Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Rock Under Which I Live

Just to admit it right here from the get-go, I have no idea which 2 teams are in the Superbowl this coming Sunday.  Honest, I really don't know.

What?  You may ask, "Do you live under a rock?!!"

Yes, yes I do, actually.

It's called:  I have 4 children and 1 of them lived in an orphanage in Ethiopia less than 2 months ago.


Against all the advice in the adoption books, last weekend we took our new 3 year old, along with our other 3 kids to the elementary school Family Fun Night (which they really ought to rename "Only Fun for the Kids Night").  It was over-stimulation to the max (music!  balloons!  a magician!  cotton candy!  tons of running & shrieking elementary-aged kids!) and I knew this going in, but thought Little Girl could handle it.  She doesn't seem to really have trouble with too much of that kind of stuff going on around her or crowds.

I was right.  She loved it.  Danced her shoes off.  Many, many other parents commented on how great she's doing and how cute she is.  And she didn't even inappropriately hug strangers!

There was this scary tall guy I was worried would set her off.  He walked towards our table and my 6 year old daughter (who has been in our family since the womb) buried her head in my chest.  But my new 3 year old?  Took a good look at him and kinda nodded her head like, "Yeah, whatever.  No big deal.  Just another day in America!"


So the break-through of this week?

Taking turns!  Real and actual, genuine, calm, no screaming, waiting on one's turn was exhibited by our new 3 year old!

One might be tempted to think a child who had lived for a while in an orphanage would be used to sharing with other kids, but not so much.  

The first few weeks our new daughter was home things played out like this:

Little girl is happily playing with a toy, sibling wants a turn, Little Girl objects to sibling having a turn, and then either the sibling would give in and back off (I mean she is new and all) or I would give sibling a look that basically said, "Leave her alone, go play with one of the other 39,999 toys we have."

or there was also this scenario:

Little girl sees a sibling with a toy that looks really fun, so she attempts to grab the toy from sibling, and then either the sibling would just give her the toy (She's new here and gets special treatment) or I would talk sibling into giving the toy to their new little sister, all the while praising them on what an amazing big brother/sister they are.

By about the 3rd or 4th week home the newness had worn off and any understanding or above-and-beyond-generosity the older sibs had been displaying towards Little Girl was gone.  So, I started thinking, "You know she is just one of them now, not so new.  She needs to learn to share!  We must teach her to take turns!  I've already taught her that we never under any circumstances wash our hands in the toilet, so this turn-taking thing, really how hard can it be?"

The next couple of weeks went like this:

Little girl sees sibling with a toy she wants, she goes over to try to grab the toy, older sibling screams, so I jump into action, whisking little girl up and explaining that, "Brother is playing with that. Brother's turn.  Soon it will be your turn!  Your turn soon!"

All while Little Girl flails and shrieks.

I holler over the shrieking to Older Sibling, "Make your turn quick since, you know, we're teaching her about taking turns right now and she can't wait very long!"

A long 20 seconds passes, I say, "Remember quick!  Like now!  Give her the toy now!"

Sibling unhappily hands over the coveted toy.

Little Girl stops shrieking, sits down to play with it, sniffling and wiping away the tears as I declare, "See YOUR turn!  It's your turn now!  Good sharing!"

When really I'm thinking, "That was about the worst example of sharing I've seen in my entire life!"

But then one morning this week, there it was, an exchange of turn taking between my 4 year old and my 3 year old where Little Girl calmly waited for her turn with no screaming!

So her baby book will not have the date of her first steps or what her first word was, but this, THIS milestone, is totally going in there!


Have a SUPER weekend cheering for whatever teams happen to be playing on Sunday!

Mommy's Idea


  1. Oh so familiar! You handled it brilliantly. Far better than we did. Who knew that you could buy two of everything and still have two preschoolers fighting over the same toy???

  2. I don't have a clued who is in the Superbowl either. I actually just figured out it's being held in my state's capital. I think any toddler has a hard time learning to share and it's great she's picking it up so quickly. You had me smiling though with how you describe it all.

  3. I am worse, I do not care who is in the Superbowl. Glad to hear that everything is going well with the transition.

  4. Awesome! We are having the same sharing kinds of issues here (and yes, the newness wore off in about the same amount of time!) So glad things are still going well! :)

  5. I'm so glad you taught her not to wash her hands in the toilet :-)

  6. We had two sons who arrived together, and when our older Home-made son went to grade school, the two new little guys sat on the floor dividing the Hot Wheels cars from his carrying case. I guess they thought he'd been adopted and left his toys behind.

    They were back his room by the time he came home, but he got a good chuckle out of it.

  7. I have zero interest in who might be playing in the Superbowl, but in the (very strong) interest of enjoying Superbowl-style snacks, I would be willing to rent a movie about football - you know, the inspirational true story kind of thing.

    Oh, and if you have any tips on how to get 3 and 4 year-olds to stop trying to trick us into thinking they are washing their hands, as they run the water and loudly sing the "ABC" song (our make-sure-you-wash-long-enough song) with their hands dangling limply in the air, let me know!

  8. Believe it or not, I have no idea who is playing either. I thought the Superbowl was last week??:-o

    It is a beautiful thing that you have done. I have a friend with four children she adopted from Ethiopia. When we bought our first home down south, the previous owners were moving to Ethiopia to work. When they came back to visit (we became friends), they spoke of the children there and the many needs.

    Hang in there. What a joy is yours and your familys.

    Here is a blog that may be of help as far as your childs hair.


  9. Aw, she's really doing well; I'm happy for all of you.

    Have fun tomorrow, regardless :) (You are going to take advantage of the excuse to eat all kinds of crap and be lazy for three hours, right?


I'd love to hear what you think!