The girls let Josiah help them put candy in the Easter eggs before our community egg hunt this afternoon. He was so thrilled to be a part of it all! 🙂
January 21st was the day we saw his precious face for the first time.
And today is March 21st. So today marks two months together as a family of five!
Yesterday I took Josiah out for a bit to enjoy our spring snowfall. And while I imagine it was his first encounter with snow, he was unimpressed. What he DID enjoy, however, was showing off his newly acquired walking skills. He obviously thinks he’s awesome.
And he is 🙂
Some of you may remember that I called him “chunky monkey” from the start, after eyeing his quite substantial thighs in those referral pics. And here in these photos, I can’t help but notice his adorable chubby / chunky cheeks, together with the monkey hat. Chunky monkey, indeed!
“If you show me that again, I’ll throw up! It’s so weird!” she shouted, while her hands grasped her neck and she made exaggerated puking gestures.
It was Saturday morning at the McDonalds playground, and this little 7-year old girl didn’t seem to know how to cope with my 1-year-old son’s missing left hand.
After a few more puking gestures and shouts announcing Josiah’s difference and proclaiming its “weirdness,” the girls and I made our exit. Josiah, blissfully unaware, remained happy in my arms.
The encounter had started as a really positive one. The little girl was initially enthralled with 小弟弟 xiao didi (little brother) and made a big deal of how cute he was. Because his sweatshirt was covering the end of his arm, his difference wasn’t obvious at the start. But when she grabbed for his hand to help him up the stairs to the slide, she realized something was up.
“小弟弟的手指怎么了 Xiao didi de shouzhi zenme le?”
“What’s wrong with little brother’s fingers?
Many of the children in our circles refer to me as “Grace mama” or “Rose mama.” (Cute, huh?) This particular little girl knows me as Grace’s mom, as she and Grace were preschool classmates a number of years ago. She was also part of an enrichment class where I taught English and has been to our home with her mother a couple of times for holiday events.
In response to her question about Josiah’s fingers, I gave her what is now becoming my standard explanation for children:
“He was born missing his left hand; it just didn’t grow in his birth mom’s tummy. But he’s ok – he’s healthy and smart, and he can do the things other one-year olds can do.”
I’ve had the opportunity to have this discussion with curious little ones a few times now. At this point they are usually satisfied, unphased, and ready to get back to playing. But this little gal considered my words, and then for whatever reason began to shout repeatedly:
“小弟弟没有手 xiao didi mei you shou! 太奇怪了 tai qi guai le!”
“Little brother doesn’t have a hand! It’s so weird!”
After a few such shouts, and when it was clear she had no intention of calming down, I pulled her aside and said: “Yes, little brother was made a little differently, but shouting is not polite.” And then in a rather serious tone, I told her firmly, “That’s enough.”
I really thought that would be it. But around this time, one of my girls pulled up Josiah’s left sleeve so that the girl could see for herself that all this was really no big deal.
That’s what brought about the puking gestures and the rather over-the-top behavior I described at the start of this post.
As I reflect on this experience, I have a lot of compassion for this little girl. I imagine that she has her share of social struggles, and it seemed clear that her mother (who I spoke with later) didn’t know how to handle her. Thankfully, as the girls and I began to pack up to go, the little girl became more subdued. She seemed to realize that her behavior had chased her playmates away. Her demeanor allowed me to have a more positive goodbye, and I had a chance to talk with her about not needing to be uncomfortable around those who are different.
It seems that stories like I’m about to share always begin with,
“I just ran to the other room for a second . . . ”
And that’s what I had done.
I was getting Josiah set up for a snack, pushed him up to the table, and then just ran to the other room for a SECOND . . . to give one of the girls a reminder, or to put something away . . . I don’t even remember.
I hear the clattery bang, and then some splashing, and return to find this:
That mug in the lower right hand corner, which astoundingly remains unharmed, was just moments prior on the table, full of lukewarm coffee. And evidently, well within reach of what we’ve begun to refer to as “the power arm.”
Just because his left arm doesn’t end in a hand, it doesn’t mean that Josiah hasn’t already, at age one, found ways to use it powerfully and effectively. (And destructively)
Perhaps because this is kid #3 . . . I find myself a bit more low-key at such moments. So, I took the time to soak the moment in . . . while little Josiah soaked himself in my precious Starbucks coffee.
Surprisingly, the gray and white striped onesie made it through the incident unscathed.
I mentioned in my last post that our little man loves to eat. But sometimes in all that eagerness, he goes a bit too fast, swallowing things whole and forgetting to use those 8 little teeth.
Earlier this week, a friend mentioned that giving Josiah a whole apple might be a great way for him to practice some of those biting and chewing skills, AND a great way to keep him busy for a while.
So on Tuesday, I peeled an apple and sat him in his booster chair, hoping he’d be entertained for 10 minutes or so – enough time for me to do a few things in the kitchen.
It took some time for him to master picking up the slippery apple and getting it to his mouth. This was clearly the first time he’d had the opportunity for an independent apple eating experience. This test of motor skills kept him busy and focused for a good 5 minutes. And then . . . he did it! That first tiny little bite of apple brought a huge grin, and he was off . . .
And not for just 10 minutes, either.
When I looked at the clock and realized he’d been busy at work on that apple for THIRTY minutes, I went to grab the camera.
Oh – he is so funny!
He looks like he might be nearly finished here . . . but oh no . . . he was just taking a little breather! When it was all said and done, Josiah worked on that apple for one hour and 15 minutes!
A healthy snack, practice in motor skills and biting and chewing, and I get uninterrupted time to do the dishes and start dinner.
A grand success!