Everything I need to know about parenting, I'm learning from a four year-old

Today was our first "full day"with the little dude. 11 hours straight. Some of you parents with one, two, three or more children, won't even blink at our 11 hour visit, but it was exhausting for us. For seven years we've basically had peace and quiet with just the two of us. A busy four year old can quickly shatter that silence...in a good way. Tonight when we dropped him off, I expected to be excited to return to a quiet home. But once we got home, the house was just too quiet. Little man's mini-CamelBak water bottle remained on the table from dinner and our towels and sunscreen from today's escapade through the sprinkler lingered on our back deck. The house just felt feels empty. I'm glad we're taking our time with the transition to move him over to our house (it's looking like he might be living with us by late July/early August), but the joy and excitement he brings to our house is incredible. Our visit today wasn't all unicorns farting butterflies--there were some serious good choice/bad choice conversations, a time out here and there, and some pure head-scratching instances.

Aside from common sense and what we've learned from our foster/adoption classes, I'm basically and idiot when it comes to parenting. Luckily, this four year old is teaching me all I need to know. Here's just a few lessons from the day:
  • Farmers markets are not as interesting to a lively four year old boy as they are to me. He was well-behaved after we bought him donut holes...(except for the small incident where he threw the last three on the ground because he didn't like them any more...and after Nate made him pick them up and throw them in a trash can)
  • Sometimes donuts ARE the answer. The minute we got to the farmers market he told us he was hungry and proceeded to tell us he was hungry every two minutes until we finally found a vendor selling something that wasn't green. 
  • Kids are messy; ergo, a house with a kid in it will not be spic and span. The kid tries incredibly hard (after he's reminded) to eat with a fork. But he's still at the stage where he has to steady his watermelon with his left hand and stab it with his right hand. Of course, the juice from the watermelon and the broccoli from his plate ended up on his arms, shirt, pants, chair cushion, and floor. Sampson has now taken perch beneath his chair during meal or snack times. 
  • Along the same lines, give a kid sand and it will end up in his hair. Little dude's foster mom sent over some of his toys (have I mentioned how awesome that woman is?! She could keep these toys for her little one at home, but she wants little man to be comfortable in this transition and have some of his own stuff at our place), one of which is a water and sand table. There's a little compartment for the sand and another section for the water. The two elements remained separate for about two minutes before he decided to combine them. About thirty minutes later I caught him dumping the sandy water on his beautiful, curly locks. And I did not stop him. I just let him rub the sand into his hair (don't judge me). A few minutes after that, he realized he could use that sandy water and some lingering dirt in the yard to make mud. And once a boy has realized he can make mud, there is no stopping him. 
  • Boys who say they hate reading simply haven't found the right books yet. Last visit I was thrilled to show the little guy all the picture books I'd been collecting over the years (including a picture book of Bob Dylan's hit song, "Forever Young") when he crushed my spirit by telling me he hated books, turning instead to his more "boy" toys. That night I purchased a kids collection of DC Comics. We read one today before his nap, and he was enthralled.
I feel like I could go on and on about what I learned today during our short time with the little man. I know we have so much more to learn, and I'm looking forward to all he will teach us. If you're the praying type, please pray for this little guy as he transitions. I know this is tough on him (conversations with him and some of his behaviors tell us it's tough on him), and we just want to do what's best for this kid. Pray that we'd find that very delicate balance between attachment and guarding our own hearts. Like I mentioned earlier, nothing is ever absolute with foster care/adoption until certain papers are signed, and we care a lot for this kid already. Pray for patience for us and strength in our faith and marriage as we increase our visits with little guy. And pray for his foster mom; she loves him so much, and I'm sure it's hard to see him transition out of her home. Pray also for his biological family, that they'd have wisdom and would make decisions based on his best interest. 

Many of you have indicated you'd like to help us out by purchasing things we need---here's an update: we will likely be putting together a more specified list/registry in the near future. We are waiting to see what his foster mom sends over, and the more he comes over, the more we realize what else we need. Once we get the list created, I'll post it on the blog. 

We truly appreciate the support so many of you have offered through prayers, kind words of encouragement, kid items, etc. Hopefully we'll be able to introduce him to some of you in the near future! 

1 comment:

Autumn said...

I always knew you and Mate would be great parents! This is further evidenced by the fact that you have used sugar a currency in a bribe and you let your little guy play in the mud. :) Praying for you!