Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Milestones and a Few Yikealo-isms

First of all, before I forget again, our numbers for May were: #53 for a girl and #42 for a boy... which means that we've moved 37 spaces on the girl's list and 21 spaces for a boy since we joined the waitlist in November.

In other news, we've hit some new parenting milestones this month. Last night was Yikealo's pre-school program, and as of Friday, he'll be officially finished with his first year of "school." He loves to learn and has really enjoyed making new friends at pre-school. Hopefully, some of these friendships can last for a lifetime. After all, one of my favorite people in the world became my friend when we were both in the 4-year old Sunday school class together (yes, Lori, I mean you!)

We have also completed his enrollment for Kindergarten next fall. Oh, how I have agonized over this decision: "He will be turning 5 in June - should I start school yet or wait another year? Should I send him to public school or homeschool?" It seems like the current trend is to hold boys back until they are six, but Yikealo is already learning to read, and there's always that niggling reminder that we don't know how old he really is. What if we are able to meet his birthmom when we travel to Ethiopia and we learn that she DOES know how old he is, and he is truly a year older than we've decided? AARRGGHHH!!! (Why do I obsess about these things anyway?) After doing some research and worrying and praying, we've finally made the decision to enroll him in a home-based online public school for next year. So, I will become a "teacher" of sorts this fall, and I'm actually very excited about it. David has felt very strongly about wanting to homeschool for quite some time, and I'm ready to try it.

Which brings me to yet another milestone. My little guy lost his first tooth last night. It has been loosening up over the last several months, and for the last few weeks, he has been constantly wiggling it. David and I are both ridiculously squeamish about loose teeth, we have discovered, much to the delight of Mr. Y. He thinks it's great fun to say, "Hey Mom, look at this!" while reaching into his mouth and moving his tooth all over creation, and then giggling away as I shudder in revulsion. Thankfully, my mom came to visit yesterday for the pre-school program, so the boy had an ally in getting rid of the unwanted tooth. (Grammy is not at all phased by little things like loose teeth...how well I remember her slightly sadistic glee in yanking loose teeth out when we were little!) Yikealo wasn't phased either. That tooth came right out, and he thought that all of the blood was really cool. We think that we may have a doctor in training here - he is fascinated by blood and shots and all things medical.

And, last but not least, a few recent Yikealo-isms for your entertainment:
  • (while walking toward me with a disgruntled look on his face) "Mom, I was running, and I hit myself in the head with the wall."
  • (while I was tickling him) "Mom, do you want to stand in the corner? If so, just keep it up!" (I think maybe he's heard this a few times...)
  • "Daddy's kisses and Lori's kisses smell like flowers, so I will not wipe theirs off, but yours smell like lightbulbs, so I can wipe those ones off!" (I'm not sure what lightbulbs smell like, but hey, apparently any excuse will work for this kid to wipe off my kisses.)
  • "Mom, this porcupine is DEE-licious!" (while we were eating shredded pork sandwiches.)
  • "Stop up-tating me!" (said whenever we imitate something that he has said.)
  • "Mom, I'm trying to get comfy, but I cannot, because my bed is too bony. Can you please take me to your bed?" (He'll try anything for a chance to sleep with us.)
  • a few weeks ago, he begged to go with David on a quick errand to the grocery store. David acquiesced, on the condition that Mr. Y was not to beg for ANYTHING while there. Yikealo agreed readily, of course. Moments after entering the store, Y stopped beside a display of vanilla wafers (one of his favorites) and said, "Hey, Dad..." David shot him a warning look and said, "Yikealo, you promised not to beg for anything," to which Y quickly replied, "I'm not asking for them for me! I just thought that maybe YOU would like to buy them, since YOU really like these!" Ummm...yeah....can you say "manipulative"??
  • Several days ago, after listening for quite some time to him barrel around the house beating on the metal lid to his Tinker-Toy box with one of the plastic sticks, I finally lost my temper and said that he was driving me insane, and if he didn't find something quieter to do there would be trouble. A little later, he decided to share a new song with me. It is sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together" and it goes like this:  "Sometimes Mama is a grump-grouch, a grump-grouch, a grump-grouch. Sometimes Mama is a grump-grouch with her little boy."  As I'm sure that you can imagine, his composing talent didn't do much to improve the mood of his mother...on second thought, maybe it did, because it IS making me laugh now! Anyway, this weekend, while reading through some old Calvin and Hobbes comic books, I discovered a strip where Calvin is stomping through the house beating on a pan with a spoon. His mother finally loses control and shouts, "Will you stop that awful racket? You're driving me crazy!" The final panel shows Calvin in front of his check-marked calendar triumphantly saying, "And a check mark for Tuesday!"  David has been calling Yikealo "Calvin" ever since...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daddy's Boy

Last night I finished up Yikealo's 2-year post adoption report. It needs to arrive to the Ethiopian government by the anniversary of the date that we took custody of our son - June 29th, 2009. In order for it to make it overseas in time, it has to be to our agency by May 29th. We had three reports due in the first year of having him home, but all of these were written by our social worker, so this was my first effort. From now on, these reports are due once a year until he reaches the age of 18, so I'm sure that I will become quite adept at doing them! It is exciting to me that Ethiopia cares so much about the welfare of their children. Most other countries only require reports to be completed for the first year or so.

Anyway, we needed to provide detailed information on how he is doing physically and developmentally, give an example of his daily schedule, and discuss anything pertinent to his life and health: how he sleeps, how he eats, how he interacts with others...you get the point. The final questions were about what we see as his most difficult  challenge and his greatest joy since adoption. It took me a little while to come up with the answers, because we have had very few challenges and everything is exciting to Yikealo, but I think I finally arrived at the truth. Yikealo's greatest challenge was probably learning that we were not going to leave him. He has a strong memory of his birth mom leaving him with strangers and not returning for him, and new situations have sometimes brought those fearful memories to the surface. Today, though, he seems to be very secure in our love for him. Several times a day we have a variation of the following conversation:

Me: "Hey, Yikealo, guess what?"
Y: "You love me!"
Me: "I sure do! How did you know that?"
Y: "Because I am your little boy!"
Me: "How did I get so lucky to have YOU for my little boy?"
Y: "Because God told you to get me, because He knew that I needed a Mom and a Dad!"

Which brings me to his greatest joy: his beloved Daddy. Yikealo has told us that he had a "first Mom" before me, but that David is his "first Dad." He loves having a father figure in his life, and he will try to imitate EVERYTHING that David does, from the things he says, to the way he dresses, to the way he folds his toilet paper - (I'm not kidding!) Mr. Y delights in anything that will make him "just like my Dad!" They play chess and an ancient computer game from David's childhood called "Final Fantasy", they both have to use a shoehorn to put on their good shoes, they both eat hotdogs with only mustard (because "only girls like ketchup") and they both have to have a stack of interesting books or magazines in the bathroom - their "places" marked with a sheet of toilet paper (never mind the fact that Yikealo can't read yet.)

A few weeks ago, David was getting dressed for work, and happened to put on a t-shirt that Yikealo has also. Yikealo was SO excited, and immediately tried to copy David's outfit as closely as possible.

A few days later, Yikealo insisted on buying a pair of slippers with his money - because "my Dad always wears slippers!" The next morning when David left for work, I found Mr. Y's new footwear exactly where David always leaves his slippers - on the rug in front of David's closet.

And then there is the way that they both run their fingers through their hair, obsessively pat down their cereal before pouring milk into the bowl, and make the same ridiculous faces...I mean, honestly, what can you really say about this?

In short, if David does it, you can be certain that Yikealo will imitate him. All silliness aside, son, I think that you've decided on a great role-model, and it gives me great joy to watch you being "just like" your Daddy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This Morning's Conversation...

As I was getting ready for work this morning, Malia was proudly showing Yikealo her older siblings' elementary school yearbook in the family room. (Don't ask me why she wanted to bring that along with her this week?!) Anyway, as I listened in on their conversation, I heard the following:

Mimi: "Hey, Yikealo, do you want to see a black boy?"
Y: (in a slightly awe-struck and very excited tone) "Yeah!"
...long pause...
Mimi: "Look. There he is."
Y: (sounding rather disgusted) "He is NOT black. He's brown, just like me."
Mimi: "Well, that's what I meant."
Me: "Hey, Yikealo, sometimes when people have a little bit darker brown skin like yours, they're called black. But that's not really the right name for the color of your skin, is it?"
Y: "No, because I'm brown."
Mimi: "Well, sometimes I get black and brown mixed up, because they're almost the same."
Y: "They are not! And besides, white is the opposite of black, and people can't be opposites!" (Not sure what this had to do with anything!)
Me: "Well, we are certainly a lot more alike than we are different, aren't we? Because really, we're all just different shades of brown, right?"
Y: "Right! You and Mimi are really light brown, and I am a little bit darker brown."