Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bragging rights--or not!!

One big thing I've learned as a parent of many years (our oldest is almost 29) is that I can't take credit (or blame) for how these kiddos actually turn out. I do my best, to be sure, but they are each individuals, and they make their own choices, and, really, they each had their own personalities from the day they were born!! My oldest, Leah, was colicky and difficult from day one. She was also amazingly brilliant. She skipped school for 1/2 her senior year and barely graduated, although she scored 100% on all her regents exams and a 1500 on the SAT, without any prep classes or effort. She eventually married a tattoo artist and lives a nomadic lifestyle in Arizona. She's happy. I should be happy. Or so my husband tells me. My second daughter wasn't brilliant, but she was fun and personable. Her biggest goal was to marry well, have fun, and not work any harder than absolutely necessary. She's succeeded. I should be happy. She's happy. I guess I'm happy. Our son, age 16, is just like me. Highly driven, almost obsessive, and a straight A student at an all-boys college prep-school. He runs 45 miles a week, minimum, wearing a 14lb weight vest. Yep. A chip off the ole' block. He's been buying and selling study guides, school supplies and contra-band-soda at school, and has now branched into an ebay business. He found an eraser on the floor in 7th grade, sold and traded all day,and came home with $25. He will do fine, with whatever he pursues. John, adopted at age almost 14, has more spit and vinegar than them all.!! This is a good trait in our house!  He spent the first 18 months fighting me, since he spent a life-time fighting for survival, and then he decided to get my help to start a business of his own. It's all good. Really. He's recently launched his letter writing and translation business, and I swear I spend 2 hours to his 1 coordinating his contacts. He is also writing a book about living in China and being an orphan. He's going to be rich someday.  John is simply amazing, and we're all very happy for him. Connor has been our "highly gifted" prodigy since infancy, and I home-schooled him for several years because he was so advanced. He's been working for a few months on his Itunes game App, to be launched next month. He took a John Hopkins University class a few years ago (age 10) in computer programming, and has been crazy about all that stuff since. Connor is a lot like Sheldon, on the "Big Bang Theory." Highly annoying, at times, and not always aware of normal conventions. Connor will either succeed, or just be weird. We love him just the same. Honestly, he brings creativity to our inside the box thinkers. Connor is a builder too. I took him to the lumber store, yet again, and yet again spent $100 on "stuff." I overhead the guy helping Connor ask, "What school do you go to? I like the way you think!"
Ben is just adorable,overall. Adopted at age 6 1/2, Ben is as smart as a whip, but he struggles to learn. We recently found out that Ben is dyslexic, which makes perfect sense. Hooray! Now we are empowered and we can get the help he needs. Ben is charming, outgoing and delightful, although he does have a temper at times. What will Ben do? What will he become? I can't wait to find out. All I can do is love them all, give them guidance, take them to church (even when they don't want to go) and PRAY TO GOD that they will be happy. Be happy my children. We love you all, so, so much.

Top Ten Things I've Learned as a Parent--REVISED

10. Both eye-rolling and fart noises are universally understood.
9. All kids believe their friends have it better. In the adoption circles, this is, "Mommy shopping."
8.  Siblings fight. I don't know why and nothing I can do will prevent it.
7.Kids are not grateful. Not foreign exchange-students, not foster children, not adopted children and not bio children. Get over it.
6. Block all international telephone calling. (We had a $700 phone bill from hotel in Guangzhou)
5. Internet must be 100% monitored AT ALL TIMES. Kids easily bypass all kidsafe software
4. All teens want to sleep all day and stay up all night. I still refuse to accept this one.
3. Kids want you to show them affection, just not in public. A pat on the head works wonders
2. 80% of parenting a is just being there, 100% of the time.
1. Sharing a weekly activity together goes a long way in building relationships. I run 5k races with them, take martial arts with them, and attend every game/event.
1. I  do the best that I can, but my children have their own free will and eventually make their own decisions. I cannot take credit or blame; they are all individuals.I need to be happy that they are happy.