So many of you have been asking how Jack is doing, and more importantly you want more photos :-) I'll write the update and make Stephen responsible for photos!
Jack came home with us 6 weeks ago today. Like I said in my last post, it's hard to remember life before him...oh yes, we had a semi-clean house, maybe a few loads less laundry, less sticky hand prints on everything, less water on the bathroom floor, less noise...but these are part of the package and we love the package :-)
The second week home Jack visited the Pediatrician. She thought he was doing great developmentally. He is at the first percentile for height and weight. We can't do anything about the height and he seems to be taking care of the underweight issues. He is eating like food will go out of style! We had bloods drawn for many things and they have all come back normal. He was a real trooper having so much drawn. He also had any immunizations administered that were needed. We have an appointment at Children's Cardiology in just over a week.
We had to go back to the Dr last week when Jack developed a cough and some wheezy noises in his airways similar to what we had one night in China. The Dr felt he has some reactive airway issues, possibly compounded with the fact that we had a long period with high temperatures and no rain. After about a week of using the inhaler he is much better.
We are hearing a few new words like bottle, milk, Megan(very loudly), up, down, one, two, three(and sometimes, one, three, two:-), go, out. He says "lub you" which is so sweet. While he's "all boy" he still is very tender and will give hugs and kisses out regularly.
Jacks LOVES to be outside and is very content combing the back yard for rocks, sticks, insects, etc. His favorite place is in the water. I've taken the kids to the lake a number of times and he has no fear of the water. He loves floating on his tummy and his back and gets huge satisfaction from pouring water from his watering can over an unsuspecting person. I'm so glad he loves the beach as that is one of Megan's favorite places to be in the summer. These past few years we've bought a yearly pass to the State Park system and we've always got our money's worth. On a recent trip to the lake we met another little girl who had the same familiar scar on her chest as Jack. Her father asked me what Jack's condition was and his daughter had the same defect. She's six so it was reassuring to hear of their experiences at the Herma Heart Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
Three weeks home we had our first post placement visit from the Social Worker. Jack was quite the ham trying all the tricks in the book to get her cell phone. I hope, when she left, she felt we were a functional family!
Usually the first word Jack will utter in the morning is "bath". He will also ask for one about 4 more times during the day. Once he hears the water running, he has his clothes off and down the laundry chute in about 15 seconds. He is also convinced he needs his nails clipped after every bath so the nail clippers are hidden in an "out of sight, out of mind" move.
Clothes must be hidden too or you will find him "layering" all his clothes one on top of the other. Sometimes the underwear ends up being the outer layer! This past week Granny Lee sent him a shirt and trousers for the cooler weather. He insisted on trying them on and there was much heartbreak when they were taken off. It is hard to make him understand that they are in his room and he will wear them when he needs them. I think much of this behavior comes from fact that he never saw more than one outfit at the orphanage. He stockpiles shoes as well! Megan was invited to a beach birthday party and Jack and I got to tag along too. As I was talking to some of the other Mom's, a little girl was crying because she couldn't find her flip-flops. Oh, oh, Jack was caught red handed, or pink-footed!
One of Jack's most recent tricks is flooding the main floor bathroom. It's very small - just a toilet and sink squeezed into a room with no window. Jack would climb up onto the toilet and from there to the sink where he would stand, plugging the drain with his foot(I had removed the plug). He would turn the water on and let it run until it flowed onto the floor, with a little assistance of some waves created by his other foot. You're probably wondering where I am when all this is going on. He is SO quick. I told him it was a "No, no" so the next time he went in, he closed the door without turning on the light and did the same thing in the dark!
He is also fascinated with keys and locks. Right...Cory, Beth, John, Beth, Heather...and everyone else who has been smiled sweetly at and persuaded to hand over their keys? He very quickly locates the red panic button. The neighbors probably thought it was cute the first few times, but the keys are now kept out of reach. You do however need to take them with you when you go to the mailbox, or you will find yourself locked out when you get back! Now you understand why the house never gets cleaned and the ironing is piling up in the basement. This child needs an anklet - just kidding :-)
Most people who see Jack on a regular basis know he loves to sing. We try to sing a few songs most nights after dinner. Megan gets to choose one and Jack now chooses by demonstrating an action that goes along with the song. When we get it right he has the biggest smile on his face. A few times we've absentmindedly started to eat dinner without giving thanks for the food. Jack will immediately go, "oh, oh" and put his hands over his eyes and start to mumble. Talk about feeling rebuked!
Some have asked how Jack is sleeping. He sleeps well, when he gets over. Night time and the accompanying tiredness expose his insecurities. From messaging other families who have brought slightly older children home, this seems to be a common problem. Jack would cry for up to an hour before he fell asleep exhausted. We made a decision to have him feel more secure in his surroundings than worry about any bad habits forming. He does like one of us to be close enough for him to touch as he falls asleep. If we move before he is fully asleep he will be aware of it, as will you :-) The time to fall asleep is generally getting shorter. He has now transitioned to a toddler bed that is wedged between our bed and the wall. It gives him more space than the crib and removes the enjoyable challenge of climbing up and out.
Megan and Jack are getting along well. While he is the one to initiate the hugs and kisses, she is enjoying the bond that is becoming more cemented each day. Of course, they have their moments where he "destroys" her lego creation, or she takes something from him but they laugh at each other hysterically. I don't think I've seen Megan laugh so much as I have these past few weeks. She is proud of the fact that she has a sibling and expresses it to people who really don't need to know Jack's social history, but I guess that will wear off over time.
This update was longer than I intended. See what happens when you e-mail me and tell me you haven't heard anything about Jack for a few weeks ;-) Yes, it was overdue. By the time everyone is settled for the night, I get to do the chores that can't be done during the day, and during the day, Jack would have ample time to flood the house by the time I would have written a post of this length. I just hope we didn't give the Social Worker the link to our blog!
Jack did receive his certificate of naturalization in the mail, even though he became a US citizen when he landed in Chicago. This little boy may have been born in China, but God has planted him deep within our hearts.
There is much more I could write but I'm sure most checked out after the first couple of paragraphs so I won't bore you with more.
Over to Stephen for photos.