Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black and White Wednesday "Sugar & Spice"

...and everything nice!

Pink, take 2 034

That's what little girls are made of. Right?

Well.....maybe some of that and maybe a lot more stuff that we don't always talk about.

I know I paint a picture of sublime bliss with my girlies on this blog and I also know that most readers know that we all have good days and bad one too. But sometimes my lens only tells a very small part of the story.

And for awhile I've wanted to kind of tell it like it is. For a couple of reasons - first, if you know me and us you KNOW the real us but also, I think it's important to share what we know and what we've learned so others can be more prepared and at ease with the knowledge that they're not alone.'s the dirt.

Pink, take 2 034-2

See these sweet girls of mine? (I softened the edit on purpose to really bring out the sweetness.)
Since last summer in particular - we've hit some pretty rough patches in terms of their sibling relationship. (I know - you're shocked.)

The truth is - Dahlia came to terms with her disappointment in her expectations that she was getting a buddy or playmate, close to her age, who would "perform on command". (That is what we all wanted, right?)

Well, last summer Dahlia began expressing how this was all making her feel. And for quite awhile I let her vent and explore how she was feeling. She naturally doesn't share nor is in touch with how she's feeling so I indulged it.
But, it was getting nasty. Part of me knew she would grow out of it and part of me was afraid they would never bond. I worried that the chasm would widen so much that there would be permanent damage for Milana. She often felt rejected, and rightly so but no amount of talking would bring Dahlia around.

We required civility and that's what we got most of the time - but civility does not warm the heart nor do anything for attachment - so I worried.

Pink, take 2 034-3

Well.....I'm happy to report that situation has done a 180 degrees. We had a really low-keyed Christmas holiday period and both girls were off school for 18 days. (I know - unbelievable.)

We made almost no plans during that time and many days just stayed in our pj's and played, lounged, watched TV and really had fun together.
And you know what? Before long I heard things like this around the house. "Hey Milana, come here, let's play....." and "ok Milana, I've got the puzzles out" and "quick Milana - run and hide - before they find us, giggle, giggle"
And you know who was lapping it up.

Pink, take 2 034-3

When school let out just before Christmas, Dahlia checked to see when Milana's school re-opened (a week before hers) and laid out her plan. "Mom, can Milana go back early so we can have the last week together?" Well........she must have forgotten that this was what she wanted because she never mentioned it. Each day she enjoyed her little sister more and more.

Pink, take 2 034

Oh, I know they'll be bumps along the road.....

Pink, take 2 038

....but I'm so relieved that we turned a corner and they really enjoy each others company now.

Pink, take 2 038

I edited these black and whites in varying degrees to kind of prove a point (I know, I'm really deep ;)
Well....that's my story. I'd love to hear yours so feel free to share.

the long road

Join with Lisa for some great black and white photography.

And I know you all will excuse me 'cause I have some grinning to do as I watch and listen to the yelps of glee....ooops.....was the a good shriek or a bad one?


Alyson and Ford said...

Beautiful story of your family, growing together. Always love your photos, the girls do look like you live in a perfect world!!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Steffie B. said...

Beautiful post Wanda. I remember when we came home with Andrew that Daniel had a hard time with it as well. And here we are, leavng in less then a month to bring home a 7 year old that will move to the head of the crew. We might be starting all over again here with the same issues you are experiencing too. I believe with love and patience and a Momma that guides them (daddy too)lol that it will all be ok in the end.

Your girls are darling and I believe that when M gets a wee bit older D will be so happy to have her tag along! ;)

Love Letters To China said...

Oh Wanda... do you live in my house? It sure sounds like it from here. My two are about the same age difference as yours. The big difference is their gender. My big girl struggles to this day with her little brother. There is constant bickering between the two and screaming matches. My little one just accepted it at first, but times have changed. He now eggs her on and entices those screaming matches. Let me tell you how much fun it is around here in the afternoon leading up to dinner time. I thank the Lord we have a television to turn on so I can get dinner ready each night. ;-) I must tell you...the love they share is huge. As much as they squabble like all siblings do, I know they are thick as thieves and will be there for one another. It truly makes my heart sing.

So glad you little ones are finally finding peace with one another. Time does such amazing things.

Happy Wednesday to you!


p.s. Love you b&w's today. Those two girls of yours are gorgeous!

Cindy said...

Beautiful post. The B&W is beautiful.

3D said...

Good to hear! They are great girls and it took some time to find their groove and bond & attach to each other.

I WILL be calling you for help when the time comes!!!

Keep smilin!

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Oh Wanda - what a beautiful post! Yes, the transitions can sometimes be hard on everyone - especially the sibling already home. It has happened a few times here and we still after 4 yrs of several of them being home have hard seasons. Then God comes in and wipes their hearts clean and love abounds.

Beautiful shots of your gorgeous girls!
Love and blessings,

Denise said...

So nice to hear about difficult adjustments in other households! So glad to hear that they are growing into their sister relationship so well! And as always, gorgeous black and whites!

Freckles & Dimples Photography said...

beautiful images and words to match. sibling relationships are complicated, but it sounds like you are doing a great job at helping them work things out!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mindy, sibling relationships are complicated. And I'm sure adopted siblings have a more complex bonding experience than biological siblings. But I'm glad that you stuck it out and allowed Dahlia to express her feelings :) Glad you girls had a wonderful holiday break!

Ashley Sisk said...

It sounds like completely normal behavior even for blood-related siblings. But I'm glad to hear she's adjusting nicely. Love the pictures.

Buckeroomama said...

I'm glad that Dahlia seems to have adjusted nicely now. :) I think it's quite normal, though. J & Z, while they play well most of the time, bicker, too. We're just lucky that J's really indulgent with Z and is such a great big brother to her. Usually when they fight or bicker, it's Z who provokes and eggs him on. ;p

a Tonggu Momma said...

Well, you know I was reading this one closely. I'll be keeping it close to my heart in the coming months. Thank you for sharing y'alls journey.

Krista said...

Beautiful pics (as usual) Wanda. I've found when my girls have that extra time (weekends, winter breaks, etc) that their relationship seems to get stronger. It's gotten easier as they've gotten older too. I love hearing the yelps of glee and giggles too!

Erika B said...

Thank you so much for sharing! We all go through these patches and we need to hear that others experience the same thing. Our girls sort of re-connected during Christmas break too and it's good to see even though I know that they are really tight deep down. Your photos of those gorgeous girls are great as usual.

Erika B

Gail said...

Wanda, I could write a book about the struggles my 2 went through especially the first year Will was home. Now things are much, much better, they have a typical sibling relationship. I'm happy things have improved and have great faith that will continue as time goes on!!!

Beautiful shots of your beautiful girls.



love and life ♥ said...

Beautiful girls, beautiful photos! Love the b&w! xo

Anonymous said...

My two are blood related and we struggle with the same issues! I think it is perfectly normal sibling behavior. My son (the older one) likes to be in charge and does more then his fair share of bossing. This is an issue we are working on too. Thanks for sharing and I love your b&w's, just beautiful!

Liz said...

love these of the girls what a blessing.

Our family said...

Oh Wanda, thank you for sharing your story... We have entered the MINE stage here:) Some days it is more than hairy!!!!

So wish we could head out for MNO!!!! Hmmmm maybe Suaring off or new Year???? Anyway, all this dreaming to say I miss you and hope to have a face to face visit soon!!!!

xo Jen

Ellie said...

so so so happy for all of you! It is so difficult at times but HE does know what he is doing :) Thankfully your girls are going to be besties for life!

Thanks for your honesty - all is not roses in the road to loving each other!! (we know this but often I, (or we), do not GET this!!

xo ellie

Terri said...

I'm with Gail. I could write a book. When we brought Abbie home, Isaiah's life was turned upside down from day 1. He was absolutely miserable. Then I became miserable and so on. I could keep going on about the whole experience but I don't think the comment section would hold it! =) All I can say is.... they are inseparable now and they love each other more than life!
Thank God!

p.s. I love when people blog about "real life" stuff! Thanks for sharing! =)

Faith Hope Love Photography said...

My two girls are exactly the same way and just recently at 7 & 5 my 7 year old is becoming jealous. Since the day we brought Kya home from the hospital Taya has been nothing but loving and protective. So yes..we are having some major issues too...thanks for opening up, as a parent sometimes we need to hear from others that it is just normal.
Love your black and whites and all photos...gorgeous as usual!

the greek chinese connection said...

Great Post and beautiful always.

It makes me so happy to hear that Dahlia is finally accepting and embracing having a little sister. It makes me even happier to know that you can finally sit back and watch your two little girls enjoying each really warms a Mommy's heart.

luv u


Kayce said...

Love this post Wanda. I am so glad to hear that Dahlia is accepting her big sister duties and doing it with a smile. She and Milana will always have rough spots but with each one I'm sure they will only get closer and closer. My sisters and I are 8 years apart and really didn't have a relationship growing up (we do now as adults) and I always wished that I had siblings closer in age with me.

Your pictures are amazing as always! I'm always inspired by your shots!

Dita said...

Sometimes our kiddos don't do things at our pace and as frustrating that is for us uber gottagetitdone NOW Mamas....only they know when the time is right.

I think now that Milana is getting older Dahlia has more in common with her and that is why she is bonding more. I have a feeling this is going to be a very big year for the Malfara Sisters....a very big year, indeed.

I just love these shots of your gorgeous girls. Makes me want to get in my car and drive north for some hugs and sweetness!

Love you,

Katie said...

How wonderful that they really bonded!! And such cute photos!

Toyin O. said...

What a lovely story and very nice pictures.

Mama Hen said...

My friend I guess all families go through their "patches" of ups and downs. My sister and I were six years apart, so that created a dynamic of her being able to tell me what to do all the time. That still goes on today. I think if you recognize how your little ones are feeling then you can work with what is going on. It is nice they are close in age. They will get closer and closer over time. The pictures are beautiful! I hope you are doing great!

Mama Hen

Lisa said...

Oh gosh....I'm sad to have missed this for 2 whole days ~ its been a bit crazy and yes, I joined FB...finally caved to all the pressure! LOL So now I'm juggling and yesterday I didn't even hardly "do" the computer as I was feeling the "puter" fatigue! :)

But ya know what? I don't there is a single one of us Mamas with more than one child who can't sympathize and relate to what you shared on this insightful and thoughtful post. Sometimes the reality of a dream coming true for wee ones has to be tempered by a big ole does of reality! Ha! Ha! We have it here too, though its course has been different. I think maybe the different gender thing actually helped in our case, but there were times I know ( and blogged about) Lauren was keenly missing our special moments and felt frustrated they were less frequent. And that was hard. Its also hard when strangers only seem to notice "the baby" and you just want to scream, "please don't forget I have TWO kiddos standing here!". .....and if someone does make over your big girl unexpectedly, you want to hug 'em!

Anyways, please know I get it and am so happy your girls have turned that corner cuz watching your 2 munchkins play and delight in each other is pure magic!

Beautiful pictures too!!!! Absolutely sigh worthy!!! :)

Visual Notes said...

Wanda pics do tell only half the story..I'm glad this story is a happier one. The girls are lovely, and I am sure they will appreciate each other even more as they age.

Briana's Mom said...

What a great post. You do not hear very often about the attachment process that siblings have to go through. I'm so glad the girls are getting along so well now. :)