Life's been pretty crazy lately - hence the total lack of blog updates. We've had lots of great, busy weekends traveling and visiting friends, and David has been putting in quite a few extra hours at work over the past few weeks...so, since Mr. Y is currently getting ready for some Daddy time, I figured it might be a good time for me to catch up.
Yikealo started pre-school on September 1st, and he really seems to like it. After weeks of talking non-stop about it, we had a bit of a set-back on the first day when being dropped off in a new location with lots of other kids triggered some memories of his birthmom leaving him. When we arrived, he went into his "coping" mode, which essentially means that he pretends that I don't exist and doesn't respond to me in any way. When I picked him up, he was still behaving a little indifferently to me, but thankfully, Aunt Susan managed to get a few photos anyway!
When we got back home that morning he was really acting out, so I asked him what was going on. First he said in a quavering voice that he missed his daddy. I responded that Daddy was at work, but he would be home that evening, to which Yikealo replied, "Mom, it is SCARY when you leave me with those people, because I don't know them and maybe you're not coming back!" I said that I wouldn't ever leave him there, to which he replied, "You did not stay at that house, and that is like leaving me." Then he started bringing up bits of convoluted memories from Ethiopia, so I knew immediately what he had been frightened about. He is so well-adjusted most of the time that it always surprises me a little when he has a flashback - and yet I know that in some ways this could happen for the rest of his life. It's funny, because I really don't think that he even remembers Mihiret - if he brings her up at all, he calls her by the wrong name, and if we ask him about her, he says that he doesn't remember her - and yet he definitely remembers the feeling of being left with strangers. I'm just glad that he talks about it with me and shares his feelings. On the second morning, he was pretending to be sick so that he wouldn't have to go, but when I picked him up he told me, "I was not scared today, because I knowed that you were not gonna leave me there. I knowed that you would come get me, 'cause I'm your little boy." Since then, he's been delighted to go and generally comes home overflowing with information about what his teachers said or what he learned.
Along those lines, we had the following conversation last week. After our devotions at night, one of us usually lies down with him for awhile, and he always asks for a story. I had told him the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and then we talked about it:
Me: "You know, this story is a really good reminder that God can use what seems like a terrible thing to show how powerful He really is. He can take bad situations and make them into something really beautiful. Yikealo, have you ever had something happen to you that was really scary?"
Y: (thinking hard) "No."
Me: "I think that you have, but maybe you just don't remember it. Can you remember when you lived with Mihiret?"
Me: "Well, you did live with her for awhile, but when she couldn't take care of you any more, she took you to some men that could help you find a new Mama, and I think that you were probably really scared when that happened."
Y: "No I wasn't! I just wanted to be with you! I always want to be with you, Mama!"
Me: "I'm really glad that you feel that way, but that just shows what I'm trying to say. God took a really sad thing and turned it into a wonderful thing, and I'm so happy that you're my little boy."
Y: "Me too!"
In other news, my sister Erica visited us earlier this week, so Yikealo got to play with Mimi for most of two days. These are two seriously bossy kids who are both used to having their own way, but they did pretty well together most of the time.
On Tuesday evening, we took Erica and Mimi to the fair, and the kids had a blast on the rides. They got to take turns choosing, and I must say that Malia was the most adventurous of the two - choosing the ferris wheel and a little roller coaster - although I think that had more to do with the fact that Yikealo was enamoured of all of the "boy" things like cars and motorcycles. I was reminded of just how terrified I am of heights - let's just say that next time, David is going to be the one riding the ferris wheel with our son!
After Erica and Malia left for home, we continued to walk around the fair looking at the animals, which caused no end of whining and complaining from a certain little boy who just wanted to go on more rides. At one point, he stamped his foot and said, "I HATE this! I want to go on the rides!" - so I gave a little lecture: "Listen, Yikealo, this is not all about you and what you want. We are a family, which means that we take turns. Daddy waited patiently for you while you were on the rides, and now if he wants to look at animals, that means you need to wait patiently for him. We've already told you that you can go on some more rides, but you are going to wait your turn, okay?" He gave a long-suffering sigh and grudgingly said, "Okay" but I think that he really did get the message. A few minutes later, David asked him if it was okay to look at some cows on our way back toward the rides, and Yikealo replied, "Sure, Dad. It's not all about the rides, you know."
He did manage to talk his Daddy into buying him a lovely plastic light-saber at the fair, and then last night at Target my two "boys" agreed on horrible foam swords and a shield from the $1 section, so we have had a sudden infestation of pirates in our house. They've been having non-stop sword-fights, intermittently shouting "Hi-yah!" or "Engarde!" - except that Yikealo's version is, "Hun-yah to God!" Ummm...yeah...I don't think that this is exactly what we want him to be learning, is it Dear? Here are some photos of the pirate captain and his first lieutenant:
One other example of religious training gone awry: Last night we were walking at a local park, and Yikealo was spitting with abandon over a little hill. I told him to stop because it was really gross, and he replied, "It is not! It's cool! Jesus learned me how to do this when we were up in the clouds, and he said it's good!" You have to admit that he's pretty innovative with his excuses. How am I supposed to argue against something that Jesus "learned" him to do after all?