Yesterday marked six months home!
This is the time I dreamed about early in the transition. That’s not to say it’s easy, but boy do things run more smoothly now.
The kids are both still happy with school, though Smiles occasionally tells me he needs a “rest”. They started before-school tutoring specific to ELL kids. I don’t know how the teachers sold this to them, but whatever they did I need to learn because these kids remind me to “get me early” because it’s “very important.” The kids both know all letters, upper and lower case, and the sounds they all make. They know about a dozen sight words. Smiles is getting quicker and more accurate at basic addition and subtraction. Diva still struggles with counting past 12 but she did get a 7/8 on her kindergarten math assessment! The point she missed was for counting…that one might take awhile.
Communication is not really an issue anymore and this makes everything so much easier! Except for our personal conversations. Since the kids can’t understand us we got in the habit of talking about them when they’re around. One day the husband was frustrated with Smiles. I told him to go take a break and he said “I just want to punch him in the face sometimes!” Smiles said “Dad punch me in face?!” Whoops. Sorry kid.
I perfected the fro. Pretty proud of myself for that one. The problem is, she HATES her hair in a fro and won’t even let me take a decent picture of it. She likes to do these crazy hairstyles and tries to give herself bangs…which do not work with her hair (see picture above for photographic evidence). Our most consistent mother-daughter fight is about her hair. We can agree on most braided styles but I’m not super great at those. If I try to get her to wear her hair naturally with no “bangs” or ponytails that only have 1/3 of her hair in them, she will pout til the sun goes down.
My friends got me a house cleaning session as a gift that we used this month. Between the kids and having a baby our house had become a complete disaster. The house cleaning was just what we needed! Now we have biweekly-ish cleaning parties that the kids actually enjoy, mostly because they get paid for it. And if they leave their stuff out overnight I take it and they have to give me one of their tickets to get it back. Our house is still usually a mess, but now it’s nothing a good cleaning party can’t fix and that feels so great.
One thing that’s interesting is their relationship with Ethiopia. Smiles wants NOTHING to do with Ethiopia and never has since he’s been with us. He tells us Ethiopia is yucky and no fun. He shoots us dirty looks if we talk about Ethiopia and pretends like he remembers nothing from his time there. Diva likes to tell me stories of her time in Ethiopia. She likes to look at pictures of her birth mom and tell me about her family members. Just recently, however, she’s also started giving me dirty looks if she overhears me talking about Ethiopia with someone else. We don’t really know how to handle these situations so we just let them take the lead. We don’t force them to say nice things about Ethiopia, but we never speak negatively of their home country and will continue to do all we can to make them proud of their heritage. It’s great that they’re happy here and proud to be American- they want American flags for their rooms- but we want the whole family to honor and respect Ethiopia. We suspect that will take some time and maybe some therapy.
Life’s not perfect…tonight Smiles threw a 15 minute fit and told us we weren’t his mommy and daddy because we told him he was done with the iPad…but they get over these things so much more quickly now. We have a pretty good vibe by now and by the end of the night we were allowed to be his parents again.
Cheers to six months!