Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wow...

I can't let this post get too carried away, trying to describe the everything that has been the last week, because right now I mainly want to go to bed.

Long story, short, this has been a wonderful time, our first week as parents, spending time as a family, getting to know Omar and him getting to know us. We have been having a lot of fun!

Omar is chatty, energetic, sweet, good natured, smart and polite. He is loving and lovable. He calls us mom and dad already. He has done great in this huge life transition.

I cannot really express in words how much we love Omar and how much he is already blessing our lives. He has so much happiness and love packed in his little body. He makes us laugh all the time and he belly laughs right along with us. He is a quick learner, loves reading and today I even had him playing some PBSkids.org games online.

He is super positive, willing to try new things and meet new people. It becomes impossible to keep track of all the sweet, funny things he says, like telling Beth yesterday, "The nice strangers brought my new bed!" He just makes you want to smile and wrap him up in hugs and kisses - which we do a lot!

Of course, he can be stubborn, and sassy, and he tries to get out of things he doesn't want to do. But, those episodes don't usually last long and he mostly does what we ask.

He just has a wonderful spirit - I think the best thing we can do is to nurture his natural verve for life and support him in whatever he wants to become. You can tell he wants to be happy and have a lot of fun. I don't yet know him well enough to describe his Myers Briggs or Enneagram type, but I know he is shining soul and I just want to be around him as much as possible.

While he's having a lot of fun with us, I think he misses being surrounded by the foster family, all their kids, and the foster family's best friends and their kids - he was part of a supportive and nurturing community in Colorado and I can understand how that would be hard to leave. He talks about how he misses his Mommy Marie, Daddy Dave and his best friend Shelbi. I know they miss him too.

To help with this huge change, I am taking off most of the month of July and Beth is taking off a couple days each week as well. Therefore, I am, for now, a stay at home dad, which I have really enjoyed quite a bit. Omar and I spend a lot of time in the pool and a lot of time reading books and playing, along with lunches, chores and setting up his new bedroom. It has been quite an experience, this first week of "dad-hood".

And I tell you, the pool has made parenting life a lot of fun so far! He loves the pool and in just the last three days is showing a lot of bravery and thirst to try new things. He has taken to jumping into the deep end, where either Beth or I wait to scoop him up. We take underwater dives where he holds on to me and holds his breath as we push off the side of the pool, shooting underwater from one side to the other. He is even swimming a few feet on his own to the pool steps. I think he would spend all day in the pool if I left him.

Of course, it hasn't been ALL easy, playing-in-the-pool fun. Beth and I have never been parents before and we are learning about how to set boundaries, give choices and layout consequences for unacceptable behavior - heck, even figuring out unacceptable behavior is confusing. I think we have done a pretty good job, but mentally we question each decision we make, especially when it comes to correcting behavior.

Thankfully, Marie and Dave, his foster parents, instilled in Omar great manners and a respect for parental authority. Like how I can say, "Omar do XYZ and you have until the count of three to do it...1 - 2..." And I never have to get past two because he hops right to doing what I have requested. We didn't teach him that, but we get to benefit from it - ha! I don't even really know what would happen if I got to three, but so far it hasn't mattered! Marie and Dave certainly set a solid parenting foundation for Beth and I to build upon, we are very lucky in that respect!

That said, with us not really knowing what the behavior of a four year old should be and not knowing what is "normal" behavior versus what is behavior due to the transition, Beth and I are left sometimes scratching our head, saying, "what do we do now?"

Thankfully, we have been mostly on the same page and are quickly becoming well versed at choices and consequences - I think anyway, I mean, it seems to be working. Omar seems happy and seems to be attentive and responsive. But, we are still left unsure and we are going to make it a goal to start hanging out with and talking with other parents and comparing notes. It takes a village, right?

For the last few days our house has been a might bit chaotic as we try to integrate Omar into our lives. Up until this morning, when I finally got a chance to finish organizing Omar's room and cleaned the kitchen and living room, our house was a disaster! Now, just half of it is a disaster and there are still things of Omar's to unpack, stuff from the trip to be put away and lots of laundry to be done.

Oh yeah, and somewhere along the 15-hour, two-day trip back from Colorado I caught a nasty throat infection which leaves me ready for bed as soon as Omar goes to bed. It just all catches up with me by the end of the day - all the fun sure, and all the thinking about parenting, learning how to be a parent, trying to chip away at the disaster of our house and recovering from driving 30 hours over the course of five days. Let's not even get started on exercising!

And, I feel guilty that I haven't been emailing or facebooking or blogging or keeping in touch with the people I communicate with electronically. As for phone communication, I have fielded a few calls that have come my way, and initiated a few as well, but even that has been taken down a notch. I assume people understand and are willing to cut me some communication slack during this time. If not, well....oh well.

And you know what, it's all worth it. Right now, the most important thing is ensuring Omar has as smooth a transition as possible, that he is safe, healthy and happy. And, that we get to bond as individuals and as a family. I am mostly confident things like communicating with others will smooth out and pop back as Omar integrates into our lives and we figure out what it means to be a family. Heck, we are going to need everyone's love and support as we go through this major life change, I wouldn't want it any other way.

For now though, Omar is our focus and Beth and I are gonna keep loving Omar the best we can. I think most of you would agree, its the best thing going.

Best regards,

Aaron Stiner, DRB

PS - I did let this post get a little carried away! Off to bed I go!

2 comments:

  1. I'm so stoked for you guys! Kim leaves tomorrow morning at 5AM for Puerto Rico, but she'll be back in 10 days to help your little boy swim!

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  2. I am sooooooo happy and thrilled for you guys. You see dreams can come true. I wish I could be there to share in all the ups and down in loving your new child but I will be there in spirit, thoughts and prayers!

    Love,

    Aunt Carolyn xoxoxoxox

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