Daniel and I, we just had a moment. It’s been almost two weeks since we have been home, almost four weeks since we first met, and I am truly amazed at how he has changed and how well he has adjusted.
Here are the highlights:
We used to have to be in his sight all the time, otherwise he’d cry inconsolably. Now he roams this big apartment, and so do we, out of sight and several rooms over for minutes at a time. He may call out “mama” to see where I am, but he doesn’t always come even when he knows. Our home is safe to him, and so are we. When we are out walking in a safe place without a ton of people around, he’ll let me walk 10 feet or so in front of or behind him. That’s a big deal.
As far as being around others, he used to freak out a lot and cling on to us when others were around. He still does cling some, but he is getting so much more comfortable being around others, especially in our own home. Not only have we taken him out a lot, but we’ve also had lots of folks over – I’ve counted almost 15 people, Chinese and foreigners, who’ve been to our home to see him in the past two weeks. I think he’s starting to realize his parents are social people and he’s got to be, too. He’s getting there.
Meal time used to be the worst times for us. Now we accept what he does and does not like, and he accepts that he can’t pick and choose what he wants to eat all the time. He must try it first. And he feeds himself now, on his own schedule. And that has made things so much sweeter. (And more free time for us!)
He used to sleep in a crib in our room and wake up in a disoriented state, often crying and scared. Now he sleeps in a crib in his own room, and we don’t even have to stay with him any more to put him to sleep. We say goodnight and leave the room, and he is fine. (This is a new development this week, where we don’t have to be in there until he is asleep.) And when he wakes, he is smiley and goofy and ready to go.
Speaking of goofy, we had no idea the silliness that hid behind that sad little face we first met. It took many days to get a smile, and it was a half-smile at that. We thought he was a somber, quiet, thoughtful kid. Wrong! This child is a few screws short of all out loco. He is goofy beyond what I ever dreamed and really quite funny. I mean really funny. He works hard at making us laugh, and it doesn’t take us much. We have a class clown in the works here. While we’ll work on channeling that so that it stays out of the classroom, we are so thrilled that there is so much joy inside him. He sometimes almost gags from laughing so hard. And if you look at pics now versus when we first got him, there is little resemblance. His whole countenance has changed. Happy? The kid is happy!
I’ve toned down my Chinese learning and switched over to mostly English, just because I figure he needs direction and training, and I can’t do that in a language that’s not my own. (Edgar has always stuck with English.) So we speak some broken Chinese to him, but mostly English, and he’s kept up. While his speech is not great, he does say one or two English words but can understand our general meaning in what we say. The kid is bright! He’s smart and a real thinker, a logical and organized thinker. He puts things together in his head so they make sense, and then he does them. That, or he works them out in front you. He’s just smart. We got a real smartie on our hands! Oh, and he’s clean. We like clean!
I suppose I could go on and on, but let me tell you about our “moment.” We’ve only been home two weeks, so it’s in that time that we’ve tried to establish some patterns and habits. One of them is that we read to him before he goes to bed. I sing a song to him. And then we pray.
I think all of that was foreign to him — singing, reading, prayer. Especially the prayer. At first, when we’d pray (at night or before meals), he would literally try to pry our hands apart and stop it from happening. We do the simple, kid-friendly and very short prayers, but he did not go along with it. Over the past week or so, he’s been doing what we do, folding our hands together, and he repeats “amen” at the end.
Well, tonight I was putting him to sleep. We read the book. Then I sang to him and picked him up to kind of rock him while I sang to him. And so I decided we would just pray like that so that I could put him down in his crib right away. But as I started praying, he really started squirming with his arms and such. So I looked at him and he said “pray” and I realized he was trying to get his arms free so that he could fold them in prayer position, which he did.
Is that not the sweetest thing?! This boy. He has made such progress. We are growing together here, all of us.