Thursday, July 26, 2012

FAQ Answered

I thought I'd answer the very most essential,
urgent question first.

When does Downton Abbey Season 3 kick off.
The answer is

January 2013.

Way too far away if you ask me.
But whew.
I'm glad we got that out of the way.
It was of utmost the the the world.

Q2: Do I ever want a girl one day. 

Now that....that is a loaded question.

The answer is:

Heck no.
Heck yes.
I dunno.

So glad we could clear that up.

But seriously?

I just don't know.

Girls scare me.

I don't know if it's because I don't have any so it feels like unknown territory to me?
or because we women are so stinkin emotional?
Or because I don't have a role model in that capacity? 

But seriously, ya'll are killin me with all the bows and dresses and Matilda Jane.


I often suppress the urge to buy some and hang it in my closet so I can just look at it everyday.
Question for you all along those lines:
Would it be wrong to have a child just to clothe them?
Because I am seriously considering that.

Just kidding, that was a joke.
Please don't write me a letter explaining how inappropriate that was.


So I really don't know.
I think I feel about a girl the same way I currently feel about adopting again.
I'm not thinking that will be the case but
if He calls me to it, ain't no way I'm saying no.
I am in the habit of not getting between God and His will for me.
He calls, I answer.
That's pretty much how we roll. 

Q3: The bedroom situation. 

No, not that kind of bedroom situation.
This isn't that kind of blog.

We live on base in a 4 bedroom home.
It is roughly 5,432 sq feet. 
Just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention since I was worried I lost you after answering the Downton Abbey question. 

It is roughly 2,400 sq feet.
And it works for us and we are incredibly grateful for it.

So 4 bedrooms: 
Brm #1 Our big kids(15 & 14) share a room. They always have. We split them up when we were stationed in California a few years ago and that lasted about 20 minutes before they were pleading to be in the same room again.
Brm #2 The twins(10) share a room, always have, always will, will probably also always want to. I guess when you start out life sharing a uterus; sharing a room is just natural.
Brm #3 John and I share a room. I can never seem to get my own room.
Brm #4 And the 3 Asian Sensations share.
Here is their room that I still haven't gotten around to decorating just yet. And I desperately try to ignore the fact that Jacob LOVES that blue plaid blanket on his bed instead of the super cute sports quilt that actually belongs there.

And seriously, please don't point out the empty spot that could easily be a fourth bed in that room.
I know it's there.
I see it everyday.

Here's what their room would look like if housing let me do construction in here:

And here's what their beds would look like sans construction if I had an extra $1,500 laying around:

So that's pretty much how we live.
9 people.
4 bedrooms.

Q4: What's the most important thing you've learned about and/or the best advice for parenting "virtual twins/triplets"? (children VERY close in age that become siblings through adoption).

Hold on.
I have to go pour myself a shot of whiskey a rather large cup of coffee before answering this one.


I'm back.

Whew. Well, I'll first say that I learned my lesson on this the hard way.
I'm still learning my lesson the hard way on this one.

First, as it relates to our twins who are only 14 months older than Jacob I did it all wrong.
Very wrong.
We brought Jacob and Joey home and proceeded to treat them just like we treat the twins.
Big mistake.
BIG mistake.

Though the twins handled the transition well, I was completely not respecting their birth order.
I somehow managed to fully ignore the fact that they were no longer the youngest yet continued to treat them as such.

This began to lead to tears and a bit of resentment started to creep in.
Thankfully, I caught it pretty quickly and made some incredibly simple, yet powerful changes in the way our family runs.
I bumped their bedtime up a half hour.
Jacob and Joey went to bed at 7:30.
The twins went to bed at 8:00.
And here's the thing, bedtime wasn't even an issue.
It wasn't something the twins had been concerned about, heck, they never even mentioned it.
But somehow, someway, this small act of letting them stay up a little bit later than them secured them in their new positions in the family.
Problem solved. Tears dried up, and they were thriving once again.

Here's the part that I have not yet figured out.

Jacob ~ 8.
Joshua ~ 8.
Joey ~ 8.

They are 3 boys all born within 7 months. Not 7 months apart mind you, but within 7 months.

One thing we did.....kind of by accident....but it's worked out respect their birth order(no matter how slight a difference) as it relates to their school grade.
We have 3 eight year old's in 3 different grades.

Jacob is our technical oldest and will begin 4th grade this year.
Joshua(4 months younger than Jacob) is our middle one and will be starting 3rd
and Joey(3 months younger than Joshua) will enter into 2nd.

This has helped with the birth order issue but is also, miraculously, right where they need to be academically.

Jacob is wicked smart, the smallest and youngest in his class and does exceptionally well.
Joshua is a typical 8 year old and he is right where he needs to be.
And Joey struggles a bit so we held him back in 1st grade last year.  He's the oldest and smallest in his class.

So this year we have:

(and 9th & 10th)

5 boys, 4 grades.
5 boys within 21 months of each other. 

It's a tad bit crazy but it works.

But here's the part where I struggle:

How the heck do I respect and nurture a birth order(as it relates to the youngest 3)that is separated only by mere months?

I haven't figured that out yet.
I haven't figured out how to perfectly parent 3 eight year olds who are at varying levels of maturity.......none of which fit the mold of your typical American 8 year old. 
A good friend of mine, (Hi Julee!) has twin 8 year old boys and it strikes me quite often when we are around them how immature my 3 are comparatively speaking.
They are light years behind their peers.
Light. Years.
But it'll come. I know it will.
I think I was just initially a bit caught off guard to see 3 & 4 year old behaviors coming out of my 8 year old's.
Patience Sonia.
So as we get to know each of them better we adjust and treat and talk to them based on where they are. Not based on their age.
It's parenting to their acting age. Not their birth age. And that seems to work.

The other main challenge we face with virtual tripleting is the "pack mentality."

Growing up in institutions they are very used to be doing what every other kid is doing at exactly the same time with exactly the same parameters. So this "group mentality" that the three of them have can be challenging.
And totally unhealthy. 
I wish I had a great answer.
But I am stubbornly learning that these things just take time.
They have lived with this mentality for 7 years before us.
To think that I can fully impress upon them their individuality in just a few months is naive of me. 

Our family is not an institution, nor am I running it like one
{so please don't write me a letter} :)
but what I'm saying is...for only 17 months and 9 months home...somehow this mindset they have has lead to a great sense{ironically} of belonging to them.
And I have learned to stop fighting it.
Because, for now, it works for them. 
As they all further settle in and find their footing they will, I know they will, begin to branch out a bit and the person who they uniquely are will begin to shine through.

They will realize that they don't have to have the same hairstyle.
They will realize they don't have to have the same socks on.
They will realize that they can each pick out their own pencil cases irrespective of what their brother's have chosen.
And heavens to Betsy just because one of you has to go to the bathroom does not mean that all of you have to go. I can assure you that your bladders are not synchronized. 
These are all things...and then some...that we are constantly working on.

We talk a lot around here about being you.
You be you.
You be who God perfectly created you to be.
And they are starting to get it.

You are you.
We are a family.
Each one unique, each one special, each one loved and each one important.

My coffee cup is empty.
And my brain hurts from thinking. 
Back tomorrow with mo answers to yo questions.

Post Script: The laundry has now made it to my bedroom. The designated laundry folding center of our home. It is still sitting in baskets at the foot of my bed. But hey, at least it made it up the stairs. 

I'm such a good mother.


  1. JANUARY?!! Our netflix trial expired so it's going to be a looonnnnggg 6 months waiting for news from my "other family" :(
    Do NOT, I repeat, Do NOT have a girl just to dress her. This is only possible for the 1st 2 years, ok, 1 1/2 years of her life. After that she will NOT allow you to pick her clothes and to add insult to injury she will pick the most hideous outfits to leave the house in. Lets not get started on the laundry girls leave in their wake. ONE girl will create at least as much laundry as 3 or 4 boys. They change their clothes no less than 4 times a day, leaving a trail throughout the house making it impossible to determine what's clean and what's dirty:) The whole accessory thing is another thorn in your side. By the time they are old enough to actually leave that cute hairband in their hair they decide that they WILL NOT wear them!!! Stick with cute, stinky, boys! You can dress them and cut their hair and they will always lurve their mamas! Sheri

  2. Great always!! We will have girls in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th grades. And when we get Linzi Rose MingShan home we will start her in Kindergarten. No offense to those who adopt two at a time, but it has worked great for us to space ours out and let them "find" their place before adding another. Just our experience..of course..we haven't tried adding two at once and my DH says we never will:(

    I would be scared to parent so many boys!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. We love getting updates from you, and it's the everyday stuff that matters the most. Your honesty is refreshing and inspiring. Keep on keepin' on!

  4. This is a great post (and as usual makes me smile and laugh) and gives me some good points to remember/think on. We leave in 4 weeks to go get our little boy (age 5). Good points to consider on working him in with our 'only' now age 7 who considers himself all of oldest and baby. :)

    would love to chat sometime...

  5. I am going to pretend I am amazed that you posted the EXACT same built in bed design that we have planned on using if we ever get the chance. But really, I am starting to see the similarity in our brain waves as commonplace. ;)

  6. We are in the middle or a couple adoptions and will have virtual triplets too! All 7 months apart too so at this point next year we will have a 5 year old and three 4 year olds :) We also have 4 bio kids ages 7-17. I am sure we will be busy but it will be great. I would love those bunk beds too but our rooms aren't long enough for them :) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh those bunk beds are tempting!!!!
    I love reading how other large family logistics work out! I get good ideas...
    Your boys are so fun! (we have 5! I love boys! And we have 5 girls! I love girls too! :)
    I love checking in on your family and getting a good laugh (and sometimes a good cry)...
    Bless you!!!

  8. So interesting! Especially the part about the birth order. Four of our boys are 5 and younger. One is 3, one is 4, and one is 5. (and of course the baby) Our 5 yo is cognitively and speech delayed, so both the 3 and 4 yo's have passed him. We are just going with the flow, and for the most part, things are working out well. But there are times when it gets difficult treating him like a 3 year old when he is really the oldest of our little "amigos." This is one of the things we are working on.

    And, yes, I did notice the vacant spot under the bunkbeds. ;)

  9. After 3 boys I have my girls...well now I have 4 boys...but yeah, they generally don't do well as dress up manikins. Mine came w/o hair...for about2 years! so the pretty bows had to wait.
    Boys are easier...smellier, but easier.
    But I do love my girls...oh and don't let me get started on how much DADDIES love their girls! Talk about SPOILED!

  10. Hi Sonia,
    You have a gift with words...thank you for sharing.
    Just a thought...Asian culture values community identity far more than we in the west do. Individualism is rather a bizarre thought that is very difficult for them to wrap their brains around. You are right, give it lots of time. Give them the idea of belonging in God's family, your family.
    Sharing rooms...good life skills come from living in close proximity:)
    Dreamy bunk bed ideas!!!
    grace and peace,
    Sarah Risley

  11. There are ways of watching Downton Abbey before January because it is actually airing in Great Britain in the Fall... and there are certain *ahem* European websites who post the episodes as they air in Great Britain. About the girl thing? I'm praying for a girl for you. Not because I don't love boys because I have one, and he rocks my world with joy... but it's seeing side by side how a little boy naturally acts... and how a little girl naturally acts... how they interact with each other, and it is FASCINATING. Fascinating in a good-but a little creepy-way.

  12. You have a gift.
    And you are such a good mother.
    Thanks for letting us tag along.
    And thanks for always making us laugh!
    Love & Blessings,
    P.S. And this mama of 4 boys and 1 girl says yep ... 4 boys are much easier than 1 girl! Louder, messier, smellier ... but easier!