Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Momma tears

Yep, they made me cry. I'm not someone who cries easily either. But when I talked with the boys about working on their English, that they needed to start asking for things in English, using some of what they do know more we hit a brick wall with Chase.
Imagine this, the boy is stubborn, like his red headed momma! He said "no." So I sat him and Chloe down, asking her to help me translate to point out that he NEEDS English here. That he is here for good, and everything he does, school, eventually work, life in general, requires ENGLISH.

WELL... he got very upset with me after a few "I don't know" answers from him to my question of how was he going to manage when he didn't want to learn English and USE it? I think the combo of it sinking in "he's here for good, no going back," the language barrier- his and mine- just built up on him and he blew. First he told Camden to stop doing something- only in CHINESE- and when he didn't listen ('cause he couldn't understand him) he kicked him. So I called Chase on that and he YELLED at me. At ME. In Chinese, of course, but I got the drift.

About that time I hit my limit of the language barrier, teen attitudes and quite frankly my hurt feelings, as well as hurting for HIM. I KNOW this is hard, and it hurts me to see him struggle so.
And the tears came. He has never seen me cry, not even when the kids were reunited, I was just overjoyed. But this was me HURTING. And he knew he was the reason.

Well, after some time and his obvious upset at making me cry, he came and apologized to me, might also have something to do with Son #2 . He came in and whipped out the translator I can't figure out worth beans, (no surprise there, I can barely use my own cell phone) but he was going to town on it-and managed to give little bro a message. It went like this "You EVER yell at mother again and I will come in and kick your butt." Translated to Chinese. Whoa. That got a "nod" of agreement, he understood he was really wrong and it will not go over well if it ever happens again.

He also apologized to Baba and said he will do his best to work on his English. And he has. We have someone who offered to work on English lessons with the boys and I took her up on it. I have said before, I admire deeply mothers that can home school their children. Matter of fact, I am downright jealous. I had enough of the 6 months till Chloe went to school and she had no other option- we spoke English.

The boys present a very different challenge, they can speak Chinese to each other and manage to get by with minimal English for the rest of us. Matter of fact, they were pushing us to learn Chinese, which I want to learn more but not at the expense of them NOT working on ENGLISH!
So I realized we needed help and Brenda, bless her, offered to help. She started them out with very basic stuff and it's clear Chance is trying to go through it as fast as possible and memorizing what he can. Chase is trying to really LEARN the words. He's very careful working on pronouncing them correctly too. But both of them are bright and want to learn (now).

After their lessons they got to swim and then we headed off to my old stomping grounds, a back road that I knew from childhood was covered in raspberries. The kids picked them for about an hour, getting scratched up pretty good, but they had a blast. I was thankful no one got bit by a snake, we were down in weeds shoulder high, in flip flops. We got about 2 pints, and made a dessert out of them, that is the ones Chloe didn't eat first:) Her whole mouth was purple.

The boys worked on their homework assignments already, they really seem eager to work on the words, I think they realize it will give them more freedom to talk with us, their siblings, friends, they both were speaking a ton more just today in the pool. Being very aware to speak English if they could. I'm so happy they can see how it helps them to use the words, that they can tell someone to "stop it" and it WORKS. And I feel so much better having gotten over that hurdle.

Sure glad we have God sending us help when we need it. He continues to guide us and provided the lessons and teaching the boys need. I need to be their mom. So this will strengthen their skills and our bond, as I can work on their homework that "teacher" gave them and they are very conscious that they need to complete their work for HER. They even read a very simple book to me, both of them. I almost cried again but I knew they wouldn't understand the tears of joy after the tears of sorrow so I held it in.

I share this as we have been home now 6 weeks and to me this is the hardest time. Things settle in but the lack of language can be very painful on both sides. The best thing of all is knowing that hanging in there really will bring improvement.
They are going to be immersed in English once they go to school and although we want them to have a good start before then even 4 months from now the boys will have made huge leaps in their language skills which will only continue to get better and better.
It's not a picnic every day but let me tell you-- when I saw how frustrated my son was I was heartbroken for him. I love him so much and it's hard to watch him struggle with this.
I couldn't love him more. I told him that too, I told him I want him to have the best life possible. I am his mother. This morning, I woke up to hot tea and he said "good morning mother" to me:) We're gonna be just fine, son. Just fine.


Heather BT said...

Something that really helped Calli, was to read books to Acer. They were kindergarten and pre-school level books, and since they were so basic, they gave her a good grounding in those basics. Perhaps they could read books to the pre-schoolers at church?

Holly said...

Oh, Vickie, I am not a cryer either, but sometimes I feel it coming, especially when I read something like this. I love your hang-it-there attitude. God is there with you all!

Millie said...

I'm been a long tome lurker, but reading your post I have tears in my eyes...Thanks for this open, sincere, loving, post...I know in my heart that you have past a BIG hurdle with your sons...For me this is a big turning point sweetie and I pray that every day you and your family has the strenght to continue the path God has drawn for you.

I know how difficult language barrier can be...In fact, English is my second language, Spanish being the first...growing up it frustrated me beyond belief trying to speak English and I remember how my parents and teacher redirect that frustration into learning more and more...hang in there sweetie...The Love of God will lead the way!!


Nancy said...

Hugs to you Vickie. Thanks for sharing your experience, hard parts and all.

Tammy said...

Vickie, we are here now in china with our amazing 4 yr old dd...and I understand not understanding....my heartfelt prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit will fill your house with the perfect language....that everyone can understand...and that God will minister to your children and both you and daddy...all that needs to be known to unite your beautiful family as one.....I think allowing your emotions to be shown was so beautiful and perfect .....you are doing an amazing work...
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Isaiah 40:31

I am going to try and invite you to our blog.... if i can find your e-mail address....

Theis Family said...

I have loved reading your posts even before we found something in common:) You have such a great family and you are a great mother..I hope to meet you all someday soon