May 22, 2012

Two Month (and a week or so) Update

I can't believe we have been Autumn's parents for over two months already.  She fits in so well with our family, even as she tornadoes through the house like the Tasmanian Devil.  She seems to have grown and blossomed so much in these two short months.  In China, she was barely able to jump in place, now she's jumping off chairs and out of wagons...with wheels...and landing on her face.  In China, she cried because I held her, now she cries when I don't hold her.  In China, she learned to climb a small jungle gym, now she's learning to climb trees (I caught her 20 feet up in our pine tree today!).

She is fearless.  I took the kids to the pool last week and she kept pushing my hands away, so she could "swim".   Of course she sank, but then she just shook the water off her face and pushed me away again.  

The boys are still struggling with her, but I like to think that it gets better every day.  When Sheehan was recently asked what the best thing is about having a sister, his answer was, "nothing."

Josiah is coming around much quicker.  I've caught him playing Barbies with her.  But, on more occasions I've caught him wrestling with her, pulling his signature "pancake move", which involves laying stretched out, flat on top of her, while she squeals and laughs, and sometimes cries.  

But, she's a tough girl.  When the boys take something away from her - that almost always belongs to them - she hauls off and punches them on the back as hard as she can, with her little fist.  This has called for a lot of restraint from the boys and they've been successful about half the time in holding back on knocking the crap out of her.

Her English is getting better.  She repeats everything we say.  She asks for water, her shoes, books, etc.  Her favorite phrase is, "num-on," which is another way of saying, "come on."  I never realized how frequently we say this in our house:

"Come on!  It's time to go."
"Come on!  You have to go potty now?
"Come ooon!  Don't lick your shoe!

She uses the phrase very appropriately.  I was trying to squeeze her size 3T legs into a pair of size 2T pants, and she squeaked out, "num-on."  I've also caught her grunting "num-on," when on the potty.

She says another phrase that sounds something like "gobb-ee-oh!"  We have no idea what this means, probably something like, "stop it!"   If I take away something she shouldn't be playing with or if Josiah plays the drums on her butt, she'll cry out, "gobb-ee-oh!"  I took my phone away from her the other day and she said, "gobb-ee-oh!" and I said, "you, gobb-ee-oh!" Then she said it back to me again, so I'm sure I'm giving in to some form of Chinese sass talk that I can't translate.

The best thing she does (they must have taught her to do this in the orphanage) is every time she sees a picture of Cinderella or picks up a Barbie, she says, "mama."  Of course, she also says "mama" whenever we read Pajama Time and she sees the gray dog with floppy ears (I felt better when Steve told me that she says he's the rhinoceros).

On the Serious Side...

The rest of the family is struggling.  The boys are hurting.  Not getting enough attention.  You can see it in their acting out, in their whining, in their pained faces.  I pray that God will give them what they need because I cannot.  I am worn out, unable to give any more.  Autumn gets it all.  She does not take a break, cannot play with a toy for longer than 30 seconds, cannot keep her curious hands out of places I wish they weren't.  Only when she sleeps, but by then I'm usually so exhausted that I am asleep.  The boys get so little.  But, Autumn has gotten so little for the past three years.  We try to tell the boys that, but they don't understand, their little minds are unable to comprehend such lacking.  Such lacking, that they too experienced when they were babies.

Adoptive parents learn in class after class that their number one priority is to meet the needs of the child ("at every cost," is implied, merely because of the frequency you hear it).  I'm coming to realize that this is a goal from the pit of Hell and Lucifer himself.  I cannot meet all the needs of my children, nor should I.  There is not enough of me to go around to meet even the needs of one child, so I surely can't meet the needs of three, especially when some of those "needs" are desires in disguise.  Only God can meet all our needs.  I'm learning that sometimes I have to let go and let God deal with my children's unmet needs or desires.  I'm not even meant to meet those needs and can even be downright sinful as I try to usurp God's job.  But, if I hear "I don't get enough mama-time" in an angry tone one more time, I'm going to slam some plastic plates in the sink and watch them shatter.  Oh wait, I did that yesterday.

I found the following in my journal this morning from a year ago, but it felt appropriate for this week.  This was what I felt like God was saying to me:  "My child.  I love you.  You are going through some challenges right now.  I see your pain.  I am with you. I will never leave you.   My hand is upon you.  Even as you question me, I still hold you fast.  Your heart is precious to me.  You are my child. And I will never let you go.  I love you."

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May 10, 2012

First Visit to Chuck E. Cheese

I decided to take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese the other day because it was chilly and rainy and I was too lazy to be resourceful.  Autumn's favorite activity was the Sketch Pad.  The camera takes your pictures and prints it out like a sketch.  Here's what we got...

Autumn (she looked away)

Autumn with Mama (she was looking at herself)

Autumn and Josiah (she was drunk)

Autumn and Sheehan (um...he was strangling her?)

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May 07, 2012

Translating Whinese & Complainish

I am daily overwhelmed by the whining and complaining in our house - as I'm sure any parent can relate.  It just wears you down.  Thank goodness, my husband is able to interpret Whinese and Complainish!  I must have skipped school the day they taught these - it would have saved me a lot of heartache had I not played hooky.  Here are some common examples of Whinese and Complainish, followed by my poor translation and then a more accurate translation:

Whine/complaint #1:  I didn't get enough "mama-time" today. (I hear this at least 6 times/day)

What I hear:  You didn't make enough time for me today. Can't you consider anyone, but yourself and "that" girl?  You did nothing worthwhile for me today. You suck as a mother.  Like, really suck. Your name should be Sucky McSuck-Suck.

A More Accurate Translation:  You are loved and accepted by Jesus as you are. I know you have a heavy burden right now and I'm sorry. We're all having to make sacrifices - mine is that I don't get to have as much alone time with the person I cherish most in this world - my mama.  I would love to spend some time with you, when you're able.

Whine/Complaint #2:  Why do we have to have oatmeal again?

What I hear:  I am being tortured by your lack of imagination and planning.  Even though I liked it yesterday, today I hate it.  You never do anything good for us.  You only think of yourself.  You should get the Sucky Mommy Award for 2012.

A More Accurate Translation:  You are loved and accepted by Jesus as you are.  I love your cooking. You make the best food in the world.  I miss your scrumptious pancakes and waffles that you manage to make both healthy and delicious.  You are the best cook.  I can't wait until life is less hectic and we can have that yummy food again...and I'll help make it.

Whine/Complaint #3:  How come she/he gets to do that all the time and I never get to?

What I hear:  I hope you never plan to be a referee for anything because you are the most unfair person I have ever met in my entire life.  It's 1 pm, isn't there a Parenting 101 class you should be taking?  You cater to everyone else, but me.  I get nothing - just left-overs.  I should just lay down and die and let the others trample over my body posthumously, because that's how much you care about me.

A More Accurate Translation:  You are loved and accepted by Jesus as you are. Dearest mama, you have it so hard - trying to be a good mom.  Don't worry, you already are.  I am small and young and don't have the wisdom to see what you see.  Forgive me for my lack of insight.  I am blinded by my youth.  Please teach me.  I will be forever grateful.

So here's my parenting recap:

Just Let It Go, And Love
Keep It low (low expectations)
Learn To Translate Whinese & Complainish


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May 04, 2012

Keepin' It Low

Today was just another typical day with a toddler in the house.  She scribbled in a library book, locked herself in the bedroom, ran around naked, and pooped straight up her back.

I was hunched over the kitchen sink doing dishes when Sheehan said, in a too casual tone, "she has poop on her back." 

"What did you say?" 

"She has poop on her back." 

I ran into the living room, tripping over the couch pillows she had dragged into the kitchen earlier, and found her standing in only a diaper with poop straight up her back.  There were streaks of poop all over the carpet and in one spot, it looked like she had stood on it and twisted, like she was trying to put out a cigarette.

I took her into the kitchen and tried to clean her up, but she just dragged it in on her feet.  So I picked her up, holding her out, like waiting for a jack-in-the-box to explode, and carried her to the bathtub for her second bath of the day.  She had poop on her legs, her feet, her hands, and even in her ear.

So, this our new normal.  It's all about keepin' it low (low expectations).  I consider the day a success if I can get through without any of the kids dying.  Our house has never been so messy, but that's okay because I have low expectations.  

Couch pillows and Legos all over the kitchen floor?  At least its not poop.  

Fourteen sets of flash cards all dumped out and mixed up?  At least the house didn't catch on fire.  

Yesterday, Autumn collided with the outside edge of where two walls meet, leaving an inch long gash on her forehead.  At least we didn't go to the ER.  Besides, she's our third child, I just sewed it up myself.

Jesus has brought me a long way since we adopted Sheehan.  I used to flip out when he would mix the Play-doh colors.  Now we just have a giant ball of brown, and I can be okay with that.  I'm just singing the same song as before - just let it go, and love.  But, I really would be singing a different tune if it weren't for Jesus.  The tune would sound more like, maybe, a raging maniac.

A few minutes ago, all the kids were chasing each other in circles in the basement, laughing. When I went downstairs, Sheehan said he's really glad to have Autumn as a little sister.  Hallelujah!  That's the first time since we've been home that Sheehan's expressed any pleasure about having a little sister. Of course, now they're playing with swords and guns and at least one kid is crying.

Keepin' it low.
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