Sunday, April 1, 2012

"I Like Boys"

It's been almost 5 months that Aria joined our family. Quite honestly, it feels like she's been with us a lot longer. It's hard to fully remember what it was like with just the 4 of us in the Reickard home.

The past month, we've seen definite growth in Aria. Although at times you can literally see the inward fight on her face and with her body language on whether or not to obey, she typically is compliant. Let's just say that her heart is getting softer, but we have a ways to go. Really, is that so different from the rest of us? It's just a bit more obvious to us right now with Aria.

Aria is very in love with her Daddy. This is something to rejoice in, as she is bonding strongly to someone in this household! And I would say that JJ is right up there with Daddy, if not tied with him in Aria's heart. The most interesting part of this is that when we met her, the two people she wanted the least to do with were Daddy and JJ. She took to Elliana and me much more quickly. The roles are definitely reversed, and Aria LOVES her Daddy. The other day she told me "I like Daddy so much. And I like China so much." In other words, Daddy is right up there with China in her little mind and heart. Not a bad place for him to be! Chad and JJ are the ones Aria wants to be with all the time. She loves playing with JJ, and honestly is consumed with all that is JJ. As for Daddy, well, her face is never brighter than when he walks into a room. She adores him.

Although that is a wonderful thing, here is a bit of the struggle I have with that. Elliana and I get to be on the receiving end of some of the more unkind behavior from Aria. Frowns, unkind words, and downright rejection get old after a while. Although I've gone through both Elliana and JJ going in cycles of having a "favorite" parent, this one with Aria can definitely hurt. I think it's because when Elliana and JJ played favorites between Chad and I, they would just ask for the other parent or want to go by that parent, but the relationship with the other parent was still a positive one. With Aria, I am bogged down because I am the primary person (as I'm home with her all week) to deal with the many heart issues that we are in the thick of, get the brunt of the side of her that is not very pleasant (as does Elliana), and then get greeted each morning with a "Where's Daddy?" The relationship with Aria and the girls here is not that easy even on a good day. I admit it... I'm struggling with some jealousy. Chad gets the role of fun, loving Daddy. He does correct her behavior when he's home, but the truth is that he doesn't get to see the rough sides of Aria nearly as much as I do. Perhaps she doesn't show those sides as often when he's home. Perhaps it's just because of the number of hours I get with her that it makes it more probable to see that side come out. Perhaps it's because she's saving that side for me as she's struggling with me more. Who knows - sometimes I analyze things to death. But the point is, Chad often gets the fun Aria, and I often get the not-so fun Aria. And I struggle with that. Not all the time. But I do struggle with that. I would love her to bond to me as she has to her Daddy. When really I should just be grateful she is bonding at all. Pretty self-centered of me, I know. I'm being real here, though.

Last week when Aria told me she liked Daddy "so much" in the same breath as liking China so much, I continued to probe. (I wasn't having a "take things too personally" night, so I was prepared to probe a bit.) She then told me she liked JJ "so much". I asked her if she liked Elliana "so much". She said, "I like boys." So then I asked her if she liked Mommy "so much". She replied, "You're a girl." So I continued, "Do you like Mommy so much, or do you not like Mommy so much?" She was hesitating to answer. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it's because she likes both Elliana and I (she has said that to us before many times), but just doesn't like us "so much". (Only a few things are reserved for the special title of "so much".) I asked her a couple more times, and then she finally said yes, I think because she just finally gave up trying to tell me exactly how much she liked me.

After this, the thought struck me, as she said she liked boys, that boys may be a new thing to her. I asked her if she had boys in China. She said, "No, only in America." Her memory is getting fuzzy about China, but she said she didn't have any boys at the orphanage. (I suspect this could be true as in all the pictures of her at the orphanage, there were not any boys in any of the pictures.) She had a "mama" at the orphanage, but no Daddy. This boy thing is pretty special to her right now, whereas when we first met her she was scared of Chad and wanted nothing to do with JJ. It makes a bit of sense that when she met us, if she was not used to boys it was a little overwhelming for her - especially with a tall, hairy man like Chad and a pretty wild little boy like JJ! And now, well, she not only likes them, but likes them "SO much".

Big steps in some directions, baby steps in others. We're getting there. That's my new slogan in regards to where we are at with Aria... "we're getting there". And we're not quite 5 months from when we met her. I can only imagine how many changes we'll have when it's been a year!

1 comment:

  1. That would be hard, Kristin. I admire you SO much for being real on your blog. It's very refreshing and good for this future adoptive mama.