A new normal.
First, there’s the overall adjustment of FOUR BOYS. With any new addition to the family, there’s a shift in dynamics. The relationships between each of the brothers grows and changes. Elijah is finding his way with each of his brothers. He and Mason share a room, so he is closest to Mason (and Mason is an awesome big brother! Such a great helper!). Elijah is also learning how to play with Parker (they like playing trains and tickling) and Joey… although with Joey, it’s more playing alongside one another.
I homeschool, and to be honest, it’s a challenge with 4 kiddos, but we are carving out our new normal. Elijah is in preschool (kindergarten starts next fall for him) so we aren’t doing much with “school” for him. But we’re exposing him to his ABCs and 123s in every way possible. Soon we will start a little preschool workbook so he can start learning to write in English.
Parker and Joey are working above grade level at most subjects, so they can do a lot independently. But even still, I want to make sure they are being challenged and exploring different hobbies and pursuing their passions. So it’s a bit of a juggling act.
Mason is struggling with school, bless his heart. He tries so hard. But he can’t seem to get past the barrier of “short vowel sounds’ verses “long vowel sounds.” He’s in 2nd grade, reading at a kindergarten level (which is still pretty great considering he’s only been in the US less than 2 years). He’s come a long way with school. but the poor boy cannot seem to hold things to memory. We will do a lesson together, and then 5 minutes later he’s forgotten what he’s learned. I used to teach kindergarten and I still am struggling with how to help him. I’ve all but used up my “bag of tricks.” And to top it off, he gets very very upset whenever he gets anything wrong or doesn’t understand something (which unfortunately happens a lot with reading).
All that to say, the school days are long. And that makes for one tired mama. 🙂
The biggest adjustment has been to Elijah’s physical needs.
Getting used to leg braces, for one. Each morning, we start the day with lotioning Elijah’s entire body. Then come on the knee socks and leg braces after getting him dressed. Then we put him on the toilet to go potty. He cannot get on the toilet himself, so every time he needs to “do his business” we need to carry him to the toilet.
Going out is still something we’re getting used to. Because Elijah can’t walk, we’ve been using the stroller on errands. This works okay for now, but eventually he’ll transition to wheelchair full-time. I’m still getting used to the idea that I have a son who cannot walk independently. I mean, of course I knew this during the adoption process, but living it day to day is a whole new reality. Yesterday, at Mason’s orthodontist appointment, Elijah was sitting next to me. When it was time to go, I said, “Okay, time to go to the car.” I started to get up to leave when I remembered Uh… Elijah can’t get up to walk and follow me!
Silly Mommy. 😛 It is pretty amazing to see all the things Elijah CAN do. He’s pretty independent, so he likes to do things “with no help.” Or “no help, no help” as he’ll tell me. He’s so brave and continues to amaze us.
Spina Bifida comes with a whole slew of medical tests and specialists! SB can lead to problems all over the body: spine, brain, heart, bladder, bowels, legs… just to name a few.
So we are in the middle of a whole mirad of medical appointments and tests: Cardiac, kidney and renal ultrasounds. Urodynamics to see how his bladder and bowel control are. MRI and x-rays of the spine. Possible surgeries in the future. And of course physical therapies for years to come. We just learned the closest Kaiser Spina Bifida clinic is 2 hours away. We’ll only have to make the visit a few times a year though.
So while we KNEW all this medical stuff was coming, we are learning how to navigate it each week. And Ric is an AMAZING Daddy and even though he works full-time (and works SO hard) he still does what he can to do some of the phone appointments while Mommy juggles all of the in-office stuff.
As for the day-to-day, here are a few things that make our world with Elijah go round: