Monday, October 17, 2011

Our First Month Home

Okay, okay…we are SO behind!  At the request of many we are not going to wait to catch up on everything (since these catch up entries take forever and are super long) so we will be switching from past events to current blurbs about the kids progress (after this one!).  Here’s a past one (obviously)!

Wow – that first month!  It seems like an eternity ago, yet it really has not been so long.  That first month held some big challenges but also some of the greatest joys we've ever felt.  We all know that learning how to be a family is challenging, we ‘knew’ this too…but did not REALLY 'know' it. Nor did we anticipate what this new family would look like when two scared, unsure two year olds were brought thousands of miles to a new home (something they had never imagined) where only English was spoken and with parents (also a new concept) who had never parented before! Twins is an absolute blessing and we think it's great for them to have each other...but it also keeps you on your toes! 

The first couple days home were a lot of fun watching the kids discover all the new fun toys (real toys and objects that became toys) in our house and start to learn about their new home.  Jonathon can’t seem to resist luggage and both kids love their little kitchen…here they are looking at each other through the microwave window.  Good friends from Oregon sent us a ton of wonderful clothes that actually fit the kids now (so many of the clothes we had for them were way too big).  As you can see Madison liked the box they came in (it helped that Joe dragged her around the house in this box).

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The first couple weeks were riddled with many tantrums, mostly from Madison.  Myra swore one night that the cops were sure to show up at our door as Madison screamed like a banshee for hours in the middle of the night and the neighbors blocks away were certain to have heard.  We were at a loss some nights and just tried lots of holding (when they would let us) and tried to just talk to them.  We knew they were grieving immensely, were confused and felt out of control, however we still found our patience running thin and questioned if we were up for this!  It was tough and thank God for his strength and understanding friends and families who listened with care.

Sleeping was one of the hardest things, often consisting of an hour and a half (at least) of crying and screaming before we could get them to sleep.  We quickly gave up the ‘ideal’ family bed for portable cribs next to our bed as no one was getting any sleep this first way!  Jonathon took to his immediately, seeming relieved to have his own space.  Madison cried and screamed the first night like we were abandoning her, it was heart-breaking.  But, she also quickly seemed to really like her ‘own’ bed.    Madison is very against rocking and at nap or bed time and immediately wants to be let down into the crib.  Joe is able to rock Jonathon to sleep and he seems to really need this to calm down and allow himself to go to sleep.  However, toward the end of this first month Madison wouldn’t go to sleep unless Myra was rubbing her back – progress! We settled on what our routine would be before bed (and for the whole day really) and kept things very very structured. We saw such a change in the kids (less fear) when they knew what to expect each day. For this first month, we really stuck to the same activities with very little deviation.

We quickly discovered that Madison really liked to ‘help’.  Myra was carrying out laundry one day with Madison in tow (Madison likes to follow either of us when we leave the room).  Myra turned around and Madison had disappeared, she then immediately came running with some clean clothes she found so she could carry some too.  Those clothes were extra clean that day.  She also likes to imitate us with sweeping or wiping the table:

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As mentioned, both kids were scared to death of the bath tub.  After a couple weeks home and one very messy day of playing with the water table outside (and Joe dumping water over his head...then letting the kids do it to him), Madison decided the tub wasn’t so bad and started to cry when it was time to get OUT!  Jonathon was still very scared of it, but we could see him watching Madison closely and had high hopes.  We tried some playtime in the bath tub with clothes on, but he still wasn’t buying it with water!

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Another VERY exciting event this first month was Jonathon started to walk on his own after being home about a 1.5 weeks!  With lots and lots of encouragement he went from only taking 3 or 4 steps then crawling to walking all around the house on his own he became pretty steady in just a few days – it was so wonderful to see!  Once he started, there was no stopping him!  Being able to walk also opened up so many more opportunities for development and we saw such a huge change in him in this area as well.

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The days seemed to really fly this first month and we probably would not have eaten if it wasn’t for great friends who provided us with 2-3 meals every week!  We are SO SO SO thankful for all the fabulous food we were given, we had never eaten so well!  At the beginning of the month the kids still (understandingly) had food issues were they would scream and cry for it as soon as they saw any, but towards the end they were becoming much more selective…starting that typical two-year old behavior.  Now they are almost TOO picky :) ! They do have some favorites that are ALWAYS a hit:  yogurt, fruit, chicken tenders (for Jonathon) and hot dogs/sausage (for Madison).  They also really enjoyed their first chocolate pudding:

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It was quite hard being cooped up and not being able to have visitors for more than a few minutes, although we really knew it was necessary and for the best (we can really see how important that was looking back now as well).  Still, we tried to escape for a couple short trips in the car to get the kids use to it and we really enjoyed our backyard.  Both Jonathon and Madison were so excited when they saw the big wheels, once on they were off – staying on the curving path quite well!  They also really like being pulled around in the wagon. 

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Our cat has been one of the big sources of conflict in the house.  Anyone who knows her understands this well.  It doesn’t seem like anyone is backing down – who will win?

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Despite the challenges, there has been so much joy as well. It is so fun to watch the kids discover new things and just be kids…we are really starting to see their personalities emerge and they are fun and full of life!  The kids are really staying near us throughout the day and there is even a little cuddling….no real eye contact yet or affection initiated, but it is way too soon to expect that!  Here are some fun pictures (links to a few more):

Just because you haven’t seen enough, here are a couple favorite pictures (can you tell we are proud new parents?).

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Believe it or not, that’s just a snapshot of our first month!  It’s still just so amazing to think that less than a year ago we never imagined that our family would look like this! Stay tuned for some bullets of what month 2 had in store! Even more awesome changes!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see           (Hebrews 11:1)

2 comments:

Vinnie's Warriors said...

Love the update! I love how prepared you were... and how honest you are about being prepared, but it still being difficult. Can't wait til our son is home... seeing the changes in your kids in the first month is so inspiring. Can't wait to hear about month two!

Jo said...

Many challenges but they are soooo cute. I love their beautiful big brown eyes full of excitement and amazement. Thanks for sharing. I'm between trip and am anxious to bring back my little one in a few months (I hope).