Monday, April 8, 2013

Eleven Months Home

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Silas has been home for eleven months now. And it feels like we are at a bit of a stand still...

He seems to understand everything we say, but at times, I can see him standing there still trying to process what has been said. He is talking at a two year old level. Still with a heavy accent. Sometimes, we cannot understand what he is saying. I feel that he has gotten to a point, where he knows we can understand him and he thinks that is good enough. He will also stutter a little bit when trying to get something out, but this seems to be improving slowly. We are starting to make him talk in full sentences and are hoping for some speech therapy to start once he is in Kindergarten in the Fall.

He is a very laid back boy and very easy to deal with. He is always in a good mood. But we can see that he is now very comfortable here. He very often will ignore us when asked to do something. Blatantly disobeying us. He sometimes tries to be sneaky (like all my kids!) by putting his toys away where they don't belong, throwing clothes in the laundry when they've never been worn, lying about brushing his teeth, etc. I know this is pretty normal behaviour... I was really hoping I could train one kid to do things properly the first time though!

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Silas will say things to me like, "I love you mommy" or "I sad at school, I missed you". And yet, he is very unaffectionate. I think this may be the way he was raised those first four years, I don't think he is attached yet the way he should be. We can try to cuddle him, to read him books, to hug him and he just wants down to play. He has no interest in sitting still, especially when his siblings are home. We have had to teach him how to hug us and we have to force him to sit for story time... and yet he is affectionate verbally.

Discipline doesn't seem to work with him. It is like he doesn't care. We took a long time to start with the time out thing for him, because he was very sensitive. Now we can put him in a time out, and he will sit, say sorry and move on. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of remorse.

He cannot entertain himself. None of my adopted children could. He doesn't play with toys, unless I tell him to, and then he will only play with that toy for a couple of minutes. When all the kids are at school, he will wander around aimlessly or sit down in a chair and do nothing. He has no interest in colouring or stickers or books. When I suggest he play with a toy, he will say "I don't want to." I am looking forward to better weather, when I know he will be outside, where he loves to be!

I can't figure out his food issues. I don't know what he was feed or how often, those first four years of his life. But the second I am in the kitchen he runs in and sits on a stool to see what I am doing, what I am making, waiting to be fed. This drives me crazy. This is something that Zoe used to do (and often still tries to do). I am trying to get them involved in the food preparation... I will give them a plastic knife, a cutting board and have them cut up fruit for supper. It keeps them busy and they are always excited to help!

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His biggest fear...

Abandonment.

Every time we go somewhere, we can tell he is worried he will be left behind. When we pack our suitcases for a trip, he will run and get his suitcase, take it to his room and shove clothes into it. I know he is not yet centred in our home. He doesn't know yet, that he belongs here forever. It breaks my heart... and at the same time, frustrates me.

His anxiety will come out as goofiness. If he is uncomfortable in a situation (such as walking down the aisle in his Spring concert) he will walk goofy and act goofy. Luckily, he has a great preschool teacher, who recognizes this and works with him in these situations, as we do at home.

So after eleven months home... this is where we are at. A stand still. I know it takes time and that there are many different factors for each child, personality, age, past experience, etc. Overall, Silas has adjusted amazingly well and has been our easiest adoption. We love him immensely!

6 comments:

Jessica said...

Silas is such a beautiful boy. It sounds like he has come a far ways. I always appreciate your wonderful written and honest posts.

Jerusha said...

The food obsession and the inability to play...yes, yes, yes. It's a little bit comforting to know that the play thing might be common to kids from orphanages? Both are getting better...very gradually.

Patrick and Christina said...

Paige, I love how honest your posts are! Sounds like he might be looking for some control (civilized disobedience) and from all you have said he sure sounds like normal little boy!

I know you will handle all the little issues with a big measure of grace.

I wonder how much of the lack of physical affection stems from cultural practices? Patrick's mom (Jan) did not rock her babies/children, read to them, or hug them (rarely). Jan used to scold me for rocking and reading stories to Su Yee. Children were expected to co-exist and got in BIG trouble if they disobeyed any of the family rules. The learned to do only what they were told. Patrick came from a very traditional Chinese family...just a thought for consideration...and prayer.

the meaklims said...

He's come so far in 11 months - maybe he feels he's entited to a break! Haha!
Seriously though, the affection thing is hard, just keep dishing it out - he probably had no affection for 4 years, and now he'll need that constant affection for another 4... it's sad to think that our life circumstances can alter how we reciprocate love.

11 months, wow, where does the time go?!

J.

Marie said...

Wow! Time does fly!
Silas has come so far and is amazing. He has a content look in his eyes and that says a lot.
I agree with Christina on the whole cultural thing. He may feel like he's acting too babyish if he gives affection. Will be praying!

The Drinkwaters said...

We still deal with this over two years later, so I definitely can relate to this part of your post.

Only one suggestion for the food anxiety when you are working in the kitchen. We have them help cut up veggies (carrots, cucumbers, peppers) and then they can have "veggie appetizers" while waiting for dinner/lunch to be ready.

We have found that it takes longer for them to eat the fresh, crunchy veggies (as opposed to fruit), so it slows them down and they are also eating way more fresh vegetables. This way they can eat as much or little as they want. The cutting/preparing also seems to help distract them from their anxiety since they are involved with the food prep.