|"It's the most wonderful time of the day..."|
|Bonding with biggest brother|
|Male bonding over a meal-- I mean, mail...|
|Someone is learning to pose. Also practicing for when her hair is a bit longer.|
|Read below for the story behind the swollen nose and fat lip.|
|I wish you could see the one large tear which was glistening on his cheek.|
|Everyone has become acquainted with the corner.|
|Learning how to handle hair more appropriately. My big kids are saying, "She's just using that as an excuse to get someone to brush her hair!"|
|The battle of the princessas is on!|
Our two sons enjoyed being thrust into a completely new world, even though our oldest son confided earlier that he didn't have much use for pets or small children--too much work. Our youngest son knew all along that he was going to love being an older brother, and last summer planted a strawberry patch in anticipation of the new arrivals. He wants them to pick strawberries, because he remembered it being so much fun when he was little.
Our youngest daughter had many reservations, and had informed us that just because we signed a bunch of papers, that didn't mean that these kids would be her siblings. She already had plenty of siblings, thank you very much. Well, the first night, she admitted that Littlest Girl was really cute, and the next day said she "couldn't help" carrying her around nonstop. After a few days, though, that got old, and she didn't want to carry Tiny Sister around any more, but by then Tiny Sister was used to Slave Sister fulfilling her every whim, and so they had to come to an understanding, even though it wasn't pretty. First Princess won out, though, and has her spot back. Princess #2 has conceded defeat, and is now trying to rope everyone else in the family into carrying her around.
People keep asking me how the children are adjusting and how they like it in America. I'm pretty sure they have no concept that they're in America. They do know that they're somewhere different, though. As far as adjustment, with the girls, I would say, "What adjustment?" With Little Boy, I would say that he thinks he drew the unlucky lottery ticket, and got sent to a bad orphanage, where the servants don't know their jobs, and don't show proper respect to the customers.
I didn't see it coming, but he has turned everything into a battle of wills. David called it right away, and said, "He thinks he's had a hard life, so he has the right to act this way," but I thought, "well, he's such a baby, surely he doesn't think that, not at his age." Well, even though they all seem to be two years old most of the time, they keep startling me, because they'll do something that is obviously a 4-yr-old thing, or even a 6-yr-old thing (Big Girl) occasionally. Apparently, 4 years is long enough to have drawn some conclusions about life, and about the way things should be, and to have some expectations that other people will observe and respect those conclusions. I'm not sure what his expectations are, since we don't speak the same language, but there are some universal body language actions that are pretty clear.
At first I was very worried that he would become dehydrated, as we could not seem to find what he would drink. We only saw the oldest girl eat and drink, and assumed every house was the same. Little Girl follows our expectations, and has the same behaviours about mealtime as Big Girl, but our boy has a whole different set, and since we didn't ask our interpreter to find out, we don't know. We've tried juices, electrolyte drinks, water, teas--sweetened and unsweetened, drinkable yogurt... sippy cups of different styles, bottles with different sized nipples, and regular cups. We finally resorted to making him drink about 25 cc of water every few hours, and managed to keep him in wet diapers and wet tears every time he cried (which was often.) You can think what you want, but I'm a nurse, and I know what happens to dehydrated kids when they go to the hospital, and nurses keep trying to get that IV in until they do. Dehydrated kids are tougher to start IV's on in the first place, but they're the ones who really need it. Anyway, we didn't want to go down that road.
Eating was another challenge with him. We couldn't figure out what he'd eat. It wasn't what the girls would eat. Finally we resorted to jars of baby food, and voila! He had an appetite. So until we got home, that's what he ate. Now that he's home, we're slowly teaching him to eat regular food, cut up into small chunks. Of course, every mealtime is a battle, though. Feeding himself is an issue, too. He didn't appear to know how to manipulate a spoon at first. He's the same age as Littlest Girl, and he's skinny with ribs showing and spindly legs, so possibly these have all been issues for him for a long time. Our practice is to set him up with everyone else, give him the the same food, bib and utensils, and then give him the opportunity to eat or not eat, as he chooses, while everyone else eats. So far, he chooses not to eat, and sits and cries piteously during the whole meal. Then we feed him when everyone else is done. At first he refused his food every time until I pureed it, but now he'll eat it as chunks (most of the time.) Then we started showing him how to hold his own spoon, and guide it to his mouth. That also offends him severely. However, he now guides it to pick up what he prefers out of the bowl, and guides it to his mouth, but will not do it if someone isn't holding their hand over his. Then he will yell, cry and just generally throw a tantrum, if you try to get him to do it himself.
We did have a breakthrough a few days ago. I got the kids up early, and let them sit at the table in their jammies, and made them hot chocolate. The girls were in heaven, and I gave him a cup and spoon also. He played with the spoon for awhile, then figured out how to dip it into the drink, then how to taste it off the spoon, and when I finally held the cup for him, he gulped it all down. Hallelujah! David said, "Well, we know he'll drink hot chocolate." Since then he drinks from a cup quite nicely--if he's in the mood. It all depends on whether he's trying to teach us a lesson or not. I'm so glad we adopted all three of the kids. The girls are all sunshine and light, and he gives no warm fuzzies! We've had strong willed kids before though, so we're no strangers to the struggles.
|A frosty morning, and hot chocolate|
|"The messier it is, the better it is!"|
|"I'm only tasting this because I want to..."|
One more thing I'll tell you is that the first bath was pure terror. Well, not for us, but for them, it was. We held them down and scrubbed all the grime, snot, and ucky diaper yuck off of them, while they screamed for their lives. We didn't have hot water in the apartment for the last two days of our stay, so they needed a good scrubbing. The next day was round two for Little Boy who yelled like crazy, but Littlest Girl came in and watched, and then started to swish her hands in the water over the edge of the tub. She was more than happy to get in and play with the toys, and then Little Boy finally decided to play, too. Big Girl watched them, and then got into the act. Now bathtime is funtime. Today Little Boy was giving me attitude, and since the girls were playing in the bath, and he was fussing about something (as usual) I decided to torture him by letting him watch the girls play until he quit fussing. Next thing I know, he had jumped into the tub, jammies and all! David says, "You were going to torture him, but he tortured you instead!"