Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vacation--too soon?

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Half of Illinois Trip
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(Make sure you hit play 2x, once on this page, then again when the screen comes up to start the slideshow!)

We had a great time, definitely. I hadn't put too much thought into how it was going to be for Jet to go. Papa and I had talked a couple of times about it, things we knew to watch for in regards to attachment, etc.... It was a trip we had to go on for a variety of reasons and it was an opportunity for family to meet Jet.

From the start, though Jet was confused as to where we were going, how long to get there and the weather, he never exhibited his previous signs of being nervous/anxious/uncertain. He was hesitant and shy when meeting new people at first. Very normal behavior and a good sign, I believe. However, he was able to see his brother and sister interacting and seemed to fit right in.

The first part of the trip was family centered and busy with the 90th birthday party. We did take the 5 cousins for a photo shoot at the Pic*ure People which turned out fantastic! We had two 8 year olds, one 6 year old and 2 15 month olds!! So much fun, I look forward to posting a few once we hit our 6 month mark for Jet!

As you saw in the slideshow, the 2nd couple of days was at a friend's house which is very resort-like. Papa hadn't been back to IL in 5 years so he hadn't seen "L"'s new digs. Our kids combined with "Z" are safe with many options of things to do. Our munchkins have known L their whole life and are comfortable with her. She enjoys being with them, so it is easy for me to feel "off" and let them go to her. I realized shortly into the 2nd day Jet was becoming too comfortable with L and disregarding us. Peanut and Bug know what Mama and Papa have for rules and expectations still stands but that isn't something Jet could have known, let alone understood. Thankfully, it did come to my attention and I started to pull Jet back to me and Papa, insisting he come to us for things, hold our hands when necessary, etc...

As a side note, vacation is a difficult thing to explain, let alone one Jet had ever heard before. Usual chores are different or non-existant, different parenting is exhibited if other kids are involved, no routine, often more activities planned, lifestyle differences....So many things you don't realize when your other children have grown up with those differences, as they are in EVERY family, knowing that every family is unique. We have answered a few questions along the way but for the most part, it just IS.

For a child, who has one experience of a family/home in the US (or anywhere for that matter!), such a change can be confusing/overwhelming! And though his language skills are incredible, there are some things that aren't able to be explained in a way he can grasp.

Had we spent enough time trying to explain vacation? Did we do enough planning of what we needed to do, what our family/friends needed to not do? It is hard to think of EVERY scenario, each moment of what MIGHT happen.

What did happen I don't think I would have ever come up with in my mind as a scenario. No matter how much thinking I put into it.

Jet knew what state we lived in, we had used a map of America to show where our state was, where we were going, what states we would drive through and we had discussed we would be heading back home. Home and our state were two words we had used many times since Jet came home. We thought they were fairly solid in his understanding.

Leaving went off without a hitch. We had to stop by Papa's family one last time for a quick visit. Then the long ride back through the same states. We stopped at the same exit/restaurant/gas station. (For no reason other than we are creatures of habit!) Our emphasis was on home and our state. We arrived, unloaded the car and drove to return our rented car, picking up our car along the way. It was at a stop on the way home (again) when Jet fell apart. I was asking him a question and when I turned to look at him, I saw the tears glistening in his eyes. I opened up the flood gates by asking what was wrong. He sobbed and sobbed for a little while until he was able to choke out he liked Aunt L's house. He listed all the really fun things to do there as why he liked it and wanted to be there. I did my best to explain we all liked it, it wasn't like that every single day, Z didn't get to do that everyday, fall and snow were coming there too, and we would go back next year.

For a few days after I was told "I can't wait to go back to IL, I like Aunt L, I like Aunt L's house"...alot. Jet has had more melancholy episodes since returning and has been ATTACHED to my side. He has been like a bear on honey when he realizes I am on the phone with L. Jet has become more picky about things in our house, comparing it to L's house. He has become more assertive in things he WANTS, expecting to get them, like food choices, doing activities, not doing chores.

Some of those things could be related to regular family life adjusting, I realize, however the situations do present in similarity to our time in IL.

2 steps forward, 10 steps back...isn't that how the saying goes!! Or at least close! We enjoyed our time, no doubt! We had beautiful unexpected nice weather. Family and friends met our new son and we got to meet new nieces! New memories made! Lessons learned!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Yes, it is Papa singing, playing guitar and a song he wrote on the Smilebox!!


Angie said...

Hmmm...thanks for sharing. We're taking off in November for a vacation. I don't think I ever thought about how Amarin would feel, not knowing what a vacation was all about. Thanks for the heads-up!

Kelly said...

Definitely something to file away. We have a family lake house we got to as well throughout the summer. It is my absolute haven and place for peace, but I could definitely see it confusing a new child.

On a different note... how is the job situation?

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

We're still working up to a longer trip. Started off with a couple of day trips to Denver ( 1 hour). Then did a stay-over one night to Colorado Springs ( 3 hours). Wow! That was really far! At Christmas time planning to meet the grandparents halfway in the middle at the Black Hills (5 and a half hours). So maybe by next summer she'll be ready for eastern SD. If so, we'll hope to look you up!

Robin and Kyle said...

We had a similar reaction (on a 2 year old level) with our son. He liked vacation a little *too* much and begged to go back. It took about a month to get back to where we were attachment-wise before we left.