06 April 2016


I believe the kids are starting to figure out how to play together in ways they enjoy. Praise God! A little over a month past being home, patterns are emerging, but things are also changing. One of our daughters is now expressing a lot stronger emotions than she ever has -- today was fairly extreme, on the number and length of tantrums -- Stephen even said, "Wow, what is it even like when she does that?" because she's previously only withdrawn when she was upset. I am glad that she is feeling the safety to even let go, but it's really hard to navigate when she doesn't yet know many feeling words, and when I don't know what's normal little kid emotions, normal little kid sinfulness, and the not-normal big hurts she's faced in her little life.

For me, at least, I love the puzzle that parenting is; you get one piece at a time. I don't super love that you often get the bad side of the coin more than the good, since they don't have the skills and heart to utilize their strengths well. Ezra, for example, is an advocate. I know this because when Stephen and I are upset with each other in front of the kids, he always tries to mediate. Also, when one of his friends hurts another kid, he always goes to the offender and either yells at them or hits them. My little justice-oriented kiddo, hates the bad guys in shows and is always fighting them at playtime.

But you get those things in little clues that eventually make a building block in their little personality. Getting our girls at two and four, it's one of the only ways I really feel the loss of time (the other way is in attaching, but that's for another day). Here comes my Stella, and I don't have the thousands of hours watching her and interacting with her that give me those clues. And so I don't know if she's sulking because she's tired, or she's having a rough day emotionally, or maybe because her personality might be a little moody. I don't know if choosing her clothes is a Really Big Deal because of her background or because she's particular about things (my guess is currently the latter). Time will tell, but I would certainly know by now if I'd birthed her.

Mirah, too, there are things she does, and I'm really not sure if they're personality traits or adaptive mechanisms for the environment she grew up in. I do lean fairly strongly on the nature-side as far as personality goes, seeing as how I could tell Ezra and Judah would be very different before Judah was a week old. And they are! Right now just so incredibly different. Judah is more emotional than Ezra was at this age, but also more relational, and sweeter. Not that he isn't starting to dip is feet in willful disobedience (and by dip his feet, I mean he's taking swimming lessons in sin sea). As toddlers do; he just does it with the cutest little smile, the stinker!

All my kids are really different from each other; I feel like I'm eating at the buffet of parenting. :)

On Friday, the girls will have their first major doctor's visits (we had some struggles with insurance). I'm really excited to get them all looked over by a pediatrician who spent many years working with children in Nigeria. I'm also super excited to have their ages more correctly ascertained.

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