when you worry…

Being a mother is more joy than stress, for me. Sure, there have been moments where I thought I was just gonna lose my mind, but then things get better. And there are times, like when I’m sick and there’s no one else to do things, that I feel crushed by the responsibility of single motherhood. I don’t let those times get me down, because they’re normal, and in general being a mom is the absolute best part of being alive.

I read a lot of blogs, and get especially worried when I read about a child who was adopted as an infant, seemed healthy and well-adjusted in every way, and later had many behavioral/psych/social problems despite being reared since infancy in a stable home. All moms have to worry about something incessantly, I guess, and this is what I worry about: that despite being mine since 5 weeks old, M will suffer later in some way for the trauma she experienced in infancy, or for the drug and alcohol exposure she experienced the entire time she was developing in utero. It goes without saying that nothing could or would ever make me love her less, and I would seek out every service and solution should she develop any type of problems later on. But it worries me, all the time, because I want her to be ok. I want her to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted. I don’t care if she gets all As or is a star athlete or can draw pretty or what have you. I just want her to be able to learn, make friends, and ultimately succeed at being a well-adjusted individual in our society.

I have noticed that she cannot sit still like the other 1 and 2 year olds in her music class. (How do their moms get them to do that???) She has several fits per class, whereas the others have not had any or may have had one briefly. She hugs the other moms, even though she barely knows them. I can tell by their expressions that they think she’s weird. She is a bit delayed in speech but it’s developing at a good pace so I’m not that worried about it. She often gets reports from school that she was very whiny and clingy with the teacher. She pushes the kids that are smaller than her, or hits them (not at school, that I know of, but at other activities).

It’s very likely that I just have a strong-willed, spunky child who is starting up with the terrible twos. She is very intelligent, expresses her happy and angry emotions well, follows directions (at least when she feels like it), seems to be sensitive to others’ emotions, has excellent fine and gross motor skills, is affectionate towards me and other family members, and meets all of her milestones just fine. She naps and sleeps very well, and even eats pretty well nowadays, including vegetables.

Since music class seems to be where we are having the most social behavior problems (hitting, tantrums, weird hugging of strangers, fits) we are going to take a break from it. The other moms act annoyed with her and that just breaks my heart. I want to scream at them, “she’s fine! Don’t give her that look!” (the teacher doesn’t, thankfully) but I understand that her behaviors really are quite disruptive to the class. I guess I don’t understand how all of the other kids her age are able to wait their turn, sit still, and be quiet for 45 minutes, but after 2 years of going I can see that they are capable of it. My daughter just is not, at least not yet. Maybe that doesn’t mean anything… but I worry that more problems will crop up at age 3 or 4, which is when a lot of adoptive parents start noticing these issues.

Maybe I am just a mom with a willful kid and ordinary worries. I just don’t know.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

6 thoughts on “when you worry…”

  1. I hate that you have to worry about this being a by-product of her adoption and not just chalk this up to being who she is. I have no idea which it is, but my guess is it’s because she’s high -energy, spunky and learning what she can (and can’t) get away with. It makes me so sad that the other mothers would look at her that way. She’s just a little kid for crying out, and they all do things in their own way.

  2. If it’s any comfort, my daughter more or less for kicked out of her 3 y/o dance class. The teacher very politely recommended a more physical, less listening based tumbling class, where she definitely fit in better. It’s entirely possible that she just needs a more physically demanding kind of enrichment? Or perhaps it’s just the timing. C was one of the youngest in the dance class, and while other 3 y/os did fine, she was not one of them! These days tho, as a 13 y/o, she does great with a classroom setting. I do think she’s a bit behind / slow socially, but more in a young for her age way, vs developmentally? Idk.

    Your concerns are easy to understand though. So frustrating when someone judges your child through an hour here or there, that isn’t their favorite time or best foot forward, particularly when you know their history may be giving her tougher challenges ahead, but right now, she’s probably just being her own person, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

  3. There was a conversation in a mom group recently about the high expectations we put on kids in these music and activity classes. It is totally normal to not sit still at this age! Every behavior you described is a version of normal. If she is loving her gymnastics class, just do that. As for FAS and drug exposure, do you know the extent of it? From what I’ve read about it and the kids I work with, there is just no telling. I am seeing some signs of possible delays in the 3yo for behavior and cognition, but I could be wrong. The 4 1/2yo is smart, cunning, creative, and stubborn as hell, all versions of normal! Try not to worry about things that aren’t an issue yet, she will be okay because she has a loving mother, family, and community. We all worry about our kids.

  4. I don’t have children, but I have worked with kids for over ten years. I currently work in the child care center at a very busy gym – we see all types of kids come in, up to 100 children a day ages 6 weeks to 5 years. I can tell you that from MY observation, the behavior you mentioned doesn’t seem to be abnormal. We have LOTS of kids who hug every mom that walks into the room. We always laugh and say something like. “Nope, you can’t go home with that one!” Or something like that. We have plenty of kids who can sit quietly for crafts and storytime – some for over a half hour! But we have just as many kids who just can’t handle sitting for longer than a couple of minutes. We accommodate both types of children. I’ve seen many kids of different ages who are way behind in motor or social skills at one point, catch up at another point. I’ve learned so much about not judging a child too quickly, because every person big or small is worth more than one particular trait or attribute – our imperfections are not the sum of who we are. 🙂

  5. I share very similar feelings and worries about Primo, he has a similar history. He is so far well behaved in public in an average 3 year old way, but at home is a different story. Somewhere during his 3rd year his good sleeping habits flew out the window, we are up at least twice a night and he throws major temper tantrums in the middle of the night. It’s exhausting. I’m never sure whether his behaviors are part of who he is, or trauma based or a result of substance exposure.

  6. I sympathize with the fact that it is hard to know if a behavior is “off” in some way, or if totally falls within the spectrum of “normal.” I have one child who was slow to reach a variety of milestones, and then, this year (now second grade), he finally seems right on track with almost everything. Even a little advanced in some areas! I just had to be patient and observant. It also helped me to ask teachers really honestly if they found some behavior “off,” too. It was a relief to be open and laugh about it with teachers, and I think it was a relief for them, too, that they were not going to have to pull me aside and point it out to me. People who work with kids appreciate that kind of communication, where you sometimes have a good joke together about situations that can be taken quite seriously. I often feel upset parents who seem to be turning a blind eye to disruptive or rough behavior, and it sounds like you are handling it fantastically well. You are on top of it all!

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