Well, we ignored the advice from our agency and took Yikealo to my parent's house over Labor Day weekend...and it went beautifully! Both our social worker and the Family Education Coordinator at AGCI strongly suggested that internationally adopted children should not travel anywhere overnight for at least the first six months that they are home, as it can be too overwhelming and confusing for them. We've thought, though, that Yikealo has been doing great. He seems very attached and secure with both of us, and I really didn't think that he would worry that we were giving him up to someone else, so on Saturday morning, we made the three hour drive to Mom and Dad's for the weekend.
He did just great in the car, and in fact sang, "Lexi, konjo! Lexi, konjo!" most of the way there, which I must admit did get a bit tiresome to the occupants of the front seats. Lexi is my youngest brother Seth's daughter, and "konjo" means beautiful, so I guess that means that he was excited to see her again!
As soon as we got to Mom's, he dashed into the house passing out hugs to everyone, and that was the start of a truly great weekend. He got to swim in Grammy's "big woha" and play with lots of cousins. Mom and Dad currently have 11 grandchildren ages 8-1, so needless to say, it can get pretty noisy around there when the whole family is together, and I say "currently" because there are two more due at the beginning of next year! It was so great to finally introduce him to the remainder of my family, and he loved seeing Shana and Mimi again too. He just adores Shana, and submits to quite a bit of mothering from her! Of course, he bosses her around too, as evidenced by this photo!
My youngest brother Seth, his wife Casey and their two children spend every weekend at Mom and Dad's house, so Yikealo got to spend lots of quality time with their son Zavier, who is 2 1/2. The two of them are hysterical to watch! They weigh exactly the same, although Zav is a bit taller, and their coloring could not be more different. They are both "alpha males" who are very used to getting their own way, so they got a bit irritated with each other from time to time, but for the most part got along very well. Zavi followed "Yee-kee-kay-lo" around EVERYWHERE and giggled at and imitated EVERYTHING that he did. They'll probably get to spend many weekends together over the next few years until Seth finishes pharmacy school, and I hope that they get to be great friends.
Among other delights, he enjoyed time on Grammy's swing and he got to meet some alpacas down at my Uncle Randy's house.
The best part of the weekend in Yikealo's eyes was undoubtedly seeing all of Papaw's tractors. He got to take several rides in the Gator, or "alligator" as Zavi calls it, and when we visited the farm, he could not move fast enough from one huge piece of equipment to the next. He been talking non-stop about Papaw's "BIG tractors" ever since we came home.
I was the most concerned about bedtime, and wondered if Yikealo would get upset about not being at his house, but he did just fine. He thought that it was a great adventure to sleep on Grammy's floor (at the foot of our bed), and never fussed once about going to bed.
Now for the part of the weekend that I probably should have thought through a little more: about three or four weeks ago, we were adopted by a stray cat. She just moved onto our front porch and took over, no doubt encouraged by the fact that David and Yikealo fed her often. David named her "Barnacle" because of the way that she stuck like glue to the porch, and we started calling her "Barney" for short. She was a very sweet, friendly little thing, but I'm already allergic to the two cats that we have, and I really did NOT want another one. When Mom told me that Casey was wanting an outside cat, I thought we'd found the perfect solution, so we put our cat carrier in the back seat and hauled Barney out to Mom's house on Saturday. The problem arose on Monday evening when Casey loaded Barney into HER van, and we drove an empty cat carrier home. Yikealo hadn't paid all that much attention to Barney, so I hadn't thought to explain the situation to him. Apparently, that was a mistake, because he was pretty upset that Barney wasn't coming home with us, and she was the very first thing on his mind on Tuesday morning when he woke up, "Ababa, Barney outside?" He asks about her several times a day and prays for her every morning. When I say that Barney is Casey's kitty, he'll look sad and reply, "No! Yikealo's kitty!" After I explained that he already has two kitties, he's finally agreed to share Barney with Casey. Ummm....sure, I guess that we can "share" Barney....especially since she now lives two hours away from us!