Hanissa is probably no more energetic than any other 4 year old and compared to some, maybe she’s calm. But I had allowed myself to forget those wonderful and tiring mornings (and afternoons) filled with endless chatter and movement. The older girls have found great channels for their energy, music, tae kwon do, music, hanging out with friends, music, etc. But Hanissa, whoa! The girl is destined to live out Newton’s Law, “Things in motion tend to stay in motion.”
Her activity definitely has livened things up for us. She draws everyone into her play and doesn’t understand why anyone would be interested in something that isn’t about Hanissa. Living in the orphanage upped her attention-getting skills and now she is an expert. She wants to join every conversation and every activity that takes place in our home.
The other day during our family Bible time, each of the older girls were taking turns reading aloud. Hanissa kept bouncing in her seat, raising her hand, saying, “Me do it! Me do it!” So, I let her. She put her finger proudly on a page to show me what she was reading and threw out some words that we recognized, “Jesus, angel,um, uh, um, Goliath, Eve, sat, tree, no good, uh, uh, uh, Jesus.” We were cracking up and she was so proud of herself. The next day, she was happy to repeat a few words after me as she “read” to her sisters. (Not bad for the girl who wanted nothing to do with books when she arrived home 3 months ago.)
Often her energy is expressed in music. The girl can remember melodies better than she remembers words, although sometimes tunes run together. It’s rare to catch her not singing, actually it is mostly humming. She’ll throw in a few words here or there and beg us to sing with her. Our workers have taught her a few Chinese songs, which I don’t know the words to, of course, but everyday she hums it and begs me to sing along. When Rachel plays her guitar, Hanissa pulls out a small handball racket, her own personal pick, and sits at Rachel’s feet strumming. She never takes her eyes off her big sister. She also climbs up onto Charis or Torie’s lap when they play the piano and tries to “help” them play. She and Alia make up songs to the tunes of hymns. I thought it was a cute idea until we tried to sing one of the hymn with the original words. Hanissa kept interrupting with, “No Mommy, like this…”
For Christmas, she got a bouncy horse. She thinks we got it for her. Some days the energizer bunny gets overcharged, yes, it is possible, and that’s when I tell her she needs to take her horse for a ride. She sits on it, bounces all over the house, and is back to her “normal” energy setting by the end of the ride.
Taking family pictures has become more difficult. Either everyone is looking at the funny thing Hanissa is doing or she’s trying to run off and do something else. We’ve become really great at photographing blurs or partial blurs. David tried to get her to smile by standing behind me and making silly faces and waving his arms, but Hanissa thought is was a fun game and copied every movement her Daddy made.
We finally got her to be still and smile for the camera using blackmail. She has friends from her orphanage that were recently adopted and the kids love to see pictures of each other. (This actually started in the orphanage. When kids leave, their adoptive families often send pictures back to the orphanage via other traveling families. It helps the kids feel connected to one another.) Anyway, when Hanissa made silly faces or was preparing to dart, we would say, “Where’s the smile you want to show Julia and Evie?” or “If you stand really still, we can send this picture to Abraham and Isaiah.” It works, for now. ☺
Here a few pictures of really, awesome Hanissa moments.
So thankful for my beautiful, energetic girl. Yes, it is challenging, tiring, and at times overwhelming, but it is worth it all!