it feels like my heart is exploding.
i can't even believe how much i love this little boy. sometimes, i look at him and i start tearing up because i just can't believe he is home and that we have the honor and privilege of parenting choi boy.
on one hand, i can't believe it's only been two weeks because our new normal seems so...well, normal and a bit like we've been at this for a while. and on the other hand, these two weeks have flown by and it seems like just yesterday we were sitting in his empty room wondering when it would be filled. oh, and p.s. his room looks nothing like the way it did in those pretty preview pictures. i will say it again...how can ONE child make SUCH a mess? (and produce so many extra dishes and dirty clothes?!)
so, how are things really going?
like, i'm pinching myself well.
choi boy's transition home has been so smooth and dare i say, almost...easy. we had been preparing ourselves for the absolute worst, and perhaps that's why things seem like they're easier than we had anticipated, but really, choi boy is doing SO well. and i know that things are going so well because of all the prayers and positive thoughts that have been sent our way!
he seeks us out, and he often calls out "umma!" asking for me -- there are still sometimes when i can tell that his sad cries of "umma" at night are referring to his FM, but for the most part, "umma" has really come to mean me. and it melts my heart. he is learning to say "appa" and it's so cute because the hubs cheers every time choi boy says it and then choi boy breaks into the hugest grin. :) he is so affectionate and gives us spontaneous hugs or pats on the back. my favorite is when i'm doing the dishes or making meals and he comes up behind me and gives my legs a big hug shouting, "umma!!" :)
choi boy also understands a lot of korean. i think that's helped tremendously with the transition. when i talk to him, he looks intently at me, making expressions or nodding, etc, depending on what i'm saying. and those facial expressions are HILARIOUS. he does the funniest raised eyebrow/wrinkled forehead look that i've taken to mean "whatchu talkin' 'bout willis?" choi boy is pretty funny and silly in general, and does things like this:
he brought over the gloves on his own and asked me to help him put them on!
he's picked up a few signs -- "help" or rather, his version of "help" (he uses this one all.the.time. because he wants us to open things or pick up things or move things or give him things, etc), "more," and "all done."
those last two signs? totally picked up because choi boy eats like a champ! he has eaten pretty much everything we've given him. broccoli was not a huge hit, but mixed with some chicken nuggets, it all went down! one of his new favorites?
see the chunks of meat sauce in his hair? classy.
he makes fantastic eye contact, and when i'm giving him his bottle, he'll look into my eyes and usually stroke my face and hair or hold my hand. choi boy plays really well on his own, but if we're sitting next to him or even if we're not, he'll bring things to our attention and engage us in whatever he's doing. he even shares his toys with piper:
choi boy LOVES bath time and it's so cute to see how much he loves the water. bath time is a family affair and it's been great for bonding. after his nightly bath, choi boy gets a massage (inspired by colleen), which he absolutely loves. he loves to put lotion on his face and will often volunteer to do my face as well. ;)
sleep is going incredibly well, too. the first few nights were rough and we saw quite a bit of grieving where choi boy would wake up a few times through the night crying and at times would not want to be comforted by us, pushing us away. it took about a week and a half for choi boy to get over the jetlag, but since last wednesday, he's been sleeping really well. he's been going to bed between 8 and 8:30 and has been waking up at 8:00 am, refreshed. and the way he wakes up? so sweet...he looks through the crib bars at me and says "umma?" and smiles. :) he also takes a nap in the afternoon for about two hours.
choi boy has been sleeping in his crib since day two. i was really weary about this at first because i thought it was too soon and that he was pushing away from us. but, that first night at home he hardly got any sleep because he was rolling all over the floor, bumping into us and the furniture, waking himself up. so the second night, as he was drifting off to sleep, i put him in his crib, patted his back, and he fell asleep. after that, any time he was ready to fall asleep (after some rocking and snuggling), he would squirm and gesture to his crib and once i'd put him down, he'd almost immediately fall right to sleep. i make sure to pat his back and he'll check to make sure i'm there and sometimes stroke my arm. his FM said he was really good about putting himself to sleep, so it reassures me that this is probably just what is comfortable for choi boy, and not necessarily avoidance. (i hope...what do you think?) he will still cry a little bit in the middle of the night at times, but it's usually very brief and he'll fall back asleep on his own before i can even get up off the floor -- those two fingers that he sucks on really help with self-soothing! i'm sleeping on the floor of his room and will probably continue to do so for the next couple weeks...
we're trying to keep choi boy's world small, but we've discovered that he really likes being out and about. i think growing up in seoul has something to do with that! he loves going to the grocery store or other places where he can sit in a shopping cart. he looks up at us almost giggling with happiness as we walk through the store. the car seat was not so popular at first, but once choi boy realized that car seat = going places, he hasn't fussed. our outings are usually short because while he likes being out, he also loves running around and can only manage sitting nicely in the cart or stroller for so long.
choi boy loved meeting some of our extended family and had a blast entertaining my parents, sister, and uncle's family at new year's.
we put him in his hanbok so he could do saebae, which is one of my favorite korean traditions. you bow to the elders and they give you blessings (and money!) for the new year. really, i love it because of the blessings and words of wisdom that are spoken to you, not because of the money. i promise. ;)
look how handsome choi boy is in his pretty hanbok!
the saebae part didn't go as well...
he was more interested in the lotion...which, yes, he kept putting on his face. :)
this next picture isn't of choi boy (sorry!), but i just had to share...
we did it again! the new year's version of "who wore it better?" -- this sister ESP is freaky sometimes.
now, don't get me wrong, it's not always sunshine and rainbows here. we see a lot of this...:
...when choi boy is tired or doesn't get his way. this is an almost 16 month-old we're talking about, after all.
but for the most part, we see a lot of this:
we had our first post-placement visit yesterday and our SW was amazed at how well choi boy is doing. i told her i was worried that the other shoe might drop, but she told us she was pretty confident that things would continue to go smoothly and get even better. i'm still not 100% sure i believe it, but it was SO reassuring to hear that she did. ;) she said that it seems like choi boy just has a great, happy personality and that that, more than anything, is huge a factor in the transition.
i know it's only been two weeks and i may be jinxing myself by sharing all this, and there might be things that i'm doing that i shouldn't be (if there are, PLEASE let me know! really!!!), but seriously, these two weeks have been unbelievable.
even if that shoe *does* drop, it won't change how much we love our little one. i knew we would be happy once choi boy was home, but i never realized we would be *this* happy...