Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How's She Doing?

Overall, Zenebesh is doing amazingly well. I can't believe she's been home a month already. She started preschool this week! My Mom stayed with her the first day and for half of the second day, and even when this "transition period" is over my Mom will still be close by because she teaches Aaron's class in the room next door.

The attachment process is just that: A process. It takes time and lots of intentional bonding efforts but it is a beautiful thing to see develop. I was so excited this week because Zenebesh gave me a spontaneous kiss for the first time. She just wrapped her arms around my neck, kissed me on the cheek, then flashed a huge smile! The whole attachment thing can be hard for me as an older sister because I am definitely a "nurturer" and it is easy for me to fall into the mothering role. Especially after being in charge of so many little ones in Mexico this summer my instincts are to take care of kids, yet I know that I need to let go of that on some level and allow Zeni to attach to my Mom first.

For example, my Mom spends a lot of time feeding Zenebesh from a "bottle" (aka sippy cup), which is a really good attachment exercise for many reasons. Zeni loves pretending that she's a baby and for a girl who is normally very head-strong and independent, it is good for her to allow herself to be taken care of. However, she loves doing this so much that she will often run up to me with her sippy cup and say "Zeni, Kelsey's baby!" and want me to feed her. If my Mom is around I just redirect her and say "Zeni's Mommy's baby! Let's go find Mommy!" which usually works well. It's harder when my Mom is busy--I don't want her to feel rejected by my refusing to feed her so I usually resort to the art of distraction and try to get her interested in something else.

If you read the first few posts after Zenebesh came home you may remember that she had two primary fears: Dogs and snow. I am thrilled to say that these fears have been faced and she now loves both dogs (wushas) and the snow!

This is her "KOWSEY [insert scream]!" face which can be translated to "Kelsey, I need you to pick me up NOW!". Like many kids who are adopted as toddlers, Zeni tends to use screaming, crying, fits, etc...to get her point across. She is getting better with all of that every day and I have no doubt that when she gets a better grasp of English and is able to communicate more easily with us that she will develop problem solving skills that are less painful on the ears :)

Aaron is definitely struggling with the new dynamics. Whenever I see this next picture I feel a wave of guilt rush over me, because he had to actually ask me to take it. I had been so busy documenting Zenebesh's first time playing outside in the snow that I didn't realize Aaron was watching and wondering why I wasn't paying him any attention. Ouch. The poor kid is used to me completely doting over him--even my grandparents lecture me about "spoiling" him too much, although I prefer to use the term "nurturing", and he has always had me completely wrapped around his little finger. Now all of a sudden he has to share all of this with a demanding little girl who screams "ME Kelsey" and literally pushes him away every time he gets close...it's really not fair. He was coloring the other day and told my mom he was making an "angry picture". My Mom asked him what the picture was angry about and he replied "sisters!". Then my Mom said something along the lines of how hard it is to have a new little sister come and change lots of things and he just burst into tears and curled up in her lap. I know things will get better, but to be honest right now I'm feeling pretty guilty and wishing I was better at balancing the needs of both Zeni and Aaron. If I was to use see-saw imagery, Zenebesh would definitely on top right now and that's not just fair to Aaron! Maybe I will sneak him away to my house this week to bake cookies or something.

Despite all of the struggles, it is a **JOY** to have Zenebesh in the family. She is beautiful, fun, spirited, sweet, loving, and hilarious. Sometimes I can't even wrap my mind around how much of a gift I have been given in my family--sibling bonds are so strong and unique, and I have EIGHT of them! Eight people to love and eight people who truly love me. It doesn't get much better than that...


Andrea said...

Wow Kelsey, what an amazing young lady you are. Your family is so very blessed to have you as a daughter and sister. I love how you have such a love for your sibs. You made some really good points about Aaron. That often times is easy to do when a new addition comes to the family. I am so excited to read all the great stuff about Zene and her adjusting. That is really good. RE: dogs. Biruk is still horrified about the dog but I am sure it will change very soon. And thanks so much again for the video. Zene made Biruk's day.

Adopting1Soon said...

I think you hit the nail onthe head about special alone time with Aaron> I bet that would help him know he is still your special guy.

Susy Q said...

What a brave little girl!! She's absolutely adorable.

Signe said...

Kelsey, I got your note on my blog. I have several pictures of Zenabesh and Nesradine. I think they spent a lot of time together. I am so grateful for blogs, our kids can see each other and know that they are doing well. I will stay tuned as we get Nesradine home so he can see his friend.


Annie said...

I haven't commented in a while, but I (the random stranger who says hello sometimes) still come by occasionally and read your posts.
Zene is adorable and I love your approach/attitude to bonding and becoming a family.