Sunday, November 11, 2007

One Month, three days with MinMin

I've been waiting to update here, hoping to put more pictures on, but I had to save all my pics to a CD and haven't gotten them on the new computer yet. Today I tried to download the newest ones off of the camera, but something wasn't right, and they didn't transfer. Sooooooo, thought I'd write a little update in the meantime.

We have been home in Mexico for four days now....and they have been busy ones. We had a long drive from Mississippi, but all went well. For those from the reunion, Mrs. Sippi arrived no worse for wear. (She is a cute little black and white kitten we brought back with us. She will have her work cut out for her, as we trapped three mice the second night home. That was weird, as we usually have only one mouse at a time---or maybe we just think that we do!) We have had non-stop visitors since we got home. Everyone wants to meet the newest addition to the family. We are slowly getting settled in again.....LiAnne and MinMin in their new room, and Taylor in his. The kids get along well, though the two little ones tend to play together most of the time, as they always have done. They do like their big sister, though, and had a great game of hide-and-seek around the house tonight. We miss having Amanda here to play that with them!

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that MinMin worked while in her foster home last year. I can't know for sure until she learns English and can tell me, and even then she may have a rosier view of her year with the family in China. Since we have been home (and even before) she is always jumping up to help with whatever I am doing. She will clear the table and wash dishes, sweep the floor, mop, fold laundry, just always seems to be looking for work. So....I am trying to find the balance between having her help me and knowing that she isn't in our family as a maid, but as a daughter. I am also trying to teach her how to do things....washing dishes entails more than rubbing off the food under the running water---you need to use the sponge and soap all the time, even if it doesn't look dirty! She does a great job mopping the floor, though. I am trying to get her interested in doing other things so she isn't bored with nothing to do. Right now she is reading a book that we picked up in Guilin for her. Not sure yet what else she might like to do---we have the keyboard out to see if she might be interested in music, maybe drawing, sewing, we'll have to see.

There are so many things to teach MinMin. I know that many people say that you should just concentrate on the big things, and skip the little things like eating manners, but I disagree here. We are trying to work on eating manners. The slurping and burping have to go. I know that it is quite normal in China to slurp your noodles and hot food, but here it just doesn't go over well. I want her to learn to eat quietly so that she won't be stared at when we are out eating with others. On the eating front---she eats, and eats, and eats! She seems to like about everything, including tortillas and tacos, which is a good thing. She eats at least as much as Richard, or more. I do remember that Taylor ate like that for about five or six months--until he realized that there was always more food to come, so I imagine that MinMin will slow down once she realized this, too.

We have only had one run in over clothes. I ask her to try on the new jeans I bought her yesterday, and she said no. She didn't want to buy jeans while we were in China, and said that she had never had any. I bought her some in Missouri, but she hadn't tried them on yet. I just wanted to see if they fit, and for her to at least try them. So.....I told her no computer until she obeyed, and tried them on. She likes to use, a great website for learning letters and sounds, and we let her and the kids do that for a bit each day. A few hours later she asked if she could use the computer, and I said no. She went and changed clothes, so then I let her use it for a bit. This morning I laid out her pants, new shoes and three sweaters for her to choose from for church, and we had no trouble over wearing something other than sweats.

School starts tomorrow. I have given MinMin a math diagnostic test and have an idea of where she is. We are going to review multiplication, which she seems to know pretty well, as well as addition and subtraction to make sure that she has those down well. She doesn't know any division, so once we have reviewed multiplication, we will start that. I have also printed off some work sheets on telling time and greater than/less than. We will also start Enlgish with material that I have used over the years to teach English to Spanish speaking kids. MinMin is using quite a few English words that she knew from before, and seems to be quick about picking up new words. She greets people who visit with Hola already!

Hopefully I can get the pics up tomorrow.


sb said...

I am so happy to read that MinMin is doing so well. I agree with you tackling eating habits. I know it is not a big thing, but we also had to teach our 6 year old table manners soon afet coming home. She was very comfortable eating from anyone's plate to get her favorite parts of any meal. It was just not the way we share a meal. LOL. Good luck and I can't wait to see you pictures.

Anonymous said...

I also agree that you need to first look at the obvious things that need to be worked on ( like table manners) You mentioned slurping and burping but forgot my favorite ...SPITTING! Our daughter would just hocker onto the floor whatever did not suite her taste! Working on things like this will help your older child fit in socially. That is important for a child this age!
Keep us posted!
If you have any specific questions about being home with an older kid email me! I have been there done that and still doing it!
Linda T

Journey2LilyRose said...

Hi Starla,

I was so happy to see an update from you. Glad to here that you are back home and everything is going well. Can't wait to see some pictures and here more about MinMin's adjustments.

Good Luck to you all.

Lisa (AH)

Paul and Jackie said...

I check DAILY to see how Min Min is doing. Can't wait to see pictures of her settling. I am relieved to hear she seems to be happier and a bit more compliant. It will come. I bet as she develops friendships with other girls, she will want to be a little more like them in how she dresses, fixes her hair, uses table manners, etc. Have you ever heard her sneeze? Our 5 year old sneezes the loudest most hideous sound you have ever heard come out of such a small child. She seems to take much pride in how loud and obnoxious it sounds!!!:) Glad to hear you are doing alright. Please keep updating. I am definitely a follower!!!:)


Linda said...

I'm so glad to hear from you! I have checked your blog daily and was excited to see this new post. Our 8-1/2 year old daughter who was also somewhat resistant is also coming along, and we are starting to see hopeful signs of her really becoming a family member. Steady, daily progress.

Keep posting - I love reading your blog!
~Linda Shoemate

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear from you and see how MinMin is doing. I have wondered how you were all adjusting. It sounds like she will do just fine in time. You seem very patient which is what she needs. Firm, but patient. Please keep us posted and send pics when you can. Marie.

Jeanne said...

It is so good to read your updates. We brought our daughter home the month before you. Although I don't blog much about our struggles, just know there are folks you don't even know who are commiserating with you and praying for all of these kids as they try to figure out this thing we call family.

Incidentally, no burping going on here, but plenty of slurping, slouching and an assortment of other bad table manners. We are working on that issue too - how can you not??

Hang in there!

btw, My daughter has often been confused for a boy, especially in China and she didn't seem to mind. She has a better haircut now and pierced ears, but still her "walk" and posture often lend someone to think she is a boy.