Wednesday, July 20, 2016

six-month checkup

Guys...whoa. I cannot keep up with the pace of life. I'm a few weeks behind on posting Clementine's six-month checkup status. I trust that you can forgive me. Life with these Lotzes is absolutely insane, and in taking time to write this I am neglecting laundry that's stacked in the corner, a stack of dishes in the sink and a shower.

I've been posting updates as Clementine hits certain time-related milestones at home. (Four-month checkup here, two-month checkup here.)She has been home over 6 months now (I can still hardly believe it!), so it's time to share more of our progress.

AT SIX MONTHS HOME, Clementine is:

  • Sassy. Sweet, but oh-so sassy, which is probably good because these boys have some strong opinions and continue to sometimes have trouble adjusting to her presence in our family. 
  • A wee-bit codependent with Brecken. These two are the funniest...they love eachother, miss eachother when one is gone, and also fight amongst themselves the hardest. 
  • Slowing down on the food front. For a while there in those first few months she ate and ate and ate, and she would sit at the kitchen counter waiting for more food all day if I would let her. She has slowed this down and even must be told to finish her food at times, which is quite a switch. She has grown up, not out, a few inches.
  • Loving jeans. Her favorite pair features little white hearts, and she likes to pair them with her new horsey t-shirt EVERY DAY. 
  • Doing better with the hair thing. She even requests for me to do her hair, even if Brad is home. BUT at times--when she feels like it--she still carries on like it's pulling every shred of hair out of her head when I brush it. So here I am rolling my eyes. 
  • Very snuggly. If I'm sitting, she's snuggling. 
  • Still throwing a few fits, but WOW has this improved. She is more likely to throw fits--crying and stomping her foot--when she is tired, but she hasn't done this in such a long time. She does pout (by dropping whatever she is holding, crossing her arms, and dropping to her bum on the ground) occasionally when I tell her no, which is hilarious and annoying at the same time or depending on what sort of day we've already had. Sounds like a pretty typical two-year-old, huh? 
  • Learning to ask for help instead of crying. This has been our biggest battle lately, as she would rather start crying than say "Help me please." Also pretty typical for a 2-year-old...she can drag this battle out forever, but she's learning that asking is easier. 
  • Loving 90s rap music and "All I Do is Win." She is actually dancing to this stuff. Hilarious. 
  • Looking older and stronger. Gone are the weak little arms that hung around Brad's neck in the airport on that first night. Gone is the need to be lifted onto our bed (her core was so weak!). Gone is her desire to be carried EVERYWHERE. Her face is looking older, she is stronger, and even her walking and running is looking more coordinated, almost even athletic. (When she starts running she pumps her little arms in the cutest elbows-out sort of way.)
And now I must report to you how I'M doing in this six-month checkup. Moms often need a psychological checkup at about this point with a newborn, am I right? 

I will be honest...this bonding process has been entirely more difficult than I ever expected. I LOVE this sweet and sassy little girl, but I sometimes must choose to show her love in moments when she is testing me. Sometimes, to be painfully honest, I resent her because of some of the ways she has acted around me and not around Brad. I have resented her because of fits thrown in the store, crying during hair-brushing sessions, struggles over saying "Help me please," crying incessantly when all I wanted was peace for our other three kids, and nearly anything else for which a two-year-old can cause stress and anger. Yes, I have resented Brody and Brecken for these same types of things, but with them I also had two sweet years full of motherly bonding beforehand to back me up on the love quotient. 

I love her dearly, but I am also still in the process of forming a bond with this daughter of mine. I feel TERRIBLE sharing this truth, like I'm less of the mom I'd like to be or should be, but I also think this is something that a lot of adoptive moms have struggled with, and--if anything--I want this blog to be an authentic voice and an encouragement to others. I wish I could snap my fingers and feel fully bonded to Sweet Clementine, but the truth is there are many days and moments in which I must choose to love despite my annoyance, aggravation, and stress related to her actions. She has made it tough on me--much tougher on me than on Brad--and I think that's good, but I also think that my bond with her is forming at a slower pace than Brad's bond with her, which is kind of due to my own selfishness. She moves on after a tantrum and I am slower to put it behind me. I am working on this, often praying for Christ to rule in me where I would normally want to hold on to my grudge. 

I don't think this is her fault or mine. I think she has been doing what she needs to do to protect her little heart from another crippling experience of being torn from everything she knows, particularly a mama's love. But now it's time to get settled in, and we are making so much progress. She is teaching me so much, and our slow bond might be the very thing--strong and secure--we both need. 

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