Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Zack Says...

Z: I want to learn how to play the Jello.
Me: You mean the Cello?
We have put Zack in soccer a few different times because he loves it and asks to play. However, he is really funny because he will run towards the ball, give a little kick at it and then back away, like he's hesitant to really get aggressive and take over.

One night as Steve and he were getting ready to go to a game, Steve was giving him one of his pep talks.
S: Tonight, I want you to be really aggressive. I want you to go after that ball and kick it hard! I want you to take over and be mean and aggressive! OK?
Z: Well, I don't know about being mean, but I can do the rest of that stuff.
As our trip to China gets closer, a lot of people have been asking me things like: "Is Zack just so excited!?"

At first I would just smile and say "Yep!"

But lately I've just been telling people the truth, which is: he is nervous and worried and not very happy about the whole thing, to the point of not wanting to even talk about it. Here is why:

1. He is smart enough to realize that his life as an only child is about to be rocked.
2. He is peeved that he is getting a sister instead of a brother.
3. He hates drawing attention to himself, being stared at, talked about, laughed at, etc; and he realizes that our trans-racial family is going to draw attention.
4. He is nervous about the actual trip to China (we are taking him with) because he gets homesick and misses his pets terribly. Also, I warned him (I didn't want him to be in shock when it happened) that strangers in China might stare at him, get in his face and ask to have their pictures taken with him. (See #3) The horror!

In an effort to address some of his concerns with out actually sitting him down and talking it out (he won't), I went to the library and got some books about kids getting new siblings through international adoption. (In case you are wondering they were: Just Add one Chinese Sister, My Mei Mei, Waiting for May and Jin Woo.)

We read the first three and while they were sweet, none of them was really what I was looking for.

On Sunday, we had some time so I told him we were going to read the last book. It was the one called Jin Woo. It is about a family of three including a brother around Zack's age. They find out that the baby boy they are adopting will be coming to them the next day on an airplane. (Sometimes people opt to have their babies brought to them instead of going to the country but only a few countries allow this and I think it is 'no bueno'.)

The book is from the boy's perspective and he talks openly about how he is nervous to be getting a baby and how he doesn't really think it's that great. He's really nervous until they get the baby and he makes him laugh and holds him and likes him and decides he's great after all. It's very honest and realistic and similar to what I think Zack is feeling right now. I hope our story ends the same way, with Zack really liking his sister once he gets to know her.

At one point in the book the parents are pressed up against the glass at the airport trying to catch a glimpse of the baby and the picture shows the boy looking all sad. I asked Zack how he thought the boy was feeling, he said something about how the boy was feeling bad. I asked him why he thought the boy was feeling that way and he said very matter of-factly: "Because he knows his parents don't care about him any more, they just care about the baby now."

WOW! It was the saddest thing I have ever heard! I explained to Zack about how it's possible to love more than one person, he loves me and daddy and grandparents, etc. Just like that, Daddy and I have lot's of love to give to him AND our new baby. He started to zone out and look around and was NOT enjoying our conversation. Then he told me he didn't want to talk about it.


I sure do love that boy, but he really does push the limits of my parental creativity! Would it be too much to ask for this baby be an "easy" child? Probably, but one can always hope, right?

***If you have any experience with older children being upset about new brothers or sisters and how you handled it, I'm all ears!


Becca Jo said...

Oh man. That's really hard. Hopefully it won't be as hard as Zack thinks that it will be.

Eli is so excited to be getting a sibling but he has been much more snuggly lately and has said things about the baby getting all the attention.

I think the anticipation of change is the hardest and once it happens they will adjust just fine.

SalGal said...

We were really lucky that the boys kind of just accepted that there was a new baby and didn't have any problems with them.

I have heard of people that have the new baby give a present to the older sibling when a new baby arrives in the family. I am not so much a fan of that, but you have to do what works and is best for your family. Maybe if the little one has a little something for Zack he might think "Hey, she's not so bad!"

It may take time, but one way or another that sweet little thing will have him wrapped around her little finger and he will do anything for her and to protect her!

Good luck you guys!!! We're so excited for you!!!

IndyGo Wylde said...

Zack's a little older than Noni was when we had Wyni. I know that she was also a little worried that the baby would take up all the love and attention. We made a point of scheduling one-on-one time with her, while the other parent would wrangle the baby. Easier in our case since I was able to have Wyni the old fashioned way and we had several months of pregnancy (obvious to Noni) for her to see how the baby was growing. I think it's harder when there is no visual indication that there will be a baby. (Wyni was one of those surprises that stop adoption processes occasionally)I hope he sees that precious little girl and loves her the way my girls love each other.

Valerie S said...

Oh, poor Zach. He really does sound nervous. Maybe just stop talking about it will help. He now knows what to expect and maybe he just needs to kind of put the whole subject on the back burner until it's a reality. When I'm really nervous about something it helps to just not think about it. Good luck with everything. It sounds like an exciting journey to me!

Karen said...

Just thought I'd mention that Zack was really cute with Bobby today. Bobby was kind of checking Zack out and Zack was very patient with his curiosity. When I told him "Bobby must really like you!" Zack seemed amused and began talking sweetly to him. Bless his heart, change is scary for a kid, no matter what it is. I bet when all is said and done, he'll be an awesome big brother who loves his little sister.

Oysterblogger said...

yeah that would be hard. The trip will be good leaving him home and bringing his sis wouldve been worse so I hope he has fun and enjoys himself. You will have to do a big post or several after your trip. I am so excited for you. We me and the boys are taking a Chinese class one night a week. Its just a community thing at the elementary school but its fun and they both had fun! L is in tennis at that time. We will be excited for you as you embark on this awesome experience!!

Hemraj said...
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Stephen, Erica, Kalli, Ziek, Sky said...

St. Mark's Hospital has a class that older siblings can take when they are about to get a new baby. We never got a chance to sign up our kids but you might want to check it out. It's called Super Siblings:


You are such a great mom Diedra!