We've now only just begun to settle into a "real life" routine. Aaron is self employed and being that there were no paid days off while we traveled, he returned to work first thing Monday morning. Jen went straight to work as the now mother of 5.
On two separate nights, early on in the week, we had invited different family members over to meet Sashko. Of course they were excited when he came to them and called them "lellya" and "cheecho"(aunt and uncle). Unfortunately, soon after they left Sashko would revert back to behaviors where we had experienced breakthrough.
Our immediate plan of action was to let all family know that for now we couldn't allow them to hold Sashko for any length of time. They would only be able to hug and kiss him and then send him to Mommy or Daddy quickly. This killed us since our family has been so supportive and has been anticipating his arrival as much as we have. However, we believe this short term boundary will produce long term joy for all.
Also, we stopped referring to family members using Bulgarian words. We had thought this would help him adjust to our family life. What we found was that it was actually hindering it. In the orphanage world "lellya" and "cheecho" are just nice people that pop in and out of your life and most of the time are easily manipulated into giving you what you want. Sashko is in a new reality now which will require new patterns of thinking and a new vocabulary.
By the end of the week other family visits and outings went much smoother.
Sashko adores his three older sisters, and they enjoy any opportunity they have to dote over him! Sashko thinks Tobin is pretty cool, and Tobin is being very patient with his new little brother. He doesn't quite understand why Sashko shows no interest in playing swords or army. Today Tobin gave him a long stick to use as a pretend spear and Sashko began to sweep with it. We are encouraging Tobin to keep trying and reminding him that Sashko never had an older brother to teach him these games.
Sashko loves calling Daddy on the phone at work and runs to the end of the porch when Aaron's truck pulls up at the end of the day. Obviously, Jen spends all day with him so Sashko is more attached to her, but Aaron will take whatever he can get and tries to be intentional with his time in the evenings to bond with Sashko. Aaron has found that he has to purposefully remind himself of this and be thankful for every small step in their relationship.
The first couple of nights bedtime was a battle, but now Sashko brushes his teeth , puts on pajamas and hops into bed without complaint. When we brought him home he was still waking up in the middle of the night. One morning we awoke around 4:30 a.m. to find Cora, Tobin, and Sashko at the foot of our bed. Sashko was fully dressed, had folded and put away his pajamas, and was now turning on lights, shaking and kissing his brother and sister to wake them up!
At first he would come to mommy and daddy's room at random times of the night. He eventually figured out that Mommy and Daddy were only going to put him back to bed. So then we began to find him sleeping on the floor of his sister's rooms. We're really not sure how we put an end to all this, except that we just told him in English as we put him to bed each night to stop doing it. He now sleeps through the night in his room with Tobin.
Fits are now few and far between. At mealtimes he now knows that in order to have a sip of his drink he needs to take a bite first. He was initially terrified by the dog and cat, now they don't even phase him. All in all he really is adjusting well. Better than we had expected. Thank you, Jesus!
We all love him so much and are truly thankful that he is now part of our family.