Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I have the beginnings of three posts written; just can't seem to find the time to finish and post them (gee, I wonder why?!?!).
Quick catch up: Guangzhou was wonderful. Had a fantastic travel group with some amazing kids. Beautiful weather, lots of swimming/eating/sight-seeing.
Flight home was actually reall great too, other than the fact that our multi-hour layover at each stop (in Seoul and Atlanta) turned into us running through the terminal to catch our next plane. Roo was awesome...I pulled out a new Ultraman figure during our first flight and that kept him occupied for the first 3-4 hours. He slept for about 9 hours of our 14 hour flight and then played quietly for the rest of the time. Monkey also ended up sleeping for most of the flights. It was seriously a piece of cake. Easiest transatlantic flights ever (and that includes the many times it was just Stu and me traveling without kids).
One of my favorite moments is when we are walking off the plane on our final leg. The relief at knowing the 24+ hours of non-stop travel is over, plus the knowledge that our family is waiting for us, is THE best feeling in the world. It was almost midnight when we landed so I was a little unsure of how our children would react. But when we walked out of the secured area, we were literally tackled by children. I'm not sure who was happier...them or us! Hugs and kisses and laughter and giggles. Pudding kept rubbing my face as if he couldn't believe I was actually there. So sweet! After catching up for a few minutes, Stu headed off to file a baggage claim, as none of our bags made the trip with us. Between being up late, the excitement of seeing us again, and some sugary treats, our children were running around like a bunch of hooligans. At this point, Roo completely shut down; he wanted to be held and buried his face in my shoulder. Very unlike him. Poor thing was completely overwhelmed. There is no telling what he thought was happening; I'm sure he was completely terrified of this new place with all of this strange new people. Heck, even I was a little overwhelmed by all of my wild things! It was after 1:00 a.m. by the time we arrived home so I was hoping everybody would settle down quickly and go to bed. No such luck. Roo explored the house with all of his new siblings anxious to show him every single item in the entire house. Finally, around 2:00, we were able to get everyone tucked away. We have a toddler bed next to ours in our bedroom and Roo climbed right into it and was quickly asleep.
The next week passed in a blur as we all settled into our new family dynamics. Roo had no problems with jet lag (other than waking up several times each night to go to the restroom); Monkey, Stu and I were another story. Actually, it was just Monkey that had an issue. Unfortunately he continued to wake up every morning at 3:00 a.m., thereby waking us up in the process (and, in many cases, his other brothers and sisters too). Other than that, the transition has been fairly easy. Roo seems to like his new siblings but still plays independently. The other three Littles spend most of the day playing imaginary games so it's hard for him to join in with them. He is still obsessed with Ultraman - thank goodness there is a big supply of new episodes on the internet. His gregarious personality hasn't quite emerged since we've been home either. He was wild and crazy in China; here he is quiet and tends to follow the rest of the kids. I'm sure his gregarious personality will come out eventually and I will be longing for these quiet days:) Poor thing is completely overwhelmed anytime we go anywhere outside of the house. I can't even imagine what must be going through his head; I'm sure he is terrified of what other changes we are going to spring on him. I so wish I could talk to him and reassure him that he is staying with us forever; this is the only time the communication barrier has been an issue at all. Poor little guy. We've been hibernating with him at home since we've returned and will continue to do so for at least a few more weeks until he feels more settled. Pudding and HD seem to be the most uninterested in the new addition. Sprout and Roo have forged quite the friendship though. I think Sprout is happy to have someone that will play with her (Pudding and HD tend to leave her out of their "twin" world they inhabit); Roo likes to be the boss and Sprout will go along with whatever he wants to do. I find it amazing that since Roo has joined our family, Sprout has started using Chinese words again. She dropped her Chinese quickly once she came home 10 months ago; now she is saying the Chinese words for all kinds of things. I know that Sprout and Roo were together at the same orphanage when they were younger but I'm sure they don't recognize each other; she probably finds the familiar words comforting. Chipmunk, of course, is an awesome big brother and works so hard to get Roo to like him. I thought Monkey and Roo might share a really close connection (like Chipmunk and Sprout do) since they were together for two weeks in China but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Monkey is my kid that is most likely to be found playing by himself in his room and tends to get irritated when any of the little kids bother him.
I'm still trying to get used to our new normal. I felt like I was just really starting to truly bond with Roo when we arrived home and now I've taken a few steps backwards. I do honestly love him, but I find myself overwhelmed that he is my constant shadow and always one step behind me. We had such a good dynamic in our family prior to leaving and the three Littles played so well together, enabling me to get some laundry/cooking/cleaning accomplished during the day. With Roo needing constant attention, I have virtually no down-time during my day. When I'm not busy with Roo, I have five other children that are begging for my attention. It is exhausting. Stu is doing his best to help out: doing the bedtime routine with all of the kiddos, letting me escape to my friends' houses for a drink (or five). I had just forgotten how incredibly hard these first few months with a new child can be. I know this too shall pass and in a few months I'll be remembering these early days as "no big deal." Now, onto the ugly... When we picked Roo up, we were thrilled that his special need was a non-issue, as it had already been surgically corrected. Yay! He had his first pediatrician's appointment a few days after arriving home and was given a clean bill of health. Another yay! A few days later he started letting us know that one of his back teeth was hurting. I wasn't surprised as when we had picked him up we found that his back molars were completely rotted. Poor guy had never even had his teeth brushed. I took him to a pediatric dentist, figuring they would have to sedate him to work on his poor mouth. She took one look at him and said there was no way she was touching him; he had an absess in the back of his mouth that was threatening to infect his jaw bone. The bottom two molars are the worst she has ever seen and just about every other tooth in his mouth has a cavity. Sigh... So poor Roo will have to go to the hospital for dental surgery in mid-October where we can hopefully take care of all of his mouth issues at one time while he's asleep. Looks like he'll have to get a couple of implants along with a couple of root canals and crowns, not to mention all of the fillings. Thank goodness for dental insurance! In the meantime his eardrum has ruptured and both ears look horrible. A heavy-duty antibiotic is helping that but it looks like an appointment with the ENT is in his near future. He is such the trooper though. Still has his bright smile all day and is constantly giggling and being silly. I can't imagine how much better he will feel will when we get all of these problems taken care of. So, that's our first two weeks home. Can't wait to see what the next two weeks hold. Hard to believe that it has almost been one month since we first held him in our arms. It seems like so long ago but also feels like just yesterday.