A is anxious about being in a car and not knowing where we are going (or thinking he doesn't know). If I'm not being proactive, the conversation in the car may go like this:
A: Where are we going?
Me: We're going home.
A (at light): Go straight here?
Me: No, we turn left here.
A: Is not right. Go straight here?
Me: We turn left here. See over there? That's the fire station we passed on the way here.
A (at next light): Turn around here?
Me: See the light up there? We'll turn at that light and get on the big road.
A: Is right, Mommy? Is not right!
Me: This is right. This is the road we came on.
A: Is not right, Mommy? Which way, Mommy? This way? That way? Where are we going? WHERE ARE WE GOING????
Me: Take a deep breath. Tell me. Where are we going?
A (sheepish grin): We going home.
Me: Yes. We are going home. We'll go on this road for five minutes and then we'll be home.
A (at next light): Is right? Is not right. Where are we going?
I think the anxiety comes from being put in a car to be taken from one orphanage to another, without knowing where he was going. He's told us they were taken between Burji and Awassa more than once. I've found if I pre-emptively narrate our drive, I can get in front of his anxiety before it blows up.
Both boys are anxious about food. They have gotten over the eating
habits of the first month, when they would each eat two adult-size plates of
food at each meal. They still squeeze between me and the kitchen counter
when I'm making dinner. I trip over them moving around the kitchen.
They cry if the time between "get ready for dinner" and actually eating
dinner is longer than 30 seconds. They ask for a second helping and ask
for it again and again and again while I'm getting it and walking toward
the table with it.
They were never malnourished, as far as I know. A says they
always had food to eat and that if they didn't have food at home, the
neighbors always shared with them.
If A gets hungry, he becomes a different person. I tell him he is
Incredible Hulk: "Don't make me hungry. You wouldn't like me when I'm
hungry." I try to make sure he never gets hungry. I offer them snacks a
lot. They can snack up to ten minutes before dinner if they want. A is becoming aware of what hunger does to him. Twice now, he has started down the road to a meltdown, and then
stopped and said, "I think I need a snack." So proud of him for that.
But I try to stay ahead of it by checking his mood and giving him food
before he gets hungry.
D is anxious about his brother leaving him. If they are playing in their room together and A leaves to go to the bathroom, D starts to howl. A while ago the three of us sat down and talked about this. I asked D if he was scared that A was going to leave the house without him, and he burst into tears. I turned to A and asked him if he would leave the house without D. He shouted "NEVER!!!!" so vehemently that D and I both jumped. I think D felt better after that.
The boys come into our room around 6:30 every morning. A gets in our bed to sleep a little more and D brings me to his bed to sleep so he can play without being alone.
D's anxiety about his brother leaving him is my top concern right now. A started school today, just a half day for the first day. D screamed some in the morning and whimpered all through the morning meet-the-teacher, but then he was OK and a couple of hours later it was already time to go pick A up. A's school starts full-time on Monday.