Monday, May 27, 2013

A's challenges at one year

At one year, A can read a beginning chapter book with little help, swim the length of a pool, dive, ride a bike with one hand, play baseball, use a computer, explain adoption, offer opinions on a wide variety of topics, and make friends with anything that moves. What can he not do?

Two things:

1. Admit a mistake. I'd read in all the adoption books how hard it is for many adopted children to admit to mistakes; to do so would be to give up control, and control is everything. Here's an idea of how that looks in real life:

Parent: The charger only holds four batteries, so you have to wait to charge the fifth one.
A: No, it holds five.
Parent: It only holds four batteries.
A: It holds five.
Parent: Look, here's the charger. Count how many batteries it holds.
A (counts 1, 2, 3, 4): Five.
Parent: OK, try putting five batteries in.
A (puts four batteries in, is left holding one): Five.
Parent: How many batteries are in the charger?
A: (counts 1, 2, 3, 4): Five.
Parent: It's OK to say you made a mistake.
A: But there's five.

2. Entertain himself. He has always been around other children. First in Burjii, where first he played all day and later helped herd cows with the kids in the village. Then in the orphanages where he wasn't ever alone for a second. Here in the U.S. he loves school, organized activities, and playing at the park with the neighborhood kids. But sometimes those things aren't available, and a kid has to play alone. Most children can create an imaginary world, sitting in a corner with a stick or a plastic dinosaur or a toy car talking to themselves and having a grand old time. A can not do this. He can do imaginative play, but he needs other kids around to do it. Alone he clings and hangs on us and sticks his hands in whatever task we might be trying to complete. Forget checking an email or emptying the dishwasher when A has no one to play with.

(And it almost goes without saying that to have been through everything A has experienced and have these be your biggest challenges is truly amazing.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

bullet points

  • On Mother's Day we took the boys to New York City for the first time: Staten Island ferry, lower Manhattan, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Central Park. There was some initial anxiety, but after lunch and a visit to the Lego store, they did great. They loved Times Square and all the people there dressed as cartoon characters. They loved riding the subway and climbing rocks in Central Park.
  • A brought home a flyer from school and said, "I want to join Cub Scouts." I told him he couldn't because the scouts don't allow gay people to be scout leaders. He said, "That's not fair. I can just go to the YMCA, they do the same kind of stuff anyway." That's mah boy.
  • We had a parent-teacher conference with D's preK teacher. He's made HUGE strides in his social development. She said that he now not only engages with other kids his age, he solves disputes and even suggests and leads activities. I think we put him in preK at exactly the right time for him.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

One year

Monday was our one-year anniversary of arriving in the U.S. as a family of four. A was excited about the day. He wore to school the same shirt he'd worn on the plane a year earlier. D was grumpier. He had a big meltdown in the morning because his bunk bed is "too bunky." I think it was more about me going to work than about the anniversary. In the afternoon, everyone was in a good mood. We did homework, went to the park, and talked more extensively than we ever have before about the details and dates of our adoption process, including the delays that pushed our arrival in the U.S. to more than nine months after our referral. We had pizza on the new patio in the backyard and the neighbors came over for cake.

Melkam and amet, lijoch!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Two big things

  1. Last week we drove to Maryland on Friday and slept at my brother's house. Saturday morning T and I went to West Virginia. Alone. We stayed in West Virginia on Saturday night. The boys stayed in Maryland with my sister-in-law and their cousins. We went on two longish, steep hikes, enjoyed leisurely cups of coffee on the balcony, and wandered through a cute town. They went to a block party, played in a bounce house, and built train tracks. We reunited on Sunday afternoon. T and I were refreshed and the boys had a blast.  I'm thrilled to have reached this milestone.
  2. I've started working. It's very part-time right now, just teaching one class at a local university. It's been a lot of prep work for the first week, and a little overwhelming, but I think it will settle down. I start another class in a week, at another university. The biggest effect that my working will have on the boys is that D will be going to preK five mornings a week instead of three. He seems ready for that, and I'm excited about all the new things I'm going to learn by teaching at the college level. Working mom - another milestone I'm thrilled to reach.