Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

Getting to Know You January 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 8:35 AM

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.


7 Responses to “Getting to Know You”

  1. Amber Says:

    My little girl also recently adopted from South Korea is NOT a morning person. She does not get out of bed until somewhere between 9 and 11AM. When she finally "chooses" to be awake she is happy as a clam.Maybe the sleeping in is a cultural thing?Good LuckI wish you the best in getting to know your boy this year.

  2. It sounds like you are doing a good job to me 🙂 I think it would be hard knowing he has a special need but it seems are you are dealing with it appropriately. Your a great mom. Matthew is lucky to have you!!

  3. Aimee Says:

    I can totally relate to how you are parenting Matthew. I do the exact same with Lily. There are times when I litterally force her to do something that I know is hard for her. Once she realizes she can do it, she is so proud of herself. For example, she refused to get down out of her booster seat at the kitchen table and I just looked at her and said, "Lily, you can get down by yourself, or you can sit there" She cried, but I talked her through it, and she now hops right down. She needed to learn independence. It was just one of those things. Now, its getting even harder, because I feel like she is well attached, so should I treat her completely like a "bio" child, or should I still consider her as an adopted child. I tend to treat her as my bio child…a typical 3 year old. At some point, you just know…..And she has to learn that I am going to treat her equally. Actually, I think she feels MORE secure knowing that I do this. Boy, I just wrote a book! Sorry!Still reading every post you write!! Love, Aimee

  4. Leanne Says:

    Hey Elizabeth!!This is going to be a fun, exciting year for your family!!It will be exciting for us, also…Still waiting to go to China. We've had our referral for 7 months now. I'm looking forward to getting our TA really soon!!I can't wait to have a toddler in my house NEXT Christmas.You are doing an amazing job!!!I'll email you as soon as I find out something ….. hopefully SOON!

  5. Melissa Says:

    Keep up the AWESOME work, Elizabeth! I used to nanny for a child who had special needs, and his biggest challenge was speech related. He got very frustrated when no one understood him. So that's normal. And the more he understands, the more he will know that YOU understand. 🙂 Also–I definitely agree that he is not JUST a "two year old adopted child with special needs". You keep up your routine and consistency (and discipline where needed)! As followers of Jesus, no matter when we choose to follow Him, at that very point, we are held to a higher standard of living. We don't get to say, "but Jesus–you remember how I used to…" or "C'mon God–you KNOW the family I grew up with!" There are no excuses. I know that's deeper than it may be regarding Matthew, but he will learn fast from your consistency and level of expectation and he will RISE to those standards! :)Prayers still with you guys–and let me know if you want a playdate anytime soon!Melissa

  6. Wuxi Mommy Says:

    Thank you so much for visiting our blog! One of my travel mates shared that it usually takes about a year for things to begin feeling "normal" again after and adoption. I remember thinking that couldn't be possible, but now I realize she was so very right. We've seen a lot of "survival" behaviors in our Maia and thing that were probably more of her coping mechanisms than real personality traits. When she was first home, I had no idea who the real Maia was. But we've come a long, long way in 9 month, and I know you'll be surprised at how things look in time. It's funny about the morning thing. Our Maia is definately not a morning person either. Getting her up for preschool is aweful!

  7. Tracy Says:

    What a wonderful wonderful post. That is our goal isn't it? To know our children. Sounds like you are on the right track to me! Keep it up. Keep making those pb and J sandwiches and letting him lick out the inside!!! (that made me chuckle)Keep being a great mom to both your boys.

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