Super excited to see me- Samuel was squealing- it was so adorable!
On August 1st we met again after over two months! We played in a good sized ball pit, in the new play/PT room on the first day- Monday afternoon Aug 1- during an hour of visiting time. He was pretty distraught when I had to go. I got to help him eat his last dinner in the orphanage.
Took custody August 2nd- was given two handmade sweaters and a pair of shoes by the MOC, Allasalem (his main nanny) took him around to different people to say bye, and stayed in a classroom until I came to get him. She seemed really sad- he has been in care for over three years! She visited with me for a while when we changed his clothes, looked at many of his pictures. I gave her a collection of pictures and a card. She looked at a book I made for Sam and asked to have a picture of me and him together (my favorite picture of us, and the very first one we took after I had him in my arms less than 5 minutes). That was very touching and I immediately took it out of his book and gave it to her. I am so glad they were “loose “ pictures and not printed by Shutterfly, or I wouldn’t have been able to do that for her. Sister Jennifer helped me put on the new shoes I brought him- and that was just a great moment.
I am very very grateful to the other families here, because they had to wait for me to visit Sam at his care center, while they lost time to spend with their children since the Holt care center 3 was so far away and we were crunched. These families, knowing that I am here for an indefinite amount of time, were so willing to help me, give me items that I could use- propel water, bibs, medications, nice Kleenexes for Sam’s very runny nose, musical toys, leftovers, wet-wipes etc…it was so sweet how this group was very much a team. Those initial 4 families have all gotten their visas, and have made their way back homw.We have two new families here now, and somehow that initial “team” feeling isn’t the same. Or maybe i am already too familiar with life here, after a week, and dont seem so frazzled.
Things I realized in the first day or two: He loves to eat, had mangos, banana, lentils, injera, cake all on the first day. He will try any food once, and likes 95% of it. He finds security in always carrying a cracker or cookie. He also finds security in being with me- and is always calling me to his side with endless “nay”s. He really wants to be right with me and will sit on the bathroom step to wait for me – its adorable. He cuddles next to me in bed to sleep even though he has always slept alone. Although he takes a long time to settle in to sleep, wants to play, cuddle, sing and then fidget/squirm his way to la-la land. We play this game, that I saw with his nannies, where he yells or even whispers “eep” and I repeat it then he kinda play slaps my leg or runs to give me a kiss…so awesome.
He was given honey-nut cheerios on August 5th (Friday) and loves them. He is super happy and easy to please, even during his grumpy times. He does not like to be told NO- but is easily appeased
He has become very attached to me, and when someone asks him who is ema-ye is he points to me but just calls me “allo”- which I believe he got from the French nuns. He would say that to them, b/c he would hear them say that to him when they greeted him. I wonder if he thinks I am French (my husband would love that to be true). On the first day he began giving me spontaneous hugs and kisses, looks me right in the eye, always telling me to “Nay”- or “come with me/come here”. The shoes I brought him are working out very well. Although there is something rubbing the outside toes, where they meet his feet. I am so looking forward to getting him home and more comfortable. He was/is scared of the big potty but we got him a “po-po” on Thursday (August 5th) and he has started using that. He is small for his age, fits in 2t well, and 3t is a bit big. 4t clothes are very big on him. His shoe size is an 8.5
He speaks A LOT of Amharic, and I wish I knew all his phrases and songs. I have learned important communication words for “eat” “open the door” “its ok” “beautiful/wonderful” “good job/clever” “cookie”, “shoes” “water” “drink”, “no/yes” “stop” “hot” “thank you”, “slow down” “dog” , “diaper”and three different potty terms- those I can manage without looking at my list. I use many other phrases from my list for longer statements.
He is very playful and even likes to clean up. He loves musical toys! His walking is quite cumbersome and at times he often asks to be carried, especially up the stairs- although he does crawl on them. I have heard him complain about his feet twice since we have been together and it breaks my heart. He is so eager to be fast and quick, but then falls and stumbles- but gets back up with a smile. He throws the cutest and funniest “fits” which are very different from when he is truly sad/scared. His bottom lip pouts out in a major way and he falls to the floor, sometimes forward and sometimes backwards. He is usually silent and just pouty, rolls over and covers his face like he is asleep. Sometimes if I exacerbate the situation, without giving in, he will whine. He looks like a 2 year old doing this. Most of the time he is much more of a two year old. He is wearing 2T and some 3T clothing, He is kind of a tiny guy, but chunky. An Ethiopian Danny Diveto, if you will.
The first two days my body was quite mad at the world. Mad at the lack of sleep, different food, tension of the stressful trip with all the luggage handling left up to me. Then compound that with a 30 pound chunk of toddler-love that insists on being carried up all 4 flights of stairs (5 of you count coming up from the dining area). We have since moved rooms and the sleeping issue and stair issue have been resolved. I have acclimated to the climate, food, embassy-wait stress and time change and to being mom of a little one again. I have also lost some of my “pregnancy” weight! Woohoo