It is November...where has the time gone? 3 months will soon have passed since Gotcha Day. Soon we will explain Thanksgiving and Christmas to NingNing. We plan to approach these holidays from a Christian standpoint, that Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the blessings in our lives and Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, but that we celebrate God's love for us by giving presents to those we love. We'll also talk about Santa but in the vein of a mythical figure the girls still believe in as I can just imagine what NingNing might think about a fat man with a beard squeezing down a chimney (and what is a chimney anyway, he'd probably think) and leaving all these gifts. He would think we'd gone off the deep end for sure.
Over the almost two weeks since I've posted, we've continued with soccer practices and games, watched our son, James, be inducted into the National Honor Society, sent NingNing off on his first sleepover (at Seth's house), got Jessica signed up at her community college for the fall, saved one of our dogs from certain death (me getting in the middle of a dog fight-stupid, I know-but I saved our dog), and introduced NingNing to Trick or Treating.
One of my concerns over the last couple of weeks is how quiet and almost emotionless at times NingNing still seems with us. He is so animated around his friends, which is understandable, but as soon as he's back with just us, it's like a switch is flipped. He will still interact, but just very self-contained and quiet. I was beginning to fear attachment issues......I mean, unattachment doesn't have to be blatant, does it? Then something would happen; he would laugh or play a game with us, or wrestle with Jr or James, and I'd think, well, all is ok then.
One thing I've learned through (our) older child adoption experience, and perhaps it's just the worrier in me, is the roller coaster of wondering about the effect everything we do has on NingNing. In October, this was particularly bad for me as I second-guessed everything we did and said; I analyzed it all and would rehearse what I wanted to say if we needed to talk with him.
In the last week however, we've noticed Ning using much more English at home.....just single words or two strung together, but it's progress! It also has made things easier to communicate as he understands so much of what we say directly now. I have also made a conscious decision to just relax and let things unfold and work themselves out, which seems to be helping my ability to sleep!
Halloween night was the first time I think Ning opened up almost totally to us and showed us how silly he can be. We were at our church event and he catches my attention and says "go hoooooome!"(his current favorite phrase). Finally we head for the door and he's bouncing and skipping out the door, so I decided to have some fun and show MY silly side a little. So I said to him, "NingNing, I think we should go.......SHOPPING!". He stopped dead, grabbed his head with his hands, and in a hysterical voice I've never heard before, says "NOOOOOOOO". Then Jazmin gets into the act and says "let's go to.......SCHOOL!", whereupon he repeats his act. As we pulled away,we were all laughing our heads off by this time. We then stopped at a subdivision real quick to do some houses, and he goes. "NO......GO HOOOOOME!" in that same funny voice. Judi and Jessica got out to T&T, and Jaz talked Ning's ear off so much, he finally bailed from the car and went with the other two! I think he really had fun, but probably wouldn't admit it. He didn't want to dress up and wouldn't take any candy for himself. Not a big candy eater, but put a package of cookies or marshmallows near the boy, and they will be gone in a New York minute!
He had his first sleepover with his friend in the city (how come friends' houses are always more fun than home???) and had a blast, of course,complete with a pillow fight. However, I love the fact that when he wants to "GO HOOOOOME", he means our house, with us. How can that not make a person feel good, that this young boy, who didn't know us from Adam 3 months ago, now thinks of us as his family and our house his home?
School is going ok for the most part; one thing NingNing has had to learn is that what was ok in China is NOT ok here. For instance, one kid at school tries to be TOO much of a friend, and NingNing wanted to handle the situation as he would have in China....he would have punched the kid out. We trotted out the well-used spiel about how that is not acceptable and that HE would get in trouble and then MAMA would not be happy! Where he went to school, there were around 3,000 students. Fighting....oh, yeah.....bullying.....of course.....fend for yourselves?.....basic survival 101. Now he has to learn to turn the other cheek and also (and this is the biggie) trust an adult and/or authority figure to take care of the problem......he is making great strides in this area.
Another area we've had some progress is clothes. NingNing is now wearing sleep pants to bed...MUCH more comfortable than jeans! Then we took him to a happenin' store called Rue21; they have really hip clothes. I showed him some plaid shirts like the ones he brought from China, but he said no to them (puzzling). As kind of a joke, I pulled out a psychedelic black shirt with a huge ornate white cross on the front and back. To my utter surprise, he liked it and THEN picked out a white hat with a red cross of similar design (interesting that he picked a cross symbol) and has ACTUALLY worn them! Now to just work on new jeans :).
More pics will be coming soon!