Especially those who have adopted children. I have so far been unable to find in the adoption-related books that I have read anything that addresses what is going on with Lucy at the moment. I'm hoping someone out there in the blogosphere has. It will be best for me to just give examples of what Lucy is doing:
First and foremost, she not only is doing exactly the opposite of what is asked of her, she is delighting in doing it. Before you tell me it's the age, I know that some of it is because I see it in Kate as well. In fact I see most of what Lucy does mirrored in Kate's actions. What I don't see is that Lucy seems not to learn, retain or implement anything from one incident to the next. When I sit down with her to explain why she shouldn't, for example, slam things down on the table, she will nod and agree and say "yeah, yeah, yeah" over and over. I will even have her tell me what I just told her...
Me: What did I ask you to do?
Lucy: Not to slam the ball on the table. I'm sorry Mommy.
And then she will jump up happily and do it again.
Rinse and repeat over and over AND OVER AND OVER.
Kate will do it too but the difference is that Kate will stop once she has been in timeout. Lucy will wail and be all contrite and tell me how unhappy she is right up until timeout is over. Then a switch will flip, she will laugh and run over and do the same thing again, all the while looking at me to see what I will do.
So that is one thing. She is also playing dumb. As in, I know she knows the answer to things and yet she will either say she doesn't know or will give me the wrong answer. I mentioned this before when it came to recognizing colors. More recently it came up in a matching game. You have a set number of cards and each has a match to form a pair. So we were working on VERY BASIC matching with farm animals. Animals I know she knows. And yet every time she would pick the wrong one and/or just randomly pick cards and then say they matched. When I would hold them up and say, "Does this picture look like this picture?" (one was a cow and one was a duck) she would say, with a completely straight face, "yeah". We went round and round on that for at least 5 minutes with her basically agreeing to whatever I asked her. Yes they did match, no they didn't, etc.
Then tonight when we were doing colors again, I would ask Lucy what a color was (again, basic colors that she knows like blue, red, purple) and she would smirk and then slide her eyes over to Kate to get her to give her the answer. When Kate didn't do it and I pressed her, she eventually said the right color.
So, any ideas? I've never met a child so willing to please in one second and then completely contrary and deliberately giving the wrong answers the next. I'm at a loss as to how to even encourage her. I feel like I'm mostly just "bullying" her into either behaving or learning and it totally sucks. Praise and encouragement seem to not have much effect on her when it comes to this. If I were to psychoanalyze her I would almost think she has recognized that Kate is the "good" girl and therefore she is the "bad" girl. Kate is very much motivated by being correct, orderly, understood and praised. Lucy, in her unguarded moments is too. Unfortunately, more and more she is heading in the opposite direction.