June 20, 2012

Three Months as a Family of Five

March 12, 2012

Three months.  Three months.  I'm letting that sink in.  Has it really been three months already?  Has it only been three months?  I find myself going back and forth like this, shocked that we have known her for such a short time and yet somedays I'm left wondering how long it will take before I'm not exhausted all the time...or maybe that's just what comes with being 40 and having three young children in the home.  

Aside from being tired, things are going well.  Autumn is doing great.  She is such a blessing to us, even though her brothers may not agree with that right now or until adulthood.  She's understanding a lot of English and speaking it more everyday.  When I say a word in Chinese she will often correct me and say it in English.  It's still a little difficult to understand her, however, because she leaves the ending consonant off of every word and will sometimes just improvise with sounds.  She often screams, "Aaaaaaaaaa!" Which, I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, is Chinese for "You misunderstood me, you bozo!"

She began swim lessons this week.  Every kid was required to jump into the pool (10 feet deep) to a total stranger on their first day of lessons, two times.  If you're interested in traumatizing your children like we have, check out Splash Aquatics.  In spite of the intensity, she enjoyed it and didn't cry at all, which is unusual because sitting along the side of the pool you'd think the children were being tortured based on the screaming and wailing coming up out of the water.  With that said, it's only taken each of my kids three days to learn to swim. They may be scarred for life and blame their future marital problems on the fact that mom put them through the American version of water torture, but at least they can swim, and all for the low price of $65 per kid.

Just ignore the sheer terror on Josiah's face.

Autumn is regularly mistaken for a boy, so we've been trying to grow her hair out, but the back hasn't gotten any longer in three months.  At least its a cute cut.  I guess we'll just keep putting her in pink and more pink because she refuses to wear any of the thousands of hair accessories we've inherited.

One particularly warm night, I sat with Autumn as she wrestled to fall asleep.  I was absorbed in a book when suddenly I heard a tearing noise, somewhat like Velcro being undone.  In the dusk I saw an object fly over the railing of her crib like a giant beanbag flung at a baggo board.  It was her Pull-up.  Full.  Apparently, it was hot and full.  We had just changed her before bed.  What was the deal?  So, maybe she ate a quarter of a very large watermelon that evening.  And maybe I forgot that watermelons are made up of 92% water.  And just maybe it was about 80 degrees in her room with no wind because I was too cheap to turn on the air.  Don't worry, I learned my lesson.  Now we give her watermelon only before 5 pm and we use the A/C on hot nights.  But unfortunately, my lesson was learned too late.  A trend was started.  She does the Pull-up fling almost every night now, causing her to wake up whining in a pool of pee, forcing me to do daily laundry.  I'll probably just go buy more crib sheets to support her Pull-up flinging habit.

She continues to get into EVERYTHING.  She's learned to open locks and regularly uses chairs to get to higher places.  We took the little tea table chairs out of her room, so at least she can't access anything upstairs.  We're running out of places to store things where she can't get to them.  

She has no fears and still puts everything in her mouth.  I apply at least three Band-Aids per week to some part of her body even with my "there must be blood" requirement.  A few days ago I caught her chewing on a fish oil vitamin.  Gross.  Even worse, is she seemed to be enjoying it.  

I'm slowly getting more accustomed to having three children.  I've become more lax, and even more laid back.  When Sheehan was three I made sure he was well groomed, I fretted over getting him enough fruits and vegetables, I matched all his clothes, and kept all the game pieces with the appropriate game.   With the introduction of each new child that high level of parenting has disintegrated to something like, "Oh, you wanna take up chain-smoking?  That's interesting.  Well, lemme get a 5-spot and we'll head on down to The Smoke Stack for a pack of Marlboros.

We've seen a lot of progress with the boys over the past month.  They are beginning to act like typical siblings - playing together and terrorizing their sister: sitting on her, taking her toys (just for fun), and sticking their finger up her nose - in a store no less - simply to antagonize (I can think of less gross ways to antagonize).  But, this is great progress because a month ago there was no playing, no terrorizing, just complaining and heart break.  

A few weeks ago I caught Sheehan protecting Autumn from a 4 year old bully at the playground.  He told him to stop then kicked the little boy in the eye.  On the same day, there was another bully on the playground.  He blocked the entrance to the slide so there was a line four kids deep waiting to get on.  He wouldn't budge.  As Autumn was climbing up the ladder the kid sized her up and snarled, "is she a baaaay-bee?"

I countered the little potato chip on his shoulder with the cow chip on my own.  "She's three!  How old are you (punk)?"

As haughty as a teenager, he replied, "I'm two."  I sneered and thought, Yeah, that's right you're two, you little twerp, she's older than you and she's tough and she'll take you down.  Look at her.  She's completely ignoring you because you're so nominal to her.  That's right...That's right...Tough guy.

Note:  For anyone preparing to adopt a child just assume that the first two point five months will be very, very, very challenging.  Hey, but then it's all fun and games after that - kind of.  Oh, but if it's your first child ever, I'd give it six months.

In our attempts to encourage better relationships in the family we did something that wouldn't be considered one of our smartest family moves.  We gave Sheehan the title of "Captain of the Kids".  Our intention was to encourage him to be more responsible and to lead and protect his siblings.  We had thought it through and talked it over...

"Do you think the title Captain or Dictator would be better?"
"Oh, definitely Captain.  Although Dictator does have a nice macho ring to it."
"Yeah, but Captain sounds so nautical, and since he's a good swimmer and all..."
"Yeah, you're right.  Definitely Captain." 

Needless to say, it backfired.

Josiah has quickly adjusted to his spot as the middle child.  Like a little Jan Brady, last week I caught him wearing a wig and rubbing lemons on his face.  He's drowned out by his older brother who demands attention and his younger sister who cries for it.  He's particularly easygoing and doesn't always express his needs audibly; Steve sent him to the stool last week for a time out and accidentally left him there for 45 minutes or three days or something like that.

Overall, I am so proud of the boys on the restraint they have, more often than not, exhibited when it comes to putting up with a little sister that messes with their things, is difficult to understand, and bangs on their backs with her fist when she doesn't get her way (she's so stinkin' cute!).  Things are coming together and we are getting into a groove with a new normal.  The house is noisy, but it's a nice noisy...most of the time anyway.  Autumn is very funny and makes us laugh everyday.  And I enjoy seeing her wake up with a big smile on her face every morning as she runs into my arms.  A true blessing.
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  1. Wish you would write every day, made me laugh and my day!!!!!!!

    1. Paige, you are so encouraging! Thank you!

  2. Anonymous11:26 PM

    You always make me laugh out loud...I can relate so much..
    For me, each kid has taken my home cleaning/cuteness down a notch. And I've become okay with it, which concerns me a bit. Autumn is so adorable, and the hair will come. Just keep giving her all that good nutrition and activity and it will come. Thanks for sharing. heather

  3. so glad i finally found your blog. i am the mom who sat behind you on the plane home from china. i have been thinking about you all this time and then yesterday...poof...there was your blog note in my wallet(which i have cleaned out several times since being home0. so glad i can follow your family as it grows and support you through thought and prayer.
    God bless you...www.provided4.blogspot.com

    1. Ronnie, you'll have to read back to this post: http://canigetanotherbottleofwhine.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-post.html.
      I mentioned you and how you helped me through the flight home.

    2. we will traveling through your area on 7/5 and again around 7/12. are you around to try to get together for a wee bit??

    3. Ronnie, can you send me an email at khallsweet@comcast.net. Thanks!

  4. I totally relate to the leaving them in time out for 2 days comment. I think I've done that more than once! Good thing my kids are patient/ can "ahem" loudly. This post cracked me up. You have a real gift for humor. I wish I could bring more of that to my house. I'm off to find my EHS yearbook and figure out what you looked like back then, I just can't remember.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. What a wonderful post. So heart warming. I read through all of it and felt like I was talking to a friend. About her kids and wanted to share stories of mine. Love your blog. Keep posting and I will keep reading.


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