Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Baby Steps

We're starting to settle into our new normal, and we're starting to see very small improvements in Ethan's attachment. Baby steps -- no pun intended. We are keeping his world VERY small and holding to our 30-day rule. The 30-day rule is nobody else other than Mom and Dad hold him, feed him, pick him up, comfort him, etc. He has to realize that we will provide everything for him. We are his world. It's hard. I am a, well, fairly social creature, and this self-imposed solitude is hard but oh-so-necessary. I think that's why we're starting to see small signs of bonding. For example, he is still on a bottle (often times kids from China, especially institutionalized children I believe, are on bottles much longer than American kids), and the other night he was very tired and allowed me to give him his bottle. It seems insignificant, but it's a pretty important step in the right direction. Right after we adopted him, he would physically push us away when he was going to sleep; now we can rub his back, head, face. **THIS JUST IN!! He was JUST crying in his crib, held his arms up to me, pointed to the rocking chair and hummed. He was asking me to rock him and sing to him!! I did and he snuggled in!! Kind of a big deal!** Even when he would cry out in the night, he wouldn't allow us to comfort him. Last night he was overtired, and when he woke up (several times), he held his arms up to me. He will mostly let me feed him without fighting me. He has even figured out how to be held and how to give and receive a hug and kiss. Those are things we take for granted, but he appeared clueless in these respects when we first got him.

Now, to temper the good with the bad. He is still more than willing to go to anybody, will still call any woman Mama, and seems more than willing to go anywhere with anybody, and I don't think he'd look back. :( Hence the 2+ more weeks of the small world and no care from anybody else even if it is tempting. It is mostly tempting because Aiden is struggling so much. Poor kid. What complicates matters is that Aiden can't verbalize any of how he is feeling. It's a love / hate relationship with Ethan. If we discipline Ethan (i.e. tell him no and take something away) and he cries, Aiden comes unglued. He will point at us and holler NO among other things we can't understand! On the other hand, it sure doesn't seem to bother him when HE pushes Ethan down and makes him cry or takes away a toy and Ethan screams. We're seeing some regression in him. He wants to be held / carried a lot more now. Sometimes he wants us to feed him. He cries a lot more frequently and easily as well as acts out of control more often. He refuses to dress or undress himself -- among other things. A lot of people have been saying, "Oh, this is common among all kids. This happens to everybody when a new sibling is introduced." Sigh. I know. What I would like to tell everybody who says this, though, is, "Yeah. I get that. However, how many of these kids you speak of lived with their biological parents for 5 months, were then moved to an orphanage for 2 years, and then were adopted and moved 1/2 way around the world only to have their world turned upside down 1 1 /2 years later when a new "baby" was added to the mix? Oh yeah. And that baby? Not a baby. He doesn't sleep 20 hours a day. Rather, this "baby" is almost 2, can walk, take big brother's toys and sleeps the same time you do so you have to share your parents virtually all the time." We, of course, have received the advice -- frequently -- to do special one-on-one time with Aiden. We have and will continue to do so. That doesn't, however, solve Aiden's "problem." Please do NOT misunderstand me. We were prepared for this. We expected this. It does not, though, make it easy. It also does not mean we made a mistake. It's just something we have to work our way through, and we will! We will be fine in large part because we have the love and support of so many people. We appreciate everything everybody has done for us and continues to do for us! Words cannot express the gratitude we feel. Like I said before, we are blessed beyond measure. We just hope everybody will respect our decisions regarding the boys even if it's difficult to understand. We know people mean well when they offer advice is; the only problem is, even though the situations seem so very similar, they are frequently worlds apart -- pun intended! ;)

Again, we will eventually get there -- wherever there may be! We are figuring this out and learning SO much. It is incredible being a family of four. We love it! We just wish somebody had told us that going from one to two doesn't double the work -- it QUADRUPLES IT!!!!!! Good grief! Hahaha!! I can't lie, though, it's worth every extra load of clothes, each diaper change (PS we haven't had to change a poopy diaper. Ethan does that on the toilet every time. WOOT WOOT!), every added dish washed, and more!!! It's pretty amazing.

Anyway, our new normal:

So, together doesn't work so well. Guess we'll have to do separate pics!


  1. Diane,
    I can't remember when I started following your blog. Maybe we are both Holt families? I'm sorry that I can't remember. But I could have written this blog a year ago when we had just adopted our second son from China. Our older son was almost 4 and younger was almost 2. We had known it would be hard, but it was much harder than I expected. I realized one day that instead of parenting one new child, I felt like I was parenting two new children, and that our family dynamic had changed significantly. Life did get better--a lot better--and a year later our boys are friends who watch out for each other and sincerely love each other--though they still have their brotherly skirmishes, of course. But those first few weeks were so very hard, especially for the new big brother, and it was not an easy journey. I feel for you and will keep you all in my prayers. Best wishes and congratulations on your two beautiful sons!

  2. But damn Diane -- that pic of Ethan with the England shirt on? IMPOSSIBLY CUTE! Sort of makes it all worth it, doesn't it...

  3. Wow, you are working so hard and sounds like Ethan is doing a bit better every day. They are both super cute! Going from one to two sounds difficult, especially with the abrupt change (and older kiddo). Love reading these updates!