What a new year it has been already! New Year's Eve, our family went out for dinner and looked at a few more Christmas lights which Henry loves to do. New Year's Day, we hung out at home, then the boys and I headed to Olympia to get a few things at Super Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us. These were Henry's first times in those huge stores and he was a bit amazed, possibly a little overwhelmed, but still enjoyed them. Riding in the shopping cart was a new adventure. I was wondering if he would ask for everything he saw and wanted but he only did a few times and we got out of the stores with some good lessons and not too many extra purchases:). I did ask him who buys the things in the cart and he didn't know. I think knowing that Mommy and Daddy buy what our family needs is important!
At Toys-R-Us, the cashier noticed our family exchanges and asked if Henry was adopted. She then proceeded to shower him with a crown, balloon, and lanyard. He was beaming with joy! Then he got to ride a little Mickey Mouse car up front and he looked like the happiest boy alive. It was really sweet.
Today, Henry and I went on a stroller walk to a friend's house and back. It was a beautiful, warmer morning before the rains came in this afternoon. Henry notices the funniest things, like trash cans, and definitely any vehicle or animal he sees. He is very concerned with fire trucks and fires right now as we saw that action the other night and then passed by the house today. He's happier knowing the fire trucks are gone and everyone is ok. What a kind heart!
This afternoon...wow. After his nap, Henry and I started taking down the Christmas decorations and it was serious business. Wherever I was, he was there trying to help his Mommy. He didn't like being told to wait to put things in the storage box, but whatever I gave him to do, he did it with all his heart...like put lights in bags, bring me a box (which he pushed or dragged as he crawled), and take ornaments off the tree. He noticed everything and wanted to be involved. I didn't mind at all, even if it took longer, as he sees how he can contribute to the family and what all he can do. He is quite strong in his upper body to make up for the lower, but balance can be an issue. He also doesn't like to wait but he is learning that Mom does kind of run on her own time:). We're all learning patience!
Afterwards, Henry was on a mission...a mission to turn the decoration tubs into an airplane and door in which he and his brothers would fly just the way he said they should. It was hilarious, adorable, and serious, the most focused and talkative I have seen him yet, telling the boys where and what, then correcting them if they didn't do as told. They were very compliant and amused, so all was well. I wish I had a video of that playtime! Here's a picture of the airplane...
I've mentioned before that Henry likes to watch me cook, really just to be in the same room with me and have his food prepared at the same time. Out of the blue today, he said, "Mom, I love you." My heart just melted! It's been a process as I've written, but to hear and see him give everyone hugs and "Good nights" before bedtime is great progress. He really is learning what family is all about and that everyone loves and cares for each other, even if that means sharing Mom a little bit and accepting others' help. However, sleeping at night is our greatest challenge/need at this time. If Henry is mostly but not fully asleep before I leave, he will cry out terribly for me until I return. Each night, we have a sweet time of prayer, singing, reading, and last discussions about the day, then I tell him we need to be quiet to rest and he holds my hand or arm. Some days, he isn't quite tired enough or his mind is still stimulated with all he is learning and experiencing that he will lay in the bed, wanting me with him, for hours. A couple times I have needed to call Randy in to take over and Henry cried so hard. It's really difficult to hear him so upset and harder to know when to let him learn to accept Daddy's help or to give in. I don't know if we are doing everything right or if there are any hard and fast answers, but attachment seems to be occurring and his comfort level in our home and with each family member is increasing, so we keep plugging, taking a day at a time and trusting God's sufficient grace to give us what we need and to be all that Henry needs at this time. Did I mention, though, that he has slept through the last three nights? I'm counting my blessings!
Henry is learning that while we share and give, there are boundaries to what he takes or does, like asking his brothers if he can play with their things or letting them know if he doesn't want to be tickled. He seems to think that if he sees a tractor, we can just go right up and drive it. Some things are normal child thinking and lessons, while others are the result of orphanage living and abandonment. I am fascinated by his thought processes and personality even as I can get frustrated because I don't know him well enough yet and don't always know how to respond. This is parenting, I suppose! It's such a joy and I feel such a peace and calling to being a mommy to this amazing little guy. I wish everyone could see and hear what we do but when we go out and people try to talk to him, he shuts down. I don't blame him and do understand, I just wish people could see these adorable things now and will have to be patient. It will come!
One really cute thing I want to share is that Henry has heard and picked up the word, "outslide," instead of "outside." He can't get rid of the 'l' sound though we are working on it, so it is quite amusing. He's a hard worker and trying! He is using "Please" and "Thank you" more naturally now, as well as asking instead of telling us what to do for him. He is such a fast learner and knowing that we love him and are here for him no matter what could very well be transforming him before our very eyes.
To close this long blog on our New Year beginning with Henry, here are a couple more photos. Henry is wrestling around with his brother and then sitting in his new Cars chair, sized perfectly for him to get in and out of. I am going to create a section on my blog called "Henry's Favorites." It is so much fun to learn what he really likes or what he's never had or done before but now really loves. By the way...Ollie seems back to normal and accepting Henry!
Thanks for prayers! We continue to feel and see them every day. Please pray that we get Henry's medical insurance lined up and find the right local pediatrician for him. The holidays have made that hard to get going but it really needs to be done. He also will be going to his first doctor's visit at Shriner's for orthopedic care on January 9th. We also have our first post-adoption visit by our social worker on the 11th for a report that China requires. The guys start school back up on Monday so I am looking forward to and planning on getting a routine for Henry and I. This should help us all a lot! Blessings!!!