It feels like about ten weeks have passed in the past two days since we got home. We're all doing pretty well, I think, but it's pretty intense at times. The two youngest kids are sleeping for night now, and I wanted to take a short break and post something here. I have so much stuff swirling around in my brain that I wish I had more time to get it all out and onto paper.
From everything I've read and learned, if kids are able to feel comfortable enough to tantrum and express temper and grief, things are going ok re: attachment...well, if that's the case, I'd say things are going really well! They're definitely both/all starting to let their emotions out.
Lizzie Senait had a couple of spectacular tantrums in ET already (wow, does she have a shrill scream - I may need to invest in ear plugs 'cause I might otherwise lose my hearing with that one) and she's had one biggie here at home. She is also becoming extremely cuddly and affectionate, and has taken to rubbing her hands over Geoff's and my faces, before kissing them with big, open-mouthed, suction-cup kisses. She is a girl of a thousand facial expressions - everything that's going on in the inside shows up on her face. From a beaming smile to giving one of us the 'evil eye,' and every nuance in between, she's extremely expressive. She has been very indulged at the Transition House, I believe, because she certainly seems to believe that everyone should jump to her every whim with one imperial chin raise. If she doesn't get what she wants that second, she screams with utter outrage and sorrow. For now, to build attachment, we're just letting that kind of behaviour go, but the time will come when reality will have to sink in a little. She loves, loves, loves being held and wants one of us to be holding her every moment of every hour.
Seth Asrat was quite reserved for the first couple of days that we had them, but he's certainly let loose now. We've gone through 3-4 major tantrums with him. Last night, for example, when it was time to get ready for bed, he decided the he wanted to keep playing with the Little Tykes car that he loves so much. When I asked him to come, I just got the big shoulder shrug ("no!") and when I asked again, the shoulder hit his chin with emphasis. So I very gently disengaged him from the car, and wow, was he mad! He dissolved into rage and shrill screams, and wouldn't look at me. I picked him up and took him upstairs into the bathroom, so that his noise wouldn't disrupt the entire house. He screamed and screamed and screamed...for at least 45 minutes. Of course, the screaming wasn't really about the fact that it was bedtime - he just has lots to be sad and mad about and I'm glad it's coming out. I held him when he let me, and tried to keep a hand on him when he wouldn't; and eventually the screams of rage turned into tears of sadness. He eventually fell asleep.
This morning, at about 6:30, Geoff discovered that Seth A. was already awake and lying quietly his bed. Geoff picked him up and we had a good cuddle in our bed, which he seemed to enjoy. He started to fall asleep again, but suddenly Geoff and I noticed that his arms were shaking. A minute or two later, he let a couple of little sounds out - they sounded strangled, as if he was trying not to let any sounds out. We realized that he was trying his hardest not to cry. Every 5-10 seconds, he would let out one of those little pathetic sounds; Geoff and I just held him and rubbed his back. After about ten minutes of this, he suddenly clamped his hand over his mouth, hard, and we simultaneously heard an escalation of the sounds he was making. The poor little guy was trying to so hard to hold himself together...and he just couldn't. Eventually, he just gave way, and he spent about 20 minutes in full sobbing mode. These tears were so different than the tears of rage we've had before; these were great, heaving sobs of grief, that seemed to come from somewhere deep within. It was hard to watch, but we're just so glad that he's letting loose a little with his harder emotions.
Both kids are understanding a surprising amount of English already, especially when accompanied by gestures; and they seem to remember things once they're taught words once. It's quite impressive. Until today, we've heard them try only a few words (cough; hello) but today they started repeating other words after us (finger; flower; hand; toes; nose; eyes; hair; etc etc).
Both have a real sense of humour and adventure, and we have had no issues with car seats, or van rides, or even a doctor's visit. They seem ready to engage life, and I have no idea how I'm going to keep up with Seth Asrat's curiosity about everything. My fears related to their mental development as a result of malnutrition have almost been forgotten; these are two very bright and curious and mischievous children.
Matthew is struggling a little...in entirely expected ways, but it's hard to deal with at times. He tries sooo hard to manage himself, but he just can't always, and his behaviour degenerates into really annoying stuff. But I'm trying my level best to keep thing stable for him and to make bits of time for him. I find it painful to watch him go through this adjustment, and we're nowhere near through it.
On that note, I think I need to sign off. I'm falling asleep in my chair, and apologize for lack of coherence. Many thanks for your support, and for your encouraging comments...I'm reading every one, and am grateful for them all.