One of the things I love about my blog is the community it gives me with you all. When I recently wrote about our issues with Smile’s school and Diva’s bedtime you all were there full of suggestions and helpful advice. We took that all to heart and I wanted to update you on those situations.
Last time I blogged about school we were debating if we should start Smiles this year or not. I thought it would be good for him, but the principal recommended waiting until the summer program. If you followed the Facebook comments, nearly all of you agreed with the principal. After that blog I talked to several other adoptive parents of older kids. Many of them thought it would be a good idea to start him this year. The goal would not be for him to learn much but to get him acclimated to a school environment, for him to meet other kids, and for him to have some structure to his day. We had decided to go against the principal’s advice and start him this year. BUT, before we went in for our next meeting the English Language Learner teacher emailed me. She said the principal talked to her and that her advice- to the principal and to us- would be to start him this year! Since it’s the end of the year most of her students are working on their own and she has extra time to give him the attention he needs. That made us feel a lot more confident in what our gut was telling us. He is starting school on Monday!
I couldn’t be more excited about this. I think he is going crazy with boredom at home. He will need more attention than most; I’m sure he’s not going to be anyone’s favorite student. But I think school will be so good for him! He thrives when he is around other kids. Yes, paying attention is going to be a challenge for him, but he is eager to please and tends to copy other kids…so hopefully they don’t put him in a class with all the troublemakers!
We also signed him up for a baseball team. We hadn’t planned to do that this soon but there is no doubt in my mind it will be good for him. He is so competitive and is naturally athletic. He is an active kid and picks up things quickly. And he loves baseball. If I let him play baseball all day long, with the only breaks being to watch AirBud Seventh Inning Fetch, he would be the happiest kid in the world. He was supposed to have his first practice tonight but it got rained out. We signed up late so tomorrow is the first game. We’re kind of hoping that gets rained out too because while he has a really nice swing we’re not sure he knows to run to first base afterwards. And he needs practice with fielding- he still puts his glove on the wrong hand.
So Smiles has an exciting week ahead of him- baseball and school both starting in the next several days.
To recap, our first few nights home Diva went to bed with minimal but increasing issues. She wanted me to sleep with her, but my options were limited because of the baby. I really couldn’t sleep in the same room as her because she would be woken up a few times a night. Plus, I like my nighttime to myself. Not knowing what else to do, at the time of my last blog we basically locked her in her room which was traumatic for all of us. That was a mistake. A big mistake, really. This young girl had never slept alone and here we were locking her in a strange room in a strange house. Idiots! You guys called me on it and I’m glad you did.
We took your suggestions and I started laying down with her until she was asleep. That worked really well…for two nights. The third night she fought sleep for close to an hour. Me laying with her for an hour at night does not work- it leaves the husband alone with 3 kids, including a newborn, that also need to go to bed. That same night she woke up nearly the whole house at 2am screaming. Long story short, I ended up sleeping in her room with the baby. As I guessed, the baby woke her up several times between 2 and 7. Everyone was grumpy and the next day was one of the most challenging ones yet.
So that put us back to the drawing board. We felt at a loss- what do we do when I can’t lay down with her and can’t sleep with her, but she refuses to sleep alone? We had previously asked Smiles to sleep with her but he had no interest. He does, however, have an interest in money. And he doesn’t know the difference between a penny and a $100 bill. So….we started paying him to sleep in her room. Ethical? Maybe not. But it has been working for six nights now. Sleep wins over ethics in this case.
The kids have been home for a little over three weeks now. A friend asked me today if I feel like things are still a daze. The answer is definitely yes- we are still learning things and still trying to find a routine. We are far from having it all figured out! Really far. But we are getting closer each day.