Today Aidan had his "crossover" ceremony at Scouts-crossing the bridge from being a Tiger to a Wolf.  I explained to him that two belt loops wouldn't be there for the ceremony but that he would get them early next year; one for snow sports and one for heritage.  When he asked me to explain the heritage, I said that was for taking Chinese New Year gifts into school and explaining his Chinese background.  He said that everyone knows he's from China, that kids ask him about it, and that he tells them he is.  I got the impression he has experienced some teasing about it, though, so tonight he and G had a conversation about that when G put him to bed.  It went like this:
G:  "Mommy says that some kids at school have said stuff about you being from China.  Is that true?"
A:  "Yeah."
G:  "Does that bother you?"
A:  A noncomittal shrug and grunt.
G:  "Would you rather you looked like me?"
A:  "No." (Pause)
A:  "I would rather you looked like me!"
 
 
Yesterday when I picked Aidan up at his after-school program, the workers told me that he had not wanted to play or engage in any activities and that he had complained that he didn't like anything, then he jumped up and played wholeheartedly for quite a while before sitting and moping again.  When we got home he wouldn't take a bath, when we told him he had to, he started sobbing.  By 6:00 he said he wanted to go to bed, which didn't surprise us.  But this morning I took him to school and his teacher said that last week he was sitting with her and listing a whole bunch of things he didn't like, which is out of character for him.  Aidan can say things that are contrary to what he means, but that's not what he was doing.  She said her daughter just returned from China and they had been doing some China lessons last week, so she thinks that maybe things surfaced as a result.  She asked him about his list, and he said he didn't like getting a sister; he wants his brother.  Ouch!
 
 
So much to tell.

Yesterday was our final social worker visit.  We are hoping to have our homestudy updated by our current agency/social worker as well, but since they are phasing out the adoption program in our state, we have to wait and see if they will do this for us first (they will still do adoptions in the other states they service).

On Sunday Aidan said he was having a hard time eating because his tooth hurt.  He showed it to us, and he was wiggling it all over the place.  Yesterday it fell out and right now he is sleeping on a dollar bill just waiting to be added to his savings-he got a cute little wallet of his own on our family trip to Maine and loves using it.
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Let's see; what else?  Pretty Baby and her husband had their fourth wedding anniversary within the last week.  Golden Baby's wife had her birthday.  G had his birthday.  And MB had his birthday, turning one.  Enough, already?  Check out the centerpieces that my creative daughter made for the tables at her son's birthday party.
One of the pictures needs explaining.  That's the one of MB and his cousin BB.  BB isn't used to playing with other kids, so when I found them together on the step and saw MB trying to get his head at just the right angle, I knew a bite was coming and stopped them.  BB didn't understand.  As soon as I got MB to stop, he then offered his hand and then his index finger to MB, still not knowing that a bite was what MB wanted.  So he probably left the party wondering why his grandmother had a problem with that, since I stuck around until MB's biting impulse passed.
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Aidan and I both had a four day school week to start with a four day weekend to follow.  The first day I went in late so that I could drop him off at kindergarten; we did the same thing the second day.  He has spent a lot of time with the guidance counselor/assistant principal but that is declining.  By Thursday he even managed to ride the bus home with her accompanying him.  I don't see him when he gets home, so he has already told someone else all about his day and forgotten half of it or wonders why I want to know about it when he has already told the story once before, but from what G and LB tell me, he comes home excited about parts of his day.  He does want me to drop him off and pick him up.  That just can't happen.  The best I can do is wait for the bus when it goes up the road and see him board it in the morning.  If he waits to board until it comes back down the road, I'll already be gone.  So we'll work on that.

My first days went smoothly, though the result by the end of the week was as usual; I'm now spending my weekend sick with a double ear infection.  I catch everything that any student has, even after 14 years on the job.
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First Day of School

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Playing guitar (left handed)

 
 
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Yesterday was RB's third birthday party.  Today is my great nephews's second birthday party.  And tomorrow is Aidan's first day of kindergarten. 

The first two are very exciting, but the third one is very scary for my son.  I will be going in to work late so that I can take him to school, and G will be leaving work early to pick him up (he is terrified that we will put him on a bus-a bus took him away from his foster home, remember) and just plain scared of the change.  This week I sent him to his old daycare, which he loved after the first few days, and still he cried the first morning.  His best friend was out on vacation, so that added to his upset, and of course he was not used to getting up and leaving the house early in the morning, either-part of why I sent him.  So this week will definitely be tough.

Birthday Party #1

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RB's best friend (center) and Aidan's beloved daycare teacher, both guests at the party.
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The birthday boy with LB

Kindergarten Open House

Birthday Party #2

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The two year old birthday boy

His Sisters
His Parents-My Nephew and His Wife
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Today was my last day of school until late August.  So that means it was Aidan's last day at daycare until I go back to work, and he has been told that he will start kindergarten in the fall.  Several times this week he has asked me if I will miss him when he goes to his new school.  I have told him that Daddy will take him to school and that he will probably be on a schoolbus at the end of the day, but that Mommy would pick him up after she gets done work.  I think the whole transition and related conversations have unleashed yet more memories of his transitions in China.

Here is tonight's bathtime conversation.  He wanted to know if I missed him when he was at his "new house" and if Sissy (LB) and I cried when he was there.  I said yes, we were sad because we didn't know when he would ever be able to come on the plane to our house with us.  He said he didn't come on a plane.  He went by bus from his new house to another house.  He took some of his Mom's money and spent it at a store on toys and food, but only enough for lunch.  There was a big girl on the bus but she wasn't like Sissy and wasn't one of the kids.  He says he was one of the younger kids, that not all of the seats were full, and that he cried because he was scared.  He said some of the other kids cried too.  He says that he waited at the other house for us.

Needless to say, we will be spending a lot of time at his kindergarten this summer (it's about half a mile from our house), even if it just means playing on the playground so that he knows it is a place he goes to and then returns home from.

A day at the beach with LB & friends-still far too cold to swim, but warm enough to wade and play on the sand

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The "new house" is obviously the foster home he lived in.  When G asked about seeing his new house, Aidan said no, duh, we would have to get on a plane to do that.

Other "new house" memories that have come out in the last couple of weeks are that the bathroom was outside and it was dark there.  He said there was no door but he gets confused when he talks about that, so maybe there was a curtain or something.  There was no bathtub like at our house.  When I asked about a wash basin, he had to think about it and said there wasn't one.  (Often wash basins are not with the toilet in China, so that wasn't a surprise) 

He slept in a room by himself with the lights off.  Another kid is now sleeping in his bed.

He rode a bike without training wheels there.  He really wants his Daddy to make his bike just two wheels like that one, though he says his Diego bike is much nicer than the one he had in China.  He would ride the bike on the road.  There were other boys to play with-once he said two, once he said five.  He had a girlfriend down the road who he played with. 
 
 

Today we celebrated Aidan's fifth birthday, though that date (estimated) is still three days away.  The party was early-10:30 to 12:30-to accomodate all of the guests' naptimes.  The kids played outside in our unseasonably beautiful weather, had lunch, played some more, opened presents, then had cake and ice cream.  Since it was time for our social worker to make her six month visit, she came to the party as well.  This gave her a chance to meet Aidan's friends, see him with his whole family (big brother and big sister and their families), and meet his daycare director (her daughter was a guest) as well as some of his playmates' parents.

After our nap, we did it all again.  LB turns eighteen tomorrow, so the evening party was a cook-out but I cooked in.  She doesn't like hot dogs or hamburgers so I roasted a pork loin and we had that with the usual salads, chips, watermelon, etc.

Some of the pictures are here, some are under LB's page (click on her name on the home page for that link), and some are under photos.

Here he is with his favorite playmates from daycare.  One highlight of the day for me, though, was when it was time to eat lunch and he insisted that he sit beside RB to eat.

Below he is sitting on "the bike" that he wanted.  He loves Diego, and wanted a bike, so fortunately they came together.  Then he is blowing out the candles on the cake I made-notice the Spider Man theme to everything.


Here is a short video of Aidan, between parties and before his nap, playing with the party favors from his sistr's party-we broke them out early.

 
 

First, I don't think I mentioned that we got Aidan's green card just after Christmas.  The letter we first received from CIS congratulating us on our new son said to expect the card in about six months.  Instead it came in less than two.

Second, we had our second social worker visit today.  She said that her visit to our house is a social worker's dream.  She said that Aidan was obviously at home here and that this is definitely his home.  When I said we had no problems that were any different from any 4-1/2 year old and mentioned climbing in to bed with us in the middle of the night and one bad day at daycare (the first day), she really couldn't stop smiling.  It helped that he was playing memory game with me when she arrived, then sitting there jabbering away, then hanging all over his father while she visited.

 
 

So here is how our week went:
Monday-I got Aidan up and got him ready to go with PB to daycare, but he didn't really understand.  I called mid-day and he had sobbed most of the morning.  I spoke with him on the phone and in a very trembly voice he said, "Mommy, I go home".  So I left work half an hour later and picked him up.  He had been better because they went outside, which he loves, and he got to play with RB out there, and he then made his family mural with pictures I sent.  He had just laid down for naptime with the other kids but wasn't asleep, so in his mind Mommy comes after night-night.
Tuesday-I got Aidan up and had him watch and help me as I packed his bag for the day.  We talked about how Mommy would come after night night.  I called midday and they said he was having a much better day, though PB said he had told her four times-twice in the car and twice at daycare-that Mommy would come after night-night.  So I left work as soon as I could and picked him up.  He was very excited to show me everything he had done and every place that his picture was (on his chair, in the mural, on the attendance chart), and though he had laid down during naptime, he hadn't slept.
Wednesday-Snow day.  He and RB stayed home with me.
Thursday-Delayed opening for me, but Aidan had already gone to "school".  I then got stuck in a snowbank and didn't make it in to work.  When I picked him up, he didn't want to leave.  We went from there to see the doctor who determined that he had an ear infection and we then got some amoxicillin.  Aidan is so smart that on Wednesday he told me "ear hurt, eat food" at the same time that he pushed his lunch away and pointed to those body parts.
Friday-Had my sister with me (the kindergarten teacher) so Aidan ignored me in favor of her, showed her everything in the place, and then was happy to go home. 

The two boys with their milk jugs and clothes pins


Aidan decided that instead of trying to get the clothes pins into the milk bottle, he should use his to decorate it.  (RB has the solid wood pins, so he couldn't do this)

Proud of his new PJs


 
 

Aidan handled the holidays very well, with the exception of Christmas Eve night (see post, below).  His next hurdle will be starting daycare on Monday, January 5.  He has visited once and will go again on Friday to stay for snack time before we go and see my travel mate's mother-the two of us have China photos to exchange.  Hopefully he adapts as well to this change as he has to all of the others and remains a happy little boy.  Here is a photo he was especially proud of, taken yesterday with him holding nephew #2, BB: