Doing something right

Chris had stated in an earlier blog that the last time our Amharic-speaking friend Zac came over, the kids had plenty to say and were running out of fingers with which to point blame. But it's worth mentioning what was on their minds. Think about it, if only one person could speak your language and could translate directly for you, what would you say?

Here's what they were concerned about:

-Frustrations with the language barrier. (totally understandable)
-They drive with only one foot here. (there was then a brief discussion about manual versus automatic)
-Mommy drives slow Daddy drives fast. (that wasn't an observation, it was a complaint)
-We can't touch anything in the house
-They still say 'No' even after we say 'Please'
-The only thing we have a say in is which foods are served. (let me guess... anything as long as it's drenched in tomato sauce?)
-They make us go to bed and then stay up late playing on the computer and watching TV
-Mommy and Daddy are rich and yet they won't buy us anything we ask for.
-They must be rich because we have a big house, all we do is play at the park all day, and neither of them work.

You'll note the distinct lack of, oh say, "They beat me daily, please call the police" or "When I close my eyes I have nightmares so I haven't slept in 3 weeks." I understand that getting used to the American Way is a little jarring after coming from poverty, but I didn't realize it would be that consuming. At the end of Zac's visit, even though the kids were riled up and some buttons had been pushed, I was relieved. I don't know all the kids in America, but I suspect most of them have similar frustrations bridging the gap between what they want and what they have (and blaming their parents for the difference...) If Zac had turned to us and said, "Do you know your daughter is afraid of your toilet and has been sneaking into the backyard to take care of business?" I would have been mortified.

So I guess we're doing something right, although I'm hesitant to check behind the garage. ;-)

One last thing about Zac's visit that just puts things in perspective. When he came, he brought injera, the traditional bread of Ethiopia which is extremely difficult to acquire here in the States. The kids, however, received it lukewarmly. He asked them if they had had any injera since they came to America. They answered "Yes, at the Hilton." For those of you not in the studio audience, the Hilton to which they are referring, was back in Ethiopia. No wonder the 30 hours of travel was such a blur, as far as they were concerned, they were already here. I don't know, I just found that fascinating.

Oh, H's life lesson yesterday was learning that clenching up and screaming for Daddy while spinning too quickly on the get-sick-quick ride at the playground does not help you slow down, dropping your feet and dragging your heels is much more effective.

Today he learned the joys of having water in his ears. We had a great holiday hanging out with some friends getting sunburnt in their pool and on the trampoline. Our kids handled themselves very well both in the pool and with the other children. I handled my first cheddar-filled brat of the season very well, although not in the pool, nor did I share. This was the kids first time at someone else's house, other than Grandma and Grandpa, and they did really well which gives me hope for the party we're going to tomorrow and our first Sunday morning the day after. I'm sure Chris will be posting pictures later, but I hogged the computer tonight.


Anonymous said...

Ha! At least Y&H have an excuse for not understanding why they can't have everything and anything. Our child does not, and yet acts that way anyways.

Katherine said...

We have definitely had some of those complaints too. Mommy drives differently... Why do Mommy and Daddy stay up late when we go to bed? Seriously, I never remember complaining about that when I was a kid. Funny, though, we don't have too much of a problem with the buying stuff thing. The secret to that is don't take them to the store with you! Of course, not having t.v. helps enormously too. When they have more words to communicate, you can explain things to them about WHY they can't have everything they want. Lately Kai has been asking for a bit more, after seeing people he knows have 'fill-in-the-blank'.

Sherry said...

You are doing ALOT right! When God called you to this journey, he equipped you with EVERYTHING you would need to accomplish his plans! :)

I cracked up at the kids thinking neither of you worked. And on the driving, I was wondering if they were complaining about mom's SLOW driving or dad's FAST driving. Ha! What a HUGE blessing that you have met Zac. I am going to have to source out an Amharic "interpretter" in our town, for when we bring ours home.

Blessings! - Sherry Semlow

Amy C said...

My heart goes out to you guys. The language barrier stinks! Don't you just wish you could hug your children, tell them how much you love them, and to just trust you?? And wouldn't it be great if they did? It might be a little much to hope for though - The Lord hugs us, loves us, and asks us to trust Him, and I mostly do...but at 39 I still have my struggles!
PS: My 9 and 6 year old English speaking children have similar issues understanding me when I'm trying to explain why things aren't the way the expect them to be! :-)

Karen Frazer said...

Just catching up on the last couple of weeks. I laughed, I cried..... Welcome to parenthood. Lee, I have to tell you locking you out was classic. Come on, admit it. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Chris, don't worry, the world will not stop if you don't cover it in red sauce. Trust me, if they are hungry they'll eat. God Bless your awesome family.KFraz

Ellen said...

This sounds a lot like the friend my children had called "Everyone Else". Everyone Else's parents were perfect, and they gave their child everything. We never gave in to the pressure of Everyone Else, or their parents. Eventually, your kids will thank you for it. It may not be until they are adults, but it will happen.

Katherine said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. Karen has it right. You just stop serving the stuff with red sauce. They'll eat when they get hungry enough! We've had several hunger strikes around here. All of my kids are still alive!

Amy C said...

Maybe I should just stay out of it, but if the kids are liking the red sauce and you're happy to give it to them why take it away now? They've been home such a short time and maybe you have bigger issues to tackle first. But I can be a softy, so what do I know??

Yarnsmith said...

We're still giving it, but LESS, and less frequently. I want to give them at least one meal a day that they love.