Saturday, April 14, 2007

Equality under the law

I know kids are very observant about what they have compared to their brothers and sisters. And I know parents have to be careful about giving treatment as equal as possible or else endure hours or whining and tantrums and "It's not fair!!"

Luckily, our girls do not yet know how to say "It's not fair". But they are ultra observant about who gets what and they are world class tantrum throwers. At least Meron gives a little pre-tantrum warning when this ugly dark cloud sweeps across her face. My first reaction is to quickly replay the tape of the last 15 seconds to figure out what set her off and correct it before the meltdown begins.

I believe their sensitivity to disparate treatment comes from living in an area of great deprivation. Fighting with a rat over the last kernel of rice or with a vulture over the last shred of meat can make you street smart. I hope we can break this. Here are two of my favorite stories.

The toothbrushes. Meron and Emnet have identical (except the color) toothbrushes. The handles have big butt ends so they can be stood upright. One night, after brushing, Colleen stood Emnets brush up and I layed Merons brush on its side. I see the storm cloud coming, but I cannot figure out what caused it. Too late. The tantrum is in full swing. When I finally calm Meron to the point where she can communicate, she tells me I should have stood her toothbrush upright like Emnets.

The ketchup. The girls enjoy tater tots. One night while serving ketchup, I left a dollop and a little racing stripe of red up the side of Merons plate. Totally an accident and I did not give it a second thought. Emnet got just the dollop, and threw a fit. When we finally calmed her down to the point she could reason, she started finger painting her ketchup up the side of her plate to look like the stripe I had left on Merons plate. All Emnet wanted was a foolish little stripe of ketchup.

If I have to endure this much hell over a toothbrush and ketchup - what does a future full of cell phones, cars, cliques, hormones, mean girls, and horny boys hold for me????


The girls love medicine. They are always reminding us of times to take their medicines.

Unfortunately, with all the skin conditions they brought here, they have plenty of medicines to take - but still - I don't remember knowing any kids that so look forward to medicine and will make up reasons to get more of it.

Colleen and I have two theories (1) scarcity and (2) attention.

The girls had very little access to medicine where they grew up. People regularly died for lack of simple basic wound care, routine vaccines, or garden variety anti-biotic. So medicine was revered. People in their village probably thought of medicine as something extremely rare and valuable that only very wealthy people could afford.

In the orphanage, medicine time equalled attention time. A very pretty and kind nurse would take time talking to them, trying to understand them, and they got adult attention all to themselves. Also, the medicine worked. The kids learned that rashes, or diarrhea, or runny noses they had endured their entire lives would go away after taking medicine. Itwas a miracle. And to a kid, more is better, which is why they are always asking for more.

Friday, April 13, 2007

First snowman

Here it is mid April and we are still getting snowstorms. The good news is it stays light until 7:30 or later, so I can play outside with the girls after work.

Today we got 8 fresh inches of moist sticky snow. I was so excited about getting home and building a snowman with the girls. We did the best we could with them insisting that I not help. Stuck a few facial features on and a few sticks for arms. Added my hat and mittens, and viola, snowman.

The girls are calling it "Tinman". I look at Colleen like - huh? Colleen explains she and Grammy had introduced the kids to the Wizard of Oz while I was at work one day. And Grammy has this three foot tin man made out of coffee cans, which the girls really enjoy.

So Tinman it is.

The girls want to kiss the tinman, hug it, have photos taken with it. Meron built it a little snow toilet in which to go 'po-potty'. A little too realist for me.

Fast forward an hour and we're putting the girls to bed. They are all upset that the tinman will be outside alone all night. They insist on going to the window to blow him a kiss and leave the outside light on so he will not be in the dark all night.

Bottoms up baby

Meron recently became obsessed with her bottom. Maybe because she was always standing where she should not be (table, sofa, bed, chairs, vanity, bath tub) and I am always saying "On your bottom."

Anyway, we're doing out morning bath routine and she suddenly flips over on her belly and says "Bottom, daddy".

I said "Yes, there is your bottom.

She said "Daddy, Gella Meron bottom" (wash my bottom)

I splashed a little warm water on it thinking that would do the trick.

"No, daddy. Soap."

So I rubbed the bar of soap on her bottom for a second.

"Yes, Daddy. With cloth" She wanted me to use a facecloth, too.

I end up washing her bottom for like 5 minutes. All the while Emma is watching, and as soon as I finish Meron, Emma flops on her belly, looks up at me, and says "Daddy, bottom."

So now I am chief cook and bottom washer.

New Favorite Foods

I know. I've been a bad blogger. Between my job and tax season and the girls getting so active - no time.

The girls love meatballs. Love em. We go through at least one 100 count bag of frozen meatballs a week. Lunch, dinner, and bedtime snack.

Sherbet. The one indulgence we permit. No cookies, cakes, salty snacks, candy, soda, etc. Only sherbet. I can't decide whether they like the taste or the bright colors.

Granola bars - especially Nature Valley Honey and Oats. Toss up between these and meatballs for lunch. I swear they would slit their wrists if they could choose only one.

Orange Juice. Over two gallons per week. We buy the calcium fortified because they had a calcium deficiency when they arrived here. I guess I should test that assumption - lower legs that bent like a crescent moon might indicate a calcium deficiency, right?

Ketchup. On everything. Ketchup on ketchup. They look at each other like Beavis and Butthead when the ketchup bottle makes a farting noise. Cracks me up.