Friday, June 19, 2009

What is this phase????

I thought that by kid #4 I would have things figured out for the most part, but Ahren has me stumped. He is going through a phase where his favorite words are, "I can't". 
He can't pull his pants down or up
He can't go to the bathroom by himself
He can't feed himself
He can't climb into bed
He can't brush his teeth
He just 'can't'. 
It was the opposite with the first three. All of them went through the 'I do it' phase where they demanded to do things that they had no way to accomplish. But not Ahren. He is apparently incapable of anything at all that has to do with independence. If I refuse to help him he melts down and is pathetic. Most of the time I stand my ground and give him lots of encouragement and praise and then he can do it. When he is done he is so happy and proud! But two minutes later he can't again. I am about to lose my mind. I am not asking him to do anything he is truly unable to do, and it's all things he was doing all by himself just a few weeks ago.

He is happy and sleeping well. He eats well and is active. Nothing else has changed. Is this a ploy for attention or is he feeling insecure? I have no idea. I am just praying that he passes through this quickly. Doing everything for a 40 pound 3 1/2 year old is getting old. 


Elle said...

We had that phase too. I've also heard from other mom's of adopted kids who go through the same phase. In my circle (the orphanage kids) they HAD to do everything. They learned to eat properly with a fork and spoon by 12 months. When they finally figure out what it is like to be in a family they realize they don't have to do everything themselves. Thus I can't. It could be just his way of making sure that you are still his mommy and aren't going anywhere.

Even though Ahren was in a foster family is still wasn't his permanent home. Many adopted kids parent test. We go through it about every 4-6 months and Oleg has been home for almost 3 years.

My suggestion, do the things for him or remind him that he's a big boy and see if he'll take the initiative. If not, do it once and tell him next time it's his turn. We played lots of games like that.

whtmtnmom said...

My adopted dd is 5 and hoem for 4 years and gets stuck in the helpless mode frequently still. You are not alone!


Mamita J said...

Ahren just wants to be the baby. He needs you to be the mommy and do everything for him.

Cupcake will wake up in the morning and tell me, "I'm the baby today." She means it. She's feeling very insecure and needs me to assure her that she is secure and safe here.

Scoop that boy up and do everything for him. In a day or two, or minute or two, he'll be declaring his independence.


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Yep, Genea did/does this as well. Where Teena would sooner eat broccoli before she would let me help her. Genea would also then hold herself so she couldn't be dressed. So I would be trying to put on her shirt and she would sieze up her arms or put her hands into fists. Handle it how you see fit. It can be needy and controlling as well as an innocent call for attention and love.

Deb said...

is doing the same thing- he can't put his jammies on, he can't put his clothes, he can't do this or do that. I usually don't tolerate if he has been given time to do it and he is choosing not to do it. But if he just really trying and for whatever reason he can't do it (like he is so tired) then I will step in and help. I do praise him for doing it himself. But he also knows- especially in the morning- whining and temper tantrums are not the way to start the day with momma. I took him to my sister's in his jammies one day becuase he refused to try to get dressed and I ran out of patience. That was the last time he refused to try to get dressed.

It is a struggle.

Love to you,

Reba said...

One of our little Guatemalans goes through the same thing on occasion. Except she doesn't say her "c's" correctly so it comes out "I t'ant". I usually stand my ground with her and do like you do...lots of encouragement and praise. I have also learned to give suggestions so she doesn't have a meltdown or do part of it for her (like open the pudding in a cup partway and let her finish). She seems to go through phases of this helplessness...I just figure it has to do with her first two years of life...

Julie said...

Oh - Libby (3 1/2) just started this phase. I'll ask her to hand me something that's RIGHT in front of her and she says "I can't Mama!" or now she needs help to sit on the potty (she hasn't needed help in forever!!) or brush her teeth. Gotta be a phase...

Nora Glenys said...

We're going through the same thing. Nora is 3 now and still wants to be a baby in many ways. She flat refuses to dress herself or even try the potty. She is so very capable of doing almost anything but will not. I know her foster mom had three babies Nora's age and Nora didn't get a lot of individual attention. I don't know how long this will last but it does try the patience.