She is a piece of work. Wild child. Spunk, flash, fierce affection, steadfast devotion, hot tempered, and sweet.
A friend of mine spent time with her in the orphanage when she was barely two. She came home from Haiti with a precious photo for me of my sweet baby. On the back she wrote, “She kicks. She bites. She scratches. She screams.” Turns out the orphanage environment was one of anarchy, and my tiny mocha child was The Lord Of The Flies.
She even had a bouncer, a much larger baby boy who would take toys from the other babies, whack them on the head with them, and then hand the toy over to my princess.
“You have your hands full,” my friend chuckled.
She was so right.
She came home at age two wearing a size three months. She spoke only two words in either language and proceeded to attempt to rule the entire house by shaking her finger and using those two words.
Not long after she came home, my husband and I stood in the kitchen watching her scowling at us over a plate of food that failed to meet her standards. I shuddered and said-
“Check out that dirty look! If she knew how to shoot us a bird, that tiny middle finger would be straight up.”
She’s a big girl now, but she’s still my baby. She doesn’t bite, hit, or scratch anymore, but she’s been known to deliver a mean elbow to the ribs. We are working on that.
She’s still a fireball, but she hasn’t shot us a bird.
She likes to carry heavy stuff, and is offended if she is not allowed to grab the largest grocery sack, or suitcase. She will be the life of the party today on the bus and when it gets to school, that little second grader will walk in with the 7th and 8th grade girls like she owns the joint. (Much to the embarrassment of her siblings.)
She’s taught me a lot about directing a strong will. It is not for the weak or timid, I tell you. It takes endurance, tenderness, wisdom, consistency, and creativity.
She’s had a problem with honesty. I have addressed it in a myriad of ways. The newest approach seems to be the most effective. We have developed a mantra that we recite together at least once a day. It goes something like this:
“My name is Ro-Ro. I am an honest girl. I do what is right, even when no one is watching. I tell the truth. I hate lies. I will not be sneaky. I want to please Jesus, and my Mommy and Daddy too.
My name is Ro-Ro. I am an honest girl.
Hear me roar! Arrgggghhhhh!”
Don’t knock it. It’s working.
And nobody’s getting the bird.