A couple of nights ago we realized we have hit another milestone in Kenny's transition. We were goofing around in the kitchen with some young friends who were staying with us for the evening, and Kenny was trying to teach them some Russian. They asked how to count to 10, and so Kenny started counting in Russian for them, and when he got to "6", he said it in English, so we joked about it and he started over...and did the same thing!! There was this puzzled look on his face as he realized he couldn't remember the Russian word for 6...ot 7 either!! He tried 3 or 4 more times and then turned to me asking what the words were, feeling a tiny bit foolish and proud at the same time. We quickly grabbed the phrasebook and found the words to fill in the blanks and he laughed so loud, it was if he was saying to himself "Hey Doofus...of course you know it!!" and then went on as if nothing had interrupted him to try and teach the numbers to our friends.
For me, it was one of those moments that often go by unremarked in our unusual little life here...a marker on his road to English success, on the road to transitioning more and more into his new life. I know this has been a little remarkable for our family, that Kenny has fit in so easily, so swiftly, so firmly, as if it has always been. Not discounting the small challenges, but what has remained a constant is that overall, this has been one of the best decisions we have ever made in forming our family...to ignore the naysayers and embrace God's leading to this little boy.
School, which starts next week, will bring about change more quickly as he is immersed in a language rich environment with a wonderful and understanding teacher. We are so fortunate to have Kenny being taught by Matthew's teacher from last year. She knows and understands our family, is encouraging of all parental involvement, and is exceptionally skilled at working with kids who are struggling for various reasons. I think he will have a great experience, but I also fully expect I will be down at the school much more than usual this year.
So it appears we are about to enter the new terrain we have heard so much about, the "Kenny has No Russian and Not Enough English" Express Train! It is barreling down the tracks at us, heading straight to the heart of our family and I know it will bring with it more frustration and aggrivation for him as he tried to communicate but at times doesn't have the language skills to rely on to get his thoughts across. This stage may prove a bit easier for him than for other children, as he has already proven that he has found ways to adapt to his existing speech deficits due to the cleft, communicating in other ways. That may be helpful during this transition as well.
In other news, 2 days until our church Retreat so we are scrambling to get things together for that. We are looking forward to the weekend on the Grand Mesa.
As I sit here typing, I was interrupted by the cutest thing...and I have spent a moment thanking God for the blessing of my sweet boys. First, Kenny came in and reminded me that we needed to go to the Dollar Store after swimming lessons today. He had a small package of candy he purchased there the other day, and everyone else ate it so I had promised him that I would replace it (He obviously made a good selection!). He then asked me "Please Mama, Matthew and Joshua dollar too?" because he didn't want them left out. Not 2 minutes later, before I had the chance to respond to his request for the other boys Joshie came in with his backpack on. He informed me "I have my wallet in my backpack Mom, so if you need lunch today I will buy it for you! I have one dollar!" He had saved it from last week when a friend gave them each a dollar. I then told him he would now have $2 as I was going to give each of them a dollar at Kenny's request. He excitedly ran out the bedroom door, dollar in hand for each of them, yelling "Thanks Kenny!". 2 minutes later Matthew walks in and asks "Mom, do I really get a dollar? Or is Josh foolin'?" and I said yes and he walked up to me, Lego airplane in hand (I'm surprised it wasn't the enormous aircraft carrier he made and has moved around the house for a week!) and gave me a big hug and said "Thanks Mom! I didn't even do anything to deserve it!".
And I thought to myself about all three of them, yes you did.