I can hardly believe we are coming up on the three month mark with the new kiddos! A LOT has changed in one month; A LOT has remained unchanged.
First, the changes:
1. Miss G. is just a new creation! She is sweet, funny, outgoing, spunky... and determined! The infamous Ethiopian pout doesn't show itself very often; when it does, it lasts only moments. G. is able to accept most correction without losing control. She definitely wants to please and dislikes getting into trouble.
2. Bedtime is much easier. They have now accepted the routine of showering, changing, brushing teeth, and using the bathroom. Purchasing electric toothbrushes helped the kids spend a lot longer brushing their teeth. They all love to sing songs and pray before bedtime.
3. School time has increased to around 2.5 hours now, give or take the clean-ups, "time-ins," and snacks! Kumon workbooks have been very good for the kids. They enjoy the mazes, cutting and pasting activities, coloring, and easy to follow letter formation worksheets. I had to start with the earliest of materials, made for 2-3-4 year olds. We do a lot of oral work: reciting colors, days of the week, numbers, letters. We have invented games in hopes of getting some of the facts to stick; games seem to be a real positive and exciting way for the kids to learn.
4. Chore day goes much faster and easier. The kids are able to follow simple instructions and follow through.
5. Better use of time: the kids are learning to move away from the television and play both inside and outside. They are very ingenious with inventing new toys and games. Give 'em a blanket and a ball... see what happens!
6. Going to stores is easier. We still don't really take the kids out that much, but we did go to Sport Chalet to purchase soccer cleats and shin guards. The kids didn't run away, and although they were hyper as all get-go, they we're disruptive or destructive. I still don't take them all to do major grocery shopping. I'm just not that stupid (usually).
7. Going to the movie theatre was fun! They could actually sit through the movie and gorge on popcorn--- and not talk the entire time! Big change!
8. Sunday School: Well, they all tried Sunday school at church this weekend. I am told that Grace was a bit talkative, but the boys were quite attentive. I sure did get more out of the sermon this week!
9. Soccer: we signed the kids up for soccer; it starts in 2 weeks. I'm sure I'll let you know how that goes....
10. First "I love you, Mom," from B. and G. A. gives me big kisses and at least parrots "I love you, too."
Now, the UNchanged:
1. No understanding of an "indoor voice." These kids are just plain loud!
2. Lots of sibling fighting: B. still picks on his younger brother; G. and B. still fuss. They still hit and kick each other when angry. The kids scream bloody murder with each cut or scrape. I honestly never know if someone is seriously injured or just barely scratched when I come running to the rescue! I do go through a large number of bandages and plenty of anti-bacterial spray every day. Additionally, the kids all relish calling each other names (in Amharic) and love to tattle on each other. D-man and T-Man get extremely annoyed with what they consider "babyish" behavior from B. and A. Each new kid cries a bucket of tears multiple times a day.
3. B. has now takes the award for most pouty. This child, when corrected, will sit and space-out. He gets a totally blank stare, won't look you in the eye, and refuses to speak... for long periods of time. This behavior has tested my mommy patience; I see it as so disrespectful. This usually happens when daddy has been gone several days.... I stay calm, lower my voice, and get down to his level. If he does not look me in the eye, I gently turn his head to my eyes. I correct him and then simply ignore him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. He has spent more time in "time-ins" this month than the previous two months. He is also very slow to recover from being disciplined. He can really hold a grudge!
4. A. wets his underwear--- daily. He smells absolutely dreadful! Interestingly, he doesn't wet the bed at night. Spiderman underpants helped only a little.... He just seems too busy to pee.
5. The boys still chatter endlessly at night. Poor D-Man has to wait up until they fall asleep before he can climb into bed. B.simply can't be quiet. Ever. Never. Ever.
6. Food issues remain. A. is very, very stubborn about food. He simply will not eat if he finds an item unacceptable. Now, even plain pasta can get a "thumbs down" from this fussy eater. I do make Ethiopian food on a weekly basis, but it just takes so long to make that I simply cannot provide it all of the time. We do order injera on a weekly basis, but even the injera doesn't satisfy at times. A. still refuses milk, ice cream, yogurt, and indeed most American food. He lives on fruit, bread, injera, potatoes, berbere, sega wat, rice, and garbanzo beans.
B. is fussy with food, too. Yet, he finds enough to eat... when he's hungry. B. simply doesn't care that much for food. He lacks a powerful appetite, preferring to play than to take the time to chew.
Miss G. is the easiest in terms of food. She likes a lot of different foods and is willing to try new things.
Popsicles are the greatest motivation to eat dinner... and yet, they don't always work.
"Tough love" doesn't work with these children in terms of food. They are accustomed to being hungry and simply will not eat for long periods of time. They will not give in. Yes, chocolate complexions can get very pale!
7. School: B. and G. still can't consistently name colors or numbers (1-20). We have been working on the same facts for two months! A. is the strongest student. The kids like to listen to stories a little bit more, but it is certainly not their favorite activity.
8. Hyperactivity is down, but only a little. As the above photo shows, these kids can be happy just running in circles... literally. They run through the house, through the yard, through everything... if they could.
9. Destructiveness continues: broken toys, broken i-Pods, broken headphones, broken trucks, brooms (we are on number 3),dismembered dolls, disassembled scooters, etc., etc. Part of the problem is simply lack knowledge and experience; the other very large part of it is massive curiosity. The kids want to see how things work, so they take it apart. They want to see what other kind of toy can be made from the original toy, so they dismantle it. My favorite new toy is a new carpet cleaner! I try to remember to hide anything important and irreplaceable. I also try and remember that the curiosity, enthusiasm, and creativity is good. Yeah, it's good... it's good.
10. Horrible manners. Just horrible. Really.
11. Lying. Lots of lying. At least I know them well enough to know when they are lying and when they are telling the truth (usually).
All in all, the kids are doing fantastic. I am greatly encouraged by their affection, ability to pay attention, and general happy natures. I wish I could have more, just like 'em!