So I recently wrote a post about many of the things that made transplant so difficult for me, but the big one I didn't even mention (I only have so much time and energy late at night!) was missing Jamison while Nathanael and I were in Ohio. I was away from him for 3.5 months, right around the time he turned three. It was almost like sending my "baby" to college for a semester. I am thankful he was old enough to talk to me on Skype and on the phone. (And I'm grateful for the technology that allowed us to do that!) It was just a really hard time. Most nights I cried once we hung up from our video calls.
Of course I am also grateful for all the help we had caring for him, as Brad's mom moved into our house for much of that time, and other friends helped so that Brad could continue to work. I appreciated the special effort that went into phone calls or reports of what Jamison was doing, new things he liked that I could talk to him about, which books he preferred. I especially appreciated the toilet-training that took place in my absence! But it was still strange when we were reunited, as I felt like I was getting to know him all over again. Discipline was difficult, I didn't know what he liked to eat, or the new words he had learned...and I had all but forgotten how to relate to a preschooler, as I had become accustomed to only dealing with an infant (and a sick one, at that). It was almost like Brad and I were each single parents to only children during that time.
Now that I've been home for over a year, things are just about as "normal" as they can be. Jamison is more of a snuggle-bug than ever. (He kissed my face this morning while I was talking to my mom on the phone and tried to make me laugh by hugging and tickling me. So cute!) He has become a little more jealous of our time and attention, especially as Nathanael gets older and requires a different kind of attention from us. He will sometimes ask me to put Nathanael down for a nap at 9:00am. Hmmmm. It's not really that Nathanael is tired, just that his presence is inconvenient to his older brother. Sounds like normal big brother behavior to me!
What's sweet is that Jamison is starting to learn the benefits of showing love to his little brother: we appreciate and praise him for it, and he gets a little brother who will play with him, and will often do what he wants! Today they took their first
bath together. It was pretty cute, and I'll post pictures later. Jamison also helped Nathanael climb into his bed to play there today. They had lots of fun with stuffed toys and pillows. It was especially cute when they were patting the wall, and Jamison instructed Nathanael to say "wall." " 'All," said the little guy dutifully. *I* don't get that kind of response from him, but when his *big brother* asks, he'll talk?! Oh well. These lessons are just the first of many that he will pick up from his brother.
I'm also enjoying the growth in confidence I'm seeing in my big boy. He is adjusting really well to being around other kids, and is not afraid to try new things. At the park the other day he climbed up (and down again) those round ladders, some climbing walls, and then tried the monkey bars, before falling on his back. But he didn't give up. He ran off to play, and spent an hour or so in the splash pad!
He still talks a mile a minute, tells stories (and wants us to tell stories) about dinosaurs, bugs, angry birds (yes, he plays the game...), Kipper the Dog, and Veggie Tales. He loves "big kids' Sunday School" and going to the park. He has become much more physically coordinated, but also takes more risks, he doesn't know his own strength, and sometimes runs down his brother. Being gentle does not come naturally. He thinks he's the boss and wants to be in charge of everything. Yes, he's a typical four-year-old. I yearn for peace and quiet, gentleness between my boys, no pillow- or tickle-fights, and no conflict. I am a typical mom. Now we're just learning to find healthy middle ground.