Friday, July 10, 2015

Puzzles, Pictures, and Pajamas

Here are a few snapshots of the evenings in our home!

Martin - Pajamas and a Puzzle before Bed

Emilia in her Pajamas working a Puzzle just before Bed

Pajamas and Pictures:
Discovered the Chalkboard in the Basement just before
We all Went to Bed in the Basement

Bedtime - Oh all the things I could say.  This post is really more about documenting for myself what life is like now. So one day when I get around to scrapbooking our photos, I will be able to remember. But you, my blog reader are welcome to read my personal notes on our life now.

In Bulgaria during pickup trip it went pretty well. Martin and Emilia were sleeping on twin beds in the same room. We gave them bathes, read them a story or 2 or 3, and sat with them until they went to sleep, then crashed in our own bed in the other room. It was one of the best parts of the day. Both seemed to be sleeping through the night fine. Emilia would get up and go to the restroom in the night and go back to sleep on her own.

Then we came home to America. The kids had 2 separate rooms, across the hall from each other. We kept the same routine, taking turns, with who put whom to bed. And our son got up every night, multiple times a night. He was scared. One of us would get up, go upstairs, and put him back to bed and stay with him until he fell asleep again. Then try to quietly go back down stairs. Sometimes he would wake up when we tried to leave or shortly there after and we would have to get him to sleep again. We could tell that he was afraid and trying to stay awake. I would call it hyper-vigilance.

All these trips up and down the stairs (combined with our jet lag) lead to Andrew and I being exhausted. So Andrew and I moved the futon mattress of the futon and into his room. Then when he woke in the night we didn't even have to get out of bed. We could just tell Martin to lay back down, momma and daddy were here. Most nights that worked. There were a few times were he seemed greatly afraid and would still fight sleep and it would take us longer to get him back to sleep. (Later, we had a translator come to our home and he told the translator that the older kids in the orphanage beat him up at night. No wonder Martin is sometimes terrified at night!)

But Emilia was jealous. She wanted us to either go back down stairs or to sleep in her room. I did sleep occasionally on the floor in her room on the seat cushions off our couch. We began having some behavior problems with her in the day.  She was not attaching to us. We decided that Emilia's need to feel loved and to attach to us was just as important as Martin's need to feel safe at night. (Emphasis on feeling safe and loved. As parents, we cognitively know that we love them both and that they are safe. But their being loved and safe has to be felt by them!)

On July 4th, we stopped in at Walmart (well I went in, Andrew sat with the kids in the car) and bought 2 twin air mattresses and an eggshell topper for the futon. We moved the futon mattress back down to the futon in the basement. Our entire family now sleeps in the basement. Andrew and I sleep on the futon (which is now much more comfortable thanks to the eggshell topper.). Emilia and Martin sleep on either side of us on an air mattress.

I am not crazy about this sleeping arrangement. Sometimes the kids goof off and make each other laugh when we are trying to get them to sleep. When they were in separate rooms they did not do this. I miss my comfortable bed. I almost never have alone time with Andrew since even at night we are with our kids. But for now, this is what is best for the kids and our family. It will not be forever. It could be 6 months or a year, but not forever. Eventually our kids will be attached to us and feel safe in our home. I doubt they will want to sleep in the same room with us when they are 14 or 15. (What teenager wants to sleep with their parents?)

We have done this for 6 nights now. Emilia is already showing huge improvements in behavior and has started returning my affection. (For several weeks she had been ignoring my affection.) On Wednesday, when I kissed her good night she kissed me in return! (For several weeks now my affection has been ignored!) Last night, I was stroking her hair as she went to sleep and she reached out and stroked my hair in return!

Bedtime isn't easy. Due to attending an adoption reunion 2 weekends ago and being up late every night, and to staying up late for fireworks on July 4, the kids are going to sleep a little later. Also, it is hard to get them to bed on time because they haven't seen Andrew all day. When Andrew comes home from work, we eat supper, then the kids want to play with him. Emilia wants the whole family to play hide and seek. Martin wants to go to the park and bat soft balls and also play cars with Andrew. We set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes of hide and seek and we must leave the park by 7pm. Then they both take a turn in the bath and have a bedtime snack and story and we go to bed. We are getting better at getting them to bed on time! In Bulgaria, it didn't matter if they got to bed late because Andrew didn't have to get up and go to work early in the morning. But here, if they go to bed late, that means we all go to bed late and Andrew doesn't get enough sleep!

1 comment:

  1. I think it sounds like y'all are making great strides in connecting with your kids and helping them feel safe. I felt the same way about having to sleep in the same room with our daughter for a few months. Never. any. time. alone. But, the phase probably will not last long like you said, and it's worth the sacrifice in order to help those sweet kiddos feeling safe and loved. You are definitely not the only one struggling to get them in bed on time in the summer. Between evening swim lessons and not being able to get outside until 8pm for a walk because it's so stinkin' hot, we're right there with you. I'm enjoying your posts! Keep them coming (when you can, of course)!