|Our bed in the living room - September 2013|
We make it through the day, sometimes even a few days, maybe even a week with no major tantrums. I flick on a light switch, turn on the microwave or flush the toilet and my son does not drop to the floor in hysterics because he didn't get to do it. I watch my son get upset about something yet, 9 times out of 10, be able to calm down within ten minutes... And I remember the days, weeks, months where Samuel was screaming more often than he wasn't and I wondered if this was what the rest of our lives were going to look like.
|Conked out on the floor after hours of screaming - September 2013|
I walk 20 minutes each way to our closest park with Samuel skipping, running, laughing and singing alongside me... And I remember the days where Samuel would not even walk to the car and insited on being held or pushed in the stroller everywhere we went.
|Our first trip to the park - September 2013|
(Samuel never got out of his stroller...)
We get to the park and I watch Samuel trying hard to play with the other kids. I see him joining in what they're doing and hear him say things like, "Excuse me, I have turn please?"... And I remember the early days where he would insist on leaving the second another child showed up at the park, the many months that followed where he grabbed everything any other child tried to touch causing kids to literally run away from him, and all the playdates with neighbours/cousins, etc. that left me in tears.
|Actually making friends at the park - July 2014|
I spend the day listening to Samuel argue, negotiate, correct (ME: Samuel, sit properly at the table SAMUEL: Not table, counter!), make excuses, talk back, ask 'why?' about a thousand times and chatter incessantly about anything and everything... And I remember the silent child I met in Vietnam who spoke less than 20 words in his native language and I am thankful for these challenges I never thought I'd have to deal with with my "non-verbal" child.
|Locked away in his own quiet little world - August 2013|
I spend up to a couple hours preparing dinner with Samuel by my side contentedly watching, helping, learning... And I remember the months where we would not have eaten if it were not for the kindness of family, friends and neighbours as I could not so much as boil pasta without Samuel dissolving into a meltdown that would last long after the food was ice cold.
|Making mashed potatoes for the first time |
(with the help of pudding and grapes to keep Samuel busy) - November, 2013
I spend 30-40 minutes each night reading to my sweet boy who just loves to hear his favourite books read again and again... I remember the months where he couldn't even sit through a simple board book and I literally laughed out loud when someone said something about him one day reading for half an hour.
|Nana making every effort to keep Samuel's attention - September, 2013|
Samuel has officially been home one year and when I stop and remember, I truly can't believe how far we've come.
Gone is the lost, disengaged, vacant-eyed little boy a brought home one year ago. In his place is my not-so-little stick of dynamite, full of life, charisma and unbridled potential. Yes, it's been hard, it's still hard (albeit in different ways) but in those early days home I heard the following song for the first time and I claimed it for our first year together...