We've been home six weeks from China and I've been so busy with Will, back-to-school, appointments, and a few projects, that I haven't conjured up the time to post an update. Well, abra kadabra, here you go.
ADORABLENESS: HE IS FULL OF IT. His personality is big and his enthusiasm and determination makes for pretty fun antics. He's entertaining and he knows it. His "toddlerness" is pretty spot on and we laugh, grimace, cushion, and encourage. Lots of laughing, though. And face-palming.
|Mowing the lawn like Dad.|
COPING SKILLS: Will is continuing to absorb this new life and leave the old one behind. He is gaining new coping skills and uses them. He learned "soft" ("dahh") and he has attached to his teddy bear. This was huge, as he had zero interest in any stuffed animal from the beginning, and honestly, we only kept three in the crib to use as soft barriers between his head and the crib railings. But one morning he woke up and played the name game (he points to his chest and says "Will," then points to something else and I tell him its name, then repeat), but this time he pointed to each of his stuffed animals. I was surprised, because I didn't know he even noticed them.
"Will?" He points.
"Will?" He points.
"Will?" He points.
Repeat the next couple of days.
Then one morning he woke up and held up one of the animals in triumph. "BEH!" And he noted Beh was soft. "Dahh." And he wanted Beh to come with us to breakfast. And to read books. And in the car. And pretty soon Will would make Beh dance and he'd sing, "Doo dee doo dee doo." And if Will fell or got frustrated and was angry or too deregulated to want or see me, I could give him Beh and we would say "Dahh. Dahh. Dahh." and pet Beh's soft fur, and Will would calm down and see me again. If Beh wasn't around, we used our dog Brodie. "Dahh. Dahh. Dahh." Soft. "It's okay. Soft. Soft. It's okay." And Will would calm down. And sometimes, if Beh or Brodie were not available, and a meltdown was beginning, I would take Will's hand and we'd rub his own arm or cheek and say, "Soft. Soft." And Will would take a breath and say, "Dahh. Dahh." Last night as I was putting him to bed, he was a bit wound up and refusing his bottle and just being a toot. But it was 9:30 and we both needed sleep. I was frustrated about the bottle and was moving him to a different position, and he started to kick. But as I settled him into the crook of my arm, his hand went to his cheek and he said, "Dahh. Dahh. Dahh," stroking his own cheek. This was a choice he made, at a point where, weeks before, he would have been hurting himself as his coping mechanism and losing control. It was a small little thing and he only did it the little bit before settling down and letting me rock him, but I was moved by the magnitude of this switch in his thought process. "Will is soft, and Will can calm down, and be soft to Will. Just like Beh." It's not every time, and it's not always enough, but baby steps. Awesome little huge baby steps.
|Will and Beh just before bedtime. Sleepy-face.|
SLEEP: We've made big strides in sleep. Every once in a while he'll fight going to sleep, or wake up at night once or twice, but it's becoming more normal for him to go to sleep and sleep through the night. He's starting to refuse his bottle or just drink two ounces, or he'll drink eight. So I don't know. I'm switching him gradually from formula to milk so maybe that has something to do with it. Oh well. But I'm definitely grateful for more regular sleep. He hasn't had any night terrors lately. Most of the time when he wakes up I'm greeted with an enthusiastic "HI!" hands thrown up in the air, big grin, and a quick grab of Beh before he leaves the crib. Pretty fantastic. If he wakes up grumpy, we're in for a long day, ha.
SOCIALIZING: We've had a visit from my sister and her family, a day trip to my parents' house, we took Will to Jacob's football scrimmage and a staff BBQ, I take Will walking in the mornings with my friends Sara and Laura, and we've ventured to Maren's dental appointments, junior high orientation, Costco, the grocery store, JoAnn Fabric, and even Hobby Lobby really quickly. He's doing pretty well as long as the trips aren't too long (he did NOT like the trip to Kennewick; however, he LOVED my parents) and we have snacks. The school orientation was too much. But he does love being in the car and seems to enjoy the car seat as long as it's not more than thirty minutes. And he is social, saying "Hi!" and "Car!" to anyone he thinks might be interested. So we practice. We were going to take him to church today, but he's been fighting a cough and cold, and yesterday the same thing hit Brandon hard, so they stayed home together and I GOT TO GO TO CHURCH. Yay! The cute thing is, Will totally loves Brandon. They play together really well, and we can see Will kind of showing off for him when he gets home from work, like, "See what I learned to do today? Watch me do it even louder and stronger!" I think Brandon likes that extra cause to smile after a long day at work. Pretty sweet.
So, we've been up and down and all around, but hopefully moving forward. In trying to describe to friends the changes we see in Will compared to those first weeks, I told them it was like we are seeing him filling up with water and coming alive. Before, he was surviving. But he's beginning to live.