Things with my girl have been going swimmingly of late. She wants to hang around with me more and more. Now she insists we bathe together (this is normal in Japan) and today we had a most lovely time shopping for dinner, which she prepared. She is sweet, generous, and very funny, and I'm enjoying being with her. She has really made us into a family, I think.
My boy, though, is now going through pre-adolescent angst and identity issues. Lately, he's been pretty hostile and disrespectful toward me, although he does it with a smile at times, pretending to be joking, but I know he's angry. He accuses Tatsuro and I of taking him away from his hometown -- last night, he said he wanted to go back by himself (I know he doesn't mean it). He's been thinking a lot about his birth mother lately and now fluctuates between calling me okaasan and by my first name. He's always been whiny, but he's stepped it up now and adds demands for things -- a new bed, a dresser, a mat for the floor, more money, a different house, a different car... the list is endless. Every day, he asks me for games for Christmas and tells me what he wants to do with the money he'll get for new years from Tatsuro's family. He's also eating a lot, so it's obvious that he's trying to fill a void with stuff or food. It's hard for us to tell him that won't work. Last night, I listened to a litany of complaints, ending with "You're not my real parents." I knew it would come and frankly, it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but it's not nice to hear. He's defiant, but still babyish, so perhaps that's why it didn't bother me. He still needs us. However, I do get fed up sometimes and have to leave the room.
Last night, my husband wanted to do some role plays with the kids about what to do if they are being bullied, having money extorted, etc. While my girl was fine and gave very thoughtful answers, the role plays hit too close to home for my boy and he fought with my husband, cried, and left the room. Once he'd calmed down and returned, we were able to talk about what to do in various situations. My boy is very sensitive and is being teased at school. He acts like it's nothing when he's at school, but he shows his frustration at home. We are trying to find some strategies to help him. I was also bullied, as I have written, and like him, turned it inward, rather than facing the bullies or asking for help. We reminded both kids to go to a sympathetic friend, their teacher, or us, if they have issues -- that they are not alone. My girl understood clearly what we were doing, but I'm not sure if something went in for my boy -- he was clearly uncomfortable and kept jumping around while we were talking.
Both kids will have to deal with their respective pasts -- I think my girl has a better chance of coming out okay, although I doubted that before -- she's very sensitive, intuitive, and thoughtful. I just hope my boy will not start getting into trouble, although that's a normal part of adolescence, teenage years, etc.
The fun never stops!