Monday, July 26, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

After some crazy rain spells over the past two weeks, the rain has moved out, for the moment, at least, and and heat and humidity have moved in. I'm not complaining though; I think you are allowed 1 and only 1 season per year to b*tch about the weather, and I reserve that right for the dead of winter.

Today the kids and I had the Delightful privilege to meet Ms. Amy and her crew from over at This, That and Life's Joys blog. This gal and her husband Tim have two beautiful daughters and after probably what is the WORST Haitian adoption process I have ever heard---hands down-- they finally brought home their handsome son Jon Micah last August.

This Tennessee crew was traveling through our area for a family camping trip, and stopped in at a local park to meet us and visit. Meeting other families who intimately understand the transitions that a family goes through is invaluable. If you are an adoptive family and have not done this yet, you simply MUST do so.

Their lovely 17-year old daughter Lexi so articulately shared some of her feelings and frustrations with our Hatfield, who listened in rapt attention with a huge smile on her face. We got back to the car and Hatfield exclaimed, "It's SO cool to talk with someone who gets how it is!" to which I wholeheartedly agree: "I know! Isn't it such a great feeling!"

For both of these girls, who old enough to and do babysit, have been through very frustrating times with these new younger brothers. I was so grateful to have this young lady take the time to share and help Hattie feel not quite so alone anymore.

After our new friends headed out on their way, we came home, chowed down leftover black bean/jalapeno/pepperjack cheese enchiladas for lunch, and headed over to Jimmy's house and pool. I've been swimming the kids hard each afternoon nearly everyday. They come home tired and worn out, just happy to play in the coolness of our basement playroom or to veg in front of some credit-earned television time.

Today I got smart and dinner was brought to us, courtesy of the Crock Pot. Definitely a necessity for these hot summer days. When we lived in Milwaukee, we had a sun room on the front of our little bungalow, and I would put the Crock Pot in there on summer days, helping to alleviate the heat build-up in the kitchen.

Play them out hard, swim them out hard, and at 7 pm I have 3 exhausted little heads hitting their pillows. By 7:04, all four will be zonked out, leaving Mom and Dad to have some "Big Kid Only" time. Invaluable, those two hours, Atticus getting full control of us from 7-8, and then Hatfield running the show from 8-9. These big kids go through a huge adjustment of their own when becoming big adoptive sibs, and it's far too easy to let them fall through the cracks when the little ones can suck up so much of Mom and Dad's time and energy. All they want is our undivided time and energy, and this way of staggering bedtimes allows us to accomplish it for at least a full hour each day, especially on those days when all hell breaks loose during the daytime.

The next two weeks will be busy, as Hatfield and Atticus both have successive Intensity Weeks at their dance studio for their competitive troupes. Hatfield moved up to Teen Line this year, and in addition to tap and jazz routines, the students perform a lyrical (contemporary) piece, as well as participate in the grande finale of the recital. Atticus is remaining in Petite Troupe, a spot that is just fine with him, as he is only 8. This year another little boy joins him on the troupe, which means he know has to split the attention of the 16 little girls on the team. I doubt he hardly notices, as we cannot walk through that dance studio without hearing a chorus of little voices squealing, "Hi Atticus!" or "Hi Atticus' Mom! (giggle giggle)"

The little boys have Teddy Bear Camp at their 'big kid school.' They will be attending full-day kindergarten, a large developmental step UP, especially for adoptive children still learning language, culture, customs. But the school is quite excellent, and I have a lot of respect and admiration for the staff. Teddy Bear Camp brings the children to school, 3 hours a day for 4 days, for just a week, to acclimate the children to Life in Kindy.

Miles has enjoyed several level days now, and I have as well. Yesterday we had a few 'touchy' moments, but I'm so proud of my boy because he was able to be "Boss of his Body" and reset himself, not giving in to the anger he so often feels. Hooray, Miles!

Keenan decided to do a little testing of the system of his own this morning. First kicking a sibling, then refusing to apologize and discuss the issue, and then refusing to take two minutes to be "Boss of His Body" (sitting criss-cross applesauce, hands folded on the lap. This helps remind them that no matter how they feel, they can be in control and keep a calm and non-aggressive body.)

No matter to Mom, I politely told him. You're putting yourself on your own Credit Time-Out, meaning that you won't be able to play at the park with our new friends or do anything else privilege-wise, until you decide you want to play by the rules.

While he was standing obstinately in the kitchen, refusing to put on his shoes, I asked my happy Miles:

"Hey Miles, last week, when you didn't want to talk to Mommy or cooperate, how did that work for you?"

"Oh no, no, no, NOT good," he replied, fully 'getting' what I was doing.

"And Miles, last week, when you decided that for 6 days you didn't want to follow any rules, how did that turn out for you?"

He shakes his head. "NOT good. I had NO FUN, not at all."

"Hmmmmm," I said, looking at Keenan. "So Keenan, do you think this whole not following rules thing is going to work for you?"

"No," he replied.

"So, why aren't you following rules then?"

"Because I angry," he said.

"Good job answering honestly, buddy. You definitely get credit for that good choice"(Always point out the positive!) "But Babe, you're gonna have to decide what you like more: playing at the park, or being angry and not following rules."

While it took Miles 6 days to figure out that he actually liked having fun better, it took Keenan a whole 6 mile car ride and then he was done with the bad business. He fixed those problems in no time flat, was given a hug and kiss, and was out chasing around Jon Micah before you could blink an eye. A perfect example of how the credit system should work, and something I will catalog mentally so I can draw hope from it in those trying moments.

1 comment:

ania said...

A hard won success, but a success nonetheless!

Great for Miles to be able to report consequences to his brother.