Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Month Update...

And what a month it has been!  We received physical custody of Eli on August 6th, and time FLIES - neither Patrick nor I could quite believe we've been parents for a month.  Much of our time seems very surreal. Sometimes, it feels like no time at all - such as when I think about (and admittedly, truly struggle with) the fact that I have to return to work next week (I am very grateful that Patrick is going on paternity leave as I return to work!). Sometimes, it feels like we have been together much longer, because we are really starting to bond as a family.

What's my honest opinion so far? I thank God every day for Eli.  There has never been a child better suited to our personalities and parenting style. I have definitely fallen for the little guy : ).  I had a chance this week for my inner "mama bear" instincts to emerge when a daycare worker fussed at my child for something that he definitely did not do while we were on a tour of said daycare...ARG! I will post more about the day care center tour/interview fiascos in a separate post, since this post is supposed to be a celebration of what Eli has accomplished in one month. But it felt really nice to have the "mama bear" feeling emerge from out of nowhere to protect my cub, er...child.

Anyway, in the rest of this post, I figured I would err on the side of overreporting how Eli is doing so far - so the rest of this post is long (but thorough)!

(Quite) a few notes from this month:

Eli has come from an intial wary reluctance around us to seemingly enjoying our company. When one of us is out of sight, he does come a lookin!

He went from having few solid foods to enjoying every meal to its (and HIS) fullest.

He went from never riding in a car seat to loving (almost) every minute spent in his. He loves going places!
He went from no pets at all in Korea to loving (and even helping brush and feed) the cats and horses. Then, he went from chasing the cats and pulling their tails to petting them quietly (okay, fairly quietly) and bringing them toys.

He went from being petrified of the dogs to accepting their presence and starting to pet Rocky.

He went from playing on his foster parents' rooftop and running with his foster father to playing with his daddy and LOVING his toddler gymnastics group.

He went from STRUGGLING to fall asleep and stay asleep at night (even when sleeping with us) to falling asleep and staying asleep in his own bed. He still sleep walks, sleep crawls, and sleep talks, but the night terrors/nightmares have seemed to disappear for now.

He went from initial intimidation around the horses to being able to help feed them and is learning to ride Reno quite well at a walk and even a bit of a trot (when he's paying attention...and we both closely supervise his rides for the times when he forgets to pay attention).

He went from understanding no English at all to understanding a surprising amount (he does occasionally  - and selectively - ignore us when we tell him to "come here"...and when he gets told "no," he usually laughs and replies "yes" - and continues to do what he is not supposed to do...I struggle NOT TO LAUGH at this since he repeats any actions we laugh at).

He wants to play with every kid that he meets, but he is shy around unfamiliar adults (this is actually good news for attachment!). Although, when Patrick had to go to the doctor recently, Eli looked up from the doctor's chair when she walked into the room and hollered "Hey!" with a little wave.

He has learned to shake hands, nod his head yes, shake his head no, wave hello/bye, clap his hands and high five.

He is learning to mimic the instructor of his gymnastics class during warm-up and the closing song (a very quiet version of head shoulders, knees, and toes). 

He has learned to say "go", "hey/hi", "gwa gwa" (code for sa-gwa, a korean word for apple - he loves apple sauce), "oma" (korean for mommy), "appa" (korean for daddy), "dada" (yep, he says appa and dada for Patrick), "yes/yeah", and "kaka" (originally meant cracker - but is now any type of food). He is trying to say "kitty" comes out as "Key" and "doggie" which comes out differently every time. He uses a lot of sound words when he plays (boom and wheee! are popular).

He recognizes the Veggietales theme song and keeps time with his hands (like a band director - Grandpa will be proud). He knows what "lower your voice" means, too : ). 

One of his current favorite non-Mater toys...a ducky hand puppet...Uncle Lee will be proud.  We will take him to the Center for Puppetry Arts soon : ). 
He has developed a slight stubborn streak. He definitely likes to have his own way.  He loves it when we offer him choices so that it seems like he is getting a "say" in things.  I always offer him a choice in outfit and food - sometimes he points out his opinion, sometimes not - but I think he likes being asked : ).

He understands "time out" (which is described in the adoption community as "time in" since he is never alone during time out) and it lasts just long enough - usually one minute - to help him either regain control or to remove him from a situation in which he did not respond to the word "no."
He definitely knows the colors green and red. And when he wants to do something again, he has begun to hold up one finger.

He also definitely knows where his potty is.  He knows how to take off his diapers when they are dirty (we have to make sure he wears a onesie at night so that he doesn't take his diapers off during the night time), and has been known to go to the bathroom and bring me a clean diaper when he needs to be changed.  He is almost ready for potty training, but we are going to take it really slow.  Right now, he's convinced that the potty is just a really, really cool chair that happens to be in the bathroom.

He thinks Shrek is hilarious (parts of it).  He likes parts of Toy Story, and Star Wars (obviously Patrick's choice), too. He won't watch Cars, even though his Mater toys are his favorites.

He adores the VeggieTales silly songs we listen to in the car - such as Aunt Joy's all-time favorite "The Hoperena", my favorite, "Where Have All the Staplers Gone?", and Patrick's favorite "I Don't Got No Belly Button."

He really wants to ride a tricycle, but can't reach the pedals (he tries, though!). He also really wants to jump up and down, but hasn't quite figured that out, either (he bends his knees and tries, though!).

He loves, loves, loves his Mater ride-on toy...and the zip line and bungee swings at gymnastics...and trampolines...and really fast slides...

He is MESMERIZED by aquariums and fish tanks...I think a visit to the GA Aquarium is mandatory : ).

He is intrigued by cause/effect and loves to do things over and over when he discovers a cause/effect relationship (turning TV on/off, turning touch lamp on/off, pushing buttons to make the car horn honk, shaking his cars to make them go, etc).

He recently found out, much to the cats' disappointment, that he is small enough to climb into the cat tree's hidey spots.

Whew!  That's quite a long post, so I think I'll go ahead and take my leave with just a bit more news. After hearing from those who have gone before me, the next month should be very...interesting.  Apparently, some toddleres become challenging in months 2 and 3 post adoption as part of the adjustment process (my understanding is that this challenging is more common in older children, but can happen with toddlers).  We are hoping to be an exception and that our sweet boy will keep up the wonderful progress he is making. If nothing else, the last decade of experience discipling other people's children in a public school setting should come in handy.

Our social worker will visit for the first time on Tuesday to complete Eli's first post placement report (we will have a total of 3 visits before our finalization will be approved and sent to probate court).

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