Our adoption contact, Larissa, told me when we got back that the first 3 months would be difficult, then it becomes easier at 6 months, and then at 1 year it feels like you've always been a part of each other's lives. This is true so far! I feel much more comfortable with Eli, knowing what he can/can't do, understanding his Russian English, and understanding his personality. He's really not a defiant child; he just wants to experience everything and help. For example, when my parents were here a few weeks ago, Eli was playing with the fence. I went to stop him, but instead of unlocking the fence, he was locking it because he'd noticed it unlocked. We need to work on his attitude...he throws himself on the floor and cries when I tell him no. However, he knows that if he gets frustrated, he needs to go in his room and let it out, coming out only when he's calm. Works for me!
I've found that my selfishness has been chipped away little by little by this miracle child and his needs. He wants to play with Momma and help me out. So, even though it takes twice as long and I have a million more things I need to get done, I let him help me put laundry away (even hang up clothes!), change the sheets, put dirty laundry in the hamper, unload the dishwasher, etc. There's so much he'll do with me! I figure I'll teach him as much as I can while he's in to it, so that when he grows out of this phase I'll know he knows how to do everything!
For me, this is a time to slow down and really rely on God to plan my day. I can't do nearly as much as fast these days (and not because I'm getting older, either!). A trip to the grocery store for milk is a whole ordeal of getting shoes on (and many times clothes), letting Eli get in and out of the Jeep Commander by himself, buckling him in, getting him in to a cart, phew! Just thinking about it wears me out!
Part of my attitude was changed while rocking with Eli one night. We have a night time routine of reading two books, a Jesus story, praying and then rocking while I recap our day together. He let's me know when he's ready to lay down by pointing to his bed and whispering "pie", which is supposed to be spie, which in Russian means lay down or sleep. This particular night I was really enjoying our time together when he pointed and spoke. I realized at that moment how fast he's going to grow up and want to be out on his own and I decided at that moment to purposely stop and enjoy him. Since then things seem to be going much smoother for nap/bedtime, as well as other transitions.
I'm sure you're all wondering about the MRI results, too. I got those back a while ago, and everything looks relatively good. There is some minor damage leading to his balance issues, but nothing so significant that will cause him any problems and nothing that will inhibit his intellectual capacity. His major issue now is to get the muscles in his legs to stretch out so he can walk on his heels instead of his toes. He also has a few toes growing curved toward the big toe, but we're hoping with time and heel walking this will not cause any problems or discomfort. Right now, his OT will be ending soon because he's caught up to a normal 3 year old already, and his PT will swing in to high gear. We're going to look in to Botox for his muscle tension, braces for his legs to increase his range of motion in his ankles, and some stretching exercises. Everyone seems to think he's going to walk pretty normal :)
I also put him in the nursery at church for the first time this past Sunday. I was really going back and forth about it because Dave wasn't with me...and I really enjoy Eli being in the service with me. But in the end I decided it was time to rip the bandaid off. When we got to his room I explained that he was going to play and Momma was going to go to service and then come back for him in one hour. Before I had the words out, he was running in to the room! He didn't even look back to see if I was following him. No tears, no anxiety. What an amazing kid! And when I came back to get him he was excited to see me and gave me lots of hugs :) I may like this nursery thing after all :)
Life is good, and motherhood rocks.