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The good AND the bad.

Bad: Waking up at 4:30 am. Good: Seeing the beautiful sunrise (although, I wouldn't really miss it!)

 

Bad: Getting my first Nasko bite.

Good: Receiving my first unprompted, spontaneous kiss.

 

Bad: Putting Nasko in "time-in" 13,000 times today.

Good: Seeing the fruits of our labor as he learns the routine and genuinely acts sorry.

 

Bad: Wearing out a five-year-old means that Mama and Taty have to be just as (if not more) active.

Good: I'm building muscles I never knew I had!

 

Bad: Having to force Nasko to hold my hand in public places.

Good: Hearing Nasko whisper my name as I come close.

 

Bad: Singing the same three songs over and over.

Good: Hearing Nasko sing those same three songs over and over.

 

Today was bad and today was good.  Nasko refused to sleep any longer than 4:30, so the day began with a "fight."  He played well at home, but became really wound up about mid-morning.  Fortunately, that's when Taty gets all his energy too, so they did lots of wrestling and physical play.  Mama really just likes to do puzzles.  :–)

Nasko did demonstrate his ability to sing "The Clean Up Song" during some table time this morning.  I was able to catch it on video.  If you didn't see my link to the video on facebook, here it is:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKz-_C_4zkI&w=420&h=315]

If you remember, we went sledding and played in the snow yesterday morning.

Today it was 70 degrees, so we played at the park in our short-sleeved shirts.

Welcome to the midwest, Nasko.

The park ended up providing a major turning point in Nasko's attachment to us.  We went to the local park in Athens, and fortunately for us, there were no other children there for the entire two hours we were there.  Nasko had the whole area to play and test his boundaries.

And test them, he did.  He tried to "escape" from the park a few times.  He also tried to run back to our vehicle unattended.

We've started a new discipline technique that really seems to be effective with him.  (Now watch, tomorrow, it won't work at all...  Oh, the evolution of parenthood.)  When Nasko does something wrong, for example throws something at the dog, we instantly tell him "NO THROW."  We then wrap him into a restraint that does not allow him to move his hands or legs.  We continually say "No throw.  No throw." and eventually add "Lecko [easy]." and "Pet Allen.  Pet Allen"  We then stroke Nasko's arm in a soft manor that will remind him how to pet the dog.  When we feel that Nasko has had a sufficient amount of time in this position (less than a minute), we let him up, but require that he kiss us.

When we first started this routine, Nasko would scream and throw his body.  I actually was head-butted a time or two.  By tonight though, Nasko knows we're coming for him.  He knows the routine.  He sits quietly and receives the discipline.  He even knows when to kiss Mama and Taty.  Progress.

While at the park, we continued to use this technique.  (It doesn't matter the setting, this will be our routine.  If you see us drop to the floor in the middle of Supper and Study at church tomorrow, you'll know what's happening.  ;–) ) Nasko has begun to understand that things aren't changing.  His toys will still be there when he wakes up.  Mama and Taty always magically show up in his room shortly after he wakes (thank you, baby monitor).  No matter what he throws, or how hard he throws it, discipline is administered.

For the first time today, Nasko actually responded to some simple verbal discipline ("Nasko, come here."  "No, Nasko."  "Hold my hand."  "Lecko.  No throw.")

Because of his sense of security, we've seen some other small (but feel like huge) developments.  At the park, Nasko desired to either hold our hands, or be carried around for much of the time.  He started out by going down the slides independently, but after I went down one with him, he was delighted.  At the bottom of that slide, he grabbed my hand, and gave me my first spontaneous kiss.  After that, he wanted either Chance or I to accompany him on every slide.  Later, he even kissed my cheek without prompting.  More progress.

Nasko showed emotion this evening.  He was being disciplined for throwing something at Allen, and when I allowed him to be "released," he gave me a kiss but then began to cry.  He has only cried in times of anger until this point – and many times there are no tears.  Tonight, probably because of exhaustion, he cried big tears and allowed me to cuddle him and rock him back and forth.

Every night before bed, Nasko lies down and does a rocking/thrashing routine.  He lays on one side and then swings his other shoulder back and forth while moving his fingers in a soothing way.  Rather than just falling asleep, Nasko pretty much rocks himself to sleep by becoming exhausted.  Tonight, for whatever reason, be it exhaustion or security, he did not thrash around at all.  Progress.

When Nasko first arrived, he rarely smiled.  Ok, well, he smiled when he was preparing to do something bad.  Now, he smiles when we interact with him.  He smiles when he's doing something fun.  He smiles when he succeeds at a difficult task.  He does still smile before doing something bad too... but still, progress.

At home this evening, Nasko independently pulled out a toy in the living room. He asked for help to get it open (he came to us as a very independent boy, and we are trying to teach him dependence.)  He then appropriately played alone with the toy for 2-3 minutes.  Following his play, he cleaned up the toy and put it away.  Again, progress.

Today was bad and today was good.

Fortunately for Nasko, we've committed to love him unconditionally - through the good AND the bad.

A Post by our Photographer

Three days home...