Friday, November 30, 2007

I have decided to write today a little bit of the challenges of adopting a toddler. It is hard to plop someone down in your house, personality formed and intact and just gel. Especially when it is a personality that you haven't had before. The dynamics really change and everyone needs to adjust. That is pretty hard to do.

When you are being screamed at with the word "no" about 5000 times a day with a hateful look in the eye and a swatting arm, or a one shoulder shrug that seems to tell me to go you-know-where, it is hard not to take it personally. It took a good 3 months for me not to take it personally and to realize that maybe it is just something part cultural(the look and shrug), but mostly just the only way she knows how to communicate. She still does it, but at least catches herself and corrects herself when she yells "NO!" at me, so I guess that is a good sign. A lot of it is her frustration at me not knowing what she wants. Another good bit is the fact that she doesn't understand the "why" of the word "No" to her. She goes off in a tizzy when she is told no. She absolutely thinks that everything that everyone else has, she should have. And not in your typical 2-year-old-doesn't-know-how-to-share kind of way, either. If one of the boys wants to sit in a chair, then she sits in a chair. Food, toys, and even a shower are sources of this issue. It's wild. And she ain't silent about it. Can anyone with boys and girls tell me that little girl voices are way more shrill?? Jeez. Now, I say all of this running the risk that someone will slam me and say the whole "How dare you", bit, but it is the reality of adopting an older child. I didn't really consider her an older child, but I do now. I read the books, but until you're in it, you can't quite grasp the scope of it all.

I still have MANY times where I get angry about her "attitude", but it's so hard to tell what is "attitude" and what is normal girl drama. I imagine that if I had had a daughter already or no boys yet, nothing to compare her behavior to, this would be less of a struggle. The fact that I do have something to compare her to, which is a natural thing to do when you have other kids, probably makes it more difficult, because it is hard not to do so. She is all drama, man. I am not used to that. Boys are really just go-go-go, get hurt, tears, go-go-go-go, and repeat. It's funny, because people who have their daughters first, and then a boy, talk about how their boys are their tough ones. Maybe it just depends on what your experience is. Maybe it is just Mars versus Venus.

Anyway, it would be crummy of me to post about challenges without posting about the beauty of Peeps. She is sooooo content to love and be held and sit in your lap(unless the boys have something she wants, of course). And, man, is that girl smart. She is talking up a storm and is quick to figure things out. She is obedient when corrected (except for her initial responses with the no and swatting thing). And she's getting more and more independent every day. She wants to walk like her big brothers in stores and do whatever big kid thing they do. And do I need to say that the girl is adorable?

I am kind of bummed that there really are no more babies in the house. But not too bummed. I need a break. They are 4, 3, and 2 and wearing me out. Cam will go to kindergarten next year, which he will love. That will give the younger ones some more one on one, which I look forward to. They both have early September birthdays, so Bro will still be home for another 3 years and Piper another 4. Both will turn 6 the first and second week of Kinder. That seems like a long time away.

This whole journey has been fantastic, difficult, easy, quick, long, and every other set of opposites you can think of. I'd do it all over again and again and again.



powelladoption said...

First your family is beautiful! I just stummbled across your blog and I am thankful for your honesty! We 6 months ago brought home our son (3) and daughter (16 months) home from Guatemala and you are right adopting toddlers is not a walk in the park. I think that sometimes you only get one side of the journey before you adopt and I think it is so good for everyone to be albe to see the stuggle as well, it make me want to be more honest on my blog!

The Page Family said...

It's really hard being honest, huh? But don't worry about being slammed. I don't think anyone would do that, especially those who have toddlers and also know how challenging it truly is!
Our lives are running parallel right now. The copy cat thing is about to drive me to drink! We have had to come up with rules ... Carson gets to sit next to Mommy when we eat at home, Kali gets to sit next to Mommy when we eat out. This avoids the scenes at the restaurant! Our calendar has alternating K and C on each day to tell me who gets to turn out the light in their room that night. And whichever one doesn't get to turn the light off gets his/her book read first. It's crazy!! At least we can now have different things to eat and be ok with it. Took us a long time to convince Kali that she doesn't like chocolate (she doesn't!) because she would want the same chocolate donut or chocolate milk Carson had, and then it would end up in the trash barely touched.
Every day gets a little bit better. Thank goodness for the small things!!

HeidiD in CT said...

Your pictures are so cute! I loved your post. Although I've never adopted an older child, I will tell you that my only girl before Sophie (so #2 of 3 bio) was BY FAR my hardest child. My oldest really never hit the "terrible twos", or if he did, it was much more sparse and didn't start until 3. She is SOOOOOO independent, fiesty and could give a HOOT about pleasing anyone just for the sake of it. If she wants to do/have something, she's doing/getting it no matter what! She's not mean about it to her older brother or Sophie, but she's very mean about it to her younger brother and since she's 5 now, it's really starting to bother me. Luckily, Santa has really helped me with persuading her to be nicer to William. All that being said, I am so happy to have a strong-willed girl who will clearly blaze her own path as a teen and young woman rather than being a follower. Yes, it's going to be pure HELL during her teen years, but at least I know she won't ever get walked all over!! I can't tell you that it will get easier, but I can already tell that you are looking at the positives, which will always help since her positives all seem so great :) Hang in there!!

The Hausams said...

I'm so glad you posted this, too. We came home with our youngest in August and had a very challenging adjustment period... WAY more difficult that anyone had prepared us for! Although it is much, much better now (Praise God!), it's evident that of the seven kids we've parented, she's by FAR the most high-demand. Thanks for your honesty.

Pastormac's Ann said...

Brought home a 2 2/12 year old daughter in August. She is the baby of 7. (we have a son back in Ethiopia waiting to come home.) I can COMPLETELY relate to this post! Thanks.

Angela said...

We are in the very early stages of adopting 2 from ethiopia, so this is really good for me to hear! Thank you! We have 2 bio, dd 5 and ds 3, and I can tell you...YES! Her voice is more shrill, her independant spirit is STRONG, she was a hard 2 year old and even harder 3 year old...4 was better and 5 is really great (most of the time!) Her bro has been easy shmeasy, most of the time! So...for whatever it is dd has been much harder, but we wouldn't trade her for the world! She's so much fun and so self motivated and smart and creative and adorable! Hang in there! And THANK you for your honesty!