Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's not all butterflies and rainbows

First, I'm sorry I haven't blogged in over a week. It does seem longer than that too me too. I have logged in to type a new post a few times and either I have no words, I'm too tired to type or Cassie needs her mommy. And Cassie's needs, wants, begging, smiles and giggles will always win over the blog. Or anything else. She's napping now and the house is finally presentable, otherwise I wouldn't be blogging now. And I'm having a coke instead of a nap. :)

Second, let me make it perfectly clear that the title of this post has nothing to do with any regrets on our part and has nothing to do with any surprises with the adoption or Cassie. I'm just trying to keep it real. I don't want to be accused of having a so-called "cupcake blog" -- not that I really care what the world out there thinks about my blog -- but I want to be honest. For the uninitiated, a "cupcake blog" is one where only the happy moments are captured and documented, while the challenging or troubling moments are, shall we say, "thrifted". Nothing but sunshine and butterflies. Such a blog paints a pretty picture, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to educate while sharing your story, a cupcake blog simply will not do.

Just like the post Sonny wrote on Cassie's finding place -- there are some parts of this story that don't sparkle and smell like cotton-candy. And I'm not talking about Cassie's poopy diapers. So on to the real stuff.

Princess Cassie has a hard time at night. She has since the first night we were blessed to spend with her. I can't read her mind and she can't tell me why, but I can guess. She's scared at night. She wants to go home and be in her own bed with her foster parents. That's what she knows -- that's what I'm sure she's most comfortable with. And I can't blame her one bit. If I were in her tiny little shoes, I'd feel the same way. Sonny and I are fun during the day - we play with her, take her places, give her our undivided attention, let her eat as much as she wants, let her be picky, fussy, mad, eat Cheerios in bed and all the things I'm sure the foster parents didn't allow or have time for. Who wouldn't love this life? But, then comes night-time. These fun new people turn off lights, start talking softer, and the laughing and playtime end. She starts getting more and more tired -- but she fights it -- tries to play more but it doesn't work. It's time to go home. But, now this other home doesn't exist -- it's not an option. But why???? This isn't fair. And no - it's not fair. I know when she wakes up screaming during the night and I gently pick her up only wanting to hold and rock my baby back to sleep -- to comfort her -- to mother her -- to make it all better -- that she doesn't want me. She wants her foster mother. How do I know this? I know because when she sees my face she pushes it away and screams louder while fighting to get out of my arms. If I lay her back in her crib she thrashes around until she hurts herself. So the only option for both us at this point is to suck it up and deal with it. I must remember this has absolutely nothing to do with me. My feelings don't matter. I can't get upset. Or jealous. Or sad. Or cry. I must focus on Cassie's grief. Her loss. The lose of a foster family who I believe must have loved her. The lost of 3 other foster siblings that lived with her who I'm sure she slept with. I try and I try over and over again to get my baby to trust me. To let me comfort her. This is hard. There is no reasoning with a 14-month-old in the middle of the night who wants her foster mother -- not you. We struggle, I try, she resists, I force her to lay in my arms while I rock her. My voice has seemed to be of some comfort. Or maybe it just removes the silences of the night. Maybe the dark doesn't seem so dark if there is noise. Still my arms are not comforting to her. After many tries she finally gives in or maybe she's just too tired to fight me anymore. She then lays in my arms whimpering while I chant "mommy's here" over and over and over again. I still don't allow myself to cry -- if I cry then I can't chant -- she needs me to chant -- I need to chant so I don't cry. And the chanting is all I have that works for both of us. In about 20 minutes she will sleep -- from exhaustion -- not comfort. This happened the first 7 or 8 nights in China. And about 4 nights home the first week. Last week only 3 times. We are making progress. Cassie and I are learning what works for each other. She now knows that I will win and she will have to be rocked. But she still resists -- just not for as long as she used to. For a few brief moments I think she even likes being in my arms. I'm learning that my needs don't matter -- to me or to her. She is my world -- my baby -- my responsibility -- my blessing. Together we will become mother and daughter on her terms. But this is only at night.

During the day I still have an adorable, smiling, giggling little girl who actually needs me. She shows me that she needs me by crying on my shoulder when she falls down and hits her head, or when something scares her, or when she's ready for a nap. I hold onto those moments because I need them to carry me through the long nights when I can't comfort my daughter.

No, it's not all butterflies and rainbows, not at night. And I don't know when it will be. But like sleep -- butterflies and rainbows are so over rated. :)

As for what we expected -- actually we knew this was a possibility and expected it. We are just thankful it's going better so quickly. Again, we are very blessed. And no matter what -- we are a family.
And finally -- see the post below for pictures of the little princess from the last week or so.
~ Sherry


a blessed mama said...

Oh Sherry, you know I feel your pain. I don't have to chant anymore so I will cry for you. You are an amazing mother and are getting through this the best way - one day at a time. Cassie will soon turn to you for comfort in the middle of the night and there is nothing like that feeling. When they know you are Mama. Love you all!!

M & M said...

I love and appreciate you post. So raw & honest. And completely true. Alot of us are there with you or have been. I hope I don't seem like I have one of "those blogs" because we too have night issues. R was brought up co-sleeping and so that is what we do also. You are both great parents and with time & lots or reassurance things all work out.

Love you all and the pics too.

Melissa said...

Thank you for posting the honest truth. Since I haven't experienced any of this yet, it will be so helpful for me and others who read your blog. It sounds like you are already such a great mommy, putting her needs before yours. I know if will get better. Wish I could give you a hug and tell you to stay strong! Thank goodness you have a great time during the day. I think that will slowly help her to adjust to the nights. (((hugs))))

Lesa said...

Sherry, I want to let you know I really have been there. No, it isn't all butterflies and rainbows, sunshine and roses....)

Our beginning was just the same. I think I have told you that Wendy still slept with us for years and just since we have moved out here she is in her own bed, but guess who still has to go in and sooth her baby. That's right, me. Last night was the first whole night I've slept in my own bed in a long time. Wendy still has nightmares. Wendy didn't have foster parents to love on her, but her nanny did when she was around. Night time for Wendy was very different. Lights went out and no one came to their cries. The only one she could reach out too was her crib mate Katey. The touch of the other children in cribs connected to hers. She wanted so bad for us to touch her during the night that her crib was right next to ours so she could reach through the bars to us. Most of the time we put her between us.

Sweetie, she will come around, and she will begin to realize that you are the sole mommy in the house and she will love you at night as well. It will take some time, but all will fall into place.

I love you bunches. The photos are wonderful. Love seeing her so much.

Lesa said...

One trick you might try is to play classical music at night low. Wendy loves Mozart, and last night I turned on a little night light for her that is a half moon with a princess and star. I think that really helped a lot.

I hope this helps.

Pam said...

It's helpful for me, personally, to read about these experiences to know what we, like Melissa, are in for in a very short time. Our experience with Isabel is quite atypical, I think, and so we are trying as best we can to prepare ourselves for something much more like you describe. Hang in there. Know that you are a wonderful mom. Have faith that time will make all the difference. Love you, Spring family.

Dana said...

It is tougher than I thought in some ways and easier in others. Like you, I read enough to try and expect anything but living it is a different story! Makenna is not having the sleep issues but struggles at other times when I don't know what she wants. It makes her so mad. I know there is something she is used to doing with her foster family that I am just not doing (or not doing right!)Hang in there you are an awesome Mom, I saw that right away in China! Oh and the pictures are just adorable. Cassie is just precious!

Mary said...

Sherry, I appreciate your honesty. These are things those of us who haven been there/done that need to hear. You and Sonny are doing a wonderful job, so don't lose heart! Some of these things I think you just have to learn as you go along, and just pray for guidance as you go.