It is hard to believe that at this time last year we were getting off that airplane with Evan to start his new life. It seems like a year has gone by so fast in many ways. It is always busy with the four kids but each month we would look at each other and say, gee, last year at this time Evan you didn't know what a pool was or you had never celebrated Thanksgiving. It was a year of lots of firsts.
Evan seemed so excited with everything new. He seemed to love all the newness and is such an energenic little guy.
When we look back at all the time gone by, we see great strides that Evan has made. He was a clumsy clueless baby at first. We watched him do some pretty dumb things but he learned fast and watched the other kids and has surprised us in so many ways.
Today he is almost 2 years old and has started speaking in 3 word "sentences". He can get himself undressed, he follows simple directions like bringing things from other rooms, putting plates in the sink etc.
He is so eager to please that he tries so hard. He seems "smarter " than Kate for that reason. She does as she pleases so who knows if she can really follow instructions etc. Two very different personalities.
So, a year into our completed family how are we all relating. Well, Susanna thinks Evan is a pest and Laine thinks he is gross. Pretty typical behavior for 8 and 6 year old sisters. Kate loves/hates him as her best buddy. They play together and search for each other during nap time. They just went back to sharing a room together this past month. I was worried that Kate would keep him up or he would wake him up but so far so good. Of course they still get into knock down drag out fights complete with bitting but I know this will improve.
Evan has turned into a complete little Daddy's boy. He loves his Daddy and while I am jealous I am happy that he is attached well to Dad. I'm not so sure about me. Sometimes he likes the ladies at daycare better and sure doesn't want me if Dad is here. After a year of thinking that this is going to get better I think I have settled into just letting it be. Maybe this is as good as it gets.
Evan will give me hugs and kisses on his terms. He asks to be picked up and will happily sit for a few minutes to sing songs and read books. Of course it is always on his terms. I think he is never going to be comfortable or maybe not for many more months, being snuggled and loved on. I wish he would have been that kind of boy but I cannot change him. So as long as he is happy I try to be.
We are going to have him evaluated by a Neuropsychologist in Madison however to see if there might be some issues such as sensory that we would be able to do some work on improving. I think we'd be doing him a disservice by not having him evaluated in case there is more we could do to help him enjoy human touch.
Okay, so my explanation of a neuropsychologist as I understand it is that this person tests how the brain reacts to different stimuli. During the fist months of life as a baby is stimulated and learns to react to input certain connections in the brain nerves are strengthened. Without this experience, such as laying in a crib in an orphanage, these brain links might not have developed as much as a normal child.
I think that this first year home has been incredibly challenging for all of us as we learned how to function with two busy babies. I remember the first time I took both Kate and Evan to the Walmart. I learned in a hurry to always park next to the cart corral. I HAVE to have access to a cart to wheel up to the van to put them both into to push into the store. And that's just one example! One kid setting the other off crying was hard on Scott and the girls complained constantly about "those icky babies" getting into their room and making a mess.
But, there has been plenty of fun as well and it has been fun to watch the two little ones, as well as the big sisters, try new things. As they grow a little older and are better able to communicate with us we think it is only going to be more fun to share experiences with them.
In short, yes, the first year home with Evan has tested us in many ways. However, I think the hardest part is behind us know, at least until they all become teenagers!