Thanks, everyone, for delurking. Though some were not *officially* delurking, I still love to get email from kindly strangers.
The boys' language has rocketed in the last two months or so. Sentence structure is improving, vocabulary is increasing, comprehension is great, and when they don't know, they ask. And ask. And ask again. Because, hey, asking five times is much more effective than asking once, right?
As their grasp of the English language has developed, they've both shared interesting tidbits with us. Some are memories from Ethiopia, some are questions or comments about various things. Some of the memories are a little disturbing, involving pain that's hard for us to explain to them. Some memories are obviously conflated with activities here, in the US. Or with fantasy. This is usually from Lire, whose memory, he being younger and only two or so when relinquished, is a bit choppy. The one about penguins riding on the backs of reindeer in Ethiopia is probably not true, but we want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
We usually go to Habtam for confirmation of L's recollections, since he was there. He's pretty trustworthy, and when he doesn't know, he says so. We do know that L fell into a fire as a "baby", according to H. When we met L, his legs were very dry, chapped and scaly. Looked like a snake shedding its skin. Our ped first thought it was eczema, but when shea butter healed the skin virtually overnight, we asked H. At that time, he had almost no English, but he pantomimed beautifully, and so he acted out a toddler falling into a fire, ran to our stove and pointed to the burners, said "hot." As his English developed, we got more details.
Today Lire and I were home alone together. He was having a snack while I checked my email. One of our favorite cds was playing (I recommend it SO HIGHLY if you're adopting from Ethiopia, esp. with older kids)*, and L got a faraway look in his eyes. Literally faraway, because as the Ethiopian children's song played, he said, "Lire like Ethiopia." When L says he likes someone or something, it means he likes it the best at that moment. I asked him if he missed it.
Do you want to go back with me and Daddy and H someday?
Yes. And here. Lire live here, too.
Up until today Lire had told us that he liked THIS house better than "Ethiopia House," liked the food here better, liked Mommy and Daddy better, you get the picture. I kept telling him it was ok to like both.
Today he felt that he wanted both.
I told him that he could live in both places when he got bigger. That he could have an Ethiopian house and a house here. Then he told me that he wanted me to make some blankets for Ethiopia. That he and Habtam had been cold when they were sleeping there. I had just finished those quilts I posted a couple posts back and he and I sent them off from the post office today. He wants me to make some blankets and mail them in a box to Ethiopia. Because it's cold at night.
Sigh. I already felt like such a jerk for losing my temper with him the past few days because of his feisty shouting and disrespect. Now I feel like a double-jerk for misplacing my compassion, yet again.
It's strange. I don't ever forget that they are Ethiopian -- every single event reminds us of it. And I truly do think about their family every day. I think what I do forget is the importance of the day-to-day details that they experienced that I haven't the foggiest about. I write it all down, because they are already forgetting some of the earlier memories they shared with us. Perhaps sometimes they are caught unawares by a nagging feeling that transports them to a dimly lit area of their memory. A nagging feeling brought on by music, or seeing a banana plant at a neighboring farm.
Next post will address some of Habtam's recent thoughts.
* when I checked out the cd on amazon, it says it's currently unavailable. I'll bet you could find it elsewhere.