he's just trying to piss me off--literally--now!

I was thinking things were going really well the past few weeks.  J's been super well-behaved and we have had lots more quality and cuddle time and it just felt that after Christmas things got much better on track.  I know that's often when behaviors ramp up--when the child fears the attachment they feel happening--but this really hit me out of the blue.  It's awful and scares me because it's straight out of Parenting the Hurt Child, and I pray it's just him pushing back and not that he is exhibiting symptoms of RAD.

I've mentioned a few times that it just hasn't felt like J wants or feels the need to attach to us.  As if anyone could step in for us and continue our routine and he'd be just fine.  As long as his needs are met, it feels like he doesn't much care by whom, and the only person in our family that he seems attached to is M.  In fact, he made sure that M knew he loves him and wants to celebrate him on his birthday in a very emphatic plea when M was upset earlier in the night (it was really awesome to see).

Anyway, it's been feeling like this for a while, and J has repeatedly told us that he doesn't want a boss (at home, at school, anywhere), which has led to him acting out and us having to constantly remind him that he "is not the boss."  He finally seemed to get that we weren't trying to be mean but just enforce rules, and he was doing great, until this.  I pray that this is his reaction to feeling our love and that he just needs to work through this, because the alternative is blood-chilling frightening.

Re: Part 2 - I think/*hope*/***PRAY*** J's finally going through what he needs to attach

  • Honestly, I'll talk both.  I'm always pretty open.

    I'm particularly interested in how to get J to understand that honestly is what we pride most.  I think if he just understood that, we'd be be a good ways there.  I can't trust a thing that comes out of his mouth, ever.  If I could trust him, I think it would help me bridge the gap some, but without that, I'm at a loss.

  • Fred, I don't know if cleaning his carpet would matter much to him.  He did it with me last night, and it didn't seem to matter one bit.  To be honest, he's so compulsive about being neat and clean, he's always enjoyed cleaning and helping, which is why I don't understand why he wants to live and sleep in that stink.  That's honestly why I had the whole conversation about how he's not an animal, but a person, and a very important one at that, and so he shouldn't want to live in such filth.  I kept telling him he's too good for that, but apparently he has different ideas.

    M sometimes has nighttime incontinence when he's upset about something, and for that I do exactly as you said, and it has worked wonders and really helped him control his bladder.  "Oh, it looks like you wet your bed.  Let's take the sheets off and get them clean."  Then we wash and change the sheets together.  This no-shame approach was huge, because he was shamed about and brutally punished for it so much in Peru, he still has issues resulting from it.  But for J, it's purposeful, and I'm not sure shaming him isn't the answer.  I do want to build up his self-esteem, but if he really doesn't want to be seen in a diaper, maybe that will be the incentive to stop doing this?

    Honestly, there are only two consequences that ever get more than a passing pout/tear from J:  the pull-ups and not reading with him at bedtime (which we hate to take away).  Anything else, he just kind of shrugs off, and is almost proud about, compulsively asking how many days left of the consequence and reciting what the consequence is and why it happened, multiple times a day.

    So I totally get your point about him being able to control where he pees, but have no idea what to do about it.  I told my husband that maybe we should put plastic down in his whole room (of course he could just lift it to pee on the carpet) or make him sleep on the cot in the bathroom (but he can always walk to another room to pee).

    As far as giving him responsibility over his life and choices, we do that, too, when we can.  But coming from an orphanage where they have never had any choices (and J's spent his entire life there), they really don't know how to decide. Most the time, he'll abdicate the decision:  he'll either chose what M's having, or if M's not around, he'll ask me to chose for him.  There are very few times when he's adamant about wanting something on his own, and if I can, I let him run with it.  When I give him a choice, I always limit it, so the options aren't overwhelming, and have him live with the consequences.  (You didn't like your lunch?  Well, I'm sorry, but you told me to pick.  You are cold?  I'm sorry, maybe next time you should chose to take your jacket when I tell you to.  You loved those hot dogs?  Sounds like you made a great choice for dinner!) We keep working on it, but for a kid who doesn't want a "boss," he sure doesn't want to make decisions, either.

    I just downloaded NurtureShock to my Kindle.  Maybe there's something in there that can help me.  J's 6, so he should know truth from lies by now, but it seems that this is a concept that was never talked about with him.  Anytime we talk about something like truth or trust or responsibility, even in the most simplest term, his eyes glaze over, his whole body, tenses, and he gets a panicked look.

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  • imageCaptainSerious:

    Fred, I don't know if cleaning his carpet would matter much to him.  He did it with me last night, and it didn't seem to matter one bit.  To be honest, he's so compulsive about being neat and clean, he's always enjoyed cleaning and helping, which is why I don't understand why he wants to live and sleep in that stink.  That's honestly why I had the whole conversation about how he's not an animal, but a person, and a very important one at that, and so he shouldn't want to live in such filth.  I kept telling him he's too good for that, but apparently he has different ideas.

    M sometimes has nighttime incontinence when he's upset about something, and for that I do exactly as you said, and it has worked wonders and really helped him control his bladder.  "Oh, it looks like you wet your bed.  Let's take the sheets off and get them clean."  Then we wash and change the sheets together.  This no-shame approach was huge, because he was shamed about and brutally punished for it so much in Peru, he still has issues resulting from it.  But for J, it's purposeful, and I'm not sure shaming him isn't the answer.  I do want to build up his self-esteem, but if he really doesn't want to be seen in a diaper, maybe that will be the incentive to stop doing this?

    Honestly, there are only two consequences that ever get more than a passing pout/tear from J:  the pull-ups and not reading with him at bedtime (which we hate to take away).  Anything else, he just kind of shrugs off, and is almost proud about, compulsively asking how many days left of the consequence and reciting what the consequence is and why it happened, multiple times a day.

    So I totally get your point about him being able to control where he pees, but have no idea what to do about it.  I told my husband that maybe we should put plastic down in his whole room (of course he could just lift it to pee on the carpet) or make him sleep on the cot in the bathroom (but he can always walk to another room to pee).

    As far as giving him responsibility over his life and choices, we do that, too, when we can.  But coming from an orphanage where they have never had any choices (and J's spent his entire life there), they really don't know how to decide. Most the time, he'll abdicate the decision:  he'll either chose what M's having, or if M's not around, he'll ask me to chose for him.  There are very few times when he's adamant about wanting something on his own, and if I can, I let him run with it.  When I give him a choice, I always limit it, so the options aren't overwhelming, and have him live with the consequences.  (You didn't like your lunch?  Well, I'm sorry, but you told me to pick.  You are cold?  I'm sorry, maybe next time you should chose to take your jacket when I tell you to.  You loved those hot dogs?  Sounds like you made a great choice for dinner!) We keep working on it, but for a kid who doesn't want a "boss," he sure doesn't want to make decisions, either.

    I just downloaded NurtureShock to my Kindle.  Maybe there's something in there that can help me.  J's 6, so he should know truth from lies by now, but it seems that this is a concept that was never talked about with him.  Anytime we talk about something like truth or trust or responsibility, even in the most simplest term, his eyes glaze over, his whole body, tenses, and he gets a panicked look.

     

    Is this just happening at night maybe?  What if he is kinda sleep walking..or like half waking up because he needs to pee, but knows he can't make it to the bathroom and while half sleepy he just pulls it out right there and pees?  I don't know if this could be true but I have known guys(especially ones who may have had a couple) pee and think they are in the bathroom when they are half asleep.

    7/18/12-1st RE appointment CD2 blood work taken. Told to move straight to IVF. Starting BC pills and FSH injections plus Lupron. Hopefully doing ET in September Off BCP March 2011 Started TTC July 2011 7 months TTC with no luck an then.... Diagnosed 2/24/12 with 2 Ovarian Cysts. 3/22/12-Lap to remove cysts, look for endo, and see if tubes are clear. 3/22/12-Diagnosed with Severe Endo(tubes are clear). 4/4/12-Post op OBGYN appointment. Told chances of conceiving naturally are very low, but told conceiving in the next few months is our best chance due to being cleaned out during Lap. Referred to a RE. RE said IVF is our only chance to get pregnant. Told only a 20% chance even with two put in. 9/5-Lupron 9/20 Stims(Menopur & Follistim) 9/30 Trigger time 10/2 ER 10/3 fert report-out of 7 eggs retrieved only 2 fertilized. Hello "Thing 1 and Thing 2!" Kinda sad there is none to freeze. Because only 2 we will have 2DT to get them back into a natural envionment 10/4 ET. Found out that only 1 divided. We love you "Thing 2." Thing 1 is now snuggled inside me and we are praying it will be our take home baby! **Did not even make it to my beta, the day before on 10/16/12 I got my F'in period** Such a stab in the heart. Nov 2012-Moving onto domestic newborn adoption! Can't wait for my take home baby. We will try IVF again after 1-2 years of a clear head. Need a break from infertility treatments/issues for my mental sanity! image
  • awww man, big hugs to you CS.  My oldest was an angry pee-er.  It made me crazy!!  Especially since his ideal time to pee was while we were in the car (making a huge mess of the car seat) or on the couch (usually while my wife or I were sitting right next to him). 

    I tried lots of consequences. Loss of privileges, activities, toys.  I lost my temper.  I tried remaining calm and having him clean it up.  I felt like I tried everything and it made me insane, because as you describe, he never really seemed to care about many of the consequences and it didn't seem to get through to him. 

    BUT, i'm thrilled to report that it is now a thing of the past (over a year since the last "episode"!!).  What worked was 1) time, and 2) ignoring it completely - having absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever.   

    I believe it is 100% a reaction to the attachment...which means that he's showing you that what you are doing is working...albiet in the most annoying way possible ;)  hang in there!

  • Fred, it's not that I want him to feel an emotion, I just want him to know it's wrong, and not going to get him any positive attention from me.  Maybe I need to withhold the negative attention, too, and ignore it in its entirety.  Because he's obviously getting something out of doing it.

    LIQueen, I don't know because he won't answer me honestly/consistently.  All I know is that the spot this morning was very fresh, so I don't think it was from last night.

    Spooko, I do realize attachment can take time.  It took us 18 months until we finally started to feel M attach to us.  But with J, he just seems unconcerned about it.  Like M was constantly testing us, pulling us in and pushing us away, but with J, we just feel as a means for him to get his needs met.  Like he doesn't care one way or the other about us.  I see his attachment to M as different, because M is more of friend and cohort, while we are adults/authority figures.

    What concerns me about ignoring it is that I don't think he started it to get a reaction out of me at first.  He peed the first time at least as early as yesterday morning, and I didn't talk to him about it until last night.  He had no reaction and didn't tell us, which is why I don't know why he did it in the first place.  Did he really not want to interrupt his play that badly?  I really think it was only after last night that it became spiteful (aside from the times before when someone was in the bathroom he wanted to use).

    Another reason why I worry about attachment with him is because natural consequences don't seem to matter to him, like I described above.  If I tell him that doing x will result in y, it doesn't really seem to matter.  If y happens as a consequence to his behavior, it doesn't seem to matter.  I don't care that it matters or that he has a certain emotion about it (as Fred suggested), except that it has no effectiveness if he doesn't mind the consequence.  If he keeps peeing in his room because it's easier than stopping play and then happily cleans it up later, I still end up with a stinky, soaked-through, nasty carpet and possibly damaged sub-floor.

  • Thank you ctbride!  You give me hope.

    When you say:

    imagectbride08:

    ignoring it completely - having absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever.   

    did you clean it up when he wasn't there?  Let it sit?  Not care if he saw you clean it?

    Guide me!  I was just coming around to this completely ignore it way of thought, thanks to Spooko, and now you reassured me this is the way to go.  So, how would you take care of cleaning it up?

  • Not sure if this will be helpful to you...I'm a nanny and I have 5 close friends who are nannies as well. All of them but me take care of boys (ages 5-11) and they have all told me stories of their boys peeing in weird and disgusting places, specially their room. 4 out of 6 kids apparently. 1 of them had bunk beds and was peeing inside the poles that held the bunks together. Why? He said because "he wanted to" and because "he was too tired". Another one, out of the window, and once in a toy box. So, I guess it's not that uncommon? Maybe that will give you a little bit of comfort, I don't know...Not saying it's not part of a bigger issue, but I certainly never knew that it was something boys did...

    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this on top of everything else. Parenting is so challenging, but I guarantee that there is nothing you are doing wrong, because there is no "right".

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  • Thank you, ycristina, it is helpful to know that this is often just a "boy" thing.  I'm not saying I'm sure he's not pissed, but maybe the first time really was just "because." 

  • imageCaptainSerious:

    Thank you ctbride!  You give me hope.

    When you say:

    imagectbride08:

    ignoring it completely - having absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever.   

    did you clean it up when he wasn't there?  Let it sit?  Not care if he saw you clean it?

    Guide me!  I was just coming around to this completely ignore it way of thought, thanks to Spooko, and now you reassured me this is the way to go.  So, how would you take care of cleaning it up?

    Yes, I'd completely ignore it in his presence, which often meant letting it sit longer than I'd like.  Usually I wouldn't get to cleaning it until nap or bed time.  I know, not ideal, but the problem extinguished very shortly after I started this technique.  

  • DS sounds similar to J in that I really think he could have taken us or left us for the better part of this past year. He's not "reactive" in that he pushes us away...he just is happy to go with anyone who will meet this needs. He does have huge control issues. 

    Kiddo was totally toilet trained for months before all of the sudden, he wasn't. I think he started as a way to get more attention at preschool (uh-oh, wet pants...they take me away from the other kids and change me...). We chose to ignore it at home, assuming it was a control thing. Since, like a previous poster said, you can't really control what goes in or out, we really try to pick our battles in those areas. I put him back in pull ups and made sure he knew it didn't bother me.

    If he is so unable to control himself that he is peeing outside of the pull up (or doing any out-of-control behavior), he's "grounded to a grown up" and has to be where I can reach out and touch him at all times. Finally, I think we're at a place where we can re-introduce toilet training without it being a battle. I told Kiddo if he has dry pants for x days, he got _____. Amazingly, that was the very first day in months he had dry pants. 

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