Incredible. 6 months with Tomas and Binyam. It has been a pretty great 6 months.
I don't even have a whole lot to say.
Tomas's english has come a long, long way. He's starting to really understand letters and how they are used to form a word and a sentence. Now when he's upset, he can tell us why and can even sometimes work it out himself (saying things like, I didn't like that he said he didn't like me because I really like him and it hurt my feelings, etc). Just yesterday he said something at the dinner table, a full sentence, with very little hint of an accent and I almost weeped. What am I going to do when Tomas no longer calls Batman "Butt-man"?
Right now we are working with Tomas on the art of choosing friends. It seems Tomas might be befriending kids who are on a one way highway to bully-ville. Tariku will often tell me a story (without Tomas there) about a kid - we'll call him - "unoriginal" who pushed another kid into a locker. Tariku talks about how scary "unoriginal" is and how he gets in trouble a lot. The next day Tomas will come home telling me "unoriginal" is his best, best friend and he loves him so much.
We think, because of that, Tomas has been a little more aggressive lately. After some consequences and lots of love, he's stopped the aggression and came home Friday reporting that he told "unoriginal" he could not be his friend as long as he treated people bad. I call that progress!
Either way, Tomas makes friends so easily. And Tomas is a big kid. We understand we need to continue to encourage him to befriend the type of people who won't take advantage of his big-ness.
But we are excited about his energy, his intelligence, his laugh and his overall charm. We are excited he's ours!
Binyam struggled a bit over Christmas. I really should've seen it coming and scaled back a bit. By Christmas morning he was exhibiting weird behaviors (instead of talking he would kind of suck in a breath, look to the side and mumble) and just craving constant body contact. During our celebration at the Klipsch's he actually peed and pooped his pants...for the first time ever. Then he sat in it (without telling us) for over an hour.
Things were bad.
The next day he did the same thing so we completely retreated into ourselves for the next week. Things got better.
The last week he's done the same thing a few times (though at night). He's struggling with something and I can't quite put my finger on it. We'll get through it. I wish he had more of the language to at least hint to me something, but it's still coming.
Interestingly enough, when we were in Ethiopia, the nannies pointed to Binyam and said, "He's actually smarter than the other (Tomas)." We didn't really understand it at the time. I think something was lost in translation, because what we think they were recognizing was simply: Binyam will not say a word unless he's sure it's the right word for the situation. Where Tomas just kind of says stuff constantly, Binyam takes his time. When I'm talking to Zach, Binyam will watch and listen. He'll listen to what we say but he'll also be taking in the non-verbal things we are doing to describe what we're saying. Binyam seems to process it all and then a week later he's able to bring up a similar situation and sound, well, American.
It's incredibly interesting to watch, but a little discouraging when we try to just get him to say something we know he knows.
Binyam also loves to play up the "baby" roll in the family. I think there are a lot of reasons for this. Zach and I fought it for awhile but we recognize that, of all of our children, Binyam has more needs than the rest. Not only his feet, but he's dealt with some real crap in his short life emotionally as well. So we've gave into the "baby-ing" a bit. It's hard though, right, when I'm looking at a 4-year-old to treat him like a 2-year-old?
But we do it. Because he's funny and sassy. He's cute and precious. He's, in short, worth it.
And because we seriously love these two. I was talking to a friend the other day and kind of shook my head in wonder, "How did we get so lucky again?"
We did it all wrong...twice. We adopted out of birth order. Twice. We artificially twinned two of them, kind of (Binyam and Dailah).
We did it all wrong.
And yet, it's all-right. They are perfect for our family.
6 months home with these two and I'm so looking forward to the rest of our lives. The different joy they bring to the table, the different stories, the different personalities, it makes life exciting and interesting.
So, so thankful for them.