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6.06.2017

reflections on the first two weeks home

And here we are, having logged two weeks and two days home...just as long as we were gone.  

up early that first morning...and discovering that he did in fact like blueberries
 That first morning I heard the faintest little footsteps in the hallway around 6am.  All I wanted to do was roll over and try to chase the elusive sleep jet lag was stealing from me, but I considered that if others in the family were still sleeping, someone had to take one for the team and keep Nicholas out of trouble.  It turned out to be a sweet morning with him discovering more of the playroom and that he did indeed like blueberries.

this build a truck has seen many construction supervisors

 As the morning wore on other faces began to emerge from their state of slumber.  Natalie was "oh so happy" to have a swinging buddy!


 My sister had stayed the night in a hotel down the road and did a bit more grocery shopping to top off what friends had stocked our fridge and pantry with before we got home.  She also did all five loads of our "China laundry" and prepared us a NC BBQ dinner before heading back home.

nerf guns seem to bridge language barriers
"grandma's boys"

Much of the first week was a blur if I'm going to be perfectly honest.

someone had a "case of the mondays"...or maybe it was just jet lag catching up with him
 I have no idea how my kids did it, but they attended school AND their first week of swim practice for our summer league team.  Of course all of us were in bed and sound asleep by 8:15 at the latest.

That first day was hard for Nicholas.  We were able to tell him in Mandarin that his siblings were going to school and they would be back in six hours, but he was every melancholy...I'm not sure he trusted us.  He slept a good bit that day and we did a good bit of unpacking (though I still have a small suitcase full of souvenirs yet to deal with).  Let me tell you about that smile when his siblings got home that fist day...

eyes on the prize

Our little guy was giving American food (that so many of our friends were kind enough to bring to us as we came out of the fog) a good try, but some things just weren't hitting on much.  Therefore Ian and I decided that a "field trip" to our large Asian market on Tuesday of that first week was in order.  We were trying to find a few things he had enjoyed on the breakfast buffet at the Marriott (oh China Hotel breakfast buffet I miss thee so!).  As we walked the aisles he made it VERY CLEAR that he wanted a can of fried dace with salted black beans.  And then when we went to the food counter to get BBQ pork baozi, he refused one and insisted on eating his fish instead.

It was sorta a "because China" moment and we popped the can and let him go to town.

i should have taken a picture of the bones after he cleaned them...
From there our days fell into a routine.  Jet lag had everyone up at the crack of dawn, so there was plenty of time for a morning Beyblade battle before the older set left for school.  Ian, Nicholas and I played games, took walks, and made a few quick ventures to places within our community.


Thankfully Ian was also able to help break the ice between Nicholas and Amber, now mostly known as "Xiǎo gǒu" (little dog). At first it looked like one or the other was going to have to go, but finally there was a breakthrough and Nicholas was willing to touch her...though not look at her at the same time just yet.


Folks have asked how the other kids are doing with him.  Overall they ADORE him.  Part of it may well be his tiny size.  I'm pulling a blank at his height, but in the stair steps when you line them up in age order, he is significantly shorter than his "twin" Nat (older by a mere four months) and weighing in at 35.2 pounds, he's super easy to heft around...or sit on your lap and look at books together.


Ian stayed home with us the first Monday-Thursday and gave himself a "soft re-entry" to work on Friday.  That left Nicholas and I walking home from school drop off with just Xiǎo gǒu, but at least they had become friends. And I learned that if we go at a pace slower than the one I'm used to, Nicholas will happily walk if he can hold the leash.


It was a beautiful no humidity morning, so we met a friend and her twins (who are year rounders that were tracked out) at a nearby park where Nicholas enjoyed both the playground and the soccer field.  He enjoyed kicking around for a while even if he did tire often.


That first Friday we got back to our usual routine of Friday movie night.  Turns out this kid LOVES Darke County popcorn and it made my heart happy to watch him and his five siblings eat it out of my grandma's popcorn bowls.


Saturday morning we took it slow.  The kids had their cartoon time.

my couch is almost as full as my heart
They did some Zoob construction.


A ninja was about...


...protecting his princesses.


A mountain of pancakes were made and consumed.


And then we headed to the pool as a family.  While the water is still cold for him to stay in long, he was THRILLED to realize he can touch the bottom in the shallow end of our neighborhood pool.  Thankfully kid #6 is also a water lover...we were nervous that he wasn't going to be a fan.  That would have made for a LONG summer.  As soon as he gets a bit more language he'll jump in on the swim team as one of the beginners.


Over the weekend Nicholas was introduced to friends that are like family as we hosted a cookout.  He was outside playing touch football in the yard along with the boys as if he'd always been here.  We chilled at home and visited an area science museum to play outside in the treehouse/creek area and the mist.


Finally on the 30th we went for his initial cardio appointment.  It wasn't good news per se, but it wasn't bad news either.  Mostly just confirming that indeed his heart defect is what it was believed to be, though the reason his heart functions the way it does was slightly different than what was suspected.  Our next step is a heart cath to determine pulmonary hypertension levels and then we'll see which road to take next.  The ultimate hope is that he will be a candidate for an advanced palliative surgery, but we'll have to see if he needs some further intervention before that.

it was obvious this was not his first echo rodeo...
 As far as how things are going?  Honest, it's like a dream.  With seven years of orphanage living under his belt, we expected bonding and adjustment to be a much rougher ride.  As we've done in the past, we braced ourselves for the worst (I've read and re-read The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis so many times I could quote a good bit of it) and hoped for the best.
Truly, in this department I'll say that it is better than the best we hoped for.  He knows who is family and is only affectionate with us and really only interacts with people that we introduce him to as friends.
And speaking of friends...as he's not quite ready to join swim team practice just yet, he's making the rounds with kids at the pool while his siblings are swimming.  He loves to play games, is good at sharing, and is in general just a splendid kid.

rubik's race is a GREAT game...no language necessary
 There's much more to say, but this little one is keeping me BUSY!  Kinda like a toddler getting himself into mischief when I take my focus off of him too long.  His morning cartoon in Mandarin (we're hoping that by watching he won't lose his native language completely) is almost over and I've got a kid to chase!

our radio flyer trike is seeing some new action these days!

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