We started our home school routine just 36 hours after Teddy arrived in America. We got home late on the night of Saturday, August 13th, and started school at 8:00 am on Monday morning. Everything was so new on those first days that Teddy very much was in the "honeymoon" phase of adjustment, and all was well. It only took a few days, though, before he had realized that "school time" was not the most fun part of the day! :) From that point on, we had a battle over one part of the schedule during school time. But, a nice break-through came 2 days ago..... I was SO excited. Every day prior to Wednesday, Teddy would realize that I was about to ask him to work on phonics. He would look me straight in the eye with lots of purpose and say, "NO, Ma-mo!" (He still calls me "Ma-Mo" which is Bulgarian!) It had honestly been quite a long time since one of our kids had flat -out told me NO! Now, that's not to say that we have perfectly obedient kids.... usually they do agree, though, but sometimes with delaying tactics!! We just typically had most of the real battles finished when they were younger.... and had established the chain of authority!! :)
So, Teddy kept up his insistence every day that he would NOT do phonics, but in the end, every day (sometimes after a long while, sometimes not-so-long) he would realize that I was very serious when I said, "NO phonics, then NO bike riding!" He always ended up doing the work, but the next day, it was the same all over again, and I could see by the look on his face that each day he REALLY wished that he could wait me out and see if I would yield first. But, all it usually took was for it to become obvious that since Leslie was being cooperative, she could cruise on through phonics, math, and reading while he sat pouting at the table saying, "NO!" every time I glanced his way. The closer she got to being finished with the subjects that must come before any outdoor activities could take place, the more he would realize that SHE was going to beat him to the bike!! Finally, he would cave in to the calling of the bike!
However, on Wednesday, even before I asked him to come work on phonics, he did a funny pantomime of sitting at the table doing school work, and said, "Yes, Ma-mo!" --- Lots of high fives and stickers when that subject was done!! :) Hurray!!
That continued on Thursday and today!! I think we've won that battle! More are there to win, of course! Last night I was looking through the original file we first read about Teddy, and it said, "He has a pronounced stubbornness!!" I had completely forgotten that was even in there! We had not seen that part of his personality on our first visit at all. Naturally it showed up before too long, back while we were still in Bulgaria with him, but it just made me laugh to read it! The thing about orphan children being stubborn, though, is that it usually is one of the characteristics that -- very honestly -- has kept them alive to this point. That is not true for all children, of course, but it makes sense that a stubborn persistence in life keeps them from giving in when their lives are very hard. I'm thankful for the victories we have seen this week.... but I am thankful, too, for his persistence!
I have reward stickers that have various words of encouragement on them.... Good Job! Great Work! Excellent! Awesome! Tonight before bed, I got out the calendar and showed him that since today was Friday, tomorrow was a "no school" day. Teddy's reply?? "AWESOME!" :)