day one

Today was the first full day I spent alone with the two girls, and I am blown away by the contrast in their disposition.
  
My influence upon Leni has never been more apparent to me than it was today as Leni & I worked together to show Lyseang how to live and play in my house.

When Socheat returned several hours later, he could tell I was a bit dismayed by the challenge that lays ahead for us. Leni’s introduction and integration to the “modern” world started on Daddy’s hip and continued seamlessly as I began to accept more and more responsibility for her when she was 2 1/2 years old. To their credit or ignorance, my brother and his wife entrusted me with their abomination of cuteness and adorability before she could even speak.

Leni has grown up not only bilingual and with three parents, but more importantly she is aware of herself and inquisitive of her surroundings.

Sadly, Lyseang is almost uncouth in contrast. Despite having lived in Socheat’s family’s compound since birth, she has never had the same benefit of active parenting as has her cousin Leni.

  
I am no longer nervous as all hell or trying to figure out what I can possibly do for this child. It is so clear to me now, and it still scares the shit out of me.

Leni came up to me today as Lyseang was walking away from a spilled bottle of nail polish on the floor and said, “I want to tell you something. I don’t understand why she will not listen.”

I reminded her Lyseang had a terrible loss last week and I said, “I am so proud of you Leni. You are a wonderful sister. You are so gentle. We need to work together to show Lyseang how we do things in our family.” And as Leni hugged me and started to cry, I could see a look upon Lyseang’s face that told me she had never seen this before.

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