Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Bit About Joshua

We are slowly getting into a routine. Joshua is almost over his cold and is now fairly well adjusted to the time change. However, things have become a bit more difficult this past week, though today has been much better. I don't know whether it is all the change he has been through which is causing him to be more irritable and fussy (which would be completely understandable) or if it is something else. He is cutting his molars so I definitely think that has been a major factor. I also read in Toddler Adoption that it is not uncommon for a toddler to go into a state of disequilibrium where they become more fussy as they are about to learn a new developmental task. Joshua is definitely standing and cruising more every day so that is a possibility. One of the challenges of parenting after adoption is that you are often wondering if something is adoption related or if it him being a toddler. "Is it adoption or is it life" is one of the questions I am certain I will be asking myself a lot in the years to come. He is also definitely showing more willful toddler-like behaviors and I am struggling with how best to handle them so early on in our relationship. That being said, I am still so in love with my little guy and am enjoying getting to know him more every day. Sometimes I look down at him or look around at all the toys strewn about my family room and still can't believe it's real, that I really get to be his mom.

So here are some of the things I have learned about my boy (probably of more interest to the grandparents and aunts and uncles so feel free to skip):

  • He really seems to like his name and so I still call him JoonSeo, he smiles and laughs every time I show him his pictures and say his name or when I show him himself in a mirror
  • He loves looking in the mirror or pretty much any mirrored surface; we have a Baby Einstein mirror book and he will lean in toward the mirror until his face is all the way against it
  • The first book I read him was called In My Den, it is a board book with a hole in every page and a little finger puppet bear that I move around as I read the story - he thinks its hysterical and laughs and smiles the whole time
  • He loves the recordable book we sent him and will ask me to "read" it every time he sees it, he especially likes the part in front where I speak really bad Korean saying hello and I love you, it also has our picture on that page; he wants me to read it over and over again; this was one of the times where we saw some of the toddler-like behavior - he started fussing and screaming at me when he wanted me to read the story again
  • He ended up loving several of the items we sent him in the care packages - the recordable book, photo album, little fire truck, vtech nursery rhyme book, and the blanket - his foster mom gave all of them to us, plus the PJs we sent; I think it has really helped to have some transition items
  •  He loves all toys that light up and make sounds or music; he remembers exactly where the buttons to push are on each toy and he will shake his body to the music
  • He loves to bat balls, cars, blocks, or pretty much anything across the floor and then chase after it
  • He loves to clap his hands together, do "manseh" (like hooray) and raise his arms up, and shake his head (dori, dori, dori game kids play in Korea)
  • He definitely has a mind of his own; if he wants me to play dori, dori, dori and I am not doing it, he will smash his hands on the side of my face and push it to move my head from side to side
  • He LOVES his bottle; after he is done drinking some he will take it out of his mouth and say "ahhh" with the most satisfied look on his face; his face literally lights up when he sees his bottle; if he has his pacifier in when he sees his bottle he will pluck it out of his mouth lightening fast and throw it on the floor to get ready for his bottle
  • As soon as he is done with the bottle, he will throw it on the ground (we are working on this as he is now letting me hold the end of his bottle while I am feeding him!)
  • If he sees me eating something he will crawl over to the coffee table and then stand up right by me for me to give him some
  • At first it didn't seem as though he would drink milk as well as he would drink formula, but John discovered that if we warmed the milk to room temperature he drinks it right up; since he was on 4 formula bottles a day (8 packets), we quickly ran out of what they gave us in Korea; we are trying to transition to milk since there is no reason for a child his age to be on formula and in fact it can be damaging since it is not possible for him to get all his nutritional needs at this age from formula alone, plus he seems just as satisfied comfort wise with milk
  • He loves fruit of any kind and he also loves any kind of snack cracker, especially shrimp chips and his other Korean snacks, though he also likes puffs and baby mum-mums
  • As far as regular food, we are having the most success with rice mixed with cooked vegetables (cut up very small or mushed up like squash) and then I cut up Trader Joe's seaweed snacks and add it in for flavor; the other key is to add some water when I heat it up so that it is a little soupy
  • He has also eaten potatoes with a little meat and broccoli mixed together, rice and beans, and Mexican stuffed shells (mostly pasta with a little bit of the sauce)
  • He fights sleep like crazy and will flail his arms and legs, clap his hands, shake his head, move a blanket back and forth between his legs, and do pretty much anything else he can to keep himself awake; at first I was able to rock him to sleep, but lately I can only get him to sleep by putting him in the carrier and walking around or dancing side to side; once he is asleep we put him in his crib and he will nap or sleep just fine, though he periodically stirs and whimpers; at night either John or I will sleep on an air mattress in his room; we will do this until we know he is comfortable and won't wake up scared and not knowing where he is
  • He loves "ah boo bah" which means on the back and will come up behind me when I am sitting on the floor and bang on my back; often he does this when he is tired and ready for a nap; technically he is not ah boo bah since I mostly wear him on the front, but we have taken to calling the carrier ah boo bah irregardless
  • He loves water whether in the little kiddy pool or the bath; he will splash and play as long as I let him
  • One night after his bath I held him on the counter and put him up to the mirror; he found his toothbrush by the sink and decided he wanted to "brush" his teeth; now after every bath he can't wait for me to put him up on the counter and let him look in the mirror and brush his teeth; so much so that he started having a fit while I was trying to put on his diaper after his bath; I didn't know what to think at first, I wondered if he was grieving, but then as soon as I was done with the diaper and picked him up towards the mirror, he was all smiles (this would be some of the toddler behavior I mentioned)
  • We are trying to teach him a few signs so that he can communicate with us and hopefully that will help avoid the yelling and screaming that is his current mode of communication :-) - I really am compassionate about this, just think how frustrating it would be if you were taken half way across the world by two strangers who spoke to you in a completely unfamiliar language and what little ability you had to communicate in your familiar language was now useless
  • When he is seated, he spins around doing 360 degree turns
  • He loves to dance to music
  • He loves to smile, laugh, and play; he is also very curious about everything and most definitely has a mind of his own
Well, I am sure there is more, but that is what I can think of right now. I love him so much!


    Courtney said...

    Awwwh I love hearing all about him :). Just wanted to encourage you that this age is really tough so what you described sounds completely normal toddler behavior for me. Whenever henry fights sleep the most it is usually because he is over tired...i've found that he goes to sleep much better if I get him down earlier. And henry still throws his sippy cup and food when he is done with it....we have tried so hard to get him to stop but now I've just accepted it ;)

    A said...

    My hubby used to throw his bottle when he was finished with it, too! It's one of his parents' favorite baby stories to tell about him :)

    You're doing a great job- hang in there!

    thewonderfulhappens said...

    It is so true that you will be asking yourself "is it adoption or is it something else" for years to come. But that is okay. I tend to think it's better to give adoption issues more weight than may be necessary. Because blowing them off is never a good idea. That being said, I'm sure the molars aren't helping at all!!
    He sounds like overall he is doing very well. And so do you!! That is great!

    Niki said...

    I love reading about your boy!! Thanks for sharing. (If you figure out how to stop the throwing of the bottle, let me know! Em STILL throws her sippy whenever she's done with it.)

    GrandmaDe said...

    So fun - thanks for sharing the little details!! Just work, work, work on the language - he's a little sponge and will absolutely respond quicker than you can imagine. If you seriously work on a couple of words each day, keep track and repeat, repeat, repeat, he'll get there crazy fast. I know, advice, advice . . . Wish we were closer so I could come give you some time away with John. Hugs to all of you!

    Courtney said...

    Forgot to say that those molars for Henry were definitely hard...he was super fussy/irritable. I would give him ibprofen whenever I could tell that they were especially bothering him and that really helped.

    chubbymonkey said...

    Lovely update! Thanks for sharing, it will help me when we have our son home.

    Flakymn said...

    I read everyone and I am not a grandparent or auntie!

    Monica said...

    I love reading your blog! Such great information! :)Sounds like you are doing great Mama!

    Christy said...

    So sweet! I think most kids go through a throwing period - where they throw a bottle (or cup, or plate full of food) on the floor when they're done. ;) He sounds like he's doing well, even if it's tough some days! Hugs and we can't wait to see you!!!

    Stacey said...

    It's a joy to see pictures of you and John with your precious boy in your arms and to read posts like these about how he's doing. YOU are doing a great job working with him and developing your own routines. It already sounds like you know him so well and are learning his personality and preferences quickly. I knew you guys would be great parents! It just does my heart good to know that you three are finally together. Sending lots of love to all of you!

    (P.S. We're transitioning Lily from formula and breastmilk to cow's milk and she doesn't care for it cold either, so we have to warm it. I guess having milk right from the fridge is something to get used to!)

    Kala said...

    Awesome update. Loved it!

    Anonymous said...

    update please! I'm waiting for my baby so would love to live through your joy!!