Life in The States: Week 1

How do you properly introduce foreign children to the US?

Chick-fil-A and Target

They, of course, love both! Who doesn’t? There is good reason why both are full of moms with their children in tow. I had realized the boys were lacking a few items that middle sis had and might be envious. Shopping for backpacks and sunglasses was a hit. Keith said no to character bags, so they have “big boy” backpacks. He did give in on the sunglasses though because the boys based their choice on color, not the unknown characters displayed. Spiderman for Ivan and Spongebob for Garris.

They love their room, although getting them upstairs to see it for the first time was difficult because they thought they were being taken straight to bed. Love the playroom, but keeping them from climbing the shelves or from putting their little disastrous hands in the CD player looks like it will be a never-ending battle. Love their clothes so much that Ivan starts undressing every time he catches a glimpse of another outfit in his drawer or closet.

Not everything has gone as well. They acted as if I had just unleashed Cujo on them when I brought Simon into the playroom for introductions. For the first few days, they ran and screamed with terror anytime they saw or even thought he might be near. Relations are improving between them already. Ivan gives him kisses but also tries to pinch him. Deep down I’m pretty sure Simon knows their ingrained distaste for him. He’s taking the changes pretty hard, maybe worse than when Avery was born.

Carseats and seatbelts were also an issue. We actually had to pull over while one of them hyperventilated and had a mental breakdown on the way home from the airport. Now all 3 strap themselves in…once I got them to realize the physical repercussions of not wearing them.

The language barrier makes it hard for things to run smoothly, but not impossible. We model many things for them and often look ridiculous while exaggerating made-up sign language. Usually they get the general idea. However, if they don’t like something, instead of trying to communicate they pout. And, it’s ugly. One is verbal and expressive while the other silent and stoic. I’m pretty sure Garris knows what he’s doing because he mocks me when I ask him questions. And, Ivan shakes his little finger at me when he gets in trouble, as if he’s the one dolling out the reprimand.

They are adapting to our food better than I expected. I’ve coerced them into trying a few veggies. Even coerced WITHOUT dessert bribery. All they want to eat are bread and beans though. Pretty easy but not much variety. Oh, they like M&Ms. A few more items they’ve taken to: peanut butter (at least we’ll survive), pancakes (which they call injera), pasta, bananas, and nearly anything spicy.

Bedtime has been fine. Naptime is the struggle. I gave up and put all three in one room for naps, and I sit with them for the 2-hour duration. Bored to tears. I would sleep if it were possible, but rare is the moment when all 3 are quiet and still simultaneously. To keep me from weeping over the boredom, I take my phone and write most of the blogs. I’m a little behind…because I am using a tiny keypad and often my brain is just too darn tired to work that hard.

Other amazing new things: play dough, slides and swings at the park, bicycles, water sprinklers.

Peculiar things: they love dress-up shoes and other accessories, and while the movie Cars only held their attention for about 3 minutes, they are mesmerized by Tangled (the story of Rapunzel).

They started occasionally calling each other by their American names on our second day home. And, while they’re still working on Jesus Loves Me, they have the Clean Up song down and sing it at any mention of the phrase. That shouldn’t be surprising if you know what kind of ship I run around here.

I would equate the boys’ move here with moving American children to Disney World. Everything is new and exciting…and will likely be that for a while. It is nearly impossible to establish order and enforce discipline. But, eventually, we will find a norm. A new norm.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds exciting guys. It sounds almost exactly the same as what we went through a few months ago. The language barrier will end up being one of the easiest things you deal with. They will learn English so fast you won't be able to believe. It's funny...our boys are still afraid of dogs and they've been here 6 months. Don't worry about discipline. For now, just keep things under control. You're in the hardest part and it only gets better!