Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter

Winter’s been a little hard for D. In the beginning of December it was warm enough some days that we could still go to the nearby state park and to the wildlife refuge to ride bikes. But the last couple of weeks have been cold, and of course the days have been very short. A goes off to school in the morning and in the afternoon he has his homework, and that keeps him in his routine, but D doesn’t have that. We have playdates and library storytime and swimming, we take the dog on long walks, we snuggle together to read, we do literacy and math lessons, and we make holiday crafts, but it’s not quite enough. I hadn’t realized before just how much bike riding calms D. On cold days, without his bike he is wired. Talking constantly, literally not stopping unless he is asleep. He talks when he’s playing, eating, in the bathroom, everywhere. And he’s always talking to me, always. His favorite topic is When I’m big and he tells me over and over about the cargo truck and the fire engine he will drive and how big they will be and what street they will be on and how many things they will carry and what he’ll eat for breakfast before he goes out to drive them and how the food will go down his esophagus and his stomach will mush it and how strong he will be and how strong his trucks will be and how many wheels they will have and how many people will be needed to drive them. Increasingly, it is less complete thoughts and more single words shouted over and over: Ma, ma, ma, protein, ma, protein, protein, protein - yes, sweetie, eggs have protein - ma, protein, protein, ma, protein – yes, protein makes your muscles strong – ma, protein. protein! proooo-teeeeeen! ma, protein, protein, protein, ma, protein, protein – OKAY!!! PROTEIN!!! - or sometimes it's just wordless yelling. The little guy just needs Christmas to be over, for one, and then after Christmas we will start looking at preschools for maybe two days a week. He’s not ready for full-time, more than ever he either clings to me or orients too much to other caregivers, but he needs the structure on the days that he doesn’t have a planned activity, and frankly, I need a break. 
 
When one is down, the other is up. At the beginning of the winter, while D was still fairly calm, A went through a rough patch, when he was yelling at me and ordering us around a lot. Now things are much better. A has really enjoyed the holiday preparations. He's excited for Christmas but not losing his mind like D is. Last night we went caroling with a big neighborhood group (I love this neighborhood!) and A had the best time, running to ring doorbells, excited to sing the songs I had taught him at home, and picking up the words to new songs on the fly. A has such drive to learn, to be part of the group, to fully live in this new world of his.

Finally, this past week the boys had an impressive achievement. I left them at their friends' house to run what I thought would be a quick errand and ended up being away for three hours. I was so late we completely missed A's swimming lesson. When I returned, they moaned for a bit, I validated their feelings, A and I came up with a plan to make up for the missed lesson, and then... that's it. They were fine. What a long way we have come.

14 comments:

  1. I so relate to this....our girl is not an inside kid and this cold weather and the craziness of Christmas has her full of crazy energy. Tomorrow indoor gym and trampoline park!

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    1. It makes sense that our little Ethiopians are not inside kids. We have an indoor trampoline, but it doesn't help. Our kids just need to be outside!

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    2. Invest in snow suits! _I_ am an outside kid and it's challenging here in Illinois. I bought a ski suit a few years ago and it's The Best Thing Ever. I now can suit-up, leash the dog and off we go for long-ish walks and play-time. Of course, if there's snow, the bike option is a bit challenging, but there are ways and ways. Outside is simply necessary.

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  2. Our indoor trampoline is also inadequate. And the talk, talk, talk, talking that doesn't stop, oh my. We have that too, and not always words. Always loud, but not always words. Thanks for this. Someone here has been resisting playing outside. (He dislikes talking to the neighbours and gets anxious if there are a lot of kids wanting to play with him. Especially if the mob involves a couple of specific kids. And I hope that judgement carries into his teen years.) But I may have to simply drag him outside. He has rain gear.

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    1. From what I'm hearing from other adoptive parents, the freaking out over the holidays is pretty common.

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  3. I've often remarked to Kiya, "Well, we're not in Ethiopia anymore, are we?" when the cold wind blows and it gets dark early, and so on. As someone who deals with a bit of SAD each winter, I can relate a bit to the difficulty with the coldness and darkness that limits what we can do. Poor little guy. Do you think it is more the not being outside, or more the not getting the exercise that riding a bike provides (or a combination)? I was thinking that maybe finding some sort of indoor sport-type activity might help with getting some of that energy out. I think the bit of preschool is a great idea, too - for BOTH of you. :) I will send some wishes of decent snow this winter your way, as we all know playing outside in the cold is much more fun if there is snow!

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    1. We would love to get some snow soon! If snow doesn't come to us by mid-winter, we've told the kids that we will go to the snow.

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  4. I'm sure you know that excessive chattiness is a sign of anxious attachment. I'm not really sure what it is a sign of in my stepdaughters, but that's a discussion for another day. And of course exercise is good for calming anxiety. We have access to an indoor track here at the YMCA. I take T and he runs miles and miles while I do my 1.5 or 2.0. There is also an indoor track at the university where Hubs works, but the access to that is more limited, but if I were a SAHM, I could go there three times a week over the lunch hour. The thing I love about tracks is that they are fairly contained and you can let the kids go without fear of losing them. We've even had T ride his bike on the local high school track. I think you can still ride outside even when it's cold as long as there is no snow (and it's not raining). You just need to be dressed for the extra wind chill!

    And then there's ice skating. Our local rink has weekday and weekend lessons. And also weekday and weekend open skate time. T would skate for three hours straight if I let him. They just need to learn to skate well enough to go forward. How about indoor soccer? It's all over the place around here -- probably because of our weather! Just stay away from bouncy houses -- there is no other activity that is more dysregulating than bouncy houses!

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    1. Ice skating is a good idea. I've been meaning to check out the local rink. I myself can't skate, but it would be fun to take lessons together.

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  5. If we weren't so far away, I'd invite you skiing here :). We just came in, 30 cm of snow and
    -15C (59F?). Great weather! I have the same experience that going out everyday is a must. Good to hear and learn about the chattiness thing.

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  6. I have run into a similar thing--it rains in the Pacific Northwest incessantly--and I'm not a native so it drives me craaaaazy, as it does L. So we put on rain gear and head out, although for pretty short periods. One thing that has saved us is a local indoor pool--lots of gross motor/sensory play. Hope you had a nice holiday!!

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  7. Our kids miss their bikes terribly in winter, so we've brought them IN the house, and put the training wheels on blocks so they can ride and ride and not go anywhere! They love it. I'm sure you could rig some system to put the bike up if you're without TW. I know bike stores carry a stand so you can ride inside in winter too.

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  8. I got my daughter a video game system that was a bike that hooks up to the tv, and she plays racing games. The video game itself was rarely ever plugged in (the thing hardly worked) but we took the cord off of it and used it as her stationary bike. I see them at garage sales and thrift stores all the time, so keep your eye out!

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