Friday, January 6, 2012

Don't do anything the first week that you are not prepared to do forever!

The best advice I received (from an exchange-student host parent) is the title of this blog. I was just reading the book "No Biking in the House without a Helmet On" and I was reminded of this advice. The first big meltdown/temper tantrum the author had to deal with from her newly adopted daughter was when the mother told the daughter that she couldn't have soda, a week after they got home.  I immediately remembered that an earlier chapter described the pleasure everyone took when they all finally found a cold soda machine in the hot, hot climate of Ethiopia. I was also reminded of the first battles we had with John when we got home. In China, we spent a great deal of time just sitting around the hotel room. The weather wasn't great, and the hotel (The Garden, in Guangzhou) was in a high-priced boutique shopping area. I hate shopping. Consequently, we let the boys watch an unbelievable amount of TV. In addition, because we didn't know the language, we let them order their own food and drinks in restaurants, we let them sleep in as late as they wanted (to offset the boredom) and we stopped at fast food restaurants regularly. We all know that the rules change when traveling. We grab or do whatever is the most convenient.And we so, so, so wanted the kids to be happy and like us, and just be happy. We didn't want to be the parents who say no all the time. But even at the time, and I blogged about it, , I knew that I was making a mistake. I knew, even then, that John would have a "rude awakening" when he found out that we get up by 6am everyday, we don't watch TV (we rent movies for family movie nights), and we don't drink soda. Yep. It's been almost two years since the adoptions and John still tries to sneak soda when he can, and I still have to drag his butt out of bed every morning. The TV hasn't been much of an issue because we simply do not receive any stations!! According to John, he got up before 6am for most of his life and never drank soda before meeting us, and yet we are still finding that our "changing the rules" after arriving in America is an issue. So---my biggest advice to those who are adopting is.... "Don't do anything the first week that you are not prepared to do forever!"