I'm visiting my family in another state right now, and I'll have a bunch of pictures and things to share when I get home. I just had to come post a little news though.
It's been really interesting watching E and the choices she makes. We bought her a gameboy right before we drove here to help pass the time on the long drive. It's a brand new toy and she really likes it. When we got here, she left it in the car and didn't ask for it. D wanted to play it though, so he brought it inside and her cousins ended up finding it and playing with it. She has been really generous with it. She let them play with it for a long time and then wanted it back. While she was playing with it, her cousin asked me to tell E that it was time to share and give her a turn. I told her cousin that it is E's game and that she can choose if she wants to share it. I reminded her cousin that when E had one of her toys that she wanted back, I had E give it back to her because that was hers to choose to share. Then I told E that it was her choice to if she wanted to share, and that her cousin would appreciate a turn. She nodded and kept playing. A few minutes later, she was done with the game, gave it to her cousin, and the 3 of her cousins took turns with it the rest of the evening. It's nice to see her developing true generosity and sharing that is coming from the heart without force and with no guilt attached.
It's also been interesting to watch her food and tv choices away from home. We went to the library and she picked out a few movies and also rented one at the video store. She knows that we will put one on for her any time, either the ones we rented or ones that my mom owns. She has only watched a few over the last few days, some at her request and some at her cousins request. During all but one, she got up in the middle of the movie to go play. She also knows that she can get on the computer any time she wants- she played starfall for a few minutes yesterday. Oh, and there's 5 channels of tv which she hasn't even mentioned.
We got icecream the night before last. She had a few bites of mine and then ran off to play again. Then she shared a small bowl with her cousins and left to play again. I was wondering how I would manage it if she asked for some during the day yesterday when I knew her cousins wouldn't be allowed to have any. I was thinking that I'd have to find some way to let her have some, while still respecting my sister's choice to limit her kids and not have E eating in front of them. She never asked though. Then we all had some again tonight. She ate her bowl very slowly, while alternately playing and snacking on the sunflower seeds on the table. About a half an hour later, she asked for more, but it was all gone. I told her that and she said ok, I'll eat some apple. She also knows that we have chocolate covered bananas, and hasn't asked for those either.
She had gum for the first time today. A year ago I would have had a heart attack over the ingredients and said NO, and there would have been a big fuss and lots of tears. She would have had to watch her cousins have it while she didn't and my sister would have felt bad, or I would have gone way out of my way to hide it from her so she didn't know about it. I still don't like the ingredients, but it felt so much better to just joyfully say YES. Her 2 year old cousin was asking for gum all day, so we all took a walk to the store together to get him and all the kids some. We had a beautiful walk in the sunshine, got the gum, and returned with smiling kids. She had a new experience, and when it was gone that was ok. I'm sure she'll ask for some again, but I'm not going to wait until she does. When we get home, I'm going to go to the healthfood store and see if I can find some with better ingredients. I've been hearing about xylitol in gum and that it's good for teeth, so I'm going to read up on that. I love how saying yes opens up those doors to learning something new.