Autumn's transition has been a breeze so far. She's beautiful and happy, eats almost everything we put in front of her (or sees in the garden, particularly chives – major onion breath), sleeps well (once asleep), is helpful (she screams, "Mamaaaaaaa!!!" like a bomb is detonating, every time the microwave beeps and food is ready), is learning a little English (could be more except Mama is practicing too much Chinese on her daughter), has a shorter than we're used to attention span (4 minutes for a new toy, 30 seconds for an old one, and 10 minutes for a video), loves going to Sunday school, is incredibly active (as noted in previous blog entries), loves to be outside/go places in the mini-van (if someone is leaving and she can't go, she cries and hurriedly puts her shoes and coat on - sometimes she'll be standing by the door crying in her shoes, coat, and only a diaper underneath), she's smart and is working on how to unlock the doors in our house (we've had to lock them all from the inside because she gets into so much, but lately she's been carrying around an army guy like it's a key, sticking it in the locks), and she jokes around a lot and laughs at her own attempts at wittiness (just like Mama).
The rest of the family? A little more challenging.
The Boys - Everyday gets a little better for them. They did quite well in China, considering the circumstances, but when they got home to their own turf and realized it was being invaded by a non-English speaking/understanding half-pint, things changed. She was touching their toys, breaking the house rules, and seemingly, getting away with them, as she received drastically large amounts of attention that they had been receiving prior to China. There have been days when I wondered if they would ever love her and there have been days where I have seen a gentle and kind side from the boys, I have not seen before. Their adjustment is our greatest area of prayer right now. We're focusing on getting them the attention they need, by taking 30 minutes of one parent-to-one boy time each night to do whatever they want.
Steve - He's struggling with balancing attention among the three kids. After working all day, and then trying to find time to cram in enough attention for each kid, he's left doing the Nestea Plunge into bed at night.
Fuzzy-Kitty - Oh, wait, she's been gone since last August.
Kate - I'm struggling to get used to having a three-year old back in the house who, appropriately, loves to get into everything, dump it out, and leave it for someone else to clean up. The energy it takes to keep up with her and at the same time, teach the boys how to be gentle and kind with her is overwhelming. I'm hoping that as she learns more English and the way things work in a family, that things will be easier.
My new motto is "just let it go, and love".
She climbs a chair and pulls down an entire box of hair accoutrements and leaves them all over the floor? Just let it go! Put on a smile and sing the Barney clean-up song as you demonstrate picking them up, as she's walking away looking for her next target.
She throws a tantrum because she wants her dinner in a bowl, not on a plate? Just let it go! Smile a sympathetic smile and pull her meal away until she cries it out and settles for the plate (this never would have worked for Sheehan - he would have starved for two days before eating off that stinking plate).
She sets off the elevator alarm at the boy's school where they take speech, then runs down the hall, yelling in delight that mom is chasing her (or screaming in despair because she is strapped down in her stroller) and disrupts the entire building? Just let it go! Smile and laugh, then blog about it later.
She closes every door in the house that you want open? Just let it go! Smile and say, "open," and then when you come back later and see they're all closed, just let it go again! With gritted teeth, force a smile, that you hope miraculously connects to your heart, remind her "open" and remember that she still doesn't know English.
She opens all the doors you want closed, loses all the remotes for the 12th time, and inadvertently reconfigures your computer to do things you've never been able to do? Just let it go! Go to your room. Cry your eyes out. Beg God for mercy on your soul. Somehow, pick yourself up off the floor as she wails outside your closed door. With renewed empathy, give her a hug and a kiss and tell her wo ai ni (I love you).