I mentioned during Kenny's first week of school that an incredible coincidence had occured and by chance there happened to be a Kyrgyz exchange student working in his class who attends the local small high school nearby. Dinara has been in and out of his classroom all year long, and I will ocassionally hear about her exploits at home.
An interesting question came from Kenny this week. He asked if Dinara had to go back to the Detsky Dom (orphanage). It seems that all along, he was under the mistaken assumption that Dinara was an orphan like he was!! So I explained to him that she had a family to go back to that loved her very much, that she was only here for a visit for the school year. He thought about that for a moment and then asked if he was ever going to have to go back. Of course I answered "No Way!", but I was taken aback for a moment as I thought that all along we had been doing a good job of helping him understand how permanent a family is, that this was his home forever. And then sometimes I forget it has only been 9 months, and although it feels he has been with us forever, he has only been with us 1/10th of his life. I guess he ought to be allowed to be insecure about things now and then :-)
Kenny has one alst first holiday to experience with us, Easter. Then he will have had them all. We excitedly colored eggs tonight and ended up with only one broken one out of 30! Joshie dropped the first one within 5 seconds of holding it, but otherwise the rest held up fine. Kenny said that they did do something with eggs in Kyrgyzstan but couldn't quite explain it and he didn't seem to know anything about the Easter Bunny or about the real meaning of Easter.
We have had a fantastic month or so with Kenny, but the past week has seen us revisiting some of the control issues, albeit on a much smaller scale than in the past. He still likes to run the show sometimes and expects to be able to do things his way. But we haven't had as much of the pouty behavior as we used to have at moments like that. He also has reverted to a little more baby talk, showboating, etc. just like a typical 4 or 5 year old...but at 9 there are moments when that gets frustrating. Luckily it never lasts and the times like that are growing shorter and shorter. We realized that certain things we had allowed were exacerbating this...such as letting him have control over making his own breakfast or selecting all his own clothes all the time. This may sound odd as any typical 9 year old ought to be able to do such things, but for Kenny who still needs to learn that you rely on your parents to meet your needs, it was a way for him to have control that he doesn't need at this stage. So during a particularly bad spell about 2 months ago we took away certain priviledges and told him that he would now wait for us to make him breakfast every morning instead of getting it for himself, that he could pick out his clothes but if we didn't agree he would have to change them (sometimes inappropriate for the ocassion, nothing big), that he couldn't tell Josh what to do...that was our job. It seems to have worked really well, and he definitely started to understand what parents are for.
So though we have our ups and downs, it is mostly ups with a few downs rather than the other way around. And maybe by the time we hit the year mark, Kenny won't have to ask if he is ever going back...he'll know in his heart that he is here to stay.