Today marks 8 months home! Last night The Husband was sitting on the couch, the three big kids draped across him, and he said “Jayme. I wish you would have been in Ethiopia with us. This moment was unimaginable.”
It’s true, the kids have come so far so fast. Language, for one. Language was such a big deal in the beginning. We couldn’t communicate AT ALL. Simple things like why we stopped at stop signs or washing hands before eating were impossible things to explain. Now I can’t even remember the last time we couldn’t get a point across. It may take a few tries, and some of the things they say are not grammatically correct, and they often stutter or repeat themselves while thinking about a word, but folks, we are communicating! And they are becoming confident. This week Diva forgot to bring her dance shoes to dance class (she ALWAYS keeps them in the car, but had brought them inside and I had no clue). I went to tell her teacher and Diva told me she would handle it. I watched as she marched in, greeted the teacher, and said “I forgot my shoes” as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I was so proud!
Speaking of dance, Diva had her first (mini) recital today. She ended up positioned front and center. Have you ever seen a cuter snowman?
Diva also had her first birthday party last weekend. A little girl in her class had the party at a gymnastics gym. I stayed for the party and my heart swelled as I watched Diva run around with all her little friends. On the flip side, nearly every day Diva comes home and says so-and-so was being “very mean” and so-and-so “is not my friend.” Isn’t kindergarten too young for girl drama?
Diva can now count to 100 by 10s. We’re still working on counting. Most kids her age can count to at least 50 if not to 100 and she’s not there yet, but we do a lot of counting in this house so I know she’ll be there soon.
Here are the books Diva’s teacher sends home.
(In full disclosure, this is one of the harder books.) We have close to 2 dozen of these all over the house and all 3 big kids practice reading them. Watching the kids learn to read is really interesting from an educational standpoint. We all know that it’s easier for kids to learn things than adults, and the younger one is the easier it is to learn. But watching that happen in real life is fascinating. Our house is pretty much an education lab. Little Wiggles is really benefitting from the older kids learning to read. His little brain is so young, it’s making all these brand new connections, this is the only language he’s ever known, and he’s learning these books even faster than the big kids. Diva picks up the books fairly quickly. She will sound out words she doesn’t know and really focuses to get words right. She can get through most of the words in most of the books. And Smiles is struggling to pick up the books. When he doesn’t know a word he’ll just guess, and often the guess has nothing to do with and no similar letters to the word on the page.
But for as much as Smiles struggles with reading, he really picks up everything else surprisingly quickly. He’s got addition with carrying down! One of his homework problems this week was 477+329 and he did it 100% by himself- and that’s his normal classroom homework, not his special tutoring homework! They’re starting to lay the foundation for multiplication and division and he’s understanding that better than I would have guessed. He is learning how to tell time on a clock and seems to enjoy science.
Last month I told you how we were struggling to discipline Smiles. He is one high-energy kid! He’s not a bad kid by any means (in fact he’s pretty awesome), but he just has oodles of energy and if it’s not effectively burned off he can be really difficult. And if we start to lose patience with him, he spirals downward and we spiral downward and soon the whole situation has escalated over something minor like asking him to put his shoes away. We made a conscious effort not to lose our patience with him and to not react to his outbursts, and I am happy to report that it has been working! We still have some rough spots, but overall our attitude and his behavior are much improved.
He had his first basketball game today- a double header actually- and they won both games! It doesn’t appear that Smiles has the natural talent for basketball that he has for baseball and soccer, but he really enjoys it.
When you first adopt kids you kind of feel like you’ve taken on an extended baby-sitting gig. The kids are living in your house, drinking your milk and peeing in your toilets, but they don’t really feel like YOUR kids.
Until they do.