It was Monday, third day of motherhood, and I was exhausted! We had no toys and a limited number of movies that were kid-friendly. We also were finding there were a lot of behaviors that needed correcting. Lying was a constant thing with them. Even for the simplest question, Emily would pause and think about how she was going to answer. Her thought bubble would have read, "What should I make up in order to get the result I want"? That was the first thing we tackled because I believe without honesty there is nothing to build on. We told the kids that if they did something wrong they would go to timeout but if they did something wrong and lied about it they would go to timeout and lose priviledges. It didn't take long for them to figure out that honesty was the best policy.
Another challenge was the boys' destructive behavior. Connor thought it was a lot of fun to run full speed with his head into the wall and to drag his face on the carpet until he had rug burn. Christian (who still had not uttered a single sound) was into everything. He pulled everything from every drawer within his reach and then he took apart anything that was possible to be taken apart (he is still very good at taking things apart and putting things together). I felt like my life was nothing but putting kids in timeout. It was tiresome and monotonous but we knew that we had to let them know right away what was and was not acceptable.
That day I took Emily to school and got her enrolled. She was very behind. She was in the first grade but couldn't count to ten properly and didn't know her sounds. This was very difficult for her since the homework that was being sent home was addition and she was expected to read by then. This was an ongoing struggle we faced with her. The most difficult thing to handle though was Emily's social behaviors. She did odd things like suddenly whaling at the top of her lungs. She would make rude comments about people in a voice loud enough for them to hear. She was also obsessive about meals. Every night she would ask me about breakfast...Were we going to have it? What were we going to have? Before she'd leave for school she would be asking me about lunch and dinner. She was so worried that I was going to forget to feed them.
I was dressing Christian's burn every morning and night. I can only imagine how painful it was for him. I can still see the pain and fear in his eyes but not a sound from him. It was haunting and heartbreaking. I remember how thankful I was to finally hear him cry after he'd been with us for about a week. I could tell that he had learned to survive by not being noticed.
Despite these behaviors and all my concerns, I knew that they would be fine. They just needed to be loved and cared for. They needed structure and they needed to know they had a home with us and that they were safe. This doesn't mean that I wasn't scared out of my mind though.