The past weeks have been tremendously busy for all of us.
At the end of August we took a family vacation to Mexico. It was great fun to spend so much time together, especially given that a week after returning Stephen and I both returned to work. Mola also celebrated his 5th birthday there and was treated to constant singing in both Spanish and English. He loved the attention and now proudly answers “I’m 5!” when asked how old he is. There was a kids’ club that he went to for an hour or two each day and the woman who ran the club was wonderful with Mola. Mostly, though, we spent time swimming, walking on the beach, taking naps and on our last day we took a boat ride which Mola LOVED.
The week after our trip was a whirlwind. Mola went to daycare full time in preparation for his new fall pre-k schedule and he did really well. Stephen and I were busy trying to get lots of things done before the end of summer and before returning to work. It was a really bittersweet time for me, honestly. I looked forward to going back to work, but at the same time knew I would miss spending so much time with Mola. During the last week I also celebrated my 40th birthday. The day began with Mola singing Happy Birthday to me, which I admit brought tears to my eyes and was a wonderful birthday gift.
On August 30th Stephen started his new school semester and I returned to work. The first few weeks back were difficult for all of us. Mola definitely noticed the “reduced mommy time” and had trouble sleeping. He is such a good boy, though, that it really was just him not wanting to go to sleep; asking for an extra book at night or staying awake talking to me in bed. Sometimes he woke up in the middle of the night and I would go and sleep with him. The past nights have been better, though, so things seem to be smoothing out as we all adjust.
Lately Mola has been asking A LOT of questions and telling us stories about Ethiopia and seems to have a lot going on in his beautiful little head these days. For example, at a birthday party a few weeks ago there was a clown. The clown had a live rabbit with her in a cage. When Mola saw it he walked up to the cage and said, “Mom, rabbit, eat?” and was definitely asking if we were going to eat the rabbit. The next morning he told us that in Ethiopia they used to eat rabbit and made cutting motions. We have also heard about the two cows they had and that he drank the cows’ milk.
Last weekend we went to an Ethiopian New Year celebration in Manhattan. Here is a photo of Mola in his traditional clothing (notice the stains from Ethiopian food!):
Mola got very upset when some Ethiopians spoke to him in both Amharic and Sidama. He cried and was very adamant that he didnt’ want to talk to these people. He also asked if this place (the church) was Ethiopia and the next day asked if he was going back to Ethiopia. We weren’t sure if he meant for a visit someday, so we gave a vague, “maybe someday when you’re older” kind of answer, and he again got upset and said “no, Mola no like Ethiopia, no go back”. He is obviously thinking a lot of where he is now and we keep reassuring him that he is part of our family forever.
A few other highlights from the past weeks:
The other day he bumped into one of the speakers for our home theatre system and he leaned over and kissed it. The next day before we left the house he kissed all 5 speakers and our piano.
Mola has graduated to a big boy bike and is also riding his razor scooter with confidence.
Yesterday Mola brought in a cd of Ethiopian music to school for show and tell and apparently he became the teacher as he showed the kids his dance moves, microphone in hand!
A few weeks ago he and I spent a day in Manhattan together. We took the train in (before we had driven) and also took the subway twice. He became very familiar and comfortable with both and absolutely loved them!! We continue to be amazed at what a quick study he is and that he doesn’t really get intimated by new situations.
Mola remembers everything we do, including places, people, situations and even now talks about things that we did or things that happened just days after he arrived in the U.S. The other day we were reflecting on the first couple of days at home and he seemed to remember just about everything about those days.
Mola’s language is exploding. There is very little that we can’t manage to communicate and he uses new words every day. He is also more confident and willing to talk to stranger and other kids in English now as well. He has also started to write his letters.
There is so much more to say, but little time right now!! Here are a few more recent photos, taken on a farm animal sanctuary that we visited in Woodstock NY a few weeks ago: