Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Settling In

We've been home with Abel three full days now. It feels like we've been home a month and yet I've gotten nothing done!

Today I was doing some reflecting on our past adoptions. I remembered when we brought Asher home, he was a HUGE shock to our family system. In our heads we were adopting a 7 year old. In reality we brought home a 6 month old who could walk. He needed SO MUCH from us. He needed everything to be done for him. We thought we would have to childproof the house only to discover just the opposite! We had to teach him to reach out and touch things. That he could explore his world. That life is meant to be experienced, not passively observed from the shadows. We had to teach Asher how to LIVE. I would say the first two months were really tough while Asher learned the routines of our home and family. It took me two months to re-learn the logistics of having a kid in diapers. And a car seat. Who couldn't walk very far or eat anything that wasn't pureed to applesauce consistency. Eventually we all found our groove and we found our new normal.

Enter Abel.

I am keeping my eyes on the future. I'm remind myself that when I look back on Axel and Asher's pictures I realize they are no longer the same children. I can't imagine where Abel will be one year from now, just like I couldn't with Axel or Asher.

We were miraculously able to avoid jet lag coming home this time. This is an absolute gift from HIM because HE knew we wouldn't have time for it. No, between the extra curricular calendar, getting kids out the door for school, getting kids off the bus, taking Abel to the bathroom on a regular schedule, and never ever ever taking our eyes off him, there really isn't time for sleeping.

Abel is a very busy little boy. He has been VERY GOOD, he is just busy. He is becoming more creative in the games he plays with his block, going through developmental stages with his trusty friend. Today he played with Papa and a truck for nearly an hour! He also played with a hammer/ball toy, but took the balls out and tried to make his block work in their place. Today I took him into the bedroom and showed him how every one of the toddler toys work. He would try everything then shake his head and push it away. Later I went into the bedroom to find every toy had been taken off the shelves and explored (evidenced by the pieces all over the floor.) The other kids were at school so as long as I could hear him and I knew he was in the boy bedroom, I knew he was safe playing without me being in the same room.

We were going to wait until this weekend to introduce Abel to the dogs. Two big dogs and one small wiggly one is a lot for a kid who has been severely sensory deprived. Well, the first three mornings home he got up before Dean and I, and was found wandering the house. (that will change today!) Yesterday morning, after sending Abel back to bed, I crawled back into ours and told Dean, "Well, no need to wonder about the dogs. He's already met them and isn't thrilled."

The most difficult part of the day is morning, getting everyone breakfast and ready for school. It's been really difficult for Abel to sit and wait for his food, especially when Angela needs to get eating first because she's has to get out the door. Every morning has been lots of worry and fretting noises while he wonders if he's really going to get food. But he's learning the routine, and this morning he sat relatively quiet, making mostly happy noises while he waited. This was a HUGE and welcomed improvement! Today he had pancakes for the first time too, and he ate them without complaining. I can't say the same for the chicken strips and french fries we had last night.

Our first breakfast! Angela was already gone for school.

Abel LOVES to ride in the car! Before we traveled to Serbia, and knowing he was very close in size to Asher, I bought him the same car seat Asher sits in. Well, they may be close to the same size, but Abel has the more typical long torso/short legs that is more common among kids with DS. His torso is longer than Asher's so the harness on the car seat was too small for him. He is big enough to use it as a booster seat, but he is not ready to be in just a lap/shoulder belt. A couple days ago I brought him along to Target for some much-needed supplies. In a flash he was out of his car seat and had pushed the button for the sliding side door of the van. Yep! A new car seat was added to the Target list! Later in the day he figured out how to loosen the harness straps. UGH!

Have I mentioned that Abel doesn't sleep very well? While we were still in Serbia he was waking up between 5-5:30 a.m.. Now that we're home he's still waking up at the same time. Because he's been getting up so early and he's used to taking a nap, he's usually crabby and ready for a nap by 10:00 a.m. The first few nights, when it was time for evening bedtime, there were lots of tears and a bit of panic. Last night, for the first time, he climbed into his bed without prompting, laid down and pulled the blanket up over himself, just like Axel and Asher do. This is kind of funny since he hates having a blanket on! He fell right to sleep without any tears or worry. When I checked on them later he had thrown his blanket and pillow up onto Asher's bed. LOL

Later I'll try to get a blog post up about how everyone else is doing with their adjustment to having a new brother. 


Cindy said...

I adore watching the magic that happens thru love.

Kathy said...

Thank you, Leah, for letting us "watch" this process again. It's really fascinating, better than anything on TV. And it's so easy to get emotionally invested. Sounds like things are going pretty darn good.