So here's an update on several facets of our lives right now.
Today is Easter. It's also Ambrose's half birthday! Happy 6-months-day baby boy!
He's sporting two little teethies down front and some swelling up top. He's eating like a champ, pulling himself to stand in his tub, pulling himself to the breast of his preference when nursing, twisting his body all over in protest if I hold him the "wrong way," happy in the car, sad on the floor, and having sooooo much trouble sleeping lately! He went from a nice daily schedule to like eight 10 minute catnaps and being up half the night! Aaah! It seems to be calming down but it may be a prelude of what's to come. His 6 week growth spurt lasted 4 weeks. He should be having his 6 month growth spurt soon. Let's hope we all survive!
We are not adopting from Ethiopia. Most likely. We are adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most likely. Our adoptions tend to be twisty, turny, swervy things and I think both Nik and I recognize that there are no guarantees about where we'll end up. Just hoping to bring home a daughter sometime within the next couple years. Might be a year from now, might be two, might be more, might even be less. No clue. Looks like Ambrose's adoption will be finalized this year (sent in our fee disclosure form so we're assuming they're filing that downtown; had to file that for P and took 7 months from then) meaning we'll be getting the adoption tax credit next year, about $16K all in one go in like Feb or March most likely. So that'll help. In fact, that will pretty much cover it. We may need to take a loan out to cover fees at the time, but we'll be paying it off very quickly. Either way, it'll work out. Somehow. I'm just awaiting the next twist. We already have a SNAFU with the USCIS as they don't seem to want us to cancel our Ethiopian I-600A, even though we stopped payment on the check (they gave us a receipt with a $0 balance!). I'm going to the USCIS office in Durham in a couple weeks to figure it all out and get that one cancelled... hopefully! Ah, the sweet smell of a topsy turvy adoption #3. I'm actually thrilled to see where it's going to lead (at least this early on!).
We sold my Kia Sedona. It had 2 broken rear seats, making it a 5 seater. It had 2 broken door handles, one held together with a nail, the other making me have to roll the window down to open my door. The wiper blades snapped during a rainstorm but we fixed that. A front headlight burned out for like the 3rd time in a year (can't actually recall if it was always the same one... but the light was still new anyway!). Tires were old, heat didn't work in the back, and it got about 15mpg, and more like 10mpg with the AC on, and that WILL be on for the next 6 months because just rolling down the windows on that massive van did nothing to cool it down.
So we sold it. Got $2,500 for it too! And I bought a '99 Toyota Camry with 100K more miles on it for $4K. The front seat is unadjustable, the AC only has OFF and HIGH, one of the rear seatbelts won't retract, there's a crack on the outer plastic of the rearview mirror, and, well, it's 4 years older than my old car. But it's also a Toyota, so we can afford to fix it. And we can fix that seatbelt and fit 3 carseats across the back. It cools down FAST with much better AC, and rolling the windows down actually cools everything. It's much better on gas, by a lot. And it's smaller, so I fit better. Hopefully I won't keep finding new scratches all over this car like with the massive van.
The plan is for it to last 2-3 years, while we adjust to 2 then 3 kids, and then we'll make the call on whether or not there'll be a 4th. If so? New van. Likely 8 seater Toyota Sienna. If not? Well, we'll see :)
Preschool has been out on break for over a week. I'm not totally sick of P yet. He's still showing incredible improvement even out of preschool. He's definitely regressed in the last week, though, and he's been more hyper than normal, and veeeery bossy. And like a genius I went ahead and signed up to be the Helping Parent in his class Tuesday when they go back. Smart me! Yay! But it might overwhelm him so I guess going with him might be better anyway.
We took him to church today. Just for an Easter egg hunt. He didn't partake. He shut down. Cuddled in. Told us he was sad and scared. Much better than how he used to act at church, certainly. There were no masks then. Just put honest sorrow and openness. He used his words and we chose, with him, to leave and go to a park. We went for a nice long walk along twisty trails in Umstead Park right next door, then had a packed lunch (we foresaw this) at a picnic bench while I fed the still sleeping baby. It was nice. Especially the parts where we got to cross the water. P and I took our socks off and put them in the pocket of my Maya Wrap (they're still there, in the car!) then put our non-waterproof shoes back on and crossed the creek laughing, cold water squishing between our toes. It was... pleasant :)
I'll be calling an Occupational Therapist this week, perhaps even tomorrow. We've been pulled aside countless times and told P likely has SPD (and he does get overwhelmed easily...) though Project Enlightenment said they didn't see it after a screening there. We're going to see and actual OT because, well, I'm thinking he does have it. Just a bit, probably not as much as me (I can check off half of those online checklists for me...) but still...
I feel like we're finally getting to the core. Like the compounded issues are stripping away, little by little, layer by layer. Part of that is him growing up, and part is him adjusting, and part is him trusting us, and part is him having the language to communicate what's going on inside. We're figuring out what's attachment based, what's PTSD based, what's just normal, and what's, well... what's likely something else. I think SPD might be the last thing we missed, the final link to all of the behavioral problems we've seen. Which almost seems weird now that we mostly CAN go out in public without being constantly embarrassed by his behavior. Still, there's a lot to work on and if this helps us do it, or even *gasp* finishes the job.... then hooray!
One more quick note on Paxton. He can drive me nuts. No, like, seriously. He screams orders at me (um, I've never listened to that...), he tests every limit, directly disobeys if he's in the mood, pushes my buttons, and sometimes even gets physical with me. He wakes me up early, keeps me up late, wakes up his brother, interrupts my quiet time (what little I get), and even eats my chocolate if he can find it.
But he also sings me songs about how much he loves me. He steals my pens and writes on anything he finds, yes, but on the other hand I'm always finding happy little people, with big grins and bright eyes and silly stick limbs, all over the house. Always happy, never sad, because on the inside he's actually a very happy boy. And he makes his brother laugh in the car, and he always, always, always shares every one of his treats with us, breaking off a piece of cookie or grabbing a second piece of candy to share. Typically it doesn't take too much to have him make his bed, pick up his toys and put away his laundry, nor do I have to twist his arm to have him help set the table or clean up afterwards. He always runs to hold the door for me and for complete strangers, and if he sees someone crying he will always show concern, from telling me they're upset to actually hugging them, kissing them, or trying to sooth them with his words. He's constantly making us laugh. He always tells me I'm his best friend. And I tell him he's my best friend.
Some days I don't think it's fair. It's not fair what he's been through in his short life. It's not fair what I've been through in my short parenting experience. He shouldn't have ever had to go through all he did. I shouldn't have had to hold down a shrieking child for hours a day, for months on end until he realized his nanny wasn't coming and he was stuck with me. It's unfairness all around. And yet, we have such a wonderful bond between the two of us. One that took work, and still takes work, and one we both work to nurture daily. It's very, very different from the easily formed bond I have with Ambrose. I love them, equally but differently. I'm bonded to them, just as tight yet in different ways. Ambrose is easy to bond to, easy to love in all aspects. Paxton was hard. But we did it, we bonded tightly, and I'm proud of him and myself and us together. And I'm glad that I get to experience a love like this.
Lily in a loafing barn
5 weeks ago