Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life's Tricks and Treats

Treya's first trip to the pumpkin patch - The Double R Ranch

Much in the same way a weary traveler is jolted to attention on a moving sidewalk at the airport, so am I when ripping the September page from my desk calendar. Even “falling back” with daylight savings time does not slow the accelerated pace we seem to set in motion from October 1 to the end of the year. This is nothing new for Pat, Devi or myself as we coordinate and plan our way through our normal day by day obligations AND Diwali, Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving - usually spent in Mexico, and then preparing for Christmas. It is exhausting even to type it.

Poor Treya must be confused beyond belief as the house mysteriously changes during the night and she awakens to a different motif. I think this has literally happened three times in the course of the past week going from Diwali decor to Halloween decorations - including finding a big hairy spider hanging above the kids’ chairs at the kitchen island, to now Devi’s birthday, bright with crepe paper streamers. We are doing our best to bring Trey up to speed, but I've caught her singing the birthday song next to a pumpkin, and saying happy Diwali on Halloween. She looked at me like I had lost my marbles when I encouraged her to plunge her hand into the ooey gooey insides of a pumpkin. The pause and wrinkled brow she gave while trying to process the words had me in stitches, and it took much cajoling to get her to explore the inside of that pumpkin. In the end, she did, but had to have a towel in her lap at all times to continually wipe off her hands.

The King, The Queen, Rapunzel & Nymph

These new experiences and her responses give reason to stop and pause. What an incredible amount of trust she has put in me as her mother and Pat and Devi. Trey is constantly surveying every situation and trying to read our reactions through words, body language and facial expression, then respond in ways she deems appropriate. We take this trust so much for granted, I think in most instances our expectations of her are way too high, which leads to frustration on everyone’s part. I often just assume that Treya will accept things or experience them in the same way that Devi did at the same age, which couldn’t be farther from reality. Devi has always been much more outgoing and laid back about new situations while Treya to be more reserved and hesitant.

I forget that she has only been in this country for eleven months and so much of our daily lives are still filled with “firsts” for her. While Treya’s need to feel like a contributor is huge, her reluctance to try new things is equally as limiting, creating her two extremes. We have to be so careful, because Treya, in an effort to be helpful, will attempt to assist in ways that are not safe, especially in the kitchen. If I am cooking and she knows what utensil I will need next, she will silently attempt to bring it to me or complete the task herself, regardless if it is chopping with a knife, or retrieving a hot pan. Granted she handles the items correctly, having “worked” in the kitchen at the orphanage, her behavior is obviously not appropriate or her age. When corrected she becomes so confused, not realizing we are correcting for unsafe behavior, not that the way that she attempted to complete a task was incorrect.

With the evolution of trust also comes the opening of one’s heart–mine and Treya’s. Call it attachment or bonding, it is a connecting of souls, a gradual process uncontrolled by conscious thought. It is not saying the words I Love You, or blowing kisses or even going through the motions of seeking out cuddles when one needs TLC after a bump or bruise. Stealing a quote from Sleepless in Seattle, “ is a million little tiny things, that when you add them all up, they mean we are suppose to be together. I knew it the first time I saw her. It was like...magic. For the past eleven months, we’ve been peeling away the layers of onion skin protecting our hearts and slowly letting the other in. It is so hard to put into words what is happening or how it is happening, but our relationship becomes more and more natural every day. The process is not always easy to navigate, but the rewards are undeniable.

So on to Halloween. Back to the Double R Ranch we each selected our pumpkin, where the beginning stages of planning their jack-o-lantern faces began. Then we attended a Harvest Party at the YMCA where Pat and I won the adult costume contest a few days before the 31st. Whoot! (Amazing what one can make with an old discarded women's bathrobe). By that time, Trey had mastered the words trick-or-treat adding much enthusiasm when she realized that candy is doled out when you say it loud enough. Devi, the oldest of our group of kids, led the pack around the neighborhood in her "I am experienced and will take care of you" way, where once again our Rapunzel and Nymph were spoiled rotten by our gift bag giving neighbors. We ended our evening with delirious children wielding full buckets of sweets. Treya was announcing "night-night" as we rounded the corner to our home front. Now a week later, we've still not made even a small dent in the amount of candy in our house which seems to whisper to me "I'm here" in the middle of the night. So far I've managed to avoid the temptation!


Peter and Nancy said...

Ha! I wish I were better at avoiding temptation . . .

I love your description of the unfolding relationship with Treya. I read blogs where people say they fell instantly in love with their child (and I'm sure some people do). We loved our sweet girl instantly, but the real bonding happens gradually over time as trust is earned and you get to know each other. You put great words to it -- I will be so excited for your 1-year anniversary as a family of four!

Anonymous said...

Loved the costumes :D