Sunday, June 26, 2016

Temporal Concepts and Language Delay

In my last blog post, I shared the 6-year wait and recent "reveal" of our Universal Orlando/Disney Cruise trip.  Planning for this trip consumes much of my free time these days, so I figured I'd just go head and blog about it.

Ken and I booked this trip late 2015.  After narrowing down trip details, we had to decide when to tell the kids.  We revealed the trip to our older kids on Christmas, but chose to not tell the boys until closer to our travel time.  In the end, Tian, who can hear very well, picked up on our chats and figured out our secret well before the official reveal we did for them earlier this month.  Travis, though, had no idea beyond knowing that we would "one day" go on a Disney Cruise (Mickey boat, as he calls it).  If he would ask about a cruise, we would say, "We'll go when you're 9 or 10."

We considered not telling him at all until the day we were set to leave.  In the past, when an exciting day is upcoming, he gets very frustrated that it isn't happening now!  He has thrown fits, been mad at us, and shut down over it, so revealing the trip too soon wasn't something we wanted to do.

Over the past year, he's gotten a better grasp of far-in-the-future events.  That, coupled with a few other facts...

- he needs the opportunity to actively countdown while coping appropriately with the wait
- extra calendar exposure never hurts
- the boys need to learn to snorkel before the trip
- the boys need to increase their hiking distance before the trip
- Travis needs to practice controlling his noise levels in appropriate settings
- both boys need to work on dinner manners

...led us to go ahead and tell them around Travis' birthday.  I'm so glad we did! He hasn't been upset once and refers to the calendar often.  This entire week passed with us forgetting to mark the days! That just makes the days pass even faster.

The very non-Pinteresty countdown calendar we put together.
(Made from a ChickFilA Cowlendar, thus the bovine feet)
The advice I have to other parents who have kids struggling to grasp waiting over a long period of time is...just keep exposing your kids to a calendar. Use photos on your phone to go back in time and talk about how many days, how many weeks and months ago something happened. For Travis, relating time to the past seemed easier to grasp than the future. I feel like the understanding of the past was a foundation for the future time concepts to "click" for him.
At Costco, he noticed this advertisement and found
a picture of the Mickey Boat.

The boys will be in camp for the next two weeks.  After that, we plan on spending the summer working on our snorkeling, hiking, and dinner manners!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Our Disney Fantasy

This is a screen shot from the email I sent Ken after seeing Tian's profile on Rainbow Kids the day before his first birthday. (Note the date.)

We had booked a Disney cruise for the following spring and had been counting down the weeks and days since Christmas.  The cruise had been the major gift for the kids. (Not easy to give young kids a vapor gift with a promise of reality over a year away. But when you live debt-free, that's what you have to do for big trips!)

I had opened an email with Tian's file and the girls were looking at it over my shoulder.  They instantly said, "That's our China Bro!!"  I'll never forget telling the Brownies, ages 9, 7, and 6 at the time, that we could not both cruise and adopt.  We'd have to choose one for now and put off the other until later.  Ken and I didn't want to start the adoption process by taking something away from our bio kids against their will, so we asked their opinions, truly caring for their feelings.  I don't think they waited a half second to answer, "Skip the cruise. We can go later with our new brother."

My young kids were not perfect by any means, but they were damn good kids. I don't think I could have been prouder of them. This was the first of many sacrifices they willingly and even enthusiastically made to adopt the boys.

Next month will mark 5 years since our "Gotcha" days and the time has finally come for us to take that Disney Cruise the kids gave up 6 years ago.  They said the wait was totally worth it and now, we go as a family of 7 and we get to enjoy the cruise not just for ourselves, but through the boys' eyes.

We just paid off the cruise, celebrated Travis' 8th birthday, and hit our 100 days remaining in the countdown to the trip, so decided to tell the boys. (We had told the older kids at Christmas, so they've been counting down for 5 months already!!)  We will use the next three months to really nail down calendar concepts with the little boys!

Enjoy the clips of the reveal!