Saturday, October 6, 2012
It's Not the End of the Honeymoon
I've read about it in books and on blogs, but I don't believe it. At least in my family. This: That there is a honeymoon period and then the child changes. I never noticed such a thing with Jie Jie and I'm not noticing it with Sissy or Blossom, though it's a bit soon with Blossom.
What I do notice however, is that, now that Sissy has settled in and gotten comfortable, I expect more of her and it's a stretch for her and she's having a few growing pains. I still stand by the opinion that she's been spoiled, meaning, she's never had to do anything strenuous or difficult that leads to self-improvement and character growth.
Now that I've gotten to know her, if I had to choose one word to describe her personality, it would be that she's complacent. She's not lazy, she just doesn't have any motivation to come outside her tiny little world. If it was up to her, she's stay exactly like she is forever and ever.
This also goes along with being a follower and blamer. If anything happens, she points the finger anywhere except at her. Her favorite target is Jie Jie or the cats, followed by Blossom. However, I've been watching her more when she doesn't know it, to catch her before a situation develops in order to teach her.
Now, I have known she was like this almost from the time I first met her, but what makes it glaringly obvious is that Blossom is the opposite. She remembers everything, she speaks English in sentences, even though she can't pronounce the words yet. With a little digging, I can usually figure out what she's trying to say, too. The first time I took Sissy to the Asian Branch Library, she stood in the middle of the floor and played dumb and wasn't interested in anything AT ALL. She did not choose a single book or make a single move to even look at the books on the shelf.
The first time I took Blossom to the library, she lit up with interest and proceeded to take one then another book, reading them each as she pulled them off the shelf, out loud, so I knew she was really reading them.
Sissy still asks me which days are which and if we are having "babies tomorrow?" which means is it a daycare day. Yesterday when she asked me, Blossom turned to her and, a bit condescendingly, said, "No, babies come Monday!" Now, you should know that both girls attend circle time with my daycare which begins with the kids, even them, taking turns glueing on the number for the day in the correct space, saying the month and day and year, then saying all the days of the week. You'd think by now, Sissy would have this much figured out, that we have a two-day weekend.
Do I sound impatient a little? I am today. I see Sissy trying to lean on Blossom and Jie Jie instead of thinking for herself. From all Sissy has described of her life in China, her little roommate, who is the same age, but physically much, much smaller due to a medical condition, was in the big sister role and Sissy the helpless little sister role.
Sissy also doesn't put forth any effort to remember things, like my friends names and where they live. Instead of thinking, she just says she doesn't understand. Then I tell her to think, and then time passes and she figures it out. She does NOT have a learning disability, it's a personality issue.
I mentioned a book called Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers soon before I left for China. Sissy is the prime example of a peer-raised child. I am detangling her myths from facts, some quite common in any situation, but how she describes she came to know her "facts", has one source - her roommate!
So, while Jie Jie is learning to be a little sister, but older child, Sissy is learning to be the eldest sister and be responsible for gaining and retaining knowledge, information, and experiences. In a lot of ways, she's like a little old lady, content to sit on a rocking chair and gossip with friends about old times.
My point of leverage shifted with her this week. Now that I've followed through with the one threat that's held her in check all this time, she figured that was all I had. Tonight she learned otherwise. I've sent her to bed to think on it and, hopefully, she'll wake up in the morning ready to present her sweet side again. She, like most of the kids adopted out of institutions, is sooooo clueless as to her ignorance and misguided ideas of how the world really works, and like any teen, likes to argue about it. One such issue, that may be sort of common among all girls at some point, is the mystery about the place babies come out. Sissy was convinced, by her roommate, and by a film she saw, that babies came out a woman's bottom. This is pretty common, truly. But this former doula mom, could prove it, so after the little ones were in bed last night, I pulled out the Birth Atlas, which is full of life-sized pictures of plaster statues displaying the uterus and baby from pre-pregnancy to post-delivery, taken years and years ago at a world fair. The views are from the side, as though a woman was cut in half from head to toe, with the baby fully intact. ONe can clearly see the bladder and follow the trail out, and the intestines and follow that trail out, as well as see the path the baby takes to get out. (Obviously, I'm watching my wording here, but I did teach Sissy all the correct terms). At nearly 14, she's definitely ready for this information, along with a talk about how this is a mother's privilege and it's my job to teach this to her sister's when they are ready for it.
Luckily, she landed with me as her mom so I can help her along so she can end up a self-reliant adult in the future, even if we have to weather some pretty strong growing pains.