The chart is gone. Andrew tore it off the wall yesterday and ripped it in half. I've decided that he is grieving our old life. His hardest times seem to be in the morning right after he wakes up. I wonder if he wakes up and then remembers....'oh yeah. Everything is different now'. Today, I tried a new tactic. As soon as we all got up, we had breakfast together and then did a fun activity. And what could be more fun than play-doh? Andrew was wonderful. He had a great time and was very willing to share the play-doh with Daniel. Turns out Daniel was perfectly happy putting things in the big tub the play-doh came in and then dumping them out again.
Daniel went off to vacuum while Andrew worked on his masterpiece:
Andrew took his brother on his very first mall train ride today (at least I'm assuming it was his first). Daniel really liked it...I think...although he doesn't look all that thrilled in these pictures. He was smiling at the end of the ride, though, and got back on it for a second trip.
While Daniel was still at the Care Center in Ethiopia, one of the other parents reported that she had cracked up when she walked in one day and saw him sleeping with his 'big behind in the air'. I have not seen him sleep like that...til now. On one of my trips into the boys' room last night, I found him like this. I HAD to take a picture.
We have been so blessed with wonderful, generous friends. About every other day, there is a package waiting for us in the lobby for the boys. And not only do these wonderful people send a gift for Daniel, they also send something for Andrew. Thank you to everyone who has sent something. It is NOT necessary but I know that you already know that. It's overwhelming at times to realize how many people care about my sons. One of the gifts we just received was the cutest personalized set of dishes and a book. Andrew really loved seeing his name on a plate and I know that Daniel will too (when he realizes what names are...and letters..and plates).
the above post was not a shameless plug for more gifts...the boys are blessed and do not need anything else (except maybe a hooded towel from Stitches So Sweet). ;)
Andrew is having a hard time since Daniel has been home. It's not that he doesn't want a brother or that he doesn't love Daniel...he does...he has said it. But it's hard. It's hard to share his room and his toys and his mom. I think it would have been easier for him if Daniel had been an infant but in the long run, I think that both boys will love being so close in age. I hate seeing him struggle to be nice to his brother when I know that he wants to be. He is frustrated and doesn't know how to verbalize it. Today, we started using a chart to help him to practice being 'nice' to Daniel. Each time he is kind to him in some way, he gets a star on the chart. When he gets 10 stars, he gets to watch a movie. It's not the most natural scenario, but it has already made him more aware of what he is doing throughout the day. Tonight, he needed three more stars and he kept coming up with new ways to be nice to Daniel so he could earn those last stars.
In Ethiopia, name meanings are very important. Whenever I meet someone from Ethiopia and tell them Daniel's birth name, they immediately ask me if I know the meaning. I haven't been able to share the meanings with you or the reason for keeping both of his birth names until the adoption was complete. His name at birth was Bereket Mintesnot. Bear-eh-ket Min-tes-eh-note His first name, Bereket, means 'blessing'. It was given to him by his parents and, in my opinion, should be honored not only for it's literal meaning, but also because he was so obviously loved and cherished by them. It is Ethiopian custom for a father's first name to become the child's last name. So Daniel's birth father's name is Mintesnot. This name means, "What can't God do?". Again, the literal translation is beautiful and so meaningful. And the fact that it is his father's name...there is no way that I could leave it out of his legal name. 'Daniel' is my brother's name. I wanted my son to have a name from his forever family just as he has important names from his birth family. I think that all three of his names are beautiful and I hope that he feels free to use any or all of them as he grows older and learns about his rich culture and the beautiful country in which he was born.
I feel like I'm beginning to get to know Daniel. His sweet personality emerges a little more each day. He is already different than the boy I first met in Ethiopia. He definitely had a few behaviors of a child who has lived in an orphanage. For the first few days, he slept whenever I laid him down in his crib. When he woke up, he would just lay there quietly. He was not sure at first how to play with most toys. He liked things that were 'functional' that he had seen before...like the telephone, anything that looked like a telephone (the remote), pots and pans, and a few little cars that he could push around. He had no idea what to do with a book and did not want me to sing to him. This week, we've seen funny, new things emerge: He likes music and dances when he hears a song that he likes. When he wakes up crying, he likes for me to rock him and sing to him. There are actually some things he won't eat: yogurt, cheese, mango and grapes, so far. He wants to feed himself but needs help putting things on the spoon. He knows 3 signs: ;more', 'please' and 'all done'. He learns new things quickly. He is beginning to like books and wants to hold one in the car. He loves to bring me things and then take them all back where he got them. He doesn't like to wear his own shoes but will wear mine all day if I let him. He likes to be tickled and has the cutest laugh when you tickle his tummy. He loves to give hugs and kisses. (we're still working on the kisses....right now they're open-mouthed with a bite at the end. Oh! And he's SUPER cute!