Friday, March 12, 2010

6 months later

I'll be honest, the last 6 months have been very stressful for all of us as would be expected when bringing a new child into our family. I feel like we are all adjusting well though. Nicholas has been in preschool since the beginning of January and is loving it (me too :p). The girls have been keeping up with school, ballet, friends and Olivia started piano lessons again. It seems like we are all settling into our new life.

I think one of the biggest adjustments is just having 3 kids instead of 2, I'm just stretched more thin these days and I'm spending most of my time in a car driving here and there. Olivia is growing up fast and has had moments of extreme upset, and I know this will happen more often each year as she creeps up towards puberty.

Claire loves having a little brother...most of the time. He loves his sisters and it is wonderful to see him give them big hugs when we have to pick them up from school. Claire and Nicholas fight a lot, but when they are playing nicely together, it is really nice. She loves that he can go to the same Sunday school class. And Nicholas is learning a lot from everyone. What we can see so far is that he is bright and eager to learn, he is always asking 'Why?' these days...I mean all day. He wants to know how things work and why we do things or why we can't do things. He just has a lot to catch up on the emotional side of things. He sometimes acts like an infant, sometimes, like a toddler and sometimes his chronological age.

One of the things that has helped me is that I am learning to shift my way of thinking in parenting Nicholas. Giving consequences and threatening punishment does not work with Nicholas so I've been trying to follow Heather Forbes' Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control method of parenting. It takes a lot of work to shift my way of thinking but I think I have been successful with it. Her method is backed up by research of stress on the brain.

When I look at Nicholas, I am just amazed at his progress. He has a large vocabulary for someone only learning English for 6 months. He is happy and nowadays when he gets angry, he usually gets over it rather quickly especially when I can distract him. I am so glad we ended up telling our coordinator we were open to older children. When I think back to when we first met him in that first stressful week in Kazakhstan, I remember meeting him and feeling a connection with him. His smile was so cute and I could see he had the ability to be happy and I had the feeling he was a resilient little boy.

He is a really sweet boy and at school, I'm told he'll go check on a friend if he sees someone is hurt. He also readily apologizes if he accidentally (or on purpose) hurts someone while playing. Now, with his sisters....not so much... He is eager to please, especially with me. Sometimes it takes a little more work to get him to help clean up, but sometimes he jumps at the opportunity to help out. He is a really active little boy and seems a bit hyper to me, but it could just be his age and circumstances and he might calm down some more.

He still doesn't understand where he came from or what has happened to him. I try to talk about it and show him pictures from Kazakhstan when he is open to it. I want him to know where he is from and how he became a part of our family, I don't want him to think we were the ones that left him in an orphanage. One of my favorite children's book about adoption is called "A Mother for Choco". It really fits our situation. I highly recommend it to other Adoptive families, it would be good for a multi-ethnic family, single mom, or family.

Some of his favorites things include: cars, helicopters, airplanes, bouncing, sea animals, swimming, the park, play doh, a bit of drawing, digging, treasure hunts, watching tv (especially Mickey Mouse clubhouse and Little Einsteins) or dvds (Finding Nemo, Cars, Barbie Three Musketeers). That last might crack you up, but I think he likes the swashbuckling aspect of that movie, I don't think he cares about Barbie!

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Beach-February 2010

Valentine's weekend, we decided to make a trip down to L.A. I signed Nicholas up for a research study at UCLA, so my hubby decided to take advantage of this time and take the girls to the American Girl store for lunch and shopping. We also decided to hit the beach first and go to the La Brea tar pits on the last day. We first ended up in Malibu at Paradise Cove...a friend of mine recommended it. There's a cafe right on the beach, so you can play in the sand and surf while you wait for your table. It was fun! This was our first trip to the beach this year. Nicholas wanted to get right in and swim, the kid has no fear. He kept getting wetter and wetter as time passed on. Thankfully we had lots of extra clothes. We had so much fun!