That Gon’ Make Me ANNOYING!

It actually IS annoying when you won't smile for a picture.

It actually IS annoying when you won't smile for a picture.

Well, yes, yes it is. In fact (and this is awful, and I know it), you were already annoying. Far more annoying than your brothers and sisters. and I’m trying to figure out why.


Rory doesn’t mean she’s annoying, of course. She means she’s annoyed (by Lily’s singing in the car, and in this case, she’s absolutely right). But ti’s something she says often, and oh, it rings so true for me. Why is Rory (4, and home for very almost close to a year now) so much more annoying to me than the other three kids?

I actually have a couple of ideas about why–but first, just for my own venting purposes, do let me catalogue the ways in which I get annoyed. (Note my phrasing? I GET that it’s not that Rory is annoying–not really. She doesn’t annoy others. It’s that I am annoyed by Rory’s behavior, which is a whole different question. And I mostly, nearly almost always at least kinda really try hard not to take that out on her. And I often succeed.) Herewith, a short list:

  • She ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom. Still. There is nothing wrong with her, her system–in every way–just moves faster than my other kids, and she goes more frequently, and that is just the way it is. At home, it’s–well, it’s still an annoyance, because she feels that she can’t wipe on her own–but never tells me she’s going to need me, and if I’m out in the yard, the yelling and hollering and level of outrage that I did not appear immediately when called is high. But when we are not home, every entree gets cold, and I miss part of every party, every meal, every anything you could name, because I am in the potty. Plus, it’s Port-a-Potty season. Plus, she finds bathrooms–all elements of them–a source of never ending delight. The toilets! So many! The soap! The paper towel dispensers! The tiny little trash can things on the walls! And if I am in there, of course, she gets my attention, my undivided attention, which can be used to discuss such things as: The toilets! So many! The soap! The paper towel dispensers! The tiny little trash can things on the walls! You get the idea.
    • She loves to talk, but has few subjects for conversation, so she likes to really get the most out of the ones she’s got. This means that every day, we discuss, ad nauseum, whether it is a school day, whether she can have candy, whether she can play Wii, whether it’s day, whether it’s night, where we are going, when we will next visit Grandma and Grandpa, whether we can visit Grandma and Grandpa right now…She knows the answer to all of these questions–or at least, she does after the first time she asks. But she likes to keep asking, just to chat. Especially in the car.
    • She likes to fall asleep in the car at night–but not really. She likes to pretend to be asleep, get carried upstairs, have a pull up put on, get tucked in and then…get up, having peed in the pulll-up, get another one, and do it all over again for bedtime.
    • She likes the dogs. Too much. The dogs need, at all times, to be doing what she wants them to do. She’s finally agreed to leave the old dog mostly alone, but she drags the young dog everywhere by his hair, or his collar if she can get it. If you have the copy of the Olivia book where Olivia is carrying the cat in and out of every room, you’ll get the idea. It isn’t that she wants the dog to go somewhere, it’s that she ones someone–anyone–to do what she wants. So she drags him into my room and shuts the door. She lets him out and drags him into the playroom. She tries to box him in by moving things around in the playroom. Whatever room he’s in, she drags him out; whatever room he’s out of, she drags him in. I don’t want to forbid her from touching the dog entirely. She loves him, and he loves her. But she really hasn’t been able to grasp any limits on this.
    • She doesn’t distinguish between a tiny offense-bumping her accidentally with your coat sleeve as you walk by, say–and something more like having her arm ripped off. The noise she makes (and it’s a horrible screely combination of a scream and a cry and a whine) is EXACTLY THE SAME. Which means it’s impossible to tell if someone should be punished or if I should rush to the rescue, or if I should sigh and turn a page. ANd I always, always get it wrong.

    I could go on with this list, but I won’t. For one thing, I get annoyed just thinking about some of it. For another, well, it really just goes on and on and on. And it makes it sound like I don’t even like her, let alone love her, and I do. Lots. And my other kids have lists too. They’re just shorter.

    What I think is that every stage has its annoying moments, and Rory is going through a whole passel of stages at once. Every one of my kids, at about two and a half, had to turn every bathroom visit into an odyssey. Every one talked and talked and talked when they first got to a point when they could really communicate. And they’re all, still, prone to hanging on to the things I do for them that I do for only them, and “wiping” certainly qualifies. So there’s that.

    And then there’s leftover stuff, huge foster family stuff, like the screely noise (which MUST have garnered her plenty of attention). And the dog thing. No one, ever, does what Rory wants to do just because Rory wants to do it. They might agree to play, or work out a deal, or choose something together–but there is no one that she can just tell to do something, who does it. The dog qualifies. She’s manipulative, too–I didn’t mention that. If everyone is cleaning, she’ll poke at one item until everyone else has done all the work. She asks for candy after crying–as in, she had a big boo boo or whatever, and there was a big fuss, and it’s over and…now can I have the candy you said no to half an hour ago? I chalk that up to foster homes and foster nurses, too. If I were a nanny in a foster home, I’d stuff the kids with cheap candy constantly. Why not?

    And then there’s stuff that’s just Rory. She has to pee, she really does. And she has a voice that’s best described as piercing, which means she gets “shhh’d” when no one else does, just because her tones carry. Eventually she’ll deal on her own.

    So, there it is, my annoying rant about my sometimes annoying kid. I could have posted all the ways in which she is extremely cute–like when she lays on the same dog, thumb in her mouth. Or her new words, which include “awesome” and “cool.” Or her delighted affection for her ice cream shaped silly band. There’s an even longer list of all of that.
    But right now, I’m on the question of annoyance, and it’s time to look at how the blame should fall on me.

    Rory annoys me because I try to do too much at once–typing on the computer, for example, at a time when I know they’re needy. She annoys me in the car because I get tired, and I just don’t want to talk–but if I changed my attitude, it wouldn’t be a big deal. She annoys me when she asks for food right after a picnic because I don’t make her sit down and eat–and I should know by now that she won’t eat if there’s anything better to do, a quality that will stand her will in life. She annoys me because I often don’t want to focus on the kids, and nobody’s more gifted at making a person focus on her than she is. All those things aren’t even a little bit about Rory. They’re about me.

    Knowing that doesn’t change much (although I have designated big chunks of time as kid time now, instead of trying to multitask constantly, and it’s much better). But it tempers my reaction. It’s pretty easy for me not to react, knowing that I’m only reacting to my own responses. I save the reactions to respond to their actions, now. When I yell because I’m annoyed, I really just ought to go in the bathroom and yell at myself.

    Cross-posted at No Hands But Ours.

    8 Responses to “That Gon’ Make Me ANNOYING!”

    1. Beth says:

      I totally get it. I, too, have a 4 yo daughter (also adopted) with similar traits, and it is a constant struggle to try to treat her as fairly and lovingly as I treat her older brother. I think some of my annoyance is due to being on the same wavelength as her brother, and just not understanding how she can be so self-absorbed. A constant struggle, and I’m terribly afraid my reactions now will doom our relationship by the time she’s a teenager. Here’s hoping it gets easier.

    2. Elizabeth says:

      I wish I didn’t relate so much to this post. I really wish I didn’t. But I do. And you’re right, it’s me, not my son. But….ARGH…..well, you understand.

    3. ellie says:

      I’m laughing. well sort of. because my 7 year old (Ukraine) is more like this than I care to admit. It is different things (tonight he wanted to watch “his show” vs. his sisters show – she’s 3. so he had on teletubbies on the downstairs while she had on something equally as nauseating upstairs). his 14 year old brother wanted to watch something since it is Friday night and he has done some work for us after school. Our 7 year old had a tantrum that he couldn’t watch the teletubbies show – even though he doesn’t like the show – he just wanted to “control” what everyone else watched. sheezh. it wears me out. I also realize it is about me more than him. still it is tough.

      sending hugs 🙂

    4. amy says:

      Ahhh, I have a child just like this. She LOVES to be the center of my universe no matter how that goes down. Potty breaks, spills, boo-boos, endless chatter, silly faces & dances, sweet talking, whining…and on and on and on. It’s exhausting. She doesn’t mean anything by it, she just need to constantly be checked in with me. I think of it as her being a cup that needs to be constantly filled, but the bottom of her cup has a bunch of holes in it. I wish I could always react to her neediness in the right “textbook” type of way.. It’s my problem, if I could go a few weeks and react perfectly every time.. I could probably start fixing those holes.. I love her to bits and pieces, but it sure can be annoying!
      Thanks for making me feel normal.

    5. Lawmommy says:

      Possibly, she’s more annoying because she’s been with you a lot less time than the other three. (Shh…we’re not supposed to say things like that, but…um…it’s true.)

      And then there is the whole issue of her needing the attention that your others got as infants/toddlers that she did not get. And while that can be frustrating in a toddler, it’s annoying as hell in a pre-schooler.

      I’m curious if Rory is finnicky (sp?) about toilets? Lana also needs to go to the bathroom in any restaurant we are in (although it’s usually only once) and often if we are in a store or a park or whatever.

      HOWEVER, if the toilet/bathroom is not extremely clean, she will either hold it, or (if that’s not an option) hover above the seat while loudly complaining that the bathroom is dirty.

      I find this odd/strange/occasionally annoying/strangely fascinating because, when we first met her at the orphanage she was LITERALLY peeing in a bucket in a corner. A plastic bucket in a mostly bare concrete room. So the fact that she is particular about the cleanliness of toilets…well, it’s curious. (I will say, she has been finicky about toilets from the moment she met the gleaming porcelain one in our hotel room in DaNang. It was as if she had been waiting four years for someone to introduce her to modern plumbing and she sure as hell wasn’t ever going back.)

      I have just left the longest comment ever. Sorry!

    6. Kelly says:

      I get it! I really and truly get it! I think both of my children are annoying, but my oldest is ridiculously annoying. Where I can see Lily’s behaviors as being rooted in learned/taught behavior that you’ll have to break/re-train, mine kid’s are based in that stupid disorder that makes him completely unable to just shut up already.

      I told him today “I do not want to discuss this.” He kept talking. I held my hand up. He kept talking. I walked away. He followed me and kept talking. I finally yelled “I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU RIGHT NOW!” and shut myself up in a room. He stood at the door and talked. Sound familiar?

      Just know you aren’t alone. The guilt is worse because we brought these children home with the promise to love, protect, and nurture them. No one says, don’t forget you’ll have to put up with them, too.

    7. Well….now annoyed is my favorite word. I totally get it that You are annoyed….not that any of your children are annoying. We got some of the same stuff going on here….makes me just want to go to my room and close the door for a while to get away from all the annoying stuff( and sometimes I do get to do that to break the cycle).