Let us say, for example, that you have something you would prefer the children not discuss at this precise moment. In our house, that list could include:
- Monkey Bars
- The book “Snuggle Puppy”
- Izzy’s upcoming birthday party
- Chinese class
- Rory’s Mama Deena and Baba Mike
The one thing we are guaranteed to talk about is exactly whatever you–or, in this case, obviously I–would prefer that we just not, at that particular moment. I am happy at any moment of the day to refresh your recollection on where babies come from or even what happens when we die (although that last one’s not a favorite), but there are times of the day when any of the above topics will result in screaming hysteria from one or another member of the household–and somebody always, always, always brings them up. And then, in a matter of fact way, rubs them it. But you’re not going to get to go on the Monkey Bars today. No, you’re not. You’re just not.
Rory likes to insist that things are not as they are sometimes. I see nothing wrong, myself, with letting this rest. Ok, I heard you, you’re going on the Monkey Bars. But no one else can let it rest until there is agreement–and admission of the inarguable truth: the Monkey Bars are at school, and this is Saturday, and no one will be going on the Monkey Bars. Often–in fact most often–it’s as innocuous as that, and although Rory’s a common victim it could be any of the younger three. Sometimes, though, it’s China-related. My Baba Mike gave me that book. No (from Lily or Wyatt, who PUT the book in the BOX and KNOW it came from here), we did! I did! I gave you that!
What a mess that can cause. It’s not always an argument. Sometimes it’s just something easier not brought up in the school parking lot. “You didn’t live here when we did that. You lived in China.” “Rory, do you miss your Bethany-friend?” “Remember when we were in the hotel, and we got Rory, and she screamed and screamed until she got to us?” “Remember when we had hockey, and Lily didn’t get ice cream after, because she was bad?” (That last is just to prove this isn’t a targeted activity.)
You know, there are no secrets here. It is what it is. Rory lived in China, now she belongs with us, there’s a whole saga to that, we all know it, it just is, and if SHE were to bring it up, suddenly, by shouting outside the bathroom door or asking about it just as the waitress is ready to take our order or whatever, I’d be happy to address it. But when it’s the others–and not a product of their own issues with same, those are different questions in a different tone–ooh, it really gets to me. And sometimes they totally DO rub it in, on purpose, or just by wrongly trying to offer sympathy, or putting the wrong twist on it–Rory likes to tell a story about how we couldn’t find her in China, she was “so far away” so Baba Mike took care of her and then we came to get her–and Wyatt helpfully adds “and now you’re so far away from Baba Mike, and HE can’t find you!” Ouch.
All those families in the books, holding back adoption info or refusing to discuss it–they must not have other kids, is all I can say. Because we talk about it ALL THE FRIGGIN’ TIME.
And just when I thought Ali didn’t need to mention and/or discuss (in a sad whiney voice) “Mami Nana” regularly anymore, Cupcake starts chanting MAMI NANA at lunchtime today. Thanks a lot, Cupcake! And every once in awhile, totally out of the blue, Wyatt will turn to Ali and say, “Do you miss your Mami Nana?” They just cannot let it rest.
Yesterday Zippy asked, “Will I ever be adopted?” to which J replied with a guarantee that no, of course not, he will never be adopted. Zippy finished the thought with an emphatic, “Phew! I am so glad b/c I would HATE to be adopted!” This was all while putting on coats & boots with his three adopted sisters.
i too am shocked when people don’t talk about adoption and china much…and how is that possible? i think when you don’t talk about it, it becomes a much bigger deal to the kid. or so says my non psychologist mind:)
regardless…our Yan Yao knows her adoption story already. at least on 3 year old terms. she knows she had a china mommy. and she knows we came on a plane to get her. and she doesn’t seem sad about this. yet.