And I think he is adjusting fairly well. This morning when I had to hold him for hitting his sister, he only mildly had a fit and I was able to get him to say 'sorry' to Claire all within just a matter of minutes. This is a HUGE improvement, I think he is learning the rules in our house. I'm still not sure if he is really hyperactive or just an active boy. Some days he can be calmer and sit and focus on an activity, other days he is more hyper.
Yesterday, I took him to a park to play for a while and it was a nice time. He was very interested in the 2 commercial mowers mowing the grass nearby. It was getting hot early so we didn't get to stay too long.
As for our typical weekday, the kids get up around 6/6:30, I feed them a big breakfast, the girls get ready. Fortunately boys are easy to get ready...no braiding hair, no attending to accessories, etc.! We try to be out the door around 7:30-7:40 to get Olivia to school on time, lately we have been arriving as the first bell rings. I park in the parking lot and walk the kids to the side gate. We say goodbye to 'Sissy' (Olivia), then we walk Claire into the daycare building. Nicholas and I go home so he can play or watch tv. Sometimes I actually get to clean, do laundry, take a shower or blog...
I'll then give him a big lunch around 12, then I let him watch some Baby Einstein dvds and he will usually chill in front of the tv for a while. The girls get home between 2 and 2:40 when I have friends helping or we go to the school to get them. This is where I run into trouble, the time between 3 and 8pm. The girls want to watch the Disney shows like Hannah Montana and Nicholas runs a little wild getting into things. They have played outside together a couple of times and yesterday we went swimming. We have dinner between 5 and 5:30, then I make sure Nicholas is in the bath shortly after 6pm because he can spend hours in there, but of course, we get him out by 6:45pm.
So far, we have actually gotten him interested in a few books. Mainly a board book about planes and a Cars look and find book. He is starting to branch out. We look at books for a while, then I turn out the light and rock and sing to him for a while. He just doesn't seem to settle down easily so the last couple of nights, I sit on the edge of his bed and wait for him to fall asleep. Last night he kept trying to sit up and it took at least 40 minutes for him to fall asleep this way. I can't figure out what is comforting to him, if stroking his face helps, patting his back, rocking him, him chewing on his fingers, etc. About an hour later, I found him crying sitting up so I lowered him down while comforting him.
When we first got home I was sleeping in a twin in his room, but since he was sleeping well, I was back sleeping in our room the last few nights. Last night he woke up at 3am to go 'CM'(potty) and seemed pretty awake, so when I took him back to his bed, I tried to get in the twin, but he kept getting up, so I ended up laying by his bed while it took about 2 hours for him to go back to sleep (all the while yawning). I can't figure out if we are doing it wrong or if he is just fighting the sleep or maybe he is even overtired from not having a nap? Feel free to offer suggestions if you have had a similar experience.
Oh and yesterday, I was talking to a local friend who is Kazak about some words I needed translated and she ended up having a short conversation with him. We found out his favorite foods are apples and bananas (which we already knew) and she asked how he liked his family and he replied that Papa was sleeping (he was actually at work at the time) and Mama is cleaning (we were just cleaning up the toys he was playing with). When she asked if he had lots of toys, he asked that she bring his plane. I think he is talking about the matchbox plane we brought to him in July, it was left (or lost) at the Babyhouse. Guess we'll have to replace that one! She said he sounded good. I wonder if his sleep issue last night had to do with talking to someone in his language, maybe it reminded him of the Babyhouse.
This morning was a big morning as we went for an ultrasound on his kidneys to follow up on a kidney infection he had back in December. The place we went to had 2 aquariums and he could look at those fish all day, it may have been the first time he saw live fish. And get this, I actually took him to the grocery store. It was his first trip here to the store and he did very well while helping me. I made sure to tell him that we were just going for apples and strawberries and he did well helping me to hold the hand basket. I think it was successful because I let him help me and we went in to just get a few things and there weren't many people in the store.
So yesterday I took Nicholas to get some bloodwork done and overall he did well despite some bad behavior while waiting. I felt so bad about him having bloodwork that I took him to a local feed store where they have a small petting zoo in back. He was excited about the animals and we had fun till he started playing with the dirt, then we left. He was so tired after lunch, just one yawn after another that I decided to try to get him to take a nap. After only 15 minutes of rocking and minimal crying, I was astounded he fell asleep. I thought this was a great thing.
I tried to wake him after an hour and a half but had real difficulty and he became a real bear, throwing tantrums when he didn't get his way. Bed time was difficult and it took an hour of rocking while holding till he finally gave in and went to sleep. This was a real battle, it's like he was fighting the sleep. The previous night I only had to rock him about 15 minutes.
Today has been hard as he has been extremely hyper, I think because we are not in our usual weekday routine and everyone is home. We've had several tantrums and we can't get him to calm down unless we put something on tv that he will watch. I'm praying for patience for all of us. When he is having fun and everything is going smoothly he is a joy. I hate having to say 'no' because I know he'll get mad but he has to learn to accept 'no' and to learn the rules in our family.
This afternoon, I had some one on one time with Olivia and it was nice. I learned that she didn't want to eat her fruit in her lunch from home at school because she was embarrassed by the 'kiddy' container. We had a nice time eating lunch, shopping for books for her and we spent time together while she enjoyed an ice cream cone. I plan to spend one on one time with Claire next Saturday.
I had a little bug earlier in the week, probably from all the travel and the stress. Hubby is still getting over his. We have been so blessed by all the help we have received with meals and errands and help with picking up the girls from school. We are so thankful to everyone's support and especially to my friends Heidi and Tracie whose families helped take care of the girls while we were on our last trip to Kazakhstan.
Today went alot better than yesterday and ended in a giggling fit with the 3 kids. And we even spent 2 hours at the pediatrician today. Nicholas and I waited for an hour for his appointment, it was just a bad time for an appointment right before their lunch. It took a while for our pediatrician to decide what kind of tests to order as Nicholas' vaccinations are incomplete. He also ordered an ultrasound for his kidneys as there was an indication he had a problem last year. In a week and a half we will be visiting an international adoption specialist down south where he will get a more comprehensive exam.
I do have to say that Nicholas behaved so well at the doctor's office considering how long we had to wait, even the doctor commented about how compliant he was during the exam. We made it home late for lunch but fortunately I brought a snack for the doctor visit. I've been feeding Nicholas alot, at least 5 times a day. It was recommended food be offered about every 2 hours in one of the books I read and it seems to work pretty well for us. We have a big breakfast, 2 snacks, hot lunch, 2 snacks, big dinner. So far, we have not had any issues with hoarding.
I finally discovered that he will actually sit and watch some of the Baby Einsten dvds, usually the ones with animals. We've tried Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder and some others but I think since he doesn't understand the English, he is just not interested. The nice thing about Baby Einstein is there isn't much talking, but just enough so he will start to learn English. We also watched Leap Frog Let's Go to School and he actually sat and watched the whole dvd! I was so surprised. We have some other Leap Frog dvds we will get around to watching, too.
This evening after dinner, Claire and Nicholas had a tiff over some books but we worked it out and it was a learning experience for both of them. Claire was in a bad mood today, I think she had a bad day at school...maybe it started with the bad dream she had last night. I was able to get her laugh when I started tickling her, then Nicholas got jealous, so I started tickling him, then I included Olivia. It was such a joy to have all the kids laughing together and having such fun together. Olivia even said it was a nice family moment. Bedtime was tough trying to meet all the kids needs as Claire wanted a book read to her, Nicholas wanted to show me books and Olivia wanted me to read to her, too. Nicholas wanted to sleep in Olivia's bed, I think he is just so used to sleeping in another room with other kids. Anyway, I sang to Nicholas and rocked him and it was the sweetest thing to have him fall asleep in my arms and he looks so sweet when he is asleep. I can really see a change in his face, he seems more rested and even the rash he had around his face from putting his fingers/hands in his mouth went away. I think he was nervous when we first got him and he really hasn't been putting his fingers in his mouth as much. His face seems to have more color, too.
apples tomatoes cucumber rice nori(seaweed) chicken banana grapes chocolate candies cars airplanes balls Baby Einstein videos with animals Mickey Mouse some Disney shows Finding Nemo sharks sea animals tools turning on/off lights pushing any buttons water baths pool digging in the dirt guns/shooting sounds (we don't have any toys like this but he will pretend with anything that could be a gun or make one with blocks)
I think I had a dream yesterday that Nicholas Roma was the perfect child. We had a great day. After taking the girls to school, I took him to the walk/bike path. I walked for about 20-30 minutes while he rode in the jogger stroller. Afterwards I took him to the nearby playground where he played for about an hour and even played well with another 3 year old boy. All day, he kept asking "Where's Papa?" " Where's Claire? Sissy?"
He ate pretty well, I even took him with me to pick up the girls from school. It was a little much when we went to get Claire. There were a ton of people (parents and kids) waiting outside her class. The rest of the day went well with all the kids playing well together and even Nicholas sharing a toy and being so sweet to Claire when she wanted to join him. When it was time for bed, it wasn't too difficult, he didn't put up much of a fuss.
I slept in the same room again and he woke up a couple of times. I asked if he needed C M (potty in Kazak), but he said no...I'm not sure what he wanted so I just put him back to bed. He did wake up early around 6pm. This is where the dream ended.
From the get go, things just did not go well today. Claire and Nicholas fought over a toy, right after I took a picture of them playing nicely. And the rest of the day just got worse. He had tantrums all day and over little things. Sometimes it was because I told him 'no', sometimes it was because I needed to hold him for a 'time-in' because he threw something, and sometimes it was just because he was frustrated and didn't understand (how the toy worked, that the dvd takes a while to load, etc.). I thought maybe his behavior was a sign he needed a nap, so I tried to put him down for a nap...for an hour, then I had to give up because the girls came home.
I'm really hoping it's just from overstimulation from being around too many people or it's from being tired. I sure hope tomorrow is better, especially since he has his appointment with our pediatrician.
I would even describe him as Jekell and Hyde, one moment he could be really sweet, the next a terror. I'm not sure if this is his personality or post institutional behavior or a combination of things. I'm sure glad we have an appointment with an international adoption specialist because I'm just not sure if I'm handling the tantrums appropriately.
As for attachment, I think this is going well, he seems really attached to all of us and is shy around strangers. He hugs and kisses me alot sometimes too strongly. And even though I can be stern with him, he still hugs on me. We practice making faces for 'happy', 'sad', 'mad', and 'scared' and when we practice the 'mad' face, I think he worries because he wants to hug me right after that.
I really want to let you know everything that has happened since we left for Kazakhstan but Nicholas has to be under constant supervision. I'm grabbing a few minutes before bed to let you know how we are doing.
This has been the most incredible journey. Nicholas is so sweet (especially when he is sleeping...lol!) and it is such a joy to see him so happy. I do have to be honest that there have been challenges. We are having to teach him boundaries and he is certainly not happy about that.
I want to tell you how the girls have been with him. We arrived home late Saturday afternoon. We ate some dinner and showed Nicholas (we've been calling him Nicholas Roma and Roma) around the house. After about an hour, he became really upset and was wandering around looking for something, like he was missing someone or something from the babyhouse? He had a complete meltdown (we had already experienced a few of these since getting custody...he has been through alot).
So sometime after this meltdown, our friend brings the girls home. Nicholas sees Claire and they run towards each other and hug each other like long lost brother and sister! The funniest thing was seeing him take the girls around the house and show them all the fun toys as if they were just arriving in our house too! It was so cute to see this and when he would point to the toy, Claire would tell him "I already know that". Today at dinner, Claire and Nicholas were making silly faces with each other....they were meant to be siblings! Olivia just kind of rolled her eyes!
Olivia was very happy to meet him too and exclaimed, "He's littler than I thought he would be", I think she thought he would be more their size, but he is barely into a size 3. She really likes to help out and I have to remind her that it is our job to take care of him.
The paint is dry, the curtains are hung, now we are just waiting for our little boy. We are leaving soon to bring him home. Sorry to say I will be incommunicado during this trip since I will not be bringing my laptop. We aren't sure of the internet connection in the apartment and I think I'm going to be too busy chasing a little boy to have time to surf the internet. The next few weeks will be tough with travel and transitions.
We've 'tried' to keep his room low-key, but we've been given some new clothes and toys along with the hand-me-downs. And of course, we have a whole other room full of toys that I've tried to put away... It looks better but there are still lots of toys. Our family room is really a 'play room' with a kitchen, play food, kids' work bench equipped with tools, lots of games on the shelves as well as arts and crafts supply. We have a tv in there where the kids and dad play the wii occasionally. (Mom is usually cleaning, cooking,doing laundry or knitting)
I would like to post more, but so much to do...gotta finish cleaning and packing. Oooops didn't realize it was going to be cold there (cold for us Californians, that is) so now I have to rethink the clothes!
May 2008 Decide to pursue an international adoption from Kazakhstan June 2008 Apply to homestudy agency in California October 2008 Work on homestudy and apply to International Placement agency November 2008 Finish completing homestudy December 24, 2008 Notarize our remaining documents for our dossier January 2, 2008 Hand carry our dossier to Sacramento for Apostilles (authenticating) January 2009 Submit our dossier to our agency for review and translation February 2009 Dossier is submitted to consulate March 2009 Dossier resubmitted to consulate April 6, 2009 Dossier cleared consulate! April 15, 2009 Dossier to Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kazakhstan May 2009 Dossier to Ministry of Education in Almaty! May 23, 2009 Receive LOI (Letter Of Invitation) June 15, 2009 Travel to Kazakhstan to meet and bond with our child July 25, 2009 Trip #2 for court July 30, 2009 Court September 6, 2009 Trip #3 for custody September 12, 2009 Arrive in USA with our son!
Fundraising goal for donation to our child's Babyhouse