Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Party is Over

Well, folks, we've all had a good time.  Now it's time to get down to work.  We had two incidents with two kids today.  In hindsight, one I think we handled well, one was major mamma fail. 

But first, the good news.  John is continually getting better and more comfortable.  While Ken is exhausted and his back is very sore (usually you start with 8lbs and have two years to work up to carrying a 2 year old around) he is still an amazing Papa and has incredible patience.  John is smiling at me when I say "Hola" and he willingly came to me and got food today.  Right. out. of. my. hand.  HUGE step.  He even told me "ma" which is mas in 2 year old Spanish talk which means more.  So now we are conversing.  It's just the cutest thing when he smiles and it's taking all my willpower to not scoop him up and love on him.  I'm trying to be patient and give him the time and space he needs.  I'm very happy that he's attaching to one of us, even if it's not me.

Now, here's my failure.  Late this afternoon, Yuli and I were playing chase in the hotel hallways.  It's not what you think of when I say hotel... it's more of a house with rooms that have locking doors.  We are on the third floor which is a little like a loft.  We are the only rooms up there.  It's really nice.  Patrice has told us that the noise and childish behavior is not a problem (he so awesome) as long as we are decent about the hours... not to early, not too late.  Well, we were playing chase in the hallways and up and down the stairs.  It was approaching dinner time and people were starting to come in from being out for the day.  [Side note: there's a big theatre touring troupe staying here.]  I scooped Yuli up and told her that we were finished and that it was time to play in our room.  (Please note, all of the conversations took place in Spanish but I'm tired so you're getting them translated.)  She is a bit of princess (but she's cute so it's ok) and pitched a fit.  I took her to where we were keeping the toys and sat down between her and the door so she couldn't get past.  She was very angry with me and I tried to distract here with reading a book, which she loves, playing with the friction cars, and some other stuff.  She told me she didn't want to play.  I said ok and picked up one of the books and told her that if she wanted to play, I would but that if she didn't, I was happy to read.  She cried and when she saw that she was getting no reaction she jumped up and stormed into the bathroom and closed the door.  I allowed her to cry until it sounded like she was breaking stuff.  I opened the door and asked her if she was ok... it was my cover to make sure she wasn't breaking stuff--she wasn't.  I think she was smacking the tile floor.  She said she was not ok.  I asked her if she wanted me to come in.  She said no.  I asked her if she wanted me to go.  She said yes.  I went and closed the door behind me.  Oops.  In hindsight, I realize what I did but in the moment, it didn't even occur to me.  She came tearing out of that room screaming as if Freddy Kruger was chasing her.  I picked her up and she clung to me and cried and cried.  Ken was the one who made the connection.  He pointed out that she thought I meant that I was leaving.  For good.  Abandoning her.  Break my heart.  Major fail.  I know you aren't supposed to say stuff like, "If you don't come right now, I'm going without you." but I just didn't make the connection.  Poor baby.  She wouldn't leave my side all night.  On a positive note, she seems to be doing better with the gas issues.  Praise God and thank you for the DigestZen.

Now on to the big drama.  Diana is such a sweet girl and I really enjoy our conversations in Spanglish.  She has a fabulous sense of humor when it comes to my awkward Spanish and she is very patient with that aspect of our relationship.  She is a die hard game player and handles losing well.  She is extremely helpful.  She helps put the shoes away, makes the beds (which is work that the staff does but how can I tell her to stop when she's being so precious), folds clothes and puts them away, acts as interpreter when we are having trouble figuring out what Yuli and John are saying (think 2 year old speak in a language that you don't have a full grasp of), and is all around really great.  However, she is testing the limits, pushing the edges.  There is some stuff that we don't need to fight about right now.  Ideally, when I ask her to come back to the dinner table and sit down, I expect my child to do it the first time.  That's not the priority here but we cannot allow her to get away with not listening to us either.  So we, calmly say sit down, please (in Spanish of course) repeatedly with continued eye contact until she does.  Well, today, she decide to step over the line.  There are times when you can be a danger to yourself and others.  This was one of them.  She wouldn't listen to me at the park.  She didn't like the consequences.  It got bad, very, very bad.  Think people stopping to watch, wondering if you are assaulting a kid bad.  Moms and Dads gathered behind playground equipment talking and looking very concerned should we call the police bad.  I was calm the whole time (thank you God for answers to prayers spoken in the heat of the moment).  It took a long time for her to calm down.  After about thirty minutes, she realized that I meant what I said and once when I asked if she was ready to listen, she said yes.  I told her that I loved her.  I told her that what she was doing was very dangerous.  I told her that I'm her mami and she needs to listen when I tell her to do something.  I told her that if she listens, she can have great fun but that if she doesn't listen, she doesn't get to play.  I hugged her.  I helped her get her shoes back on (she had taken them off and thrown them).  I got her a snack and some water.  I acted as if nothing happened.  The funny thing is that she seemed more desiring of being with me and having me play with her than she usually is on the playground.  She asked me to push her on the swings, she asked me to sit on the swing and allow her to push me.  It was awesome until I got seasick.  I'm getting old.  I did my best to seize every opportunity to connect with her and have fun together.  I really wanted us to enjoy being together after the row we just had.

I think it's ok.  I think that she is just testing and needs to know that we are sticking with it.  I'm hoping and praying that now she knows we mean business and we expect her to listen to us.  I'm hoping that we don't have to do this again.  All the while I'm aching over her past and remembering how much she's had to deal with in her very short life.  It hurts to know what has happened to your daughter.  All in all, she is such an amazing person.  She has come through a lot and I'm so proud of how well she's done despite her past.  I'm not trying to badmouth her.  I love her so much already.  I'm trying to be real here.  Adoption is awesome... but it's not easy.  The most important thing to learn is that even though it's not easy, it's necessary.  There are kids out there who need parents.  The need love.  They need someone who cares.  Their chances of growing up in the system and having an opportunity to make a choice that will take them somewhere in this life are not good.  Most of them end up on the streets as beggars, drug dealers or prostitutes.  It's heartbreaking.  Now that I have three sweet faces to go with the statistics, I'm even more bold to stand up and say "Have you ever thought about adopting?"  I know it's not for everyone.  Each person has their own calling... all I wanna know is, "Have you ever considered it?"

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