This week has been a much better week for all of us. Daddy is feeling better, Salem finished her antibiotic this morning, Mommy is getting rest and Jonathan is beginning to settle into being a big brother. He is doing great, I must say. He loves Salem so much and shows it in his Jonathan type affection by ambushing her with a googly face and love hugs that resemble what might be interpreted by an onlooker as a tackle with a kiss. Her cheeks are too tempting for him not to squish and her outstretched arms are perfect for shaking. None of this is done with spite. We detect no jealousy about him in her joining our family, but learning to care well for his little sister requires guidance and correction. I look forward to the day when he is the one requesting others to be gentle with her. I long to see his brotherly affection take the form of a protector. That is our prayer for him.
It has been a joy watching Jonathan begin to understand his role as helper to mommy. Needless to say, we have had a few mornings of hijacked outings due his need to develop an appreciation for mommy's time. He has improved tremendously and getting out of the house is not such an ordeal anymore. In saying this, I know more mornings like these are ahead, not completely behind us. But we are taking this in stride and learning along the way. He has been so willing to find ways to spend time independently while mommy is feeding Salem or putting her down for a nap. The other day, while he was in his room (by his own choice...not during room time) he took it upon himself to build with his blocks. This has not been something he does much of at home, so it delighted me to see him creating adventure within the confines of his wooden toys. After a trip to the potty with Salem, I emerged from the bathroom to see him at the threshold of his door surrounded by intricate towers and tunnels. It stopped me in my tracks and I stood there for a few second admiring the young man he is becoming. He invited me in, so sliding Salem into her Johnny-Jump-Up, I joined his adventure on the floor, marveling at his imagination. I love this kid!
Potty time has been a bonding experience, too. In efforts to keep her enjoying the time waiting , we sing songs and play games. Yesterday, after much practice and encouragement, she decided to clap her hands:) I love seeing her learn new things. I can see her understanding more and more of what we are saying and responding with her own communication. Today she said, "all done" in her baby babble after pee peeing. She knows when she is finished and is ready to move on to more fun outside of the bathroom. Just over the past few days I have noticed her picking up on some sign language we have been using with her. This is encouraging and helpful.
Wednesday, we had a sweet surprise reunion at the Bethany office. Having intended on going earlier in the week to introduce Salem to the ladies, we understandably had a rough go at getting there in our transition back home. So, Drew took the morning and we all went together. As we walked in the door, immediately we saw Mary, our first case worker that help us put together our home study and dossier 7 years ago. Since then, she has changed postions and works in another branch of the ministry. We had a special bond, so seeing her go was sad. Running into her with Salem in arms was a special unexpected blessing! She hadn't been to our office in months and just happened to be there for a meeting that morning. God was kind to reunite us and allow her to see the fruit of her labor with us so long ago. Each person who had worked toward our becoming a family and who had been a part of Salem's journey was there. Thank you, Lord, for these women who work so hard to care for children and women. We are blessed to be a Bethany family!
Friday, Daddy was home, so we took an adventure to the pool. Jonathan has been pining to go, but we had to wait until mommy had help. He understood and was delighted in our announcement that morning. In our first few weeks of having Salem, she showed great contempt for water in any form, but after Gommy's gentle encouragement to play in a bowl with toys, she quickly transferred the fun to her bath time and readily looks forward to it now. She even lets us pour water over her hair, blinks and wipes her eyes and goes about her business splashing and pouring. So, with her cute little blue ballerina bathing suit tucked next to Jonathan's shark swim trunks, we headed to the Y in hopeful anticipation that she would see the pool as just a big old bathtub. Delightfully, she did and we had a great first swim. As soon as we put her in the pool she splashed with smiles and her little legs started trolling like a duckling. Just like her brother, she was born to swim:) We had a float that was given to us when Jonathan was a baby, but he never used it as he was too top heavy and would fall face first into the water. Salem, however, fit inside of it as if it were made for her and she floated along, legs kicking, watching her brother belly flop from the sides.
Salem is doing exceptionally well. The only area where she has struggled on a daily basis has been sleeping in her crib. When she is asleep, she rests well, but falling asleep has been difficult. She would much more prefer to fall asleep rocking or in mommy's sling. While we are home, I am trying to train her to soothe herself in her crib. It has been met with crying, but slowly we are seeing her feel more comfortable and happy. In fact, this morning I heard sweet coos coming from her room and realized that she had been awake for a while playing. She woke up happy with no crying! What a way to begin our Sunday morning:)
For those of you who tuned into our Sunday adventures last week, I am pleased to say that today went well! We changed up our getting ready routine and managed to get out of the house by 8:50...a new record! We were the first to Sunday School and all had a great time. Jonathan enjoyed his class and mommy and Salem were able to reunite with the Mentoring Moms class that I have missed so. Jonathan was helpful and participated in worship singing and even snuggling a little. Thank you, Lord, for these blessings!
More pictures and videos will be added soon!