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.


Zoe said...

You are doing great! So insightful and present to what is going on in and with your kids. From what I know as a past therapist working with grief and loss (and trauma) is that it does come in waves, ebbs and flows, and it's a process. And even more so for little children because they can not understand what they are processing. It is so good to hear your updates and see pictures! Much love to you all...

Zoe said...

P.S. I have heard that Life Books really help adopted children and though they may not always want to look at it, it does become a very sacred book for them.

Leslie said...

Lovely post Amber! I always enjoy checking in on your blog - not as much lately since the arrival of our son Nem :-) He and I have had a rough couple of days - today was better though. He is our first and so I don't have much to compare it to and tend to think it is just normal 2 year old stuff. It is heartbreaking to me when I think of all that he has been through and I try to remember this when things aren't going as well as I'd like. Again... thanks for your honesty and your blogging!

adventures north said...

Your family is beautiful. Its been so fun to follow along, though I've been a lame blogger/blog follower lately!

re. the booty dance - our 4 yr old taught our 1 yr old to SAY "booty" (not a word we use, where did he pick that up???!)

re. the mean kids at the playground - oooh, am I steamed! How dare they? And the parents?! I'm so sorry you've had to deal with this so soon.

re. attachment - you know, it was around the year home mark that A really turned a corner and I noticed myself also more genuinely in tune with her. You're doing great.

MRK said...

Your two most recent posts about the 3 month transition for all the kids and about The Militant Mom were wonderful. Your insights are amazing and helpful to those of us about to follow a similar path, and I know your insights can only help you, too, as you build on what you've learned so far to figure out how to do the best that you can with the next stages. I am definitely going to follow your advice and think that your kids...all 4 of them...have an incredible mom.