Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Update- Overdue & Picture Loaded

One year ago on May 22nd- This season of Teg's life officially began. The Kebele, similar to your local or county sheriffs office, gave his father permission to relinquish his child and helped him make an adoption plan. 

Many adoptive families will SWEAR to you that anniversaries of the traumatic events somehow play out in the child, as a trigger. I always assumed it was hooky, junk science, or self-fulfilling prophesy.  If these past few weeks are any predictor.. I was wrong. Things are going on in his head and playing out in new ways.  He is double checking this relationship in as many ways possible.  Perhaps time really is the only thing that can give him comfort? Mimi (a woman in our travel group) said she imagines that the change in seasons... and seeing them come around again and again may be what gives them comfort and the sense of time. I like that idea but...  I don't know.

I do know, that even though he's been here four months (what sometimes feels like forever and sometimes feels like yesterday) He was in the orphanage almost twice as long. As comfortable as I may think we are... As frustrated as I can get that he doesn't GET this concept of family or forever... I have to keep remembering that this is just a blink of an eye to him. He still wonders when he'll be leaving. Sometimes doing all he can to 'please' me and sometimes doing all he can to push me away.

And yet-- it feels like we've turned a 'corner' somehow. His joy is more deep seeded. His confidence growing. His bond to me- noticeably more secure. (that is only to say.. better than before.. not as a definitive point of "being secure")

I must remember to be patient! He is 3 and the 3 year old behaviors are in full bloom. Add in the controlling nature of a traumatized child and.. well... this lady reminded me that this 'controlling' is in response "to his deep seated need to feel safe and secure". Patience has never been my strong suit.

It is also my strong suspicion, that the concept of "Hurry" "Hustle" "Move it along" may have completely escaped the Ethiopian population or at least my son's gene pool.  While in Ethiopia, I thought "what a lovely thing". Being here, and trying to get him out the door to go swimming, while he stops to say good bye to his baby-doll (thank you Diana), trucks, Thomas the Train, Sunglasses, Elmo, Shoes, turns the TV on and off again, decides he needs water, and then to pee..... Not only drives me nuts!!... but some days, reminds me that Ethiopia has got a thing or two on us.

I got brave and cut his hair myself. I admit to being obsessed with it. He actually enjoys me 'doing' his hair - despite this photo

Quick updates on on he's doing-
Sleep: This seems to be the question we get most often. He no longer sleeps on top of me (although he will, from time to time fall asleep there). He does still sleep in my bed and is only, this week, comfortable being in the bedroom without me for a few moments. Heaven forbid, I have to pee!!

Skin issues: Lotions, cremes, Vitamins, Minerals and sunshine contribute to his color improving greatly. Yes! We do use lots of sunscreen.

Biting/Hitting Mommy: Huge improvements. He was even PO'd at me twice on Thursday and neither time did he even attempt to take a chunk out of me. For him, it was about pushing me away and if i got pissed or showed any sign of needing to get away from him- it only encouraged him to do more. So I make sure he knows he's stuck with me and I'm not going anywhere. It sounds and looks ridiculous. So be it. I'm bite free and my son knows we are stuck with each other.

Most recent frustration for me:  He, intermittently, won't do what I ask him to do. He knows what I ask- and gets --- that look.. you know the one.  I wonder sometimes if it is just another substitution for the biting---  likely it is--- and it totally pisses me off! And that's his test I suppose. Call it mommy fail #854.

Medical update: He was evaluated by a team of evaluators at the Development Center at the hospital.... 2.5 hours of him playing games in his big boy pants and a bunch of women paying attention only to him. He was in HEAVEN!!  Bullet points- Doing great on speech/language but slightly behind regular 36 month olds but he earns extra points for only hearing the language for months. (honestly- it's one of the things he is self motivated to improve upon.) His gross motor ability has improved so much, that he has no interest in many things they test for fine motor and OT. They also suggested waiting till fall, for re eval and enrollment in Head Start or Pre School. He's is in the 75%ile for head size, 50%ile for weight and 25% for height. What that means is... he's got a noggin on him, and can still wear 18 mo pants.  Oy.

With Memere' being so sick and passing away- Nana stayed with her, taking care of her pain in her last days.  He has noticed her (Memere's) absence and cries about it now and again.

With Nana tied up, that left he and I back together again every moment of every day 24/7 for about 5-6 weeks. To lessen the "I can't stand to be near you anymore factor" - we hit the road, traveling and visiting. New people and new places seem to motivate him to try new words and new foods. Broccoli, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Salad, Fried Clams, Calamari, Oranges, Hamburg and Steak are now seen as acceptable table foods (still prefers Noodles, Pancakes and Rice). He's also initiated trying new drinks of "juice" (gatorade) from time to time. Prior to this week the only acceptable thirst quenchers consisted of milk, water and coffee.

Soccer Buddies being safe in the parking lot

This past week, he started staying a couple days with some close friends who have a son a year older than T. They get along pretty well and he adores Ashlee (the mom). I needed some time to get caught up on some things (filing taxes, filing for unemployment, filing with the State to recognize his adoption, looking for a job, resume... ya know... minor details {sarcasm} ).

We need these breaks. I need these breaks. He needs these breaks.

He is very comfortable and happy to be with Ashlee and family and is very happy when I come to pick him up! WOW! Big difference from trying out preschool 6 weeks ago!  In fact he practices more of the 'secure attachement" things (like looking me in the eye) on the 'break' days.  This corner we are rounding feels good right now.

Mom is beginning to see the light again and is motivated to keep moving toward it.

Photos from our recent adventures!

Lunch with new and old friends on the hill downtown Bar Harbor! Beautiful Day!

For our own little Birthday Celebration, we headed for an overnight to Southern Maine with Ashlee and her son. First Stop: Bounce Zone!

Next stop- Crescent Beach! A long walk in the woods ending on the shore! 

Let the Rock throwing begin!

Next: Back to MDI and Sand Beach!! FUN and Cold! Squeals of laughter.. till he fell completely in!

After falling in he spent the day looking like... well... this.

We ended the day on the top of Cadillac, where he posed.

Then RAN!!

Then posed as if he'd just run a marathon. This was all acting folks really. No small children were injured to produce this photo.

Then we had a more traditional Birthday Celebration with the Cousins. 

They gave me his vehicle that takes him from room to room throughout the day... seriously... if he's in the bathroom but has to pee.. rides this to the bathroom. Obsessed!

Here's another of his bday gifts! I love spending time out here with him in the morning!

He loves having friends over in the evening!

And looking at the moon!

Next Stop:: Vermont!

Ahbotee!! If two year olds have BFF's this was his while they were in care at the orphanage. His mom is another single mom and traveled at the same time as us. It was an amazing and touching visit. He was talking in his sleep about this for over a week!

Other than that: Just Killing Time Riding the Wagons! (No there is nothing wrong with his head and it is not symbolic of anything. He just wanted a band aid there.)

More Throwing rocks

Carrying around my Zabba (blanket. New development and only in the mornings, thus far)

Climbing my first Mountain! (Bald Mt)

Making my first trip to CAMP!!


Oh- and Throwing Sand. He's getting pretty adept at it. Mom calls it 'scalp exfoliation'.

If you are still reading along... check out the length of these shorts.

These are swim trunks in a size 2t... He, understandably, calls them pants.


Melissa said...

What an awesome update! You complain about being behind in some important life things (like taxes!), but you're miles ahead in his lifebook. He'll treasure all these journal entries on the blog one day. It's a beautiful snapshot into his world. And PS - I'm sure he'll catch up physically in terms of growth. It sounds like his development is on target. That's more awesome news.

kristine said...

I loved traveling along with you! What beautiful places you've been! This brought back such sweet memories for me. It is however such an exhausting time.

It sounds like both of you are settling in.

Thanks for sharing this. I have a huge smile on my face from seeing these photos.

♪~Jenn~♪ said...

love all the pic's!! and that he prefers milk, water and coffee! lol
Sounds like you two are getting into the groove of things. I am so grateful for your honesty in your posts! thanks for sharing both the sun and the storm:)

Liz said...

Turning those corners is so satisfying, isn't it? Hope things keep moving in the right direction!