Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hide and Seek

It's been awhile since I posted anything. Life's so normal that there's nothing new. Tonight we played a game of hide and seek. Enjoy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Six Months Thoughts

It's Martin Luther King Day. For some reason it takes on a little different feel this year. I wonder why? (smile)

I spent a good part of the day thinking about civil rights. It's so absurd to me that we separate from others because of color.

I can't imagine Bethany and Kailey forming a "White Daughters are Better" group any more than Neti and Meke forming a "Black Kids Alliance for Rightful Place in the Family".

They're our kids. All of them. None any more than another. I'd die for any one of them without hesitation. It would break my heart if they somehow lost sight of family and started separating themselves because of the amount of melanin in their skin.

Is that what God sees when we do the same?

On a more personal note... Time has flown. As of January 15, Neti and Meke have been part of our household for 6 months. Although life will never be the same as pre-Ethiopia (we don't want it to) some of the things we gave up temporarily for the sake of stability for Neti and Meke are slowly finding their way back into our routines.

For example, Aunt Pam gave Rhonda and I our first date in six months by taking all four of our girls overnight (also Neti and Meke's first sleepover). Almost everything for the last six months has centered around the new ones in the house. We're trying to learn what it means to be husband and wife again.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Neti and Meke's interaction with food has changed.

When we first brought them home from Ethiopia speed and quantity were priorities. They'd stuff their cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter while holding as much food as possible in both of their hands. And MAN, could they eat! Meke was, for at least a few months, by far the biggest eater in the family.

We seem to be in a different phase. SLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW.

Take tonight. We had pork chops, applesauce, and dinner rolls. I finished first. Then Bethany. Within a few minutes everyone was finished except Neti and Meke. They had only eaten about half of their pork chop and part of the applesauce. As the rest of us dismissed ourselves from the table we reminded them of the obvious.

"Neti. Meke. You need to eat."

I drove Bethany to basketball practice. When I got home I took out the garbage. Then Kailey and I went to the attic to retrieve the dozen or so Christmas totes to start de-holidizing the house. We had half the tree stripped when I caught a glimpse of the girls still nibbling away in the dining room.

It had been nearly 45 minutes since the rest of us pushed away from the table. Both of them had finished the pork chop but had half a bowl of applesauce and an entire roll left to eat. How long was this going to take?!?! And what in the world had they been doing this whole time?

If you know me very well you know this drives me crazy. I view meals as interruptions. To me, eating is equivalent to filling the gas tank (and only slightly more enjoyable).

I gave Neti and Meke a two-minute warning. They picked up the pace significantly, knowing that Daddy would follow through. I counted down the last 10 seconds aloud. When I hit "5" Meke smashed the entire roll into her mouth. Simultaneously, a thought entered my mind. "Is this effective parenting?" I ignored it and kept going. At "zero" both grabbed their plates and took them to the kitchen and headed for the then-naked Christmas tree to help out.

Ten minutes later both of them were hungry.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Be warned!

Should you be considering an Ethiopian adoption, the child you end up with may carry a predisposition for ice.

Granted, we don't know if this cultural, genetic, or just novelty (Neti and Meke report not having ice in Ethiopia). What we do know is that ice is to Neti and Meke as ice cream is to most other kids. A bowl of ice would more than suffice for dessert. We're asked for ice on almost a daily basis. "No water, Daddy. Just ice!"

Sounds silly, but it's not. Neti takes ice especially seriously. Tonight after yet another round of tears concerning ice, we found ourselves doing something that's becoming increasingly familiar - we made yet another rule concerning ice-usage:

"Any and all ice consumed before bedtime must have ample time to melt before tooth brushing commences." In kid language: "No ice right before bed."

This is, of course, in addition to the other ice rules (no ice without cups, no more than three cubes per glass, no ice in the basement, no getting ice without permission, always sit when eating ice, one piece of ice in your mouth at a time, don't bite the ice, etc.).

If any of you have been there, I'd be interested in a comprehensive list of ice rules. Have we left anything off?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scary Movies

Many parents we know are indifferent about what they let their kids watch. Not us. It's not uncommon for Bethany (almost a teen) to call from a friend's house to ask me to check the internet about the appropriateness of a movie everyone wants to watch. More than once, that simple call was enough for her friends to change their selection without much (if any) overt pressure.

I'll admit we're pretty conservative in what we allow into our kid's passive gray matter. But we've further edited our intake since the arrival of Neti and Meke.

For reasons we're not too sure about, neither one of them has shown much stomach for anything scary. Our scary movie pile now includes the likes of Ice Age, Toy Story, and Bambi. Finding Nemo is now classified as a horror flick (it has sharks, a bloody nose, AND the pelicans try to eat the main character!).

A trip to Daddy's lap is common if the climax of a DVD is more intense than "Oh no, Alpo has lost the letter M".

About a month ago a Rated G new release from the video store sent Neti screaming out of the room with her eyes covered. She sobbed for 10 minutes with her head buried in her pillow before regaining control.

It's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Is it simply that American kids more desensitized at a young age than Ethiopian kids? Or does the cartoon conflict on the screen somehow trigger bad memories? We haven't detected a pattern. In the meantime we still filter their input.