The top five things I realized today, Day 2 with Hope.
5. Hope is on the come up.
What, pray tell is the come up, you ask? It’s when your socio-economic status rises or “comes up.” I live a comfortable life. I’m not rich and I dang sure am not wealthy. I’m comfortable, and Hope will be comfortable. But Hope thinks I’m rich, a notion I must disabuse her of, and that by adoption, she’s rich. We’re e traveling a path where she asks for things because she’s testing me and because she wants to show off to her friends back home.
We endured an hour long power struggle during an outing today when she complained either that I wouldn’t buy her anything or that I wouldn’t buy her the things she really wanted. Hope chose gaudy stuff that was either reminiscent of a rap video (think Run DMC chains) or the biggest bottle available of Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend perfume, even though she admitted she doesn’t really like to wear fragrance. These things represent a level of affluence for her. At one point, before attempting to stomp off in a huff, she said what was she supposed to tell her friends back in Washington?
Sigh…We will gently sort this out over time.
4. You haven’t lived until a 12 year old tries to convince you that the 13 year old she’s crushing has a hot body.
No, really this was the highlight of my day. Had I known I could be having this kind of conversation with my daughter I might have had/adopted kids years ago. So she’s telling me about some little boy she is digging, and she goes on to describe him and then stops short. We’ve had these kinds of chats recently about boys; I’m careful not to overreact to her crush confabs. We’ve been building some trust currency during these chats about boys so she’s increasingly forthcoming.
When she stopped, I probed. “So…what is it? He’s cute, pretty eyes, curly hair…Are light skinned brothas back in style?” She giggled and replied, “You’re close but not really…” “Oh, so we’re talking about his body, ok. Spill the deets.” “OMG when he takes his shirt off…(ABM’s internal alarm goes off: when the hell have you been privy to seeing him disrobe???)…his chest….” Oh, ok, so he’s got a nice body at 13??? Really? “Yeah, he doesn’t look his age, he looks a little older.”
What, his birdcage chest looks 15?
Seriously, these conversations are both hilarious and enlightening. I know that Hope will need vigilant supervision, but she can crush all she wants as long as she tells me. I was only a little older than her when I fantasized that I was going to have Ralph Tresvant’s (New Edition) baby one day.
3. My girl misses her dad Every. Single. Day.
I’ve often told friends and family that I believe grief to be a horribly destructive emotion. It’s such an amalgamation of so many other messy emotions—sadness, hurt, anger, loss…It’s just wicked. I’ve heard stories about Hope’s dad that didn’t paint him in a very good light. He’s gone now, but Hope has him up on an incredible pedestal. He was her primary parent, and she adored him. And then he was gone. And people said bad things about him and said to get over it. She hasn’t. It’s going to take more time and a lot more maturity to get her to a place where she can really handle that loss in a healthy way. She talks about him a lot, and I’m ok with that. He isn’t a threat to me. I don’t intend to try to make her stop missing him or to totally rewrite the history she’s constructed to help her remember him. It is what it is. It will take her time to get there. Her grief makes me sad though.
2. I know that she really doesn’t want to be pack leader, sulking notwithstanding.
For the most part, Hope is good about how we are constructing boundaries for her. Since she’s out of school, we have designated school time. There’s tablet time, which thanks to a nifty app shuts ish down! We had an epic negotiation session over brunch about chores, allowance and behavioral expectations. In short, Hope was happy with the boundaries as long as they were laid out, some things were negotiated and the consequences—both positive and negative–were clear.
That was fine until I the screen time app kicked her out of a game and she didn’t win her last game of solitaire before screen time expired and I ixnay’d hooking her DS to the house wifi. And let me tell you, her sulking stomp game is strong. The screen time combos sent her into a pout spiral on the couch. She argued that she had not won one game of solitaire yet; I replied, well maybe tomorrow will fare better. And she went all, “Mr. Gorbachev , tear down that wall” on me. <blank stare>
Again, girl, bye.
She nearly went apoplectic when I said she would have to earn my trust in her on the internet post placement to get wifi access to the internet on her DS. Internet access will be a relatively new thing for her, and I’m not interested seeing it abused. Also, I know she is young and not too discerning about folks so she needs a heavy hand around the access issue. Even if and when I said yes, I’d have to set it up to change the password daily in order for both of us to really make it work.
Whatever the scenario and ensuing meltdown, Hope longs to feel safe and secure. She needs to know I care and that our extended family cares. Being the boss is hard work that she really doesn’t want to do. She wants to be a kid. I’ll let her flex from time to time, but Mom’s the boss with ultimate veto power. She don’t want none of this responsibility, not really.
1. I am so a morning person and Hope is not. I know I will be the one to do the primary adapting.
And it’s ok. No, really it is. Change is good. Reframing productivity and success is good. There shouldn’t be any sob stories for my lost productivity or any whining about why Hope doesn’t like mornings. Besides, did you really think I didn’t think my life would get turned upside down?
We are creatures of habit and preference. Mine happen to be early to rise and conquer the world. Hers happen to be rise around midday and world domination can wait until evening. She is at her most active and most productive between the hours of 4 and 7pm. I see it and I feel it. It is exhausting since I start winding down around 2pm; I am most productive between 5-10am. But this is how she’s wired.
Some days I will learn to sit down more and some days she will be up with the proverbial chickens. I’ll still get my before dawn workouts in and my morning quiet, reflection time. I hope to get some writing done tomorrow morning before she gets up. I look forward to adapting to a more lively afternoon life, when normally I’m winding down. It’s really all good.
Oh there’s so much more I could write. Stay tuned for an interesting hair focused post as she emotionally toys with wearing her hair out when she moves here permanently. Just two days and seeing me with my hair and so many naturalistas walking around the DC area, and she’s thinking. It’s good stuff.