Yesterday we got an update from Gladney about our Little B (can I just call her here Little Bee from now on? Is that cheesy? Probably, and I probably will change it eventually, but she is Little Bee to me for now). Part of the update mentioned that she was watching Cinderella with her friends at the care center, which got me wondering about what sorts of things she likes. I wasn't expecting Cinderella, but I can go with that.
Right after we got the call about Little Bee, this lady recommended a "survival kit" for a 5-year-old girl, the first two items being earplugs* for the tantrums and a princess dress. She, like me, resists all the "princess" stuff out there, but it seems most little girls go through a phase where they want to be frilly pink and lace tiara and wand princesses.
What are some of the things you all might put in a 5-year-old survival kit? I know that Karyn Purvis in The Connected Child recommends keeping it simple when you first get home with an internationally adopted child in this age range so as to avoid over-stimulation, so we're definitely planning on doing that. We'll have earplugs and a princess dress on hand (hopefully we'll be able to track down a Cinderella dress), but what else should we have? Those of you who have been there already or know someone who has, I'd love to hear from you.
*The earplugs suggestion was a joke, just to be clear :)
From talking to those who have come before you, a small backpack might be handy so Little Bee can keep things important to her nearby. For many kids, keeping food close is urgently important, even in unopened can form. Just so they know they have it when they need it. Other than that, a picture book made be you with pictures of family, rooms and stuff. Until the language comes she can show you the picture of the toilet/bed/apple/princess dress. Or just look through it to process all that is new.
Best wishes as you prepare for Princess Bee.
Yay! Princess Bee. Thank you, Mama Papaya.
Our daughter loves the girly clothes while in care. It was written in her report too : )
When she came home she rejected all things girlie. I was at a loss but not too disappointed since I suck at being a girl most of the time. : )
I think that she was rejecting looking, dressing differently then her brothers did. They wore jeans so she would be damned if she didn't wear jeans as well...ha!
Now...it is all girl stuff all the time...ha!
I do not know about your pet situation but the greatest thing we did was get a cat. The cat brought her the greatest comfort when she came home. The cat still provides her with great comfort.
Um other then that...earplugs, barrettes (she liked her hair bling even while rejecting girl clothes), a water bottle to call her own and a sense of humor.
Those are the things I would recommend : )
The picture book was a big one! Good reminder Carrie : )
Maybe she won't be princessy-my second daughter never has been. :) Stickers, markers/crayons, and notepads, and a stuffed animal.
So you know I was kidding about the ear plugs right? Heather, our mutual friend in LA, had recommended we make laminated photos of the pets, house, school, yard, neighbors etc. Meazi loved these and it really helped her get used to where she was going to be living. The voice recorder was key too. Princess Bee! I think we will have to make sure she has some honey too. I have a good connection to a cute beekeeper.
Photos were a great comfort to my boys during our trainsition. I gave them each a small album with photos of us that I had sent during our wait to pass court. They were so excited to see these photos and it forged a bridge to something familiar. I also included photos of their friends and care givers at Gladney that traveling families took for us while we waited. They still look at these pictures. Otherwise I agree with keeping it simple to start. Drawing is a great outlet and what little princess wouldn't love a ton of magic markers? They even have scented ones! Yay Princess Bee!
Tomas (a boy) was 6 when we brought him home in July, but...
He loved picture books, colors, the incessant writing of his name in English :), music (we let him listen to our IPOD on the airplane for awhile, anything with buttons (turn the sound off) and ice cream. Lots of ice cream. :)
I just went in to Elia's room and smuggled one of her MILLION princess dresses out (pink top/pink skirt- picture of Cinderella) + a royal cape. Interested? I can mail it to you if you are. If you'd rather pick out something yourself, I understand that, too. We are happy to share! Elia is is SO girly girl (have no idea how that happened)....loves hair things, a microphone (play/pretend)...she loves to sing and dance! Loves Tinkerbell (I like those movies more than the princess ones....although Elia also loves Princess Tiana- Princess in the Frog and that wasn't as bad as some of the others....I have to EDIT all the princess books we read- I will NOT say "And then she wished for her prince charming" blah, blah, blah. Barf! She loves her dollhouse, too....loves the little people and "playing" house, etc. She has a little music box by her bed that holds some of her treasures (sea shells, etc.) it has a little ballerina that twirls and she adores the music....hmmm....that's all I can think of right now. Let me know if you'd like a special delivery! :) Little Bee! I love it!
Lollipops are magic around here. I hate to give A candy, but if I need him quiet for 20 minutes for any reason, a lollipop will do it. Also, the kids at Horizon House (WHFC) all LOVED watches - especially ones with fun buttons. I don't comment enough, but love your blog! So excited about Little Bee!
My girl was seven when she came home and one item that made her feel girly but was also practical was lip balm. She still loves it. She also loves headbands. They are simple enough that she can choose them and put them on herself and she can use the sporty ones or girly ones depending on her mood.
Had to come back and add two more things that helped us with the transition (I know this is off the topic of girly girl stuff but thought it might help). Evelyn already mentioned one of them - lollipops! They really do help for those extra stressful times, and even Purvis recommends them because the sucking is soothing. I got a stupidly expensive bag of them from whole foods to make myself feel better on the nutritional level, LOL.
The other thing is music. They do a lot of singing with the kids at Gladney and music was another one of those familiars in unfamiliar territory when we were in Ethiopia and when we first came home.
Mihiret was also completely obsessed with her princess phone...or any phone for that matter. We have a picture of her pretending to be on the phone, I think in the hope that the strange talking white people would return her to the care center.
I will have to find a link : )
Babies (ONLY with hair she could play with), dress up clothes and beads/crafts have been huge hits here! It is such a great age. Hard, but great!
The photo book! Even after being home almost six months, Eyasu still carries it around and is most eager to show it to anybody who visits our house. He was pretty much meh about any toys but he wanted to be outside, 8 hours a day, everyday, in sweltering heat. I melted several times over that first month home.
Oh, and music! The lovely Julie sent us this, http://www.abshirokids.com/product_more_details.php?pro_id=3 and I wish I could explain appropriately how Eyasu's face lit up the first time he he heard it. Those first couple of months, it was on constant repeat. I believe I know all the words, too.
Ear plugs a joke? Not in this house.
So happy for you guys! I'm sure you remember our Kuri, who was four and a half when we brought her home. From the day they put her in our arms she has loved writing. A pen and notepad were her favorite things we brought. She still at age seven has very little interest in toys. She's an activity girl who loves games. Make sure you have Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and games like that on hand. Also puzzles are good. We wish you the very best!!
A few suggestions:
-A picture book and a Ethiopian book
-A speaker starz bear (Build a Bear) with a mp3 player that includes ethiopian songs preloaded
-empty water bottle
-extra set of clothes with play jewelry and hair accessories
-travel-size kit (ie tooth brush)
-inexpensive portable dvd player with movies (for the long flight)
Good luck and Blessings,
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