Because young children cannot hide, hinder, or temper their emotions to the same extent as older children and adults, I believe the 'honey' of the honeymoon period for our family mainly affected mom, dad, and Sporty. While mom, dad, and Sporty were on their best (or best as could be expected on little to no sleep) behavior, Larry stepped up to the plate in ways I never thought possible for a four year old (even giving himself the title 'oldest kid in the house while Sporty is at school') and Moe and Sassy were literally battling it out daily for the position of baby of the family.
Fast forward eight weeks and our family now has a new look and feel. Larry, Moe, and Sassy have assumed their new family positions. Any struggle that they went through seems to have produced healthy sibling relations. Sporty has begun to come out of his shell and show us his true self. We have had several communication breakthroughs where I felt (at that point in time) we had made it to a new level in understanding each other. He is also more willing to discuss his likes and dislikes openly, which is great! However, it has also become apparent that (most likely due to the fact that he was one of the oldest kids in the transition home) he is not used to following strict rules, and instead acts as if they are only suggestions. Our best guess is that he was being taught to be a man and make decisions for himself in Ethiopia and now, all of the sudden, that autonomy (to some degree) is being placed on a shelf and he is assuming the role of an eleven year old Ethiopian-American boy. Big difference! Therefore, I always try to assess each situation from his viewpoint before making any decisions on how proceed.
We have had several occasions when, GASP, Sporty has decided to act like eleven year olds everywhere and do what he 'feels like doing' regardless of the rule. That, of course, was met with our strict adherence to the rule policy which was subsequently met with his pout and stomp off to his room act. Occasions likely to spur the aforementioned scenario are: vegetables at dinnertime (yes, they are on your plate for a reason), riding your bike on the neighbors lawn (because even though I realize some Americans are over-the-top about preserving their lawn by polluting the environment, we have the responsibility to teach you rules and boundaries), wearing a jacket to school (we now use a thermostat with an image of proper attire for the day to enforce the rule), and us insisting that he not throw chalk (or whatever object happens to be in his hand) at his brother's head (there is really nothing else to say about this one).
I admit it, in the big scheme of things, we have it easy. Yes, days are long, tiring, and chock-full of new learning experiences, each built upon the last, but we are doing exactly what we set out to do: provide a loving family and home (with rules, homework, and lots of vegetables) to children. Our children are healthy, thriving, adapting and overcoming at all turns. At night, after everyone is tucked away in peaceful dreams, I marvel at how far we have come in just a few short weeks. I praise God for giving us strength, courage, and wisdom and for helping us get back up when we stumble...which we do...almost daily!
Father God, I praise you for your faithfulness. Thank you for always knowing exactly what we need and for giving our children wisdom and courage beyond their years. I pray that each of them seek you always and that our family live a life that is pleasing in your site. As Psalm 19:14 states, I pray, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and redeemer." Thank you God for giving us your son to show us the way. We are eternally grateful. In His holy name I pray. Amen!