Ayden has been through a rough patch these past few weeks, as most of you know from my complaints in that department. His behaviour has definately gotten better, but definately not out of the woods yet. We still are walking on eggshells with him, picking our battles, and sometimes I catch myself literally wincing when I give him an answer I know he's not going to like, because there's a 50/50 chance he'll lose his cool...but, he's improving. I find with him that every once in awhile he goes through these 'testing' phases where he functions perpetually on the verge of a major meltdown and is quite defiant, and then after a few weeks it subsides again. I find these testing phases quite testing for my patience, and we sometimes get into these snarling power struggles because I haven't the patience to talk him into something I feel he needs to do (ie, hold my hand, or go to bed on time, or go upstairs and get his socks before he puts his boots on). My Dr. Phil book says I should do more 'talking him into' things, so I've been trying. Sometimes it works remarkably well at diffusing a situation, generally when the misbehaviour stems from Ayden feeling misunderstood or ignored. So that's great. Fewer struggles means more happy time (not to be mistook for happy hour at your local pub) which means more happy mom, which exponentially increases the likelihood of the boys' survival until daddy's return at exactly 5:08 p.m. (he takes the bus so he's generally pretty prompt--though this week he has been riding his bike, yay Brent, so getting home around 5:25, which decreases the boys' chance for survival so they may cancel each other out) ;)
We went to Ikea on Saturday and bought Ayden a mattress for his new bunkbed, and I also bought the boys matching blankets and pillow cases. For the first time, Ayden was big enough for Ikea's child minding service, Smalland. Boy did he have a blast!! He ran in and leapt into their ball pit and never looked back! That was cool. Matthew didn't protest being too short for Smalland. Maybe by the time he's eight he'll be tall enough! :)
At the beach the other day Matthew pointed to a little boy digging for clams who was Chinese-Canadian (my best guess?? Obviously I didn't ask his parents "are you speaking Chinese?" but I harboured a guess), and said "Me!" I think this was his first verbal expression of an awareness of visible difference between races. Kind of cool that he identified something similar in this little boy and himself, but I kind of wish we had not been right next to the family because I didn't feel comfortable saying anything more than "Yes!" to Matthew with spectators. And after the fact the moment was lost...
Sometimes it's a bit hard to balance wanting to celebrate your child's racial identity with not pointing it out too much and alienating them or making them feel different. A friend of mine has a brother adopted from Korea and she told me they sometimes forget, to the point where the mother was diagnosed with some rare blood disorder that is genetic, so the girls were tested and her brother, who was 18 at the time, asked, "Mom, why aren't you testing me?" For sure sometimes we forget and sometimes I catch myself thinking, "What in bloody heck are THEY staring at" when strangers do the triple take followed by the weird stare, because I forget that we look visibly different as a family. At easter my mom made a comment about biological dads that indicated SHE had forgotten in that moment that Brent is not Matthew's biological dad--too funny. I think it is very interesting how this adoption process mashes together perfect strangers into fully integrated families. Of course, that said, I want very much for Matthew to feel like we value his racial and cultural heritage, and that we empathize with him regarding how it feels to be 'different' even in your family, where you are supposed to feel the most 'same' that you possibly can in the world. So I feel like if I watch his cues and talk about it when he brings it up, this may be a good way to convey a balanced approach to the subject. Unfortunately I had spectators at his first attempt to bring it up!! Not that it would have been a long or a deep conversation. He is only two after all (almost three! Blows my mind! What happened there?!), but it would have been a conversation. I guess I need to learn to block out others in that type of situation and do what is best for Matthew, but I don't want to offend anyone by discussing their looks right in front of them!! I think for now it was enough that Matthew noticed. Next time I will talk a little more about it with him.
Ayden had his introduction to preschool day this morning. Boy was I nervous! It was weird! I wasn't nervous about separation or him feeling shy or anything, but I was anxious that the preschool wouldn't be 'right,' or that they wouldn't work with my schedule, or that...something. I don't know, I was just very anxious--probably because there is an element of a loss of control in leaving your child at the door to go to school, to be taught by someone else, cared for by someone else, and supervised by someone else. I didn't sleep well last night (Matthew spiking a fever and developing a horrible cough may have had something to do with that) and I rushed around this morning trying to make things happen on time so we could be at preschool by 9 a.m., all for NO reason, because when we arrived Ayden hopped right into circle time, then hopped up and chose some 'work' from the Montessori assortment and got busy. I stayed in the classroom to do some administrative form filling and talk to the teacher, but I didn't interfere with what Ayden was doing at all, but later in the day he asked me, "Mommy, do you think you could do me a favour?" (funny when you hear your words reflected in their little voices), and I said "Sure," and he said, "Next time we go to preschool could you take me there and then go home? That would make me really happy."
I'd say he's ready for preschool.
I don't have anxiety anymore.