(Yes, I am well aware Joseph has been home for almost 8 months now. I am late, again. The report was only a little late, the blog post about it is really late.)
It is amazing to me how quickly these months with Joseph have flown. The busy-ness (the birth of Gabe, my sister's healing heart, learning to run a house that has expanded quite quickly, etc.) of our early days with him make that time seem surreal. I'll never forget pulling the van up to the curb of the airport to greet an exhausted little boy not sure what to make of this next stop in his journey. An almost two-year old boy who had known too many homes, too many caregivers, and not enough love.
He responded very similarly to Juliana and in many ways shut down. Dh was remarking how serious his countenance was in almost all the early photos we have of Joseph. These first six months with him, he has come out of shell. He smiles often now, he laughs, he wants attention. It is amazing to think of how much he has changed in such a short time. Being with him each day, and watching this gradual transformation, it hardly seems like it has only been six (ok eight) months. Then, looking back at those early pictures, he hardly seems like the same little boy.
He has also gained so many skills to go along with his budding personality. He now helps get himself dressed. In the early days, dressing him was painful. He was limp and we would have to push his arms and legs into his clothes. Now, he looks forward to pushing his arms through, and the only trouble is getting him to be still. He especially likes trucks, cars, anything with wheels, and he loves to see these machines on his clothes. He even has a favorite pair of truck jammies and sleeps with a toy truck in hand.
He also has learned to run and jump. This is good when at the park, not so good at evening prayers. He has learned to use a fork, sometimes. He eats like a champ and has now taken to pointing to others' plates when he is finished with his own, hoping to be given their leftovers.
Perhaps my favorite early memory of Joseph will be how much he loves to go to Church. The minute the van pulls up and he recognizes where we are, he laughs and has a look of pure joy. He tugs and pulls on our hands to get in as quickly as possible. He smiles at everyone he passes and tries to shake hands with anyone he meets. He especially likes the holy water fonts and as we pass each one (typically we pass four on the way to our pew), he earnestly submerges his entire hand into the font, splashes a little, pulls out his hand, and does his version of the sign of the cross. Inevitably, he ends up quite doused in holy water. I would like to say his behavior during Mass is just as sweet, but we are talking about a two-year-old rambunctious little boy. We do our best, and it is getting better, but dh usually leaves Mass feeling like he had been in battle.
Yesterday someone commented on how much Joseph was growing. I told her he was getting taller and monkey-er, and that pretty much sums up his first six (eight) months with us. What a blessing to have this little monkey and the infectious joy he brings to every one he meets.