Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shorter and Taller

If possible, almost everything in our new apartment seems even shorter than the previous one. Though the Chinese people tend to be shorter on a whole than Americans, or at least the older generation does, I really don't feel that out of place when I'm out. At 5'8" I know I'm on the taller side, but I don't tower over many people. Yet everything still seems set up for a shorter culture. And I'm convinced whoever designed our apartment must have been short of stature.

I have to bend my knees and lean back to get my head under the shower head to wash my hair. The door handles are lower down... meaning Hadassah can open all the doors now. The counters are shorter, which isn't kind to my back... and means Hadassah can grab things off more easily. Oh yes, and she can also quite easily turn on the Berkey water filter since it sits on the counter - anyone want a flood? The desk is also shorter, allowing easier access to her most prized "no no touch": the computer.

Yes, this mom was very weary on Monday, after it seemed all morning Hadassah would go from one thing to the other. To top it all off, we were finally in a normal enough week, with Hadassah in her new, set-up room, to start room time back up again. I've seen the benefits of her having independent play time, first in her play pen and then starting a few months ago in her room. She focuses better, seems to be more calm from a little time alone, and it lets me make lunch uninterrupted! But, this time every few minutes she'd come running out, with glee that she could open the door.

We talked about how she needed to stay in. We disciplined. But it seemed like every few minutes she'd come running out again. I was glad when it was finally lunch time and daddy was home... Ryan coming home for lunch is always a joy, but that day was a particularly "whew" moment. Just some adult conversation does a weary mom good!

On Tuesday we talked about how Hadassah had to listen and obey mommy for room time, and that if she came out before Mommy said it was "all done," there would be consequences. It happened once. The was discipline. And then she stayed! I didn't leave her for long, because I wanted to encourage the small victory. Wednesday came, and despite me hearing her suggest loudly "room time all done!" quite a few times, she didn't come out once. Another big praise and telling Daddy all about it at lunch. :) Now it's Friday and she has continued to obey, though we're only up to 15 minutes at a time. I'm learning when you take break from things and have to re-train, you've got to start low and work back up again... But a mom can do a lot in even just 15 minutes!

Other things are becoming less of a testing, too. Consistency does pay off. I'm not perfect in it - it's easy to let things slide "just once" but especially at this age, I'm seeing first hand just how important it is to be consistent. She then knows what to expect and finds security and peace in that. Noticing and praising and sometimes rewarding restraint also helps her learn it's much better to obey mommy than to throw herself on the floor, touch, and then scream when reprimanded. Yes, we still have our fair share of that. But, small victories, right? I know how important teaching her to obey my voice at this stage is, so we're continuing to work on it. To say "yes mommy" to instructions and come when called. Slowly but surely... and that "yes mommy" when she repeats it after me is the sweetest-sounding thing ever!

The little miss is ever growing taller. I am amazed at what a big girl we have now! And it is such a joy to get to train and impact such a sweet, young life. I get weary at times, but nothing will ever make me regret being a mommy.

And, not everything is shorter at the new place. The fridge/freezer that came with it is - and when our other fridge was still probably only half the size of an American one, we finally made the investment for a larger, taller one. We kept the short one, so having two is definitely making me feel spoiled. My bread no longer molds after a few days, and we can have watermelon again without it going rotten for lack of space! It's nice to not be playing Tetris each time I try to fit new things inside too. :)

Another taller thing I'm thankful for? A long-handled broom! When we moved to Shanghai I searched everywhere local to find a broom I didn't have to stoop to sweep with, but all in vain. But on my first trip to IKEA I found what to me felt like gold... No more multiple-times-daily stooping to sweep the floor. My back is rejoicing!

Shorter and taller... Giving opportunities for new growth and new joys amid new challenges. 

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