Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Curls are Gone...

I love Sweet M*'s curls but for an active boy sitting and playing with his hair has been pretty low on the priority list... hence my rash decision to say good bye to the curls.
Here is my cute boy before...
Here he is right before the first snip. He wanted pictures of the whole event and he commanded the attention of every person in the salon. He is such a ham.
He thought it was hilarious that they put clips in his hair.
And, here he is after. It is not a mohawk or fauxhawk... but he did like it when the girl styled it like this. I did cheat by giving him a lollipop to keep him still, but he did so good. I was really proud of him.
I already miss his soft curls, but I know this do will be much easier on him. He is such a handsome boy both with and without his curls.

End of Summer Re-Cap

Turns out going back to work during our busiest season, launching a new business, getting back to the kids school schedule & being a mom don't leave much time for blogging... ugh! So, here is my late night attempt to catch up from the past few weeks...

The above pics were from Coronado we had a lot of fun splashing around and then having dinner with my mom, Aunt E and Uncle J. I thought it would be cold hence no swim suits... but the boys just jumped in anyways.

We had a blast celebrating a special princess' 3rd birthday. It is too bad we don't get to hang out with these guys more often. We miss them already! Belle was in heaven hanging around another girl. And, the boys had a great time too.

Lastly here are a few pictures from the boys' first day back to school. Cuddlebear is in "big school" now aka kindergarten (can you hear me weeping) and he is doing great!!! I was worried about the long days but Cuddlebear loves his teacher and his buddies at school so he doesn't seem to mind. Captain Crazy is doing well too although I am having trouble believing I have a second grader. Where does the time go???

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Militant Mom

Sweet M* has been home now for 13 1/2 weeks. It is crazy to look back at the progress he has made. It is also very interesting for me to think back and look at how much my own thoughts have changed about how to best parent M*. I would say for the most part I have always been a pretty easy going parent. I have always had rules, but I don't think any one would have said I was a strict parent. Until now...

M* needs me to be super structured and very strict. This helps him to let go of his need to control everything and it helps him calm down. It makes him feel safe and it allows him to make progress with his big emotions. I have been reading "When Love is Not Enough" from Nancy Thomas because I felt like from week 10-13 we were not making rapid progress any more. But, once again Nancy's easy to read little book has made huge changes with Sweet M* in just days.

By being extremely loving and never loosing my cool while never budging on my rules and demand for respect I have a very well behaved little boy. I couldn't be happier.

The other side of this that I don't completely understand is how this structure allows him to feel. When M* came home he didn't cry a sad cry.. he SCREAMED a pissed off scream. It wasn't until 3 days ago and once a day since that I have seen him really cry a sad cry.

Sweet M* asked to be held after he had been on a time in (time out but on my lap or on a chair next to me) and he cried. He wants to be held like a baby, cradled all up in my arms, he puts his head in the fold of my neck and he weeps. Then he calms down and I tell him that this mommy will not be all gone and I will love him forever and always. He gives me a kiss and hops down and plays so peacefully for the next hour or two. As hard as it is to hear him cry this way it is also precious bc it sounds real. He is really feeling something and he is sharing it with me.

It is so strange when you read these methods in Nancy's books before you have your child home. You think that your kid won't need her methods, but the reality is she nails it and I am so very thankful that I have read her books.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Transition at 3 months- The Whole Gang

Since coming home I have posted about Sweet M*'s transition, but I feel like I am missing an important piece by not reporting the rest of my kiddos transition as well. So, since we are at the 3 month home mark I thought I would post a bit about each of my kiddos.Captain Crazy has had the easiest transition these past few months with Sweet M* for sure. I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that he traveled with us to pick M* up in Ethiopia. They have been more comfortable with each other since our first day home and he truly enjoys playing and teaching things to Sweet M*. Although, lately some of the things he has been teaching him haven't been the most appropriate things... ex.) the booty dance??, scaring their little sister by growling, etc...

Cuddlebear is the second oldest. He hasn't minded having another sibling, but he was just indifferent in the beginning. Just recently though he has been all about Sweet M*. He wants to eat the same thing, sit next to M* etc... I love that Cuddlebear loves his brother and wants to be around him, even more so after this...
Just last week we had our first bad incident with kids at a park. The kids were calling Sweet M* names (weird & stupid- ugh). Cuddlebear caught on and quickly walked over explaining that his brother was not weird and stupid but that he was his brother and he was from Africa. He took M*'s hand and said c' mon M* lets get away from these kids. And, he proceeded to take Sweet M* to a different part of the playground. I was so proud of him.
My heart broke though bc the kids targeted M* so quickly (he just walked over near them... never even spoke) so as much as I don't want to label it racist I am having a hard time thinking it didn't have something to do with the color of his skin. They played with every other white kid on the playground without name calling. The part that really bothered me is the kids parents were sitting very close to the boys and could hear and see everything that was going on and never said anything to their kids. It was bad enough that another mom came over to me and said she saw what happened and it wasn't right. I was glad Sweet M* didn't really know what was going on. And, at the same time I was realizing that I am going to have to prepare myself and my family for the different scenarios we may cross.
M* has made a lot of progress the past 12 weeks. His tantruming was down to only when he was over tired or very hungry and even then they weren't much more than a typical 3 year old. Gotta love 3!
However, we did have 3-4 days of regression when we came home from vacation. That was really hard. It was difficult to have to work through the hard tantrums. And, I had to remember how to respond to his behavior bc I hadn't had to do it in awhile. I knew that this was a possibility when we made the decision to take a vacation this early on, however we needed that time to have fun as a family. It has been a hard 12 weeks and I think it was worth it regression and all. We are now at day 5 back home and both today and yesterday were very good. He is still a little more testy when I tell him no and he is having a little trouble following some of the rules and calming down but he is getting back into the groove.
Today he did really well considering it was my first day back at work and his first day away from me for more than 2-3 hours and he even napped while I was gone-YAY!!!
One thing that I have noticed recently is how much he doesn't understand his past. I talk to him about how he was born in Ethiopia and he had an Aba and Ama and we watch videos and look at the pictures of the orphanage and us traveling to Ethiopia. But, he just doesn't really seem to get it. Not that I would expect a 3 year old to, but it is something that I struggle with. And, when he sees a baby picture of one of the other kids and wants to see one of himself my heart breaks for him. I have noticed that he enjoys when I tell him that I know he was a beautiful baby with big brown eyes and beautiful brown skin. I am working on a lifebook and I am hoping that will help him.
Belle had the hardest time at first... she still does. She never had to share her "girl" toys until Sweet M* came home bc her older brothers would have nothing to do with them. That was hard for her. However, the past 2-3 weeks have been very big for her and M*. While on vacation they played very well together. They are still on and off, but when they are on they are two of the cutest sweetest kids I have ever seen. Trouble is when one is getting in to trouble most often the other follows. I think I should get a book on parenting twins since that is pretty much what they are (2 1/2 months apart).
I know that some agencies won't place kids that close in age. The interesting thing is Belle has been a huge since of comfort for M*. He always looks to Belle to see her reaction when we ask him to try something new. So, as hard as having two is on us sometimes I think it has been equally helpful.As far as my attachment with M* I think it is a work in progress. I was in a really good place right before vacation. Now after those bad days I am struggling a bit. Usually, it helps me to remember his past so I am posting a little reminder on my fridge. I also seem to do better after I physically hold him and snuggle him more, so I am going to focus on that. It is interesting to me how fast you forget that your adopted child has had trauma. In the every day shuffle of life they start to just fall in line with my others. I have to work harder to parent M* and when I remember why I do good... but I sometimes forget. Work in progress.

Sun Fun 3- Disneyworld!!!

Our 1st Trip as a Complete Family
We had a fabulous trip to Disneyworld for the first time as a complete family. The kids had a blast meeting some of their favorite pals.
The funsome four found all sorts of ways to have fun... some included tricks played on me ;)
We got a lot of stares when we went out together... I thought it was bc of our skin tones, but now that I look back through the pictures I think people may have been staring bc they thought we must be crazy to have so many kids so close in age... I sometimes think so myself.
Sweet M* enjoyed showing Belle how to play some traditional African instruments in Animal Kingdom... too cute.
Our princess met her favorite princess... she was a little star struck.
Big brothers played some jokes on their little brother. Don't worry he plays plenty on them too!One of the best parts about the trip was we were able to spend some QT with my dad (aka Papa) who has been gone working in FL for a few months.