September 20, 2012

Where Disobedience Really Shines. Or, A Six-Month Update

After the joy of embarrassing my husband with last week's post, I decided to settle down and write a six month update since we adopted Autumn. I really thought the five month update would be the last, but BAM! Autumn started speaking English. Like overnight. She's not speaking in full sentences, but is putting together two to three words at a time. So, I figured while I'm sharing that, I'll share some other tidbits.

Howdy Folks!

As I've probably mentioned before, Autumn is pretty social. She's living in a house with three introverts and an ambivert (it's a real term), so all of this talking to other people stuff is taking us out of our comfort zones – which is good...I guess. She regularly greets people we pass anywhere. We were at McDonald's last week and the kids were playing in the Playplace. I couldn't find Autumn, so, being the good worrywart concerned parent, I started walking around looking for her. Oh me of little faith. I found her at a table under the Playplace sitting down with a family, dining on their french fries and ketchup.

As also mentioned before, she's very active. I'm pretty sure her future entails one of the following careers: professional skydiver, missionary in the Middle East, Navy Seal, or human cannonball. Here's just a little taste of life with Autumn: I heard her messing around with the TV, so I went to see what she was doing. She had turned the TV off via the wall switch, which we've told her not to do, something like, 2,178 times. I reminded her not to turn off the wall switch and turned it back on. She picked up a DVD, which she knew she wasn't supposed to touch. I reminded her and took it away. She grabbed another DVD and before I could take it, she licked it, slammed it on the table, went behind me, wiggled her fingers in my butt crack then took off running before I could grab her. She does stuff like this at least 186 times a day.

And me being behind a locked door is unacceptable.  No matter whether I'm showering or takin' care of business.  She wants to be. with. me.  So, if I lock her out, that translates into a directive.  Locked Door Directive:  “Autumn, please go into Mama's drawers and break, ransack, destroy, and blow up all of her things. Thank you.”  And she does.

She's getting better with the potty “training”. She's been letting me know when she needs to go more often. She no longer flings her diaper across the bedroom at night. Now, she simply removes the flaps of her diaper, pulls the diaper down, pees all over her bed like a fire hose, pulls the diaper back up, then repositions the flaps. I know this because she wakes up in the middle of the night every night, staggering into my room, with her diaper hanging low on her hips like a loin cloth. I stagger into her room and change her, then take her back to bed, check the sheets for wetness and splash my hand in a puddle of pee. That usually wakes me up.

One of many surprising blessings is how often Autumn says thank you. She says it all the time, like every time I hand her anything. “Thank you, Mama.” Hearing those three little words in that precious voice just fills something inside me that's been empty for a while. It's like a little message to me from God, saying, I know this parenting thing is hard; but I'm in it with you.  I so need that some days.

The kids started gymnastics a few weeks ago. This is where my children's disobedience really shines. There are three separate groups of kids, but all of my kids are in the same group. It's just plain magical how that worked out. So, here's what I witness, when I'm not hiding in the bathroom pretending they're not mine.
  • Josiah beating Autumn over the head with a carpet square.
  • Autumn running to the window to wave hello to me every three minutes.
  • Sheehan dragging Autumn like a cavewoman back to her carpet square every time she runs over to say hello to me.
  • Josiah trying to use the plastic ring meant for standing in, as a hula-hoop.
  • The teacher tells Autumn to sit. Autumn bounces on the trampoline. The teacher says jump. Autumn sits. The teacher says, do a somersault. Autumn runs off, looking over her shoulder, laughing and singing, “nanny-nanny-boo-boo”.

I was talking with a woman at gymnastics and she asked how things were going. And I told her it's challenging and the transition after an adoption can take six months to a year to get through. She said, “Oh, every mom has a transition like that.” I thought, Wow. I didn't know there were so many six-month old infants running around climbing on toilets and breaking into locked medicine cabinets, then sticking their hand in your butt and saying “nanny-nanny-boo-boo”.  I'm so clueless.

We started homeschooling at the end of August.


Here's how Day 1 went.

Day 1 - My Plan: Study the Arctic with the boys while Autumn plays quietly in the basement. (don't laugh)

What Actually Happened:
  • Sheehan made a spy notebook for his stuffed harp seal.
  • Josiah drew a giant hockey rink on butcher paper for his hockey figures.
  • I studied books of Arctic whales with Autumn as she smacked my arm (hard) every three seconds because she thought I wasn't paying attention (which I wasn't).

End of day: Josiah prayed, “God, thank you for homeschool.”

Day 2: We did everything I planned.

End of day: Both boys said, “We don't like homeschool.”

Needless to say, I've made some adjustments and compromises to our homeschool plan.

Slacker parents letting their three-year old go too high on the spiderweb.

We were riding in the car the other day and Autumn was singing a song repetitively and loudly. Sheehan shouted out, “She's really pissing me off!”

Oh crap. I thought. Did he just say...? Steve's gonna kill me. I swear I've only said it once...maybe twice...I think. I quickly assured him that the correct pronunciation was “Ticking. She's ticking me off.” I explained how “pissing me off” probably wouldn't go over well in Sunday school.

Josiah piped up, “Well, why do you say it, Mama?”

“I've said it twice, Josiah. And really it's not about the word, but what's in your heart. When Mama says that, I've got some anger in my heart and probably some discontent.” (Conviction pimp slapping me across the face) “I guess I should probably pray when that happens.”

“Yeah, that's a good idea.” Sheehan said.

Which ties into how well I'm doing with that whole not exasperating your children thing. On multiple occasions I've caught myself screaming, “Stop yelling!” And I found myself saying, “Stop talking (garble, garble) with food in your (garble) mouth,” and then accidentally shot two half chewed Raisinets across the table.

We took the kids on a camping the backyard. We agreed to test the waters before committing to anything bigger. Good thing. Autumn ended up on the air mattress which left me in her Teletubbies sleeping bag and Sheehan said he couldn't handle it and went inside to his own bed.

The weird thing was that our neighbors, the ones we never talk to (Ha!  Like we ever talk to any of our neighbors; we're introverts), also camped out in their backyard the same night. They had their tent up a day ahead of us. And on top of that, the weekend before, they had a yard sale on a Thursday and ours was on Friday. Of course you know what they're thinking: Those jerky neighbors that never talk to us are copycats! Well, the following weekend they bought a fire pit. But, we already have one of those and had been smoking up the neighborhood with it for two years, so mnaahh.

Well, that about sums it up.  Oh, in case you missed it, I joined Twitter (@KateWhineHall is my handle. Is it called a “handle”? Or is that just for a CB?) Don't miss all the exclusive, never before seen on my blog or Facebook page material...maybe. For example, “Modern Art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn't” - Craig Damrauer. See the great stuff you're missing! Actually, I think that's the only thing you're missing. I'm just not pithy. I mean look at how stinking long this post is!

Don't forget to leave some love in the comments.

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  1. you made me laugh out loud as usual! The part about yelling at your kids to "stop yelling!" oh yes, ALL.THE.TIME seriously!

  2. Anonymous10:57 PM

    OM gosh this is funny. My kids drove me nuts when they were little. Oh what am I saying they still drive me crazy! But holy man, you have rely got your hands full.

    I also try to see God in the sweet words of my children and it brings a joyful glimmer to the hard task of being a parent.

    Tammy F

  3. dawns_disaster11:28 PM kiddos started saying bad things, too. I totally blame it all on the Hubs. I don't know why you are putting so much pressure on poor Autumn to speak English, when poor Ms. Middle could care less and has been in the US (and in our household) the whole 3 years. Maybe we don't speak English and just don't realize it? :D

  4. dawns_disaster11:38 PM

    Ok, here's some "Bloggy Love". I found your button and put it into my Passionfruit as an ad on my blog. When it asked for 'Quantity', I just picked 100, because it seemed like a good idea. So, on the dashboard, it tells you how long each ad still has to run. Yours says "about 8 years left" :D I had to laugh. I think it's because I'm tired that I found it to be SOO funny.

  5. paige wright6:52 AM

    Oh my goodness you make me laugh!! I love how you handles the pissed comment. Madeline said " this sucks" as she was doing journal work at school and her teacher told me about it. I KNEW right then and there she heard it from me since I'm quite sure I had said under my breath " this sucks" while waiting for our LOA. I think I just told her Mom shouldn't say it and neither should you.

  6. hannah Ngo-Whitcomb8:02 AM

    Sounds like there's never a dull moment in your household! Lots fo fun times though.

  7. Piper9:17 AM

    Haaa sounds as if you are a great Mom!! Love how you share what may be totally wearing you out in a way that "I get" cause.... I have had those days....and now as mine are older... I still have them...just in sorta more mature form. You would think when one is 15 that he would not be all about driving his mother insane by tormenting his 7 year old brother! But NO! Every morning just as we get ready to leave for school... it happens... You would think that maybe just maybe we could get by one day without it . NOPE! Something I can bet on!! Have a great weekend!

  8. I've got to stop reading your stuff at work! People come in my office and ask why I'm crying! Wiggle her fingers in your butt? is the whole pee in the bed thing.

    I'm so sharing this with my S-I-L. They have adopted two daughters from China...although I don't think she has any stories that are as funny as yours!

    I feel for you! Yes I'm also laughing, but I still feel for you! Hope you have a fun and non wet, non finger wiggling weekend! Blessings!

  9. Leslie1:46 PM

    I just wanted to let you know I am a new follower and I read through autumn's adoption trip today. I am so happy to be reading your blog, you are amazing.

  10. All the time, for sure. It's like I hear the words coming out of my mouth and I'm like, "Am I really saying this? I am losing all credibility with my kids!" and then I just keep saying it, not knowing how what else to say.

  11. Ha! That's funny. I've gotta make a new button. The words are so small on my iPad that I can't read what they say. Clearly, i created it on the giant computer screen. My stinking blog title is soooooooo long? I've got to get creative.

  12. Yeah, it's amazing the things we let slip. I've been letting things slip a little more often since number 3 came home. Ouch!

  13. Definitely not dull and definitely fun...with a little frustration and whine thrown in for good measure.

  14. Two thoughts ran through my mind when I read your comment. 1) crap! The sibling torment is going to go on for THAT many more years, then 2) wait...I tormented my 7-year younger sister until I was in college...and maybe into my mid-20s. I forgot about that. At least now we're BFFs.

  15. Oh, your SIL might be able relate to some of my stories from our last China trip. If she's interested, I put them under the tab "EVERYTHING Adoption". How long ago did she adopt?

  16. Well, thanks Leslie, that's so sweet! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about trip. Chronicling it all helped keep me sane. :-)

  17. Ronnie Halloran4:21 PM

    Kate, Not to get into a peeing contest with you...pun intended, but our almost 14 year old(bday on 10/1) still hasn't mastered western toilets in the six months she has been home. I may not slap my hand into pee in the middle of the night, but i do sit on a tinkled upon toilet seat almost every night. You would think I would stop trying to get her to wipe with toilet paper and just train myself to wipe the seat 'before' use. My only excuse is that I have been wiping 'after' peeing for 37 my toilet habits are 24 years more in the making than hers. We also started homeschooling this month. HSing our 13 yo consists of the other three bored kids throwing erasers at each other while I hunt n peck type their history book into Google Translate. What used to be a 1/2 hour lesson, now takes us half a day. Guess we're all in similar situations. All of us are in boats, but everyone's is a different type. Mine is the broken down one with the stuck rudder, speeding in circles, with four kids maniacally laughing at me, while I struggle to get it to go forwards. What sort of boat do you have? With you girlfriend, Veronica

  18. Oh, I hear ya. I can't imagine having to translate their school work. OMG! And, yeah, the antics when you're attention is directed elsewhere? Ridiculous. I guess it's kind of like at school when the teacher goes to another classroom to ask another teacher a question in the middle of class and all the kids go crazy. It's just in our homes. ha!

  19. christyschraeder@hotmail.com8:32 AM

    As always, the best stories ever. Autumn is such a sweetie, and a gorgeous one at that. I want to mention that Noah also says "thank you mama" all the time, but in his case he also says "sorry mama" just as much or more which tells a lot about his activity! We've gotta get them together more.
    Christy S

  20. Noah sounds a little like Josiah. Josiah is a kinesthetic learner (at least that's what we tell ourselves), so he touches everything as a way to learn about it. Which has led to a lot of broken items. It's getting better as he gets older - but man it took a while.

    We definitely need to get together.

  21. Such an inspiring post AND blog you have. I love reading about adoption stories. :)

  22. Thanks Debbie! I really appreciate that!

  23. She adopted the first one about 10 years ago and the second one about 5. I'm such a bad aunt...I don't remember their ages, but I think they are in middle and elementary school.

  24. Kerri Ames11:10 AM

    I am picturing Autum following you around and am (sorry) laughing at my desk. Camping is great for the kids, they find so many other people to annoy. I highly recommend it.

  25. davromega11:02 AM

    Love the pics, especially the feetsies and sunglasses! I have never seen one of those spider playground thingies... I WANT ONE!!! Just wait til you say pissed off again and one of them says "better than being pissed on"!


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