by Nancy Thomas
We have adopted again! I know you think we are crazy after having three birth children, three adopted and about 100 foster kids over the years but it just happened! Yes, my cowboy is 73 years old! I can’t help it! I fell in love!!
Now, let me tell you what has happened these first two weeks together. She is cute! You know CUTE! She has a huge pile of toys because she is so darling when she plays with them. She prefers her sister’s breakfast to her own and it just makes us smile at how cute she is standing on her little tippy toes reaching so high to get it. My cowboy has been limping lately and it seems to have spread to my ankles as well. On the potty training front I have gotten so great at it I am much faster cleaning up the puddles. I have done up to 12 in one day and caught them each within minutes of hitting the hardwood floors. I have paper towels and disinfectant ready in a flash. I can move like lightening. I was planting some tulip bulbs over the weekend and, of course, my new little helper was with me. As I dug the first hole she watched and then with great glee she dove in and dug a giant hole all by her little self! What a great little helper! She is just perfect and makes us so happy and we are working hard to make her happy too. But…
What we have here is not going to work long term. She is clearly over indulged and headed for disaster! No limits, everything handed to her, no boundaries just limitless love equals a non-motivated, anger filled spirit in the long run.
Several months ago I went and stayed with an educated, dedicated, loving mom and dad in New England. I met their 140 pound 12 year old son. He was out of control and violent, having pushed his mother down the stairs the day before I arrived requiring a 911 call (again). Warning signs were clear. An entire closet was his toy box in the family room, queen sized bed, no bedtime, no chores, he ate what he demanded. He had never made his own bed or even cleared his place at the table. I was invited to help get him on track. I set limits. He fought them. After several days of battles he was clearing his place and eating salad and moving forward some. Mom was stressed by his fit throwing tantrums. I am used to them and just wait them out until they calm down and we move forward. After 4 days, mom was so stressed she said: “ he feels like a caged animal. This is too hard for him.” I was thinking “WHAT? Being respectful and responsible it not too hard! Being in jail for hurting someone.. that is hard. Being an adult with no relationships and no job.. that is hard. Learning at 12 years old what should be learned at 2 is hard. Living with a child who pushes you down the stairs is hard…” The problem? He’s not cute anymore.
Limitless love is a good thing. A life with no limits is a BAD thing! We have to love enough to set limits even. My little girl has sharp teeth. She bites. It is so super cute right now. It won’t be cute when she grows up. When should I teach her? It is so fun to watch her latched on to my cowboy’s boot as he tries to walk across the floor. Cute, cute cute… It won’t be cute when she trips someone and they are hurt. When should I start teaching her the word that saves??? How about today!
This magic word “no” is just not used much in parenting anymore. I am going to get it out and dust it off and give it a go!!! NO! You are not going to eat your sister’s food. She will rip your face off some day for it when you’re not cute any more and she has had to deal with your lack of boundaries and disrespect for the BIG sister. My little girl has different dietary needs than her big sister and it does TOO matter! NO biting the cowboy’s boots or my shoes. Playing tug of war with our ankles stops today! It will be harder now since she has spent two weeks enjoying THAT fun game. MY fault! It is easier to just give in. But think about that one. Giving “in” to make them “happy” really does not work. It should just be called “giving UP”! Those kids that I have met that had been given and given and given had learned really well how to take, take, take and were miserable, NOT happy! One toy at a time is adequate. The digging, so cute today will ruin my flower beds in the long run. NO MORE! I am looking at what behaviors will work in the long run. Would that behavior be okay on a date when she is older so she could establish a long term relationship? Would that behavior work in the marketplace so she can hold a job? If the answer is “yes” I can say yes to it. If the answer is “no” to the behavior working later on, I have to say no now. So I have to get strong and learn to face down cute, and love enough to set healthy limits and say “NO!” I challenge you to do the same.
While my other children have two legs, my newly adopted little girl is a 10-week- old Welsh Corgi puppy. Yes, this article is for the two legged children. But, watch out! Elan is gonna be a super star because I am back on my game as an awesome mom! Her big sister Shera, is a German Shepherd. Check out the family pictures here.
Keep your sunny side up!
We can make a difference, Nancy