Overall, we are all doing well. Life seems so natural with Thomas in the house and I am really proud of how all of the kids are adjusting to having another toddler in the house.
Just a few things about our boy:
- He is a super, cute, chunky little thing. He is much shorter than Felicity, but has the most adorable chubby belly.
- He has a charming smile. Too charming, really. He will often use that charming smile to get out of trouble. So far, we are resisting his charms.
- He has the softest skin of any of my children. It is butter soft and I cannot help but rub his cute little cheeks whenever I get a chance. Pete said that the guides in China would comment on how great his skin is and now, I can understand why.
- He is all boy and combined with some bad behaviors learned at the orphanage, he can be a handful. But, not too much of a handful that we cannot work though it all.
- He is picking up English words here and there and his receptive language is great.
- He is very social. Which is nice, but, in the long run, will make our cocooning phase longer and attachment more of a challenge.
Speaking of attachment:
- After a rough start with Pete (Thomas was deathly afraid of men), he warmed up to Pete very well in country.
- He was very scared of me when he first came home. Pete had important meetings at work just two days after coming home from China, so Thomas had to get used to me quickly. By the third day, he had seemed to warm up to me. He allows me to cuddle him and rock him to sleep.
- He loves his brothers, and honestly, prefers them to anyone else. This, again, can be a challenge, but the boys have been so great about letting Pete and I take the lead in the care of Thomas, so as to firmly establish us as the care givers and those Thomas should seek first.
- I adore the little boy. He had my heart before he even came home and that has not changed.
While, the first week has gone well, we have a LONG way to go. The process of attachment is often 2 steps forward, one step back, or sometimes just a crawl. It has been hard not to compare him to Felicity and where she is at now, but she has been home 18 months and grown in so many ways and we know that we will look back a year from now and see a lot growth in our relationship with Thomas too.
Felicity and Thomas:
These two are now affectionately named "The Toddlers." And, as you would expect from any two toddlers, they can get along beautifully one moment, and then not-so-beautifully the next. We were very concerned about Felicity's adjustment to Thomas and she is far surpassing our expectations. She has been doing well overall and I have been so impressed with her ability to adjust. Thomas and Felicity are just 7 months apart in age, but right now, developmentally, they seem about 18 months apart. At this moment, it is a great thing because it is helping to establish Felicity as the older sister. She has become a mini-mom in many ways and is amazing at grabbing diapers and wipes when I need them for Thomas. I barely get the words "sippy cup" out of my mouth and she is on her way to get his sippy cup so that I may give it to Thomas. While, Thomas may prefer his brothers, I really think these two will become very close over the years.
How would you guess sleep is going in a house with one toddler still slightly on China time, one toddler adjusting to having a toddler brother, two other family members overcoming jet leg and a 32 week pregnant woman?? If you can imagine all of those scenarios under the same roof, you can imagine just how sleep is happening, or not happening, in our house. Melatonin has become our friend to help regulate Thomas' and Felicity's sleep. And, as long as I can avoid having to sleep on the floor, next to my toddler daughter, I can get sufficient enough sleep to get me through (yes, at 32 weeks pregnant, I have had to sleep on the floor! I do not recommend it).
These early days of melding Thomas into our family are not easy. And since this is not our first time at this, we did not expect it to be easy. Add being pregnant onto it all and it does complicate things. But, in so many ways, this feels so much easier than last time. Even admist the craziness, there is much joy. I was changing diapers and getting "The Toddlers" ready for bed one night and Pete looked at me and said, "You are happy, aren't you?" Yes. Yes, I am very happy. Even though I am tried and my body is just not able to move the way it did just weeks ago, I am very happy. Adding a two year old, full of energy, to the mix, and yes I am still happy. I am sleep deprived, and I am still happy. And I think that it all stems from an excessive amount of grace. Grace that comes when you are walking the path that God wants you on.. Even though it may be hard and challenging, there is still an incredible amount of joy that comes with it. Joy in knowing that we are getting a little glimpse of God's love through this whole process. Joy in knowing that there is one less orphan in the world and that a son is HOME.