I was all set to write about Habtam's insightful comments, which I will. However, the big "J is for Jealousy" has reared its ugly head around here, and that has shadowed our lives for the past few days. Yuck.
Not to say that we haven't had some grand old times, because we have. On Sunday, Lire, Habtam and I drove to the city to meet Alex. We rendez-voused at Riverside Church for a celebration of Ethiopian Christmas (which was actually January 7). We met up with some other adoptive families, some of whom picked up their kids around the same time we did. Our guys remembered one of their pals, (he has visited us in LI), and we re-met some other parents we had met last spring before traveling to Ethiopia. In addition, the revelers included MANY Ethiopians who live in the environs, and the hordes of kids who were there attend Amharic Sunday School at the Church.
It was really, really fun and the boys had a great time -- eventually. Lire had a blast immediately, while Habtam had a rough time initially. Fortunately his mood evened out, thanks to a rooftop playground, but it was a bit depressing for me at the beginning. He and I have gained a lot of ground attachment-wise, but I think being surrounded by so many Ethiopians, smelling the food, hearing the sounds of the language, and being in the city for the first time ever, was pretty overwhelming.
Basically he reverts to behaviors he exhibited early on during his time here -- Attach self physically to Daddy, do not allow Mommy to touch or talk to you, do not look at her, and intimidate your younger brother as much as possible.
Thankfully, L is goodnatured and was having too good a time to be too upset with having his balloons popped three times by his brother. And he was enjoying the food WAY too much to hold a grudge. He went straight to work on his injera and wats, only hesitating at the hard-boiled egg, about which he said, "Mommy eat."
Oddly enough, one of the ways I've discovered I can reach H. is by competing with him -- in this case it meant I tried to knock his balloon out of his hands like he was doing to L. He loves a good game, and as long as I do it with a smile and in good fun, it seems to distract him. The other day on our walk with the dog he was mad at me for something, so I raced him. He LOVED it. He didn't even mind that I beat him, in fact, I think he liked it.
Habtam comes from a very macho upbringing, but that is a post for another day, because there is SO MUCH entailed in describing it as it pertains to him and to me as the only female in the house.
Anyway, the day ended up really well, with everyone well-fed, and a late afternoon play-date with another friend who lives only 10 blocks or so away. The drive home was a bit rocky, since L hadn't had his usual nap and felt trapped in the car seat, but Mickey D's did the trick for all of us.
As for the Jealousy, well, Lire has started nursery school this week, and H. is p'd off. Really bummed. Thank heavens they're in different classes! "MY SCHOOL!" has been volleyed back and forth by the boys, with Alex trying to say, "It's everyone's school," which is met with much disdain. Lire is a big talker, if you haven't already guessed, so he waxes poetic about every detail:
"People jintay (pee-pee) on floor -- not nice," or "Lire hug grown-ups," and "Lire make pretend dinner." This drives H up the wall, because he hates the idea that Lire may be having more fun than he is. The good thing is that it has encouraged H to talk more about what he does at school. Up to now he's done the usual "nothing" response when asked.
Lire and I can become the focus of H's jealousy and anger, with frequent silent treatments, teasings/bullyings, and insults "Mommy hummus bad," or "Lire no good job school." It reached a fever pitch today where Al had to hold H. for a while, and there was much screaming and crying. It seems to have been cathartic, thank goodness. He spontaneously apologized to all of us for his behavior and complimented Lire on his snowman painting.
I'll save my depths of despair and depression and terrible parenting for another post, because I know you can only read so much of this drama at one sitting. I'm actually sick of my own depression and subsequent thought processes, so I may wait a bit.
Oh, and I have a job interview tomorrow. Very unexpected and I'm not sure how I feel about the prospect, but I like to go with the flow, and the prospect did drop into my lap, so I will flow.
Edited to add: Yikes. Major meltdown by Habtam. Second of the day, which hasn't happened in a while. Begins with defiance at being thwarted (no peanut butter for lunch, e.g.), turns into noise-making which gets progressively louder, spirals into either destructive or odd behavior (throwing toys, eating non-edible objects), ends with jealousy about Lire and a screaming fit. He finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.
Alex and I are both very tired and are working on a strategy for tomorrow. Boot camp here at holding still.