Friday is a special day. It's the day I spend with Mei Mei. She goes to school half days, but we end the week with a full day together.
I love this arrangement, but in the beginning, Mei Mei GREATLY disliked being home on Friday. Quite frankly, in the beginning, it terrified her to be all alone with me.
I remember our first day together when we brought her home from China, and Hubby went to work and all the other kids went to school.
She cried all day and tried to hide from me. How sad is that?
There's no basis in our relationship for this fear, so I can only surmise. It's been heartbreaking to see her so distraught, and even though it's improving greatly, she's still insecure in our relationship. Our days together have helped us make great gains.
In my mind, our Fridays would be spent taking in the various parks, museums, and the zoo, just like the days I spent with my preschoolers. But from the first week of school, Mei Mei absolutely insisted that she only wanted to go to the library. Try as I might, I have never been able to convince her to go any other place. If I try to push it, she will cry with fear. Again, I can only wonder at the basis for her reactions.
I finally realized that having the same routine every . single . Friday . gives her a sense of trust. It has been one of the keys to building our relationship.
We start the day with homeschool.
And today we watched a Clifford video, because she loves Clifford.
And then we went to lunch at McDonald's. Because we always go to McDonald's. (Hey, I'm not above bribing my daughter with a Happy Meal!)
And then we go feed the ducks. Because we always feed the ducks.
Today they were especially hungry, so Mei Mei decided to escape to higher ground.
And then we go to the library. Because we always go to the library.
And we stay at the library for a very long time. We read lots of books. We have quiet, peaceful, special time together.
Mei Mei now will sit on my lap--but she doesn't like me to wrap my arms around her. She likes to hold onto my arm--but she won't let me take hold of her hand. She likes to touch me--but she doesn't want me to touch her.
She wants to be in control in this relationship building, this growing trust. So, I let her.
Step by step, week by week, Friday by Friday, our relationship grows. I can't wait for the day she feels totally at ease with me and our relationship. Until that day, I will be patient. I have to be. And I'll keep going to eat french fries, feed the ducks, and check out more books. Whatever it takes!