I have 5 unfinished posts dating back since Saturday, all with the intent to give y'all an update about the State of the Union here at the 5FC household.
So right now I am bound and determined to get out a post, no matter how disjointed, sloppy or boring it may be. I think I'm going to bullet point a list, because a lot has been going on and my thoughts are all over the place.
Thoughts on Attachment/Tantrums:
* I spent our first week home feeling worried and uptight inside. Nearly every thought I had was trying to analyze whether or not we were attaching. If Miles was sullen or moody, I would worry. If Miles seemed sad, I would worry. If Miles seemed detached, I would freak out.
Since then, I've realized that ALL of those things will happen and need to happen. He needs to grieve and process and go through all of that to attach. And the world will not end for either of us in those rough moments. Life goes on, and can go on well.
If it sounds like I'm stupid or never picked up an adoption/attachment book, please know that is not the case. I read a TON before he came home. It's just that reading something in a theoretical setting, and then re-reading it in a real-life setting are two majorly different scenarios. Some things you just need to be knee deep in before it finally sets in.
* This week, I'm far more relaxed. The Mister and I have come to the conclusion that having Family Fun, Acting Silly (not stupid, but joyous, full of laughter, etc.), and Keeping Active is a great way to encourage attachment. None of which I do well if I am over-analyzing every move the poor kid makes.
* Major tantrums no longer scare me. I should personally thank Paloma for preparing me so well :) Miles has had a few doozies, including one MAJOR one this evening at dinnertime. Lucky for both of us, I have a huge amount of tantrum-weathering patience. Many other types of patience I certainly lack, but I can sit through an hour-long screaming, hissing, kicking, jumping, crying and flailing tantrum without my blood pressure rising like nobody's business.
* One of my major fears regarding tantrums was that they would set back bonding. However, so far it seems to be quite the opposite. Weathering those tantrums and coming out the other side with a hug and a "Mama Blahm will ALWAYS love you" seems to promote and actually build bonding. Miles seems more comfortable, more affectionate and happier after each episode we have had.
On Sibling Adjustment:
* Orphanage kids seem to do quite well speaking up for themselves. If any child is about to commit an infraction, no matter how small, against Miles, he speaks up. LOUDLY. Not in a mean way. Just more in a "I'm-used-to-needing-to-be-heard-above-20-other-children" volume level. Miles has not hit or acted aggressively towards any of the three children, which we are so thankful for.
* We have a whole lotta Sharing Rules Re-Negotiations that need to go on. It occurred to me today that my children had previously worked out an unspoken set of rules regarding toys, sharing and play. Throw one more kid into that mix (especially one who does not speak English) and that can be a recipe for disaster. Paloma and Atticus are especially having a difficult time. Atticus doesn't want to share anything anymore. With anyone. Period. Paloma just was under the impression that everything in the home is meant to be shared with her, but not that she in turn would need to share anything with anyone else. We're working on this.
* Atticus, our in-house Motor Mouth, has met his match when it comes to bedtime. The lights go out, and Miles talks. And sings. And talks. And sings. And talks. You get the drift. To which Atticus will come downstairs crying, "He won't stop singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes!" Which is vaguely reminescent of the time when Hatfield had to share a room with her 2 year old brother Atticus, and she would come into the living room crying, saying, "He won't stop talking!"
What goes around, comes around, boy.
On Language Acquisition:
* Your child may not have any desire to even attempt to speak English to you the first week or so they are home.
For a while, it seemed like every blog I read had a post or two marvelling over their child's ability to pick up English, even from the start. So I had expected Miles to want to mimic everything we would say.
He didn't. Not at all. He would say stuff to our dogs, but that was it.
And it's a tad tough not to take that personally.
But, seriously, if this happens to you, don't take it personally.
* The language will come. We find that the more comfortable and relaxed Miles is around us, the more he is willing to parrot the things we say. I tried for DAYS to get him to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes to me. Not a peep. Nada. Then the next thing I know, Atticus is downstairs crying that Miles won't stop singing it. One day, he'll say to you, "Manmi, mwen fini" as he tries to hand you a granola bar wrapper in the car. You'll take it without a thought until it hits you that he just called you Manmi. And then you'll probably cry.
On the difference between 3 and 4 children:
* Holy Schmoly. I don't know if it's the adoption thing, the language thing, or whatnot, but wow. There is no way I can fake my way through a day if I'm unorganized. I need to have my A-game truly on if I want things to go well during the day.
* Sometimes we'll be out and about, and I have to count heads. When I come up with only 3 (like if Hattie's at a friends' house or Atticus is at violin), I'll panic and can't remember exactly who I'm forgetting. It's embarassing.
* I'm seriously considering making special, oversized t-shirts in a garish neon color to make my children put over their clothing when we go out in public. Kind of like those daycares. I used to think, I can't believe people would entrust their children to a group who are not even competent enough to watch after all the children they are in charge of without an ugly t-shirt. Mea culpa, I now see my shortcoming. And I get it.
Maybe I'll even have a T-shirt design contest. That'd be kind of fun.
Although, considering I can't keep up on my laundry and I don't even know what the date is, it's probably not a good thing for me to take that on right now.
But hey, at least I finished a blog post! It may have taken me 6 tries, but I did it.
All in all, though, things are going well, and I can't, or at least when I do, I know that I really shouldn't, complain. I have a new baby boy who eats well, is potty-trained and sleeps through the night. I have 3 other beautiful children who are doing their best to adjust to this new chapter in our lives, and who always amaze me with the sincerity of their hearts and minds. And I have one hunky husband who is brave enough to take on one of the toughest of parenting tasks: the dreaded stool sample collection. He is such a brave and noble man that he said it wasn't all that bad, and he would even do it again.
And I'm glad he made that promise. Because it's coming true Mister. On Friday. Your day off. You, Miles, and a stool collection kit have a date. Sorry I didn't have the courage to tell you in person, though. You're the best, babe!