Now that I have told you how difficult the trip home was, I just want to say adjusting to home life has been even more difficult. Tiger’s sleep patterns have been totally thrown off by 12 hours and its difficult to communicate with him. We can’t explain any of this… what we are doing. Why we keep shoving medicine down his throat, or why we won’t let him take a nap and try and force him to sleep at what should be 8 in the morning. He is also not feeling well, with a cough and runny nose. We are all severely sick, jet lagged and exhausted.
Tiger won’t be put to sleep. He will only fall asleep on his own terms. Instead of trying the cry-it-out method, we decided to cater to his wishes regarding sleep. I wished that he wanted to sleep in his toddler bed, alone in his room. But he does not. In talking to another adoptive mom, she said this is what she would have changed about her first adoption. It took her months before her son would fall asleep in his toddler bed without crying and stressing out. The stress hormones released when a child is scared and crying can have an effect on their development. Its just hard to know when you are truly stressing them out or when they are just being stubborn. So we are having Tiger sleep on the floor near our bed. There isn’t enough room in the bed since he thrashes around at night. When he cries, Ack goes to the floor to cuddle with him and get him back to sleep.
In Thailand, We found that he likes to watch Thai TV an hour or two before bed, take a bottle of soy milk and a bottle of water and then drift off to sleep on the floor. Well, when we tried this in BKK it worked and he would curl up next to Ack and sleep. When we got home, however, it was harder. He seemed to be fighting sleep. Although he’s been pretty adaptable, not minding the new house or food, bedtime has presented a problem. We bought 4 DVD’s in Thailand but didn’t realize one of them would save our lives. A Thai comedy that I have now seen 52 times, which Tiger must watch before falling asleep on our living room floor. We would then carry him to the bedroom. If he wakes up, there’s no soothing. He must start from the beginning, watching TV and taking a bottle. So, on night 2 and 3 we only slept 3 hours. I’m not sure if you have experienced this level of sleep deprivation. It borders on torture.. your mind starts to play tricks on you and you think horrible things like, “where can I drop off this kid so I can sleep for 4 more hours.” Of course I would never do that, but when I was standing in line at the grocery store at 4 a.m. with a can of Redbull and some children’s homeopathic cold medicine, my mind pondered this question. Then I got to the parking lot and cried. I had hoped that the car ride would put him to sleep and I couldn’t got home yet, since Ack was trying to catch up on sleep. I felt hopeless, but I knew that everyone before me had done this and they had gotten through it. Things would get better, and they did. Tiger has been sick which has made all off this harder. I know when I was young, when I was sick or tired I longed for familiarity so I know this must be very hard on him. Sometimes he calls for his foster mom which breaks my heart. I wish I could be the one to comfort him, but for now I can only do the best I can.
It’s now a few days later, and Tiger is sleeping 8 hours at night, although he tosses and turns and if no one is holding him he will wake up. So Ack has to sleep on the floor with him part of the night. Things are getting better. And he’s pretty darn cute. Now I will document all the adorable things he has done to help us see his true personality, not just the stressed out toddler who traveled across 12 time zones with us.
1. When he wants something he says “Ni”, which means “This”. He says Ni like a thousand times a day and it reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, ‘The Knights Who Say Ni’. I laugh every time he says it.
2. He loves to be thrown up in the air, flipped over and rough-housed. Daddy is the prime target for this fun and he will run up and asked to be tickled by saying, ‘Ni’ and pointing to his tummy.
3. When he poops in his diaper he stands on his tiptoes. The foster mom used to hold him over the toilet. Pretty funny.
4. He will grab Daddy around the neck and kiss him on the lips. He has kissed Mommy on the arm, which is progress for sure.
5. He loves to dip his food in a sauce, or juum. So far he like to juum everything in ketchup, soy sauce or BBQ sauce.
6. He’s had a runny nose and cough, so I took him to the pediatrician. When I said thank you to her before leaving he put his hands up in a ‘wai’ and said bye-bye. He was sick when we got custody of him and he finished a course of antibiotics. Now after being home for 1 day he has a combination of allergies, and virus that is giving him a runny nose, a cough and keeping us all up into the wee hours of the morn.
7. He’s got a sense of humor. He will pretend to feed you something — one of his treats — and then at the last minute, yank it away. Many times he will actually share, but occasionally he decides to fake you out.
8. He says the same word for open and close, ‘bit.’ He likes to open and close everything like 3 times and then close the door on you.
9. He loves to push things around… a wheelchair at the Pantip Hotel, his own stroller, the shopping cart. He will make you hold him up to the handle and push the cart. It seems like we are doing all the work. I need to find some activities that will tire him out instead of vice versa.
10. He sleeps like a log. Once he’s out.. he’s out like a light. He does toss and turn but this kid won’t wake up for sirens, car alarms or bath organizers crashing down when their suction cups fail.
11. He likes to clown around. He will grin when you pull out the camera, and say ‘tai roop’, or take a picture. He pretends to take our pictures too. I will have to get him a kid’s camera and see if he’s a blossoming photog.
He loves the outdoors and would play outside for hours, if we let him. We can tell he’s had multiple caregivers… 3 foster siblings and many people around him to entertain him. He seems to have boundless energy, and wants to interact with people not things. Toys aren’t any fun unless someone is playing with him. This means that he needs us to play with him every waking second, he won’t watch TV. It’s good he’s been so well-socialized, but we are old folks, and have a hard time entertaining him. I think we need to get a puppy. He’s been keeping us on our toes — the little adventurer with a heart of redbull. He’s a sweet little boy, and we love having him home after so long.