Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fake Ouches and Real Ouches

At school lately I have been promoting a phrase that our faculty came up with about a decade ago – healthy respect for self and others. Along these lines I told some of my students about the “ouch” system. If someone says something that hurts a little, say “ouch” to let them know. Sometimes people don’t realize when they are not being respectful to you and gently pointing it out can be beneficial.

Well, tonight CrazyMom was going out with her girlfriends but first she was helping me get out the door with the seven kids for soccer practice. I came bustling downstairs and happened upon CrazyMom tying Anna’s shoes and giving instructions to Ed.

CrazyMom: Ed, when you are getting ready for bed tonight, remind dad to give Anna her medicine.

Ed: OK, mom. I will.

CrazyD: Ouch. That hurts, hun.

(I feign competence in caring for kids and this was an attack on my feigned competence.)

CrazyMom: I knew you would hear, too.

CrazyD: I am not sure that makes me feel any better, hun.

CrazyMom lifts her head from Anna’s shoes and grins and gives me one of those you-know-you-love-me-and-you-know-I-love-you-and-you-know-I-need-to-tell-Ed-to-remind-you-to-give-Anna-her-medicine looks.

I can fool a lot of people, but I can’t fool CrazyMom.


I just got done putting the kids to bed and I am sure I would have remembered Anna’s medicine, but we will never know for sure. I had multiple surrogate mothers reminding me all night to give it to her.

When I put Anna to bed we snuggled a little and she wanted me to sing to her (very scary, trust me). She seemed sad. As I tucked her into bed she looked up at me and on the verge of tears she said, “Momma bye bye?”


I had told Anna that momma went bye bye and I now could see that bye bye to her was something much more serious that CrazyMom going out with her girlfriends. I wondered if “momma going bye bye” was a phrase that brought back memories of another mother that had gone bye bye.

I gave it another try by saying, “Momma went in makina (car) to see friends and eat dabo (bread). Mom will come home and sleep here.”

“Mamma night night?” Anna asked pointing in the direction of our room.

“Yes, Mamma night night.”

Anna’s face was no longer teary, but not peaceful either. As she assumed her sleeping position with her hands together tucked under head, her eyes were in a distant stare. There was some memory there which I could not see and which she could not tell. I bent over and kissed her gently on the head and quietly left the room. She was soon asleep.

There are fake ouches and then there are real ouches.


Pam and Brian said...

That's the tough stuff... As a parent you want so much to help, but sometimes helping is simply loving them and not diggin into those painful memories. Our son, adopted from Russia, cries everytime he hears the tune, "I've been working on the rail road". We have no idea, but guess there must have been a toy in his orphanage that played the tune, and to this day, 2 years later, the song still brings some memory we will never know.

Sophie said...

These poor kids have been through so much! I'm glad that they have you to help them through it :)

Leslie said...

So hard.

Carissa said...

Not only did this post make me cry my eyes out, but I went to my two year old daughter, held her, kissed her, and cried some more.
This is why we adopt...