Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tues. April 6

David asked me last night when I'm going to stop this adoption journey blog. I decided that it should be at the end of this first week home. There will be many challenges ahead, since the journey is really just beginning, but this blog does need to end. My intention is to add a ton of pictures to compliment each entry, and then "blog to book." I hope that a published version of this adoption journey will prove valuable to the boys later in life. So, let me blog about yesterday and today. Yesterday, Connor had schoolwork to do, and Cheng, Austin, John and Ben got to play. It was hard on Connor, but he missed 2 1/2 weeks of school and he simply has work to finish. Connor, Ben and I left the house for Tae Kwon do at 12:30, went grocery shopping, and picked up Connor's guinea pig. The three big boys hung out, watched TV, played pool, played ping-pong, drove the riding lawn mower (blade up) and just "chillaxed." By the end of the day, they were all pretty bored. I'm letting the kids watch a whole lot more TV (DVDs--we don't have regular TV at all) than I normally would, only because people tell me it helps with language acquisition. But even the kids grew tired of movies, thank goodness. I put Connor and Ben to bed early, and the three big boys and David went to go watch the basketball finale, Duke vs. Butler. Basketball is a big deal in our house this year, although I am completely out of that loop. This morning, Tues., I took the boys (John, Connor and Ben) to the college library to work with the Chinese/English teacher. Ben and I had a fabulous time digging through all the puppets, science kits, globes, puzzles, and other teaching manipulatives (on the educator's floor of the library), while John and Connor met with Meng. While we were playing, I noticed that Ben is making great strides with his English, repeating the names of all the animals and other toys. We read a ton of picture books together, and, in general, had a fabulous time. John sat with Connor and his tutor and just listened. Cheng (our exchange student) spent most of the day translating for John today. We are starting to make John repeat words in English now too (even when he resists). We know that too much translating will only hold John back from learning his new language. We don't want him to be a burden or too dependent on Cheng either, since he's leaving in a few months. Ben, on the other hand, is a little parrot. He is parroting everything we say, and he often points to things, tells me the name in Chinese, and then says, "Zhe shi shenme?" which means, "What is this?" I tell him in English, and then he repeats the English word. What a smart boy! Speaking of smart, today I printed (and Cheng translated) a math test for John. We want to see where he is academically, so that we can find an appropriate school for the fall. John scored at the 6/7th grade level in math. He is only one grade level below where he should be at age 14, which is great. He can easily catch-up. He's obviously intelligent, and we are confident that with extra help he will meet the age appropriate grade-level without a problem. And tonight John smiled and said hello to Alice (she delivered dinner for us!) which is a huge improvement. After dinner, Ben vomited all over the kitchen table. I told the other kids to turn their heads, and removed the offending plate, and replaced it with a bowl, that Ben also filled (and then another). Yes, Ben often reminds me of Austin. When Austin was little, every time he had too much of a yummy thing he ate it too fast (and too much) and he got sick. Alice brought us cupcakes and Ben wolfed it down (and it promptly came back up). No big deal though; all par for the course. At least it didn't set off a chain reaction!! A few minutes after cleaning up Ben, I told Connor to get a bottle of water so that we could head out to Tae Kwon do class and John readily understood the word water. He repeated to me, water--shway (however its spelled). Great! John is listening to our conversation and picking up a few words! Everyday we see small signs of improvement. Overall, although we know there will be many challenges ahead, things are improving. As David says, this is not a sprint; it's a marathon. We're in for the long haul.

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