Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our Little Man

Here is part of an email update I sent my family last night:

"I'm exhausted and so my body's been choosing sleep over posting any updates, and internet is bad whenever I try lately, but I wanted to let you know how we're doing before I drift off to sleep. 
Today was a good day, considering Will had his med exams and TB blood draw. They poked him 3 different places in both arms! Poor little guy. But we are starting to be able to read him better and head off some triggers before they set off his meltdowns. Sometimes. :) He makes us want to keep getting better at that. 
He loves to play and we see it in his expression as he discovers the joy of playing WITH somebody. He's been rejecting Brandon lately but today he did much better. And he's asleep before 1am so WIN. It's 10pm btw. 
I taught him great grandma A's horsey ride game yesterday and he did it a few times and thought it was great, then toddled off to do something else. But this afternoon with out any warning he walked over, tried to climb on my leg and grabbed both my hands saying "Doo dee dee dee." So he got as much of that as he wanted. I was reading him one of the little books we brought and showed him "baby" on the baby page. I said it a few times. A few minutes later he's walking around with the book open, saying "beebee beebee beebee." He's been refusing milk. The nannies told us he drinks a bottle of milk at night, cold. He hasn't taken it since we got him. I brought pedialyte packets so he's been drinking that (1/2 packet/bottle of water) but we're almost out. But tonight I remembered I packed a small can of sensitive formula, just in case he still took formula. I tried a warm bottle of it and he gulped it down. He couldn't get it fast enough. I'm not sure the nannies know what they're talking about, but maybe he'll sleep better now. 
After Will fell asleep tonight, Brandon gave him, then me, a blessing. Will for overcoming his institutional behaviors, and me for my back. That was good. I haven't really seen much of Guangzhou except from the car. It's monsoon season and it's cloudy or rainy all the time so we stay in lots. Brandon ventures out much more since he needs to eat and I haven't been able to (I got a stomach thing on our first day here YAY). We were going to go out to a cool island this afternoon but it was cancelled due to the heavens dumping the contents of their swimming pool on Guangzhou. We'll try again tomorrow, as it is supposed to be nicer. We'll still pack umbrellas. Also, it's about 90* all the time. 
I'm drifting asleep. So ready to be home. But still, it's WAAAAAYYYYY better than last time we were here.

Will has a great giggle."

I wanted to add, for the sake of education, that trauma-babies' institutionalized behaviors--these "meltdowns"-- are different from the usual healthy toddler tantrum. They are a different beast entirely and need to be handled differently. Brandon and I watch, anticipate, and try to prevent any triggers and then try to soften, comfort and ease any potential PTSD reaction that comes. To protect Will, I won't describe what he goes through, but this is why, when we get home, we will be cocooning (basically being very anti-social) as we ease Will into his new safe environment and build up his trust in his surroundings. I also want to add that I'm very hopeful that his meltdown reactions will fade. He wants to trust. He wants to cling to this new life. He is a fighter and I'm so proud of his courage. He is smart and learns what will make him happy very quickly. Sometimes he is like a 12-month-old (like when he eats or walks), but more often he seems much older...there is depth in his eyes and his choices. This is common in institutionalized children, because they've had to learn to parent themselves, but I'd only read about it. Seeing it is amazing. And sad. I recently wrote that there is a difference between "caring for" a child and "nurturing" a child. A child who is "cared for" can still be neglected. A child who is "cared for" can still be abused. An infant is programmed to receive love, facial mirroring, touch, warmth, smell, all those sensory experiences that affect healthy development. In an institution, when they are left alone to "cry it out," day after day after day, their infant minds attempt to fill in the gaps made by neglect. Because they want to survive. Hopefully. And then these PTSD-type behaviors are born. Will was abandoned at 5 day old, as a preemie. And he's a fighter. Strong Will. 
It's his turn to be nurtured.

First pizza. He LOVED it. Also, China Pizza Hut is a lot better than US Pizza Hut. 
He was determined to eat with that toddler knife. He was not successful.
Our room is tiny. He pushed this stroller from the door to the window for about half an hour.
Sharing dried blueberries. He would feed me and I'd feed him. And then every once in a while he'd go to feed me, and then quickly pop it in his mouth and we would laugh and laugh.
Brandon blew bubbles during Will's bath and since his skin was wet, the bubbles stuck all over, including his hair.
During the rain dump we were directed to a little playroom in the hotel. Of course, he found the cars.

We have some fun videos but they won't load here. I'll keep trying. 

This is hard. But it's one of those hard things that you dig in and hold on with both hands because the highs totally outweigh the lows, and it all means something.


Annette Lyon said...

I love reading your updates! Will is so lucky to have you guys.

Maija said...

I love the updates and am so incredibly happy for you guys. You're so amazing. I hope and pray things continue to go well and to improve.

Gramma Spice said...

Saw the latest video on Shell's phone last night. So fun. Know you are up to the challenge, but it can't be easy. Proud of your resolve and strength. We will be here to help when needed. Love that he has a great giggle....will fit in well with the family. :)