Sunday, April 15, 2012

sweet stories: one month home

James has been home one month today.  It was four weeks on Thursday.  Amazing.  It feels like months and months and months.  You hear people say it all the time, but it's so true...it feels like he's always been here.  It just doesn't feel weird at all anymore.  He's just one of us!

I have a few sweet stories to share.  Just things that have made us smile -- or maybe tear up, or squeeze our kids a little closer.

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James is kissed on quite a bit.  Imagine that.  The routine is that when we're getting ready to lay him down to nap or go to bed for the night, we make the rounds with him and he gets kisses from all his sibs.  And sometimes he does the tucking in with us and he kisses his sibs goodnight.  Of course all of this is with lots of 'night-night's.  So now James has the phrase 'ni-night' down pat.  But he's a tad bit confused on when to use it.  Every time someone kisses him -- he could've literally just awakened -- he says, 'Ni-night!' We get him out of his car seat and kiss his cheeks, he looks us in the eyes and says 'Ni-night!' We kiss on him while changing his diaper, he waves and says, 'Ni-night!'  It's hilarious.

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Another bed time routine that evolved many months ago is with Brooks and Jackson.  When JD and I tuck them into bed at night, as is the case with most parents I'm sure, we tell them we love them as we're leaving the room.  Once their door is closed, a banter begins and we go back and forth with them as we walk further and further away from their bedroom.

'I love you!'

'I love you!'

'I love you!'

"I love you!' 

The boys' 'I love yous' end up as top-of-the-lungs screams at the end.  It's super sweet.  But what's even sweeter is that James is now doing it!  As I said, James has accompanied us to tuck the other children in and witnessed this banter with Brooks and Jackson a few times.  Then the night before last, I tucked James in and said 'I love you!' as I was walking out of the room.  He then said it back.  I said it again as I closed the door.  He said it back.  We continued to say it back and forth to each other as I walked into the kitchen where I met JD.  He looked at me frozen and said, 'Honey, that's so cute!'  We just grinned at each other.  We sometimes underestimate (or just don't really think about!) how powerful the influences of our family's rhythms are to James.  Incredible.

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The other day, James woke up from his nap crying.  This isn't normal for him.  In fact, he's never cried when he's awakened from a nap.  So I went in there and scooped him up.  But I couldn't console him.  He just cried and cried.  He bucked a little in my arms.  I squeezed him tighter and sat on the couch with him.  He writhed.  I stood up and paced with him.  He protested.  All the while I shhhh'd him and told him he was okay.  Nothing seemed to be working.  Every other time he's cried (which really isn't that often), we've been able to easily settle him down.  This time felt different.  Then it struck me.


He's gonna puke.  He has what JD had.  This is what our other kids did when they were younger -- a fit of crying then, here it comes...

So I went into the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bathtub.  Payton came in and asked what was wrong.  I told her I didn't know.  I then offered a bath to him.  He loves baths.  I thought it might be soothing and if nothing else perhaps it would distract him.

Finally, it occurred to me that maybe this was it.  Maybe this was his first overwhelming moment of heartbreak and despair.  Maybe he'd had a dream about his nanny or his homeland or his friends.  And when he woke up and realized where he was, he was just overcome with the pain of his loss.  I thought, 'Wow.  Is this how it goes sometimes?  I month home and now?'

The bath worked.  He never got sick.  Payton had him giggling within just a few minutes.

About ten minutes after I got him out of his bath, I noticed what looked like a bug bite under his right eye.  It swelled up his eye a little and looked a bit like a shiner.  Later that night or the next morning, the bite was kind of inflamed.  (Gross, I know).  And that night when JD tucked him in, he cried and cried.  JD inspected his bed, nothing.  JD and I figure he was bitten by something.  Poor baby.  That little bite lingered.  It's just now clearing up and that happened on Monday or Tuesday!  But I think that may've been what upset him so.  But this first-time-adoptive-mom hasn't a clue!  Perhaps a meltdown at the month mark is a normal?  Who knows...

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The other day, Avery taught James how to hug.  Now he lays his head on your shoulder and pats his hand on your back.  Priceless.  Now he's doling out kisses and hugs.

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Below is a video of some sweetness today...

Brooks was gargling his water and James liked the sound.  Then James took a sip and immediately cocked his head back and gargled too!  So sweet!  He doesn't miss a beat.  Then he decided to yell for Payton (who was next door).  Do you hear his little 'Pay-ton!' call?  And then she answers back and he peers for her!

video

By the way, in his mind and heart, she ranks up there with us.  His parents.  She is not secondary to us, but very much primary in his life.  It is something to see.  Yesterday, while he was napping, she and I were sitting on the couch.  It was quiet and she says very quietly to me, 'Life is so boring when James is napping.'  I said, 'Really, P?' thinking she'd enjoy some time to herself and some peace and quiet while he naps knowing he'll be up soon enough (typical parental perspective, right?).  I then asked her, 'So is having him here everything you thought it would be?'  She says, 'No.'

I'm thinking, 'Uh-oh.'  Then she says...

'It's more.'

Rip a mother's heart from her chest, would you please?

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And the final video and story.  I really don't have to set this up much, but say that our boy's English is coming along!  So fun to witness! 

video

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