Eight weeks ago today, we came home with our girls. It feels like they’ve been here forever — and then again, it all still feels so new.
We continue to see progress each week. In fact, about three or four weeks back, we noticed a marked improvement in the number of tantrums. I’ll never forget the day we reached suppertime and there hadn’t been one major meltdown. I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. Plenty of whining, of course, and a few minor upsets, but no long, crazy, thrashing, intense, please-someone-come-and-do-something-before-Mummy-commits-hara-kiri kind of stuff. Of course, bedtime was another story, and the next day was atrocious, but it was the beginning of a big change in the number and degree of the tantrums — and that’s a welcome relief.
The regression is still there and probably will be for a while. Those behaviors can be very challenging to deal with. It’s also hard to know how much to do and not do with them: Sometimes they’re great on short outings, and sometimes they melt down in the middle of the sidewalk. Sometimes they barely notice a visitor, and sometimes it sets them off for the rest of the day. I’m constantly experimenting to try to find the right balance.
They’re understanding and speaking more English, which makes a huge difference. It’s a riot to hear them say words and phrases with their adorable accents, sometimes using words out of context or in the wrong order. Last week, we were sitting at lunch and S said, “I love Mummy. I love Daddy. I love H. I love thank you.” I overhear them calling to each other, “C’mon, sweetie!” And they’ve learned to chant, “Me! Me! Me! Me!” and “Me, too!” Every day they pick up something new.
On the food front, they’re making some big strides. (Can I get an Amen and a Glory Hallelujah?) Not so much in the vegetable department, but even there they’ve had a few breakthroughs. They’ve fallen for pomegranate seeds and occasionally drink the healthy banana smoothies I make, which have a bit of frozen kale or spinach in them. They love my spelt pancakes with maple syrup. I served them fermented miso soup, and they slurped it up. Not so much the superfood muffins I made yesterday morning, though; they were jumping up and down with excitement, thinking I was baking “pupcakes,” but when they tasted them, the jumping turned into dirty looks. No doubt they felt betrayed…and now think Mummy is a terrible cook. They adore pizza — and call it “pista” — and they love hot dogs with kimchi or sauerkraut. One of them is a freak for baked beans, and the other enjoys steel-cut oatmeal with coconut milk. They’re not eating nearly the amount of bread or bananas anymore. They still love Indian food — and, of course, Ethiopian — and have now added Caribbean to their list of favorite ethnic cuisines (much to B’s delight).
Coming up with meals and snacks is still a big challenge, made harder by the fact that one day they love something and the next day declare it “yucky” and push it away. But at least I now have more than four foods I can serve, and they are so much better about trying new things. When I don’t know what else to do, I make a native Ethiopian vegetarian dish called shiro, which they never tire of.
My two little beans (which I’m fond of calling them) are clearly feeling more secure and safe and continue to attach really well. They’re full of personality, fun, silliness, quirks, and sweetness. I need to start recording the everyday moments before I forget them.
As for me…well, I had three nights in a row this week in my own bed, which is amazing. I’m still falling asleep with them, and we’ve all had some pretty late nights. But they’re sleeping more soundly, and I’m better rested from slumbering under my own covers beside that stranger I like (better known as my husband).
So that’s my eight-week report. We still have a ways to go, but there’s a lot to celebrate!
Before I get to the links I found this week, I want to give a big shout-out to my brother John and his beautiful wife, Noemi, who gave birth to a baby boy last night. We’re thrilled to welcome Samuel Bernard to the world and can’t wait to meet him in the new year!
Also, Hanukkah begins this weekend, so Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish readers.
- A fun Hanukkah craft for kids.
- Great article about loving a child the rest of the world doesn’t value.
Images: Zoe Saint-Paul