Kristi is hard at it tonight writing up her thoughts on one things or another. I could ask her but it would be more fun if you just read it yourself. I'm guessing her insight will be more robust than mine, and in fact he had his first state side medical visit earlier this week that is probably best detailed by my wife.
Update: I assumed my wife was writing about his health so I wrote the previous and following lines. I then told her that I assumed she was writing about the doctor and she said "Nope". So let's just agree that at some point we'll give you the proper details, it just won't be tonight as I assumed. Shame on me.
Spoiler: There are a few "surprises", but overall he's as healthy as we expected and the doctor even mentioned his belly as proof that he was well cared for. Future tests and scans will provide additional direction on how to best address his current and future health needs... but again, he's a pretty healthy and pretty cool dude. I mean, who else can rock sun glasses with one ear? (Credit to Kristi for both the photo and the placement of the glasses)
It seems that the question of the week has been "how are you doing with your jet lag?" To be honest, I don't know. Kristi and I have had an incredibly fulfilling, frustrating, frightening, and fun week. Most nights neither one of us is able to sleep for any extended amount of time due to the children, so I can't tell if I'm jet lagged, exhausted, or both. Joshua is like a new born in the body of a toddler with the brain of a four year old. He goes to bed well but after 11:00pm all bets are off. Some nights he'll get to 6:00am, other nights he likes to party every hour on the hour. Thankfully Kristi has taken more than her fair share of the early morning child wrestling.
Joshua also runs around the house with the spirit and craziness of a toddler, but with better coordination, speed, and destructive skills. He is also incredibly adept at recognizing patterns. As a family we hold hands and pray before dinner and even though he's always ravenous he sits in his chair and spreads his arms while bowing his head even while the rest of us scramble to sit. I also hear he's pretty good at some simple clean up and other routine things around the home. He also seems to be doing quite well with the neighborhood kids. He at least tolerates new people and spent a few minutes on the trampoline this weekend.
Today we also managed to take all the kids on a short hike at Van Raalte Farm. All of the kids had fun, most of them stayed dry, and no one got lost. For too long. Here are a few highlights.
The photo of Kristi and I on the bench, with Ben wiggling behind us and Joshua trying to get up on Kristi's lap pretty much sums up the week. Joshua trying to get Kristi's attention, me trying to hold Kristi's attention, and the rest of the kids just kind of doing their own thing in the background.
I know you aren't supposed to write anything on the Internet if you don't want people to read it, misinterpret it, or use it against you at an inopportune time. I'm going to anyway with this caveat: I find there to be an interesting juxtaposition between our blessings, our happy times, the sad times and struggling of others, and the outright feeling that I'm tired and frustrated with a few things. I do not take for granted the blessings that have been bestowed upon my family, nor do I want to make light of the struggles of others. I just want to share my thoughts a little bit.
In reality I have it easy. I get up, kiss all four kids good bye and go off to my safe space. Work. At work I get to sit at my desk and interact with clients who are interested in our new son, and I even get to help a few clients out with problems of their own. Most days I love solving IT problems for my clients and it was a welcome relief to get back to it this week. I'm also quite happy to say that I don't think I royally messed anything up. If I'm correct, I've done way worse things fully coherent and rested than I did this last week. That said, I'll honestly admit I wasn't up to full strength at all. Having been out of the office for nearly three weeks it is hard to remember the day to day things that had been happening prior to the trip and that was a little frustrating, but I also felt like I had a few moments of clear thought from a fresh perspective. After work, I come home to eat dinner, play with the kids and then put them to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat all week long. Kristi is the saint who is at home with the kids, or driving them around, or trying to figure out what to do with two sick kids and two healthy and wired kids during a rainy first day of spring break. I cannot tell you how excited I was for work on Friday. As a fun side note, I also honked at a car while driving this week just to make it feel like I was back in China.
As I review the last week, and again I get to play work so I have it easy, I'd say that Joshua is doing about as well as expected. He's social, full of life, eats wells, empties well, and overall is adjusting pretty well. Sure he screams, throws tantrums, waves his arms and yells incoherently, but so do I. The real surprise, to me at least, was the behavior of the rest of our children. In my mind we were to go to China and bring back a boy and Ben would be a good boy because he got to spend the whole time with us, and the girls would be happy we were back even though they had fun with the grand parents. I think I underestimated the change a new member of the family brings. Each child is simply coping in their own way. In the midst of parenting one slightly needier child, we now have a total of four kids who each need a little extra grace now and then as they figure out what this all means. To put this in simple terms each child knows the rules and the expectations and I'd say they are slightly less compliant with the rules and expectations. We have three little role models for Joshua and I (see this is really my problem) wasn't ready for the role models to need a little time to warm up to their responsibility. No one is really being a big stinker, just a lot of little things that add up over time.
So what to do? I could wine about it but that seems fruitless. Actually, Kristi and a daughter got to spend time at Beauty and the Beast over the weekend, and Kristi will take the other daughter for a manicure or pedicure or something next weekend. I should say that the movie itself was great, because Joshua, Ben, and another daughter went with me to run a few errands. The fact that Joshua didn't thrown a complete tantrum without mom is a pretty good indication that he's attaching to the family pretty well, even though he prefers Mom about 1,000,000:1. I'll make time to spend an hour or two of daddy/daughter time with the girls at some point in the next week or two. It is amazing how one extra busy body makes planning a night or afternoon out that much more difficult.Ben too is having a few issues, but as a true man he just eats them and doesn't say anything... his behavior lets us know something is up, but I suppose he too is dealing with jet lag, going back to school, and a new bunk mate.
I guess I could have summed this all up by saying we aren't sleeping well, our kids are coping, and we're just tired. Tired, but incredibly blessed. Kristi mentioned last night that despite all the "MOMMA, MOMMA, MOMMA, MOOOOMMMMAAAA" shouting she hears during the day, the belly laugh of Josh is a sweet an encouraging sound to hear. As I think we've both said before he fits in so well in our family.
Week one is in the books and we survived. We've had one wet bed, one lost tooth, one fell out of bed and got stuck between the mattress and the bookshelf, a handful of scoldings, a bevy of belly laughs, and despite the fact that I can barely understand a single thing that comes out of that boy's mouth, he feels like he's been here forever. Here's to week two.