Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Martian Child

"It doesn't matter where you come from, as long as you find where you belong." That's the movie tag-line. Has everyone seen the movie, Martian Child? I did, back in 2007. It's one of those sappy date movies staring John Cusak. It was cute, nothing to wrtite home about, and forgotten until recently. Recently, that is, until we brought one home!

Julia craves attention, she can't get enough of it and usually I channel her need and energy into a bit of wrestle-mania each night. I knew going into all this that each of my children would have special needs, but Julia has special-special needs! She passes in and out of this phase of hers quite regularly. That is, she can be a typical "tween" one minute and a five year old the next. In case you forgot, she's 11. She stands out from the others because she does things differently, not badly, just differently.

Recently, though, Julia has been pushing everyones buttons. She's needed a lot more "management". She worries herself that Nadia gets 1 extra minute of our time or Nadia gets to do this or that or Nadia went to take a shower and used one more drop of water than she got to use. We have to tell her constantly that "she is not Nadia's Mamma or Papa, we are. Only worry about Julia!" We tell her this a hundred times a day.

Also, we need your help. We are teaching Julia that it is not OK to touch everybody she meets, it's not OK to hop in everyone's lap or play with their hair and face. Julia does have an attachment problem, just in the opposite direction. She knows who her parents are, but she craves the attention she never got as a baby so she attaches to everyone and anyone who will play and interact with her. Our words to her are "no hands". Help us, help her and thank you for understanding.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not busting on Julia. I love her and her individuality. I like that she's different. I like that she wears her shades to watch TV, even though the lights are out. I like that she wears short skirt summer-wear when it's time for winter fashion, I like that she needs an umbrella "just in case" when the sun is shining or that she draws equally well on her body as she does her papers. I especially like that she can write or draw with either hand instead of moving the paper or pen to the other side. Most times, whereever or whatever we are doing, she is doing her own thing. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's when we are crossing the street, for example. I call it her "dooty-doo" mode! You know what I'm talking about! When there is chaos all around but there's that one person looking at the scenery and smelling the roses. Julia smells the roses, and I love her for that, just not in traffic.

Side note: Perhaps you haven't seen the voting bar on the right side of our blog. It's fun, it's friendly! So go cast your vote. Go, go, go now! ---------------------------->

~ Felix ~


Debbie said...

We loved Martian Child. It's neat that you have one of your very own, as you say. :-) If we are blessed enough to meet her, we promise to let the bonding happen between you all. We completely understand!

MamaPoRuski said...

We have that movie too! As far as bossing, we tell Z "Who's the Mama? Who's the Papa?" The school reinforces this concept to as he will try to "Teach" the students for the teacher.
The affection thing is normal attachment issues. You have to be constantly alert and ask that your close friends and extended family do not hold out their arms for spontaneous hugs, as well as teachers/staff at school. Praying for you too! When we have mastered parenting our next adopted child I will let you know LOL!

Tami said...

I soooo understand what you're going through with Julia. We've faced the same thing on different levels with each of our four kids...most recently (and most severely) with Maddie. (I just posted something on this not too long ago that may help.)
I would suggest you try to keep Julia's world as small as possible for as long as possible. Its hard to translate to a tween, but let me tell you what has made all the difference for us with Maddie.
For the first several months home we didn't take her anywhere that wasn't absolutely necessary.
When we did take her out, we held her hand ALL. THE. TIME....which limited her ability to throw herself into the laps of strangers, slap her hands on their cheeks and force them to look at how cute she was. ;>)
We wouldn't let anyone other than Shad or I hold her (which again we did all the time - anywhere we were). No hugs, no kisses, no touching of any type.
No one else was allowed to serve her in any way. We got her clothes, we gave her food, we offered her drinks - we went so far as to make sure the kids didn't bring her an extra cookie when they were getting one from the kitchen. ALL of her needs had to be met by us.
I can honestly say almost a year after bringing her home, Maddie is doing MUCH better. We don't have trouble with her throwing herself at strangers anymore (or at least not that often), she isn't calling everyone Mama (thank goodness) and she many times she ignores most strangers, which I honestly never thought I'd see.
The good thing about Julia's age is that it may be easier to reason with her. Since Maddie is only four its awful hard to explain to her WHY she can't walk away with that stranger.
We'll be praying.

cara said...

Our Sasha (10) had that problem to when he got home. It took many weeks to get him to stop touching people-that they don't like it. We still remind him of it occasionally. Cara

mattandlisasicilian said...

Oh, we've got a martian child too!

It does get easier, but we took exactly the same approach. We tell Natasha to worry only about Natasha and that she isn't Vica's Mama, etc. We also make sure to spend one on one time with the kids and that has helped tremendously. Hang in there!

Kathy and Matt said...

We experienced the overly friendly, affectionate behavior and have really worked hard to curb it with our daughter. She still tends to be a little too friendly, so we stay in close proximity to her when we're out. I did talk with her preschool and Sunday school teachers to ask them to help redirect her if she's too clingy. You also have to keep reminding family and close friends...they tend to think it's really cute and loving. It is, but it's also not healthy for the child.

Hang in there!

Christine said...

Love the movie!

About Julia, how old is she again? We had similar issues with three of our daughters with one calling another woman Mom. First off-- give lots of hugs and attention. It seems like you are already doing alot of that, but DO MORE if that is possible. Since our girls were older than 7 when they came home we were able to explain to them that we were mama and Papa. We told them that it was not appropriate to go around climbing into people's laps or hugging everybody. We wanted them to save all of those hugs for us and if they give them away all the time, it means less for us. We also let themknow that it hurt our feelings when they hugged everyone else. It hurt us in the same way it would hurt themif theysaw us hugging every kid in their class like they were our kids. This really helped them to understand.
Hopefully you don't mind me giving you advice-- think of it more as me sharing what worked for us. Have a great day!

Rubén said...

Hello family. what so you are all that way? We have already seen the photos of blog, we see that you are all very happy contentments and, and that Christmases many things are gift to you. That so in the school? We hope very well that because you are all very ready. Unai throws to you much of less and it sends a very fat kiss to you, it has many desire of verte, and we also. We have desire to speak with you, when we can call to you? Good a fat kiss for all, and we hoped that sigais so well as always.

Ana Zoroquiain.

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.