Lately the littlest things bring a lump to my throat and I stop and say "thank you God. Thank you". Often out loud.
What an amazing gift of life He has given our family.
I had some very special moments with Taizi tonight.
First..let me update on Taizi.
He sleeps in a pack and play in our room. For a few reasons. He sleeps horribly. Takes a very very long time to fall to sleep...and then often wakes in the night screaming. The sad part is, there is really little we can do. If we comfort him, he still freaks and starts all over when we leave. Many times we have gone over his bed and started praying. Praying for whatever that is torturing him...to leave. He often seems so tormented. (Horribly sad)
He also sleeps in a pack and play b/c he hurts himself. Purposely. So a crib has way more ways to hurt himself...with lots of hard pieces. However...he now is finding ways to hurt himself in his pack and play. There are many mornings he wakes with new bruises. :( He bangs his chin the on the rims. He beats his head on the plastic corners. (Horribly sad)
He still wears the same size clothing that he did in October when we first met him. He has filled out a lot...as you will see in a few pictures. But height isn't really happening. He's very very small and while we don't know the full reason, it was seen that his pituitary gland is tiny and that is responsible for his growth hormones. People often say how much bigger he is...but he's not. He definitely looks older with a head of healthy hair and filled out cheeks...and cute toddler style clothing. But all of his clothes he wore in China...he still wears. It seems like his clothes will literally wear out long before he outgrows them.
He chews food. Wait...bigger than that...he likes food. I know ... I know...that's a total crazy miracle. Well..maybe not a miracle. I think a miracle is a complete gift...something not worked for. This has been 8 months of an insane amount of work. And tears. And fits. And work. And now we are seeing the reward of that work. He not only eats food. Chews food. But now he actually likes food! For breakfast he truly loves hot oatmeal. True story! And for lunch he truly loves peanut butter sandwich...yes...true story! Better yet, we break it into pieces on a plate and he feeds the sandwich pieces to himself. Yes...true story! This may not seem completely surreal to you...but it does to us. Because we have seen with our own eyes how long of a journey this has been with Taizi and food. For dinner he loves mashed potatoes. And corn. And bread. Ahhh what a journey it has been.
Because we have taught him to pick his food up and eat it...it's created a problem. He picks other things up and eats them. A huge...yes...huge...spider came out his mouth onto his high chair tray the other day. Oh. My. Goodness. A marble came out his mouth not long after that. So we have to be very careful.
And he not only crawled with his knees and hands versus dragging his head onto the floor. (Horribly sad). But now he walks. Yes. Walks. On his own. Without us insisting he walk instead of crawl. It's now his chosen method of mobility. He walks.
Last week, Dean decided he was ready to start potty training him. I was definitely prepared to be in this for the long haul...as in 2-3 year long haul. He has been 100% diapered up until last week. Dean bought a cute potty for him and sat him on it and he peed. Yes, we laughed and said how 'fluke' that was. No. Today he was 100% dry in his diaper until bedtime and we just missed it and he peed in his diaper. When we sit him on that potty, he pees. Remember those scars on his hips? From what we are told, likely from being tied to a potty chair in the orphanage. (Horribly sad). So he was very likely potty trained when we adopted him. Because this is not something we have taught him, nor can we take the credit for it. It was definitely a nice little surprise because we were both unsure with how you effectively potty train a child who is 100% deaf and mentally disabled. He surprised us!
Tonight we went to the park. Kids fished. Daddy played football with the older kids. Then one on one with Zihao. And I spent one on one time with Taizi. Oh...Taizi. Tonight I saw, perhaps for the first time...him laugh as an emotional response. His laugh hasn't been emotional. It's spaced and 'out there'. He could be crying. Sometimes he does go between laughter and crying and back and forth. But tonight...he laughed. He was walking on the path and I was in front of him snapping a million pictures. He was going fast b/c it was slightly declined. His legs were almost going too fast for him and he got silly. And oh...it was so so cute. I tried to capture it...not sure I could really get the moment on camera...but these are pretty special pictures.
First...let's take a look back to October 2012:
Where you will really see a difference is in his hair...and his chunkiness. Crazy how thin he was :( (Horribly sad).
Sadly...Taizi is often sad. Not a lot of happiness. Yet. :)
But he always has someone cheering him on.
Zion gave him a football and he would walk to Zion to give it back. It was so cute.
Here is the beginning of my special moments with him tonight. This picture may look silly to you...but this is a big deal. Once walking ... it was a very long time before Taizi would stand up on his own. You would have to 'start' him like you start your child on a bike when they are first learning. It's always a big moment when they can start themselves. Well...here is Taizi 'starting' on his own. Captured :)
He didn't walk ahead of me for long. He was constantly looking for me so when I turned around, he followed. But this was cute.
This was real laughter. It was so adorable. And more than that ... it was special. This was a first. And while he looks so connected and adorable in this series of pictures...tonight was a gift. Dean looked at the photos and said "they are so cute...but not a true depiction of Taizi for so many reasons... " Those of you who follow our journey...know that. But tonight was a gift.
Notice the lack of eye contact. He was smiling at me but wouldn't look at me.
So cute. So. Cute.
Working harder b/c now he's walking 'up hill'.
You can see some bruises on his face from banging his head in bed...and with toys :( (Horribly sad)
sitting on the swing.
Completely whipped. I sat down with him and gave him a flower. He really held onto it for a long time.
A very "Taizi - face" He's making his sounds here.
And yes. He stills stares at his hand often. (Horribly sad)
The last picture of the night. A flower in one hand...and holding on to the football that Zion handed him. Really...so adorable.