As I have blogged before, I do day care on Wednesdays for our little neighbor girl. Two events this afternoon struck a cord with me in regards to how children differ in their misbehavior and how smart they are to use their strengths. Here is what happened: The minute Vanna walked in Bei was a pistol. We usually have 30 minutes of music time where we dance to the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance, etc...well he was a rascal and didn't want to dance and that meant he didn't want me to dance. Once he realized that wasn't going to stop me dancing, then he wanted me to hold him while I danced...ugh...kid!!!! So after lunch, Bei had been in a timeout once already and Vanna was headed for one soon, if she kept pushing her behavior. Basically, I am exasperated already...and it has only been an hour. We went down stairs and I decided that maybe if I did something visual for them to see, it would help them keep their behavior in check and they would try to get along with one another. So I told them that if they were good for 1 hour, then each of them would get a popsicle. I told them "I'm writing your name on the chalk board, so at the end of the hour if your name is still up here, then, I'll know that you get a popsicle." "Okay?" I get a deer in the headlight look from both of them and they go back to playing very nicely with one another. I get busy folding clothes and Bei gets up, grabs a paper towel, erases Savanah's name, and then continues to play with Vanna. Luckily, Savanah doesn't say anything to this, so I just go and write her name again. Bei gets up to go to the board and says "Vanna doesn't get a popsicle because her name is not on the board" and proceeds to wipe it out again. Bei gets a warning, he does it again, and he will have his name erased and no popsicle...little smarty pants... They are playing nicely again with a little peoples slide and each of them have a foam ball. They are taking turns letting it slide down the slide. Vanna's ball goes flying across the room. She quietly gets up and begins to walk towards her ball and as she is walking past Bei, she graps the collar of his shirt and drags him along with her so that he doesn't get a turn before she returns with her ball. It was actually quite comical because it was so unexpected and poor Bei didn't have a chance because he was being dragged backwards across the playroom floor.
Apparently, Bei's way in dealing with Savanah is cerebral, trying to outsmart me, so she won't get a treat. While Vanna is totally physical because I promise you, she will someday win the Iron Man contest...she is the most incredibly strong 3 year old I have ever met! I have to watch myself if I'm down on the floor because she likes to jump on my back and grab me around the throat with her arm...I'm usually gasping to Bei to "dial 911". Anyway, Bei kind of won in the end, he got what he wanted,because Savanah's name was taken off the board and she didn't get a popsicle. As most of you know, I am a softy and I gave her another chance to behave for the following hour and she did, so she eventually got her popsicle.
All I have to say is I have two smart kids on my hands that know how to use their strengths to their advantage.
He just found out that he is going to be a Krueger boy!!! His name is Wu Zheng Kang and he is currently 9 months old and is from Wuyishan Orphanage in the Fujian province. Our adoption paperwork is in China and we expect to travel some time in the spring/summer of 2010. As I find out more, I will fill you in on the details.
Look ma...no hands!
Boy...in my opinion daycare providers are under appreciated and under paid! I'm babysitting on Wednesday afternoons for another 3 years old, our new neighbor Savannah! Talk about a rollercoaster...one week we all have a great week, the next week timeouts for everyone...I'm handing them out like candy, the next week one is good and the other one is naughty...it is so much tougher than I thought it would be! The good news is I am learning so much about parenting, alot about Bei and alot about myself. I'm always evaluating how the day went and what worked and what didn't work. One of the surprises to me was how Bei behaves with other kids. Bei's main friends prior to Vanna were Huckleberry, Curly Locks and Max, they were here when he arrived from China and so they treated him very special. He was the tiny little guy with the heart issue who would just observe, so they always tried to make him happy and would give up their toys for him and treated him very special. Rightly so, Savannah doesn't have that history or attitude, so the real world has hit Bei smack dab in the face. Two "only "children now need to figure out how to share and get along with one another...hence the rollercoaster ride for me! Bei's biggest concern is that I am going to hold or hug Vanna. Too bad for Bei, but I'm a hugger and Vanna is going to be snuggled by me at times. In all honesty, the opportunity to watch Vanna has come at the best time. Bei really needs to be confronted with a little bit more reality and it has provided a great opportunity to learn how to share and get along with other children.
"Busy doing nothing" is usually how I answer queries from friends and family about what have I been up to lately. I know people don't care to hear the details about how Bei and I spent hours rolling foam golf balls down my driveway and then spent another hour laying under the maple tree throwing the balls into the branches to see if they would stick...they didn't. Or how we spend hours on the floor wrestling with "the claw" and end up having tickle fights. I am overjoyed being home "doing nothing" with Bei. In my very biased opinion, he is such a happy, delightful, mature little boy that he makes parenting him easy, fun and so incredibly enjoyable. If you haven't noticed, I am just crazy crazy about that little boy! Ironically, this is not how I perceived that I would spend my time with my child as a stay at home mom. I thought I would be one of those mom's that is on the go, music at 9:00, tumbling at 11:00, eat lunch and swimming starts at 1:00, etc. etc. But what I have learned is that none of this is about me. As a mom you automatically adjust to what is right for your child. Bei is a snuggly, cuddlebug who really wants his moms time. If he was yearning for the social interaction and more activity I would definitely make it happen for him. I feel so fortunate that I am able to spend this time with him. I know I am blessed and that it is a priviledge for me to be "busy doing nothing" all day with my little boy.
About 4 months ago, whenever I put on a new top that Bei had not seen he will say "too cute, mom!" or "cute, cute, twirl,mom, twirl." Of course, I feel really good about myself because someone thinks what I'm wearing is cute! Pay no mind that he is three years old...at my juncture in life, I will get all the kudo's I can, from wherever I can. Well, the other day I was cleaning out my clothing drawers and I came across a pair of shorts that I had been looking for all summer long, my pink plaid shorts. Later in the week, I put the pink plaid shorts on with a cute pink top that I had and walked out to the living room. Bei immediately pointed and said "Mom, whats those?" "Bei, these are my shorts." He responded by saying "they are funny mom!" Thank goodness, Bei saved the day! I can imagine the stories that would be told in the neighborhood amongst the children. "Hey Bei, your mom wears bozo the clown shorts." Or "Hey Bei, does your mom work for the circus?" Alright, you all know me well enough by now, that, yes I did go back into the bedroom and put on the same khaki shorts that I wear day in and day out. This kid is keeping me from being the laughing stock of the neighborhood! Thanks Bei!
As many of you know, part of my bonding strategy for Bei has been to let him determine when he is ready to be separated from me. That included sleeping, kids activities and adult time (Dan and I going out for the evening and leaving him with a babysitter). That has meant that I haven't signed him up for classes or had babysitters. Sometimes he wouldn't even spend time alone with Dan. But now this little man has turned a corner. Several weeks ago I agreed to play volleyball and wanted to prep Bei that I would be leaving, so I told him that he would have a "boys night out". That meant Daddy would take him mini-golfing when he got home from work, but mom would not go. All day I kept hyping "boys night out". Well, dad walked in the door, it was a kiss goodbye and a wave to me from the truck and off he went. One happy little boy with his daddy. The next day we were getting ready to leave for the cabin and Bei said, "Just Daddy and Bei go, mom stay home". Well no...that is not going to work. That same weekend, he wanted just Daddy and Bei to go on the boat, no mom. Yes, that works fine...I get to read!!!! Dan thought my feelings might be hurt, but I told him, that Bei's sense of independence is a break away from me. It is natural, normal growth and it is what we want, so go ahead and take him. He is feeling secure enough to leave me and that is a good thing. Okay, I've created a monster, yesterday he wanted two boys down the street to watch him, while I ran errands and and they did. He went over to their house and was perfectly fine. Today cousin Elly, took him to the Children's Museum for the second time, those two have really bonded. He also has been sleeping in his own bed for the past 4 to 5 months. He has become a very confident little boy and I am so proud of him. Next step, is to sign him up for a fun little class to see how he does with it.
Being a stay at home has exceeded my expectations in so many ways and in others not so much. Since I became a stay at home mom, it meant that I had to let my housekeeper of 15 years go. Which leads me to pose this question...Am I the only person doing the housecleaning shuffle??? This is how my house cleaning goes: While cleaning the office, I don't know where to put everything, so I think, okay, I'll put "all this stuff" in my upstairs bedroom closet. Okay, I think I have found it a permanent home. Fast forward 3 months and I can hardly get in my bedroom closet and think holy crap, I need to clean this mess. So, I go through it and think I need to find a permanent place for "all this stuff", I'll put it in the basement closet. So back downstairs it goes. 3 months later the basement closet needs to be cleaned and I think, what is this stuff doing in here? It belongs in the office, how in the heck did it get in the basement closet? Honestly, I just feel like I move things from place to place.
Here is another reality check for me. I was going to brag one day on the blog about what a sense of accomplishment I get from keeping a clean house and I enjoy cleaning my own toilets...yada yada. Anyway, I swear that very day that I was feeling good about my housekeeping abilities, a 4 year old neighbor girl knocked on the door and asked if she could come over and play with Bei. Well sure! She walked in and said "Wow, your house is really a mess!". Uh oh...it was a mess! I didn't even think about it...we had come home from the cabin and clothes were everywhere. Then the clincher was, she asked me "Does your daddy (meaning Dan) know about this"? Okay, I felt like I was 4 and she was 35 years old, but I thought it was very funny, and very humbling.
Another good one is from Huckleberry whose olfactory senses are working overtime. He will walk in and say "Liz, are you cooking broccoli again?" I have nightmares that Bei is going be regarded at school as the kid who smelled like broccoli! We like broccoli and cauliflower what can I say?
One of the things that I have personally struggled with is the fact that I don't have time to take care of myself. I'm not working out, not getting the sleep I need and definitely not taking the time to do my hair and makeup like use to. However, this morning I sectioned my hair and curled all of it. I took my time putting on my make-up. Overall, I felt like I finally looked good. Okay, what are we going to do today? Bei, let's fill up the pool and water balloons. You all know where this is going, don't you??? Bei had the hose less than 30 seconds and turned it on me and sprayed me full in the face...okay, I wanted to cry, but who is the dope that came up with the idea and then handed him the hose? So those are some of the pitfalls of being a stay at home mom, but I still wouldn't change a thing about it.
Bei definitely is a lover, but what is really wonderful is that he loved by all his cousins on both sides of the family. There is a mutual worship and adoration between him and all the cousins.
Today, while Bei and I were out and about, we were approached by three different groups of people. A Japanese lady with her granddaughter, a Somali woman with her 3 year old son and a Vietnamese couple with their two grandsons. It is not that unusual for us to get approached by people who are curious about Bei. What is fascinating to me is that all the asian's that I meet regardless of their nationality, Vietnamese, Hmong, or Japanese, they all say the same thing to me. "Your boy has a very high forehead, sign of intelligence." It is almost without fail, that they say it. Now, I have a high forehead too, but most people just shake their head and say "poor girl has an extra long face." Not one comment about my super intelligence!
Most of the asian people I meet are unaware of the adoption process, but are intrigued and very supportive . When I told the Vietnamese lady that waxes my eyebrows that we were having a reunion with the other adoptee parents from China, she asked me "if Bei's birth parents were going to be there?" I appreciate her asking questions and learning more about him and the entire process.
The caucasians that inquire about Bei are usually parents or grandparents of internationally adopted children. Most have grown children, that were adopted from Korea.
Most of the blacks that approach me are from Eastern Africa and recent immigrants themselves. Usually, from Somali or Ethiopia. Once again, they are curious and supportive.
However, I recently had an experience with a young African American girl at the city library. They have a great play area. Bei and I had been there for at least a good hour when " Little Miss Attitude" with her posse came in and scoped out the joint. I took a big gulp and thought... it may be time to leave. Honestly, I'm 4 times her age and I could tell she had seen more and she would be able to chew me up and spit me out. Best I mosey on my way... Oh no...not so fast...guess who immediately came struttin over to me??? "He yo kid?" "Yes, he's my son". "Cool, I like him". Each of her posse came up and gave Bei a high five and told me "I like your kid". Wheww...I can breathe again...I passed the library posse initation.
I have just been amazed at peoples support, including the generosity of strangers who have a kind word to say about Bei. There is some talk in the adoption community about experiencing racism and I have to say we have not experienced it. It has been an opposite effect for us; people that would never have a reason to talk to me engage me in conversation. So that is why I say children are a common denominator, everybody loves them...even Little Miss Attitude.
Tiger Woods watch out!