Friday, July 13, 2012


Dominick and I have had an interesting week, alone here with just Josh and Olesya.  In some ways, we wonder if it might be a precursor to our future life, as these are our youngest two and very well might be the ones home with us the longest after the others have long flown the coop.  They are also our quietest, in general, as Kenny and Angela are certainly little chatterboxes much of the time.

Has it been quieter?  Yes.

Has it been odd?  Yes. You can't go from 5 to 2 kids without it feeling a little odd.

Has it been wonderful?  Yes!!

What have we discovered?  That we live daily with delightful companions, who are so easy to be with, so gentle and kind, so thoughtful.  We discovered that our two unassuming children are indeed a little quieter, but no less deep.

It is easy to see that Olesya has no need to have attention or to be front and center (None of our kids really do, some just have stronger personalities) but she quietly shines. When alone like this with us, she does her thing, she entertains herself quite well even without others, and she is always, always involved in some project or another.  What has become more clear as the "noise" of the others around has disappeared this week is that this girl is far more intellectually curious than perhaps all the others!  Total surprise as we gradually became aware this week of just how often she quickly turns to the internet to research something she is interested in.  It is just about different subjects!

She spent an hour looking up images of cupcakes to get decorating ideas, looked up a breed of dog new to her and learned about it, made her own notebook for decorating, sketched out a business order form for cakes, watched a video about how to do something, and much more.  I guess I hadn't realized just how often she does this, but with there being far less chaos around here it was clear that this girl knows what she is interested and pursues knowledge about i regularly!  I loved seeing that and realizing she understands the potential of the internet to teach her anything she ever wanted to learn.  It is also fun to see the entrepreneur in her spark up, and it is going to be interesting to see how she grows in this area as both Dominick and I see a clear ability to operate her own business someday, as well as the desire to be "in charge" of her future.

We have been super pleased to see her fall less into the "I am the metaphorical dumb blond of the family" role, and we think her observations at church camp and our subsequent conversations about it triggered her to see that striving to appear to be lacking intelligence when you are quite smart is not the way she wants to live her life anymore.  I hope it continues!  She made a remark yesterday about worrying about being a mom someday and not wanting kids because she thinks she is not strong enough and will give in to them all the time because she gives in to Sunny too much.  That was actually a real sign of self-awareness for her, and we talked about how she has a lot of years to learn and grow before becoming an Mom...and why she often has a need to give in to others, including Sunny, in order to make people "like" her.  I explained about the roles we take on when in difficult situations, such as finding yourself living in a group at an orphanage and wanting to keep yourself safe and protected by catering to the needs of everyone around you so they leave you alone.  She admitted that she did that, and doesn't know how to be different now.  I smiled and told her "Just watch me!  Of course I want friends, but I have told you guys a million times that my job is not to be your friend but to be your mom, and that means you will NOT like me sometimes! And yet, you DO love me, don't you?"  She grinned and said "Sure we do!".

I told her to watch carefully and notice that just because someone might get mad at you temporarily, you can earn their respect and their love by being who they need you to be, not necessarily who they want you to be.  She got this thoughtful expression on her face, and stared out the window for a bit, then turned to me and said "You know, i never thought about that before!  I guess I just don't want anyone mad at me, but maybe they'd like me even more if I didn't always give in...or at least like me in that better way that is more real.  I need to think about that a lot."  Progress?  Hmmm...I hope so!

So what have we noticed about Joshua this past week?  He is 9 going on 30, and then 9 again.  He is this incredible mix of little old man inside a tender little body.  This is not new to us, we have seen the little old man since he came home all bristly and in self-protect mode at 11 months old.  He has always furrowed his brow in deep thought, he has always just been an old soul.  Well, now he is truly adult-like in many ways, even at 9.  I don't think I could keep him my baby if I tried to!  And yet, there IS the little Joshie inside, who still needs nurturing and STILL carries his blankie around with him in the evenings, this despite the fact that his friends are moving past that stage.  What is interesting is hi confidence in doing so.

When we chatted about that very thing yesterday. I laughingly asked him if he'd be taking his blankie to college someday.  He replied "Sure!  Why not?  Everyone needs something, and lots of older kids and even adults have a favorite pillow or blanket. It may look more like a grown up blanket because they are bigger, but I have noticed lots of people have something that makes them feel safer even as grown ups.  So what can't I have my blankie?  If others don't like it, that's their problem, not mine.  Remember Mom, I am really Libertarian so I see things differently."  Can I tell you how hard it was for me to keep a straight face on that one and not die of hysterics??  I love what he seems to have grabbed onto through our elections study, which seems to be very helpful to him and totally unexpected to me.  He has latched on to living his life independent of what others think of him, he seems to have found a guiding principle in "live and let live", and in the idea of personal responsibility.  This may serve him well as he eventually walks his own unique path and determines to care little about what others think about it!

It's funny because Kenny and Angela are deep thinkers in the ways which I can more easily relate to, but Josh is a tremendously deep child in very different ways.  Our conversation yesterday drifted into the realm of faith and God, the universe, etc. but was larger than I could even grab hold of, as it became a matter of science versus human's limited understanding of the world and denial that something must exist.  Josh just might be the most far left of the family in his beliefs, and that maye cause his faith to be the most expansive and less limited.  According to our discussion yesterday, God has no image whatsoever, other than he said "If I imagine God at all, for me God is the moon because it represents what we don't know about the universe either."  He is a complete biblical non-literalist as his scientific bent causes him to question all that is presented as fact.  What is so intriguing though, is that he "gets" symbolism and can apply it with faith.  Yesterday was the first time he really spoke clearly and firmly about his beliefs, and I can absolutely see him one day engaged in conversations using science and our ultimate inability to ever figure it all out to prove the existence of God.  He actually totally lost me for a minute as we discussed the infinite yesterday, and then he took it down to cells and the seeming infinite nature there that he compared to the universe.

Then, of course, there was the question he asked which I posed on Facebook last night about how we get a clone without both and egg and a sperm, which led into what traits a clone would take on which would be dominant...the female or the male traits.  Luckily, we quickly realized this is one to be answered by our retired Ohio State University professor who has been begging for time this summer to come teach a little about basic genetics.

And I keep thinking if this is 9 years old, what will 15 years old be like?

How quickly they grow up, this is the Summer of Maturing, I think, for we realize we no longer have any "little" kids but instead young people rushing headlong into adulthood, stretching and exploring, discovering who they are and what they believe.

It's the most fascinating thing to watch that I have ever witnessed, delightful in every way.  If we could afford more kids I wonder how anyone could NOT want to have 'em, for the sheer enjoyment of watching young minds expand and is the coolest thing ever!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your children are amazing as are your parenting skills. I ache for children whose parents don't hear or see or pay attention to them. I suspect there is a multitude of children who would think deeply, act creatively, find their future, live fully and wholly if...if there were even one adult who could be there for them. Of course, the more people who surround them with an acknowledgement of who they are and what they can accomplish, the more fully they can develop and shine.

Thanks for helping five children shine brightly and for being a part of so many other children's lives.

It's a delight to be a part of your village,