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Friday, August 14, 2009

Tongginator's List of 10

Several days ago, the Tongginator and I experienced An Incident when I was Just Trying to Get Coffee. The Tongginator didn't say much at the time, but she brought it up yesterday when she told me, "Momma, I don't like it when people we don't know talk to us."

TONGGU MOMMA: What do you mean, honey? There are lots of people we don't know... the only way to make new friends is to talk with people we don't know.

TONGGINATOR: I know that... I just don't like it when strangers talk to us. You know, like that man in the coffee shop.

TONGGU MOMMA: Oh... you mean when they come up to talk to us and ask us questions about adoption?

TONGGINATOR: Yeah. I don't like that.

TONGGU MOMMA: I didn't like that either. Did Momma do okay? Did anything I said to that man upset you?

TONGGINATOR: No, cuz you didn't really say anything to him. But he kept talking and talking anyway.

TONGGU MOMMA: I know, honey. Momma is still trying to learn how to do better when that happens. You know, when you start school in a few weeks, some people may ask you questions about adoption. You don't have to answer them... you have lots of choices about what you can do.

We talked for a bit, the Tongginator and I, about how to handle the questions which are sure to surface. The Tongginator decided to create a list of 10 responses she could make when faced with others' curiosity. For some reason, she felt the number 10 to be Quite Important. She's heard me mention some of these options before, but the list that follows is all her own...

1. walk away
2. ignore them
3. talk about something else instead
4. tell them about China toys or Chinese songs or Chinese New Year or something
5. answer the question if I want to
6. just smile at them and stare, but don't say anything
7. use my manners and say "I'm sorry, but that's private"
8. go get the teacher or the adult
9. share Chinese food with them
10. ask Momma or Daddy to talk about adoption stuff with them

While she formulated her list, complete with demands for dictation ("write that one down, Momma!"), I couldn't help but feel a warm glow of maternal pride. I feel she showed tremendous maturity for a not quite five-and-a-half-year-old. But then her all-important Must Have 10 Options philosophy flew out the window.

Because the Tongginator? She got to thinking.

And what she thought was..."Momma, wait. I changed my mind. I don't want to share my Chinese food with them. Because it's mine. And it's yummy."

That's my Tongginator. Gotta love her.

40 comments:

Rhonda said...

Your daughter is awesome. Truly.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Very thoughtful list, and I learned something today.

happygeek said...

Excellent list.
Can't say I blame her for nixing #9, I don't like sharing my chinese food either.

Beach Mama said...

I agree that only 9 of the items on the list are for sharing. Keep that food to yourself!(Coming from the Beach Mama that hides almond M&Ms from her kids).

Really, the Tongginator has a great list there! I will tuck away some of the responses to share with my girls for future reference.

I have no doubt in my mind that whatever the situation, the Tongginator will handle herself just fine!

The Gang's Momma said...

Fabulous! Mature, insightful, and with the deletion of #9, also self-protecting. LOVE IT! :)

Gail said...

Great list your girl has...also wouldn't share Chinese food either. ;)

bbmomof2boys said...

We live in a pretty diverse area. In fact, I just met a couple last night in Target (heh) who adopted from Vietnam and are waiting on their I800 for their soon to be 11 yr old daughter from China.

I need to post about my experience in WV. Things happened that I haven't experienced yet here in my little town.

And, that's to her mommy and daddy, the Tongginator is going to do just fine when she starts school.

Hugs,
Carla

Two Kayaks said...

So amazing. So incredibly amazing. :)

Patricia/NYC said...

OK...2 more words...

Tongginator ROCKS!!! ;)

Janet said...

Good girl, little T. I hope my kids can do the same and be just as confident one day!

Marla said...

Hehe, LOVE her! I don't like to share my Chinese food either, no way!

Y'all have a great weekend!

Wade's World said...

Sounds like you have a smart (fortune) cookie on your hands!

She is wise beyond her years!

a little leprechaun said...

Love love love the list!! AND that she came up with it all on her own!! That is awesome!! Sounds like she is ready for school!!

Keegan starts Tuesday...

Erin @ Closing Time said...

This post is a testimony to what a good relationship you and the Tongginator have! It is so wonderful that she was able to come to you and share her feelings about the conversation in the coffeeshop. I love her list, and I agree with her about the Chinese food...it's too yummy to share with nosy people you don't know! :)

Magi said...

Love it! Fantastic list, but she's right. Chinese food is too yummy to share.

QingLu Mama said...

Great list! She is well prepared to handle herself. But did you ever doubt it would be any other way? You've given her plenty of tools to work with! That and she is one smart girl.

We live in an area where we don't get asked many questions, but with school starting I'd better have a chat to help prepare her...
Thanks for a great list to get us started!

And I too would delete #9...get your own dumplings, dude!

malinda said...

The T is a walking, talking W.I.S.E. Up Workbook! How fantastic!

If you haven't heard of WISE Up, here's a description of the workbook:

"Geared for ages 6-12, this book provides adopted children with the tools to handle comments and questions about adoption. W.I.S.E. Up!sm gives children (teens and parents, too!) the power to choose how to talk about adoption with others! Children need W.I.S.E. Up!sm when they begin to be asked questions about adoption and their adoption story."

If you want to buy it from C.A.S.E., you can go here:
http://www.adoptionsupport.org/pub/WISEUpeducators.php

Use the code COOL2 to save 25 %

I have nothing to do with C.A.S.E. or W.I.S.E. Up, I'm just a fan!

adoptionroad said...

You should be proud Tonggu Momma because that is an awesome list! We're talking about the same issues as we prepare for school. I'm hoping that because her class will be very small and mainly composed of homeschool kids that she won't face any "unkind" words. But it's never too early to begin preparing them. Your posts on this topic really should be an article in AF or something!

thegypsymama said...

Haven't met her, but would be tempted to give her a BIG.FAT.HUG right about now. I am sure she would hate that. And activate number 8 on me big time! LOL! Seriously though, she sounds like something pretty special. I love when my boys make real decisions all by themselves, it's priceless!

Jboo said...

Such an amazing and bright little girl! Just like her Mom! :)

Have a great weekend!

Janet

Suzie said...

What an awesome list! She is well prepared to take on kindergarden!

Dawn said...

T is an amazing little girl! And, I think it's very telling that #10 was so important to her - great that she knows she can take it up the chain of command if she doesn't want to handle the questions on her own. We have that same philosophy around here, too, about the "why?" questions that our kids get asked, particularly for things they know we wouldn't approve of. They know they have full approval to make US the "bad guy."

Great security building for kids to know that mom has their back!

Have a great weekend!

JBH said...

Good work! Glad to see that she understands her choices...and (as an adult asian adoptee commenting), she'll have a lifetime of these "strangers"...*sigh*. Amazing how it starts so early...

sara said...

What a precious, bright, thoughtful girl! I love her! I haven't even thought that far ahead (is that wrong?) What have I done??

Sharie said...

LOVE that T is SO SO ready for Kindergarten. Momma and Daddy you have done an AWESOME job of preparing your bright little girl to take on the world. What a wonderful spirit she has!

Lisa said...

Fabulous...just fabulous on so many levels! :)
Lisa

blackbelt said...

LOVE it!! Great story. Lovely, mature girl. Awesome mom and dad who raised her. Yeah, I keep my Chinese food to myself, too!

anymommy said...

I'm with her, I don't share my Chinese food with anyone. This is truly, truly great. She is amazing, but you deserve a huge pat on the back as well. Great job, mom, that she talks about, feels empowered to voice her discomfort and can come up with a list of responses that is so mature. I hope my daughter is half this aware at five!

Ruth said...

Your little one is oh-so mature! My girls are about the same age (start K in two weeks!) and would never have handled that so well. Thankfully, we haven't had much experience with the rude questions, but sometimes I think I wouldn't mind, better we practice together than have them face the questions for the first time when Mommy isn't around. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

sara said...

Hey - does your sister blog or can you give her my email? I'd love to chat with her about school :)

Debbie said...

You do have to love her. And that is so rude of people. I would like to say I am shocked that they do that, but in reality, I'm not.

Mahmee said...

Oh Tongginator..you are the best!
I wouldn't share my Chinese food with any of those intrusive and obnoxious strangers either! I mean really...it's CHINESE food...YUM. In fact, I'm more apt to give them my best Dwayne Johnson as The Rock raised eyebrow imitation and turn and walk away. But then I've always been fine repaying rudeness with rudeness.
M.

Jill said...

LOL! She is so darn insightful! BTW she can have my #9...sadly, I am not a big fan.
Hugs, Jill

Ivy said...

LOL, oh she's a wise one alright! Very interesting she'd rather share her toys versus her food...smart girl!

She's a real dollie I say!

Hope you're enjoying the trip and weather!

Ivy

윤선 said...

I think you and your daughter make a really good team. Seriously. I think you handle things very well, but I also think you're lucky to have a daughter who is able to talk to you AND articulate her feelings. When I was that age, I remember the way your daughter felt here, but I wasn't able to tell my Mum. I felt too ashamed, scared and I wasn't sure what the right words would be. It can be really confusing. But I think you've done a wonderful job at putting things out there and making it (obviously) easy for your daughter to voice her feelings.

CC said...

Will she share with me? Cuz I'll be nice and all.

I debated whether or not we should tell Cal's teacher about his adoption when he started school. AFter all, his dad and last name would lead one to assume he is our biological son. But I did end up telling her. And some of the other parents. And we talked about some of the things to say. And it has yet to come up at all in school.

Kristi said...

I printed this post to keep as a conversation starter for my daughter and I. I've noticed recently that extra comments from strangers about her and her brother have brought about some clingy behavior and I need to pick her little mind. Thanks for keeping it real!

rosemary said...

So wonderful that she can really talk to you about this stuff. I think her #10, and the importance she placed on it, is really beautiful. What a great kid.

autumnesf said...

pat yourself on the back friend! Wish MM was a little more aware so we could have these talks without her looking at me like I'm crazy. LOL!

LJ said...

This post totally had me tearing up imagining V talking to me about adoption. AWWWWWWWWW!