Found this post on Wife of the Rockstars blog. It spoke to me. I wish I could put this on a fly bill and pass them out at church, send them to teachers in the handy "news from home" envelope, and frame some as lasting reminders for our extended family. I would make it required reading for company--complete with quiz following. Perhaps have some printed in track size for nosey strangers in the grocery store, library, or salon. My additions and alterations in pink
My child has RAD. Reactive Attachment Disordered that is.
And to you she is the most adorable, affectionate, loving child you have ever met. SHe melts you with every smile. He warms your heart with his engaging disposition. I would have to say, "wraps you around her finger with her shy, soft-spoken words, and long-lashed beautiful blue eyes that seem to entreat you, 'love me.'"
In your Sunday school class she is the most well behaved student you have.
In your classroom she always listens and obeys and looks for ways to be helpful.
When you come to our home to visit, she will grab your hand and show you around. SHe will hug you and make you feel like you are the most welcome guest we have ever had. SHe may even convince you that you have some sort of special bond with her.
It is hard for me to tell you that you are not special at all. In fact she does this with everyone. SHe does this with the creepy guy at the mall. SHe does this with the checkout lady at the food store. In fact he does this with just about everyone she meets. Marina does not do this UNLESS the stranger has something tangible that she wants. Then it is like a kiddie version of fatal attraction. Do you realize how vulnerable that makes her? Can you imagine how terrified I am as a mother, wondering how this behaviour will manifest itself at sixteen? And Marina's RAD is extremely MILD.
Except for me.
When I tell you what our life is like you look at me like I am crazy. Oh, yes, how well I remember from Marina's toddler days. You wonder how on earth such a sweet child could do or be all of the things I have said. You start questioning our parenting. You begin wondering if it is really us that has the issues.You just see this cute little child.
You aren't here when she tantrums and screams. You aren't here when she refuses to eat. You aren't here when she eats until she is ill. Thanking God we are passed this. You aren't here for the constant chatter. You aren't here when she stays awake all hours of the night. You aren't here when she triangulates us. Or when she does every possible annoying thing she can think of to each of her siblings. Or steals and hoards their prize possessions. You aren't here when she won't share her toys or when she goes crazy because one of her little siblings took something away. Or when she takes her baby sister's training pants or her brother's GI Joe party favor bag--things she couldn't possibly want or need--simply because they had them and she didn't.
You don't see how she can't make eye contact. Or how she fidgets when I come close to her. Or how he gags himself in time out. For us this sentence should read, "Or how she throws herself on the floor like someone having an epileptic seizure when she is disciplined." You just don't see it.
Yes, she is an adorable child.
But, she also has RAD. We don't love her any less. We just have to parent her very different.
We had something come up today with Marina that we've worked and worked and worked with her over. I thought we were passed it, but apparently I was wrong. It is looking like we will simply have to remove the choice--as we did with her wardrobe--from her. Undoubtedly, our life will run more smoothly as a result. Because she will not be put in the position to make the wrong choice over and over and over again. But at what cost? Each time we do this, I feel an enormous sense of defeat.
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