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!