I’m tired. So, so tired. But some things need to be documented, so here I am, six months after my last post, posting again.
We spent the bulk of the day today in New Orleans. It was . . . wow. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting that much human congestion, for sure. Wait. That sounds like the city was full of people with head colds or allergies. Not so. Not that I know of, anyway, but I wasn’t really asking. The people . . . it was like being at an amusement park that had no rides. The people were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The streets were congested with people. It made for tricky driving, especially since, you know, some of those people appeared to be drunk as they just walked out in front of moving vehicles, specifically our moving vehicle. We almost took out one young woman twice. Maybe it was three times. Forget drinking and driving. Some people shouldn’t drink and walk. Just sayin’.
But I have more important stuff to talk about, really.
NOLA was just a stop on a trip to a less happening place called New Iberia, and during that stop we got to meet up with a favorite blogger and her family. They adopted their son from Vietnam about the same time we adopted ours. Even though we’ve all died down in the blogging department, we’ve kept in touch through Facebook, and today? We got to meet for real! It was totally a blast — me, the English-y introvert with my introverted family, and her, the science-y extrovert with her extroverted family — eating beignets and watching some woman with a brain injury restraining her barking pit bull as it continued lunging at every passerby. I know she had a brain injury because she brought a pit bull that wasn’t fond of strangers to NOLA. And worse? She brought it to Cafe Du Monde. Everybody in NOLA plus a few others were eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I don’t think it is.
As fun as our lunch at Willie Mae’s and dessert at Cafe Du Monde were, I have something even more significant on my mind. “How is that even possible,” you are wondering in dismay. Well, I will tell you:
This is the second vacation we have gone on with Spuds. The first was our trip west to take A~ to college. That trip was . . . a trip. It was hard on him. When we met up with friends and spent the day in Salt Lake City, he tried to glom on to them and ignore us. He wanted to hold hands with the other adults. He wanted to walk with them. He wanted to sit by them. He behaved the exact same way with us as he behaved with his previous parents when we first met him. The lack of attachment was obvious when we first met him, and the lack of attachment to us was obvious in SLC. After a good bit of this behavior that day, we drew a line in the sand. Specifically, the husband drew a line in the sand. We told Spuds he had to stay with us and hold one of our hands. This led to the first of a few major, public meltdowns. I blogged about this before, no? The husband handled them all. He calmly sat, restraining our screaming, thrashing child, on a bench in Temple Square and, later, on the floor of a Bed Bath and Beyond. It was all precipitated by our refusal to allow him to ignore us as the parents and seek approval/acceptance/belonging from people he had only just met.
That was last August. Fast forward to today, and . . . he was ours. The whole time. I know he was nervous about being on a trip and meeting new people. Meeting new families like that will probably be an issue for him for a long time to come, but we’d talked about it and reassured him, and he was ours. He didn’t put on a show for our friends. He didn’t try holding their hands (as far as the husband and I saw, anyway; and it’s NOLA, so we were trying to keep a watchful eye on everyone). If anything, he clung to us more than he normally does. We were his safe place. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but when we were in the Suburban, heading west to New Iberia, it hit me. NO MELTDOWNS occurred. We didn’t have to pry him away from the friends and demand that he treat us, not them, as the parents. He was ours. He is ours. In the 10ish months he has been with us, he has gotten to a level of attachment and trust that he didn’t have with his last family after 3-plus years. I have to say, that is a good feeling. It vindicates the hope I’ve chosen to have for this kid from the very beginning, and it gives me even more hope.
Now, I’m not going to claim everything went perfectly. When we got into the city, but before we met up with the friends, he got grumpy about me taking pictures and tried to refuse to participate. I stood my ground for a few snaps, but then we let that be enough. He wasn’t happy, but there was no meltdown. Some of his former food issues resurfaced at lunch time as he steadfastly refused to order something. He said he didn’t want anything. But when I suggested that I order something and share with him? Well, he was all for that. It actually wound up with the husband ordering something and sharing, but Spuds ate lunch. We had a repeat of this scene at dinner, but, again, a shared meal did the trick. Just order an extra side, and there is enough food for two anyway. So Spuds ate dinner.
It’s been about 25 days since his last meltdown. I’ll have to write about that another time. We’d been averaging about one meltdown a month, but then there was a bit of an uptick (which I think was brought on by all of the Easter goods hitting the store shelves — the first time he met us was Easter weekend last year), but now it’s been 25 days, and during those 25 days I’ve seen him teeter on the edge and then look at his paper chain on the mantle and settle himself down. He is choosing to not have tantrums. Again, a post for another time. Let’s just say this kid is super motivated by the opportunity to earn extra birthday presents.
So here is where I should come up with some clever way to end the post and tie everything together and maybe be a bit funny, but did I mention I’m so, so tired? Yeah. It was a great day, but even great days can be exhausting.
Tewt the Newt is hoping the rest of vacation goes so well.