Sunday, November 9, 2014
Who and What It's All About - Weston
Last night my kids fell asleep in my room late at night after a Saturday evening blowing up soccer balls for party favors and watching bad kid sitcoms. Both of them prefer still to sleep in my room on the carpeted floor rather than in their shared bedroom. They are sharing out of preference--we have a room for each, but they are scared since moving here of sleeping alone. The separation anxiety is worse for one than the other--he will follow me from room to room, always calling out if I disappear for a minute into the laundry room or bathroom. He is terrified of being lost, even in his own house.
As I do most nights, I woke in the middle of the night, anxious about various things. I gave up sleep after a bit, and turned on my light. I had forgotten for an instant that the twins were in my room. As I looked down, there was my son who had spent his first five years of life as a complete dinosaur obsessive. He knew the names of about 40 dinosaurs, knew their eating habits, their tracks, their eras. His favorite was triceratops, and his frequent companion was Triceratopsie, a green tri- he had chosen at the Field Museum of Chicago one Christmas. Sadly his love for dinosaurs started to diminish in the last year until at the age of seven, he loves them out of habit, not depth of feeling.
Last night he chose Triceratopsie from the 10 or so stuffies on his bed, and here he is, curled up around his favorite, sleeping like an angel on his dinosaur pillowcase (mom is cheap and has not upgraded to Pokemon or Avatar or whatever) having read his dinosaur book. He sleeps on top of a quilt I had made from his infant rompers--a lovely Brazilian woman made one for each twin-- and tucked into a zebra blanket--his favorite animal from safari last year.
My kids turn 8 on Friday. I am filled with love and regrets for this fact. Let's be honest here--the first three months here have been filled with intense joy, huge changes and great learnings. And sadness--separations from close friends, from the only place they remember in their consciousness, and from their father, who spends more time in Brazil than in the US. For now. Hopefully he will be with us more often shortly. And I've been stressed out--yelled a bit more, lost my patience countless times, and cried tears of frustration for not being able to do everything I want to do.
So what is this move all about? Why are we here? We are here for me and for them. I still feel like I can be a better person here in the US than I was in Brazil. I don't know how to explain that. I am happier here and more relaxed. We are doing the best we can, and it's not half bad.
When we adopted our dog Coal a month or so ago, the foster coordinator said to me that I needed to set him up for success. As in don't leave him alone outside the crate and then have him eat the couch. Then you won't want to keep him. Don't let him off-leash in deer country--he may run after them. How do you set your kids up for success? Let them sleep on your bedroom floor (don't worry Nana, I'm not on my way to Chicago). Let them wear their Brazil shirt four days out of five. Let them explore the wild without saying "watch out, there are ticks in the woods!" I'm letting them be.
And celebrate eight. Happy birthday, my little Brazilian-Americans!