Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Exuberance for life

Lately, Dima seems to have found a new lease on life. He has been happier than I have ever seen him, and more affectionate too. We're seeing more genuine laughter and less of the chaotic, high-piched giggling that just comes from being over-excited. In addition, he has started exhibiting "normal" little boy behaviors that were missing before--like talking to and playing with his teddy bear.

Dima's teddy bear is a large brown bear that came from school. It sleeps with him at night, and he always wants it there, but he's never paid much attention to it until lately. Recently he's started talking to his bear at night before he goes to sleep. He tucks the bear in with him, or plays hide-and-seek with it under the covers. I'm so glad to see him experiencing strong independent pretend play. He does do pretend play, but in the past it has been intitiated by Zhenya.

We do have to curb his enthusiasm a bit at times--I think he gets so overwhelmed with happiness sometimes it just spills over. He's started bear-hugging people (adults) at church and extended family members. We're not concerned about his attachment. He's pretty solidly attached to us and still displays good signs of attachment. He's only hugging people he knows well, and that he knows Mark and I know well and that he sees us interacting with. But I still had to have a talk with him at church about reserving hugs for family and sharing high-fives and handshakes with friends. Of course, then we promptly went into church and Mark and I were hugged by several people. :)

It's hard to know if we should curb Dima's enthusiasm for loving on people. It's almost like he wants to share his joy with the world. And it's not wrong for him to want to hug people, we just need to teach him the appropriate times and places.


Colleen Wheat said...

Courtney and Mark-
Hey! Colleen Wheat from MI here. (Well, now living in Atlanta, GA after a job transfer for Rich over 2 years ago, but still...) I am enjoying reading your Adoption Journey very much.
I wanted to comment on Dima's exuberance for life. Patrick was similar when he was young. I once mentioned to someone, he acted like he had no love at home, so had to get it from whomever he could! We did work with him about appropriateness as you are with Dima, but what a gift to have! Patrick is now the most caring, loving young man ever! (And I am completely unbiased! :-))
Take care and prayers continuing for your family and possible additions to it!

Jane said...

I wish we were all overwhelmed with happiness!!!!

Julie said...

Um, small world. Colleen and Rich went to Meridian. I know you guys!

Courtney - Do you need to limit the physical thing because of them being adopted and there's an attachment issue that could arise?

his wife, their mama said...

What a wonderful sight for you and Mark to experience. I am so glad to read of Dima's breakthrough. I love watching children pretend play and what Dima does with his bear sounds so incredibly cute!
I understand your concern for wanting to tame down Dima's bear hugs. I'm sure some people can be taken by surprise, in a good, by that. I certainly don't have any good advice to offer, but I will be praying. Hopefully as his speech develops he can communicate with you WHY he chooses to do that and maybe that'll help you understand his perception and help guide him to a more appropriate boundary.

Courtney said...

Julie--I'm not sure we NEED to limit it, it just takes people by surprise. Most people hug in rather controlled environments--like during morning greeting at church. For example, if I saw you in Wal-mart I wouldn't run up to you and give you a bear hug. :) :)We'd probably exchange the usual "Hi..it's so good to see you.." etc. and then give hugs. It's more a matter of teaching him practical social skills.

That's where it's hard. I don't want him to think he can't hug people; I just want to find a way to teach him the appropriate way to hug people. :)

And really, how often do any of us even hug our children spontaneously? It's usually when we (or they) leave, or bedtime, or they ask for a hug. Maybe we all need to be more spontaneous huggers. LOL

Jane--me too!!

Debbie said...

I need to learn to be a more spontaneous hugger! How great to hear that Dima has more exuberance for life. That's wonderful.

Julie said...

Courtney, thanks for clarifying. That makes total sense.

Although, I'm worried that if I bumped into you at Walmart you seriously wouldn't run up to me and hug me? We'd have some small talk first?

Watch out girl. The next time I see you I'm gonna tackle you! And then have some chit-chat time :)