Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Italian Restaurant

We went to “The Italian Restaurant” (around the corner from the hotel) for the third time this week. We go there early (4pmish) and it’s been working out well. First of all, they are used to seeing Americans. We do not get stared at, and no one asks John a bunch of questions that make him uncomfortable. We are usually the only people there at that hour, so it’s relatively fast to eat there. And they have great French-fries! The boys love French-fries! And John likes their pizza too. Things are improving with DangTong (Leo). He only threw food once during dinner, and he immediately he looked guilty and said Sorry. It was like he just couldn’t help himself. I didn’t have to remove all the utensils out of his reach this time, and we ate in relative peace. I’m finding that Leo enjoys being rocked. I don’t have a rocking chair, but I do hold him like I would a baby, rock him with my body, and sing soothing lullabies. John and David think it’s ridiculous that I treat Leo as I would a baby, but it does seem to be helping his behavior. Hey, whatever works!

We had our friends from Seattle over to “our house” again tonight. Yep, we had 6 boys and two adults in a hotel room, pretending we actually had a normal social life. Their bio son is the same age as Ben, and really, it’s just nice to hang out with English speaking, intelligent people this week!! We exchanged emails, and you never know. Maybe they’ll join us on a cruise or something, sometime in the future! Leo is slowly showing signs of improvement. He didn’t hurt anyone at all today, only hit David over the head (with a gameboy) once, and he’s not self-mutilating anymore. We take that as a good sign.

Our friends from Seattle are leaving tomorrow, and our exchange student’s parents (lived with us’09-‘10) are flying down from Lanzhou (5 hour flight) to see us for a few days. We can’t wait to see them!! I told John to tell them to spoil the heck out of Ben and Sam, which they LOVE to do, and leave Leo to me. They always come loaded with gifts, and they tend to just love our children to death!! But I still want Leo to only want me, for now, so that I can help him adjust. Again, we need to keep him as close as possible and just rock and hold him all day. I’m not sure Cheng’s parents will “get” that Leo has special needs and we need to keep him close to us. John said they are going to think you are a bad mom. I assured him that they know me better than that. Their son lived with us for a year! They know that if I’m doing something different with Leo, it’s because he needs help. Fingers crossed.

Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day, once again, here in China. We ate at the buffet, again, and we’ve spent three hours sitting around the hotel room, again. We haven’t ventured out of the hotel room too much because of DangTong (Leo). Lucky for John, he got invited to go to the bookstore with the guide and Joshua, another teenager in our adoption group. He was happy to ditch us for the day.

This morning, I did take Ben and KangChao (Sam) across the street to the mall for 20 minutes, just to get out of the room. Sam and Ben are both behaving like angels, and they are getting along and playing great too. I wanted to spend a little time with them both, without Leo around. I’ve probably mentioned that The Garden Hotel is set in the most exclusive, expensive, high class area of town. We could never afford to buy anything at the mall here; I just thought it might be fun to walk around with the two boys. David stayed in the room with DangTong. When I got back, David reported that the poor little guy screamed and cried the entire time I was gone, calling for Momma, Momma, Momma. I won’t be leaving him again; it was just too upsetting. Obviously, DangTong is going to be high maintenance, and we think we will have to keep him in the house until he adjusts. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll be able to take him any place public for a bit. For example, he’ll ask me to pick him up, mere seconds after calling me obscene names in Chinese. John tells him not to say bad things, but Leo just laughs and repeats the insult. It doesn’t bother me at all, since I don’t understand him anyway. I’ll pick Leo up, cuddle him (at his initiation), and a second later he’ll pinch my face and then laugh madly. In fact, he often laughs after hurting someone, which is rather disconcerting. He’ll be playing nicely, then all of a sudden he will haul off and wack someone, for no apparent reason. We’re not sure exactly how to address his all his behaviors yet. We are just taking it one day at a time.

Sam kept his distance from David and me for the first few days, favoring John, but now he’s warming up to all of us. Sam, Ben and John play together and hold hands all the time. Sometimes they do get frustrated with Leo’s behavior; however, they have all shown great restraint. We explained to them that they can defend themselves (take the toy that he snatched from their hands, back again), but they cannot hit him. Honestly, if we weren’t watching them 100% of the time, I think Sam would retaliate. John told me that the lecture Sam delivered to Leo (on video) was Sam telling Leo that if he didn’t stop misbehaving then he (Sam) was going to call 911 and have the police come take him away to jail. Yep, I could tell that Sam was just about fed-up with Leo that night; I just didn’t know what he was saying until John translated the video for me. Ben has such a gentle nature that he is just sad that Leo is having such a hard time adjusting. We know that the most important thing is to keep our sense of humor through all this. We will look back at this (which is why I write it all down) and remember it with humor. I still recall fondly the crazy things Austin did (he was a WILD child), and Leah’s constant (and I mean constant) crying and screaming. Chasin, our foster child who was two years old, was also very high maintenance, and we would have adopted him in a second. So, in case you’re wondering, no, we do not regret adopting Leo. The fact that he is being so difficult, only underscores how badly he needs the love and care of a family!!