Thursday, January 15, 2009

S.T.R.E.S.S.

The upcoming move is completely stressing Zhenya out. It's funny, because I would have expected it to affect Dima more, since he remembers more from their earlier years. He's actually doing pretty well.

Zhenya, on the other hand, is not doing so well. His behavior at school has been atrocious in terms of listening and obeying. I got a chance to talk to his teacher yesterday after school and her comment was "If I didn't know you guys, I'd think he was eating too much sugar." She said he's overly anxious and it seems like extreme nervousness--he can't sit still or settle down. What's weird about the whole thing is that we are NOT seeing this behavior when he's with us. We have had some behavior issues, but I think they are more related to him being 5 than anything else. ;) But his behavior at school and any time he is out of our sight is really bizarre, and I think he is absolutely terrified of the upcoming move.

The boys have never moved to a new place with a family. Every time they've moved, they've lost whoever was taking care of them. Can you imagine the terror he's feeling? He's 5, and whether it's a conscious thought or not, he thinks he's about to lose the first real mama and papa he's ever had. I think he's really trying to hang on to Mark--he keeps making things for him at school and bringing them home. "Mama, I made a watch for Papa...and these are some tools for Papa..." (they're all made of paper). It breaks my heart to think that he might think he's going to lose his papa.

Unfortunately, there's not much we can do other than reassure him. We're not going to talk any more about the move or the new house with the boys until we get much closer to actually moving in. I may try to do some structured play with the boys (or at least Zhenya) in the afternoons to help reinforce the idea that where we go, they go.

In the meantime, we've talked to the boys' teachers and they know what's going on. They are trying to be as consistent as possible and reinforce appropriate behavior. And we're just hanging on for the ride... :)

6 comments:

Tami said...

It just breaks my heart when our little one go through that kind of stress. You're right. All you can do is reassure them, role-play with them and take comfort in the fact that they'll soon find out that everything will be just fine.

Jill said...

Poor little guy. :o(

Tina said...

Wow. What a thought - that a 5-year-old is so scared of losing a parent...again. Thanks for giving us some perspective.

Bethany said...

Mine has always moved with us (3 times already!) but is terrified and tears up at just the thought of moving. We're looking to buy, but not for another year or so, while the L.A. market cools some more. Just the mention of it gets him upset. I can only imagine how much harder it is for Zhenya! Peace for all your hearts.

Bethany said...

I just had a thought (it's very late at night, though, so it may not be any good.) Maybe, if you took a walk through the house and pointed out where , very specifically, things (and the people) will go, he will feel more comfortable. i.e., "your bed will be here, and Dima's over there, and in this room will be our bed." Mine seems to be okay about moving as long as there's either a pool or a fireplace where he can roast marshmallows. Just an idea that might help alleviate at least a little anxiety.

Debbie said...

Oh, poor little sweetie! I understand. And when you're 5, it's so hard to understand the big picture.