Thursday, January 7, 2010

Careful what you wish for!

It was all fine and dandy when she was being cute and tossing coins in the fountain across from our church each Sunday. The melt-your-heart “I want a little brother!” wishes were enough to choke up anyone with a working soul. We let her do the wishing, and kept to ourselves the plans unfolding for Eli to come and live with us. Once we knew it was going to happen, we told her and she was thrilled and eagerly helped us get ready for his arrival. Oh sure, there were rough moments (such as the “you’ve ruined my life” outburst) but for the most part, the transition has been pretty smooth.

Christmas break proved a little stressful for all of us, Anna included. The stress of the pre-school Christmas Party circuit was taking its toll (which began mid-December by the way); as was Anna’s desire to be on Santa’s good little girls list. She was doing her damndest to be good, but each day it became harder and harder. We decided that at about 5:00 pm or so, she just simply runs out of good. She also completely won me over with her exclaiming one night that “Plankton was in my brain!” a great excuse from an episode of SpongeBob where Plankton gets in SpongeBob’s head and takes control of his body and brings havoc to Bikini Bottom. It’s really hard for me to get mad at her when she drops a great excuse like that, especially such a great pop culture reference such as SpongeBob.

Add a helping of sugar, an insane holiday travel schedule, no day care or preschool and you have a recipe for a Category Five Preschool meltdown. It happened last week, right before the New Year. Cabin fever was setting in as was holiday fatigue. Little things were causing big problems. If you’ve ever watched VH1’s “Behind the Music” there is usually a moment in the show when the narrator says, “and then things began to fall apart.” Well, if we had a narrator, those words would have been uttered for us as well. The screaming, the yelling, the throwing of things and general bad behavior made for one very stressful night here on Greenwood. Thankfully, it was winter, so our doors and windows were closed and no one could hear the symphony of chaos coming from our kitchen. I don’t remember what triggered it, but it happened. Eli did something, Anna reacted, Anna got the time out, and the screaming began.


As the older sibling, I can relate to her feelings. The younger kid is usually nothing but trouble and pretty much ruins the idyllic set up you have with your parents as the only child. Oh sure, we talked about this prior to Eli coming and warned her that she would have to share her toys, her house, her Daddy and Papa, but that warning seemed to have been forgotten when the above was screamed at the top of her lungs. I looked at her and said that I felt her pain, and that little brothers were annoying. We both laughed a bit, and I calmly told her that we could not return Eli as we forgot to get a receipt.

Tod, the second child in his family, got a bit defensive (I believe he actually punched me) as Anna and I bonded over this issue and curtly pointed out that this same meltdown probably took place with me and with his older brother Scott when we became big brothers. I doubt it. Scott and I are totally rational beings; we’d never do anything like this.

When the process began with Eli, we had hoped that his adoption would be finalized by Christmas, but the six month wait period ends in January instead of December. Our social worker had asked to have it pushed u p to December, but we were asked to wait. We’re okay with that, as some of the best gifts of the holiday season are the ones you get after the mad rush. The ones you can take your time with and enjoy without all the insanity of the holidays. Even the gifts that come without receipts.