Friday, December 7, 2012

Month 4 UPDATE time has flown by! I can't believe it is already time to write a 4 month update! It sorta seems like yesterday that we got off the plane with Eli in Atlanta...but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like he has been with us all along.  I keep tearing up this month because whenever I thought about having children, Thanksgiving and Christmas always came to mind. Christmas has been my benchmark of adoption time before Eli came home. I rarely talk or write about how I felt while we were waiting for a referral, because it is hard for many people to understand, since they've not been through this process. When I think back to previous years, when we were still praying to find a match with a child, I still remember very clearly the struggle to stay patient and hopeful. For the last few years, at New Year's, Patrick and I would always say to each other, "Maybe NEXT year will be our first Christmas with a baby." Now that Christmas is here, it seems like a happy dream. It is sooo much fun to see him love the lights and cookies, and the TREE!

Eli was so excited when we went to go get the Christmas tree. Mostly because he got to ride in the "big truck" - which he definitely cannot say, but he tries! We brought the tree in one night before Eli went to bed, but he forgot it was in the living room, and was excited all over again when he saw it in the morning!  We will be decorating the tree tonight, which will excite him (since lights are involved!).  FYI: we always wait a week after bringing the tree inside to decorate it. That's because the cats are too excited about CLIMBING the tree for the first week to keep decorations on it!

Eli's potty training continues to go well. We have decided to let him take the lead on this since he is still a tiny tot. But, he does ask at least once a day to go potty. He is asking about it enough that his school sent home a potty training chart to put stickers on when he goes at home.

And STICKERS! Oh, my! Eli is a sticker and stamp lovin' little man. He gets his hand stamped for doing well in gymnastics, and he gets so excited! He is usually first in line to get the stamp...and always goes back to get the other hand stamped. He carried around a sheet of Cars stickers for nearly two weeks, showing them to anyone and everyone who would look at them.

He is getting into coloring a little bit now, too. He is trying to say the word "color", but can't quite get it out yet. He knows several colors, like I mentioned in a previous post.

And since I have been scolded by family members for trying to teach Eli words like "gravity" and "inertia" instead of teaching him his "eyes" and "ears", I did make it a point this month to make sure he knows what's what. He now knows his mouth, teeth (ee), eyes, ears, hair, head, fingers, hands, toes, feet, knees, bottom, belly, and belly button (he can only say some of them). But still, it's funny to see him throw a toy and say his version of "boom! gravity!" when it hits the ground...(ok, it sounds more like "boom! gravy!", but still hilarious!).

He is talking so much - and mimicking a lot, too. It is a lot of fun to hear him talk and try to say new words. The favorite color word this week is apparently orange...a nice switch from green, which was the favorite color word for the last two weeks. The favorite day of the week is still "Thursday" because it's the only one he can say : ).

I have been shocked at how observant he is. He can spot an apple a mile away when he's hungry, and it's amazing how well he imitates actions. Since his grandpa taught him the difference between a bell pepper and a leaf, he really does remember how to pick peppers (and tomatoes) and water the plants (and feed the dog, etc).

In gymnastics, Eli is still gaining momentum. Most of what we see are gains in strength and agility. He has gotten SO fast at some of the tasks that we do! He loves to swing on the bar (spotted, but not assisted) and "kick" someone with his feet. He is not interested in jumping on the trampolines at gymnastics, but does like the one at home...go figure. He can now put on a shirt if we help him get it over his head, and he can usually put on his own pants (sometimes he needs help getting his feet in correctly).

The only area that has suffered a "backslide" of sorts is SLEEP. Eli is having trouble going to and staying asleep on his own. His foster parents tell me that Eli actually had some sleep issues in Korea, too, when they first brought him home. In order to get some sleep, Patrick and I have been allowing him to sleep with us for now. Our feeling is that (especially on weeknights) it is more important for the 3 of us to GET sleep than to teach him to be "independent". Sometimes, I have held him til he's out and placed him in his bed. But, when he wakes at night, he simply vaults out of his crib (quite literally) and hops into bed with us. So, we've decided to wait temporarily on fighting "sleep battles" until we are on break from school, and Eli can understand that we aren't really leaving him at night.  Honestly? It's also kinda nice to have all 3 of us snuggled together at night, especially since we are in 3 different directions during the day. When Eli sleeps with us, he does wake up, but he realizes we are already there, hugs one of us, and falls back to sleep. I've also noticed that the nights that Eli sleeps with us, he does NOT cry at school, AND he takes his nap there...go figure.

Of course, Eli's had trouble napping on his own, too. The other day, his teacher laughingly told me about an incident in the nap room. She had placed him and several other toddlers/preschoolers into cribs for nap. His head popped up, and she said "down!". He mimicked "down!" and he layed back down. The teacher saw another kid's head pop up and she said "down!", when she heard Eli mimick "down!". When she turned to see if Eli was still down, she realized he was no longer in the crib. Nor was he under the crib.  In fact, he had snuggled into a cot with another toddler and was hiding under the covers. His teacher pretended not to find him, and he fell asleep there!  Whatever works, right?

This month has been really peaceful and quiet. Thanksgiving was wonderful, but I will post separately for it, in case you are wondering why I didn't mention it. I do have to give props to a certain toddler who helped me stir every dish that needed stirring!

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