Matthew has been home for over 6 weeks now, and while I have figured out most of his likes and dislikes, I can’t say that I have really figured out his personality. I can never seem to predict what his mood is going to be. If I ever try, I am usually wrong! There is so much “in play” with him that I still don’t always know where he’s coming from.
For instance, after coming home, he would wake up every morning in a really, really horrible mood. I felt so badly for him and really thought he was grieving and just very disappointed to keep waking up and finding us (again!). It would take a good 45 minutes to get him out of his funk. I am sure that the grief was a part of it, but I have also realized that he is simply NOT a morning person. And Isaac literally bounces out of bed singing songs…..very early, which annoys Matthew to no end. It is really hard for me to balance the pure joy Isaac displays every morning with the true annoyance that Matthew feels at having to wake up. I absolutely understand that some people will never be morning people (I could have just as easily birthed a night owl), but it has taken me this long to realize (at least I think) that he just isn’t going to be happy about being up early in the morning. Putting him in his own room HAS helped a little. With Isaac up at 6:15 this morning, he was able to sleep until almost 7:45. I still don’t think he wanted to be awake, but it is an improvement.
Then there is the talking, or lack thereof. Is his schizencephaly affecting a speech part of his brain? Can he simply NOT do it yet? I don’t think that’s the case, but I can’t be sure. For instance, he can sing so many songs–not exactly with the words right, but close. He can count to 5, he says mommy and daddy, he says thank you, and will talk for hours on a phone (no one is sure what he’s saying, but you get my drift). But there are times when he wants something that he immediately (not after minutes of trying to make it known) collapses into a crying tantrum of hitting and flailing. We did a lot of charades in the beginning, but now he knows a lot of words. He knows how to tell me what he wants. So if he decides to have a tantrum, I feel like I need to just let that happen and when he calms down, we can figure it out.
Because yes, he is a recently adopted child who has gone through more than any child his age should have to face, and yes, he is dealing with a special need, and yes, he is a 2 year old who is just “at that age” of stubbornness and tantrums. But he is also just our son, just like Isaac, with rules to follow. I will ALWAYS stop to kiss a boo boo or hold you if you are sad. I will do my very best to keep everyone on a routine that keeps them fed, napped, and involved in some kind of activities to keep us all in as good a mood as possible. But hitting is never going to be okay. Tantrums will be ignored whether they happen at home or in public (just ask anyone who was at Publix last week and listened to Isaac scream through the last half of the store over a cookie incident). Although Matthew is an “adopted child with special needs”, I don’t think it is fair for me to constantly treat him as if those are the 2 most important things about him. I have to remind myself of this when I worry if I might be too hard on him. Because when I insist that he walks up the stairs on his own (he sometimes cries because Isaac zooms up the stairs so fast), I am doing that not to punish him, but to help him become stronger. When he has a tantrum and I calmly ask him over and over what he wants, I am not taunting him, but hopefully encouraging him to use some words (that I know he knows) to make all of our lives a little easier.
I hope that as the year progresses, I am able to sort out his true personality from the fits and starts that are surely just a part of joining our family. I do know that he loves to have company over and that he can be quite charming when he is trying to get you to do something for him. I know that he loves to sing and I found out last night that he will enter into a fit of rage if you try to put him to bed while Isaac is having a grand old time in the bath. I know that he loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but is more likely to open up the sandwich and lick it to death than to simply eat it. I know he will always want seconds of any meaty, spicy soup (I’m making chili for him this week). But I am really ready to know HIM. To be able to anticipate how he will react to certain situations. To hear him cracking jokes with all of us. That is what I’m looking forward to most in this new year.