Tomorrow is the Big Day...Kenny's birthday. Man, is he over-the-top excited and I am sure he will be wide awake most of the night. We have a few friends coming over tomorrow evening for the little party but if Kenny had his way we would have invited the entire world! He is so cute as he says "My Happy Birthday tomorrow!!". I am going to surprise him and sneak into his classroom before he goes in and decorate a little around his desk. I will bring his cake to share with his classroom late in the day. He selected a Cars themed cake for school, so we bought the plates and hats to match for everyone. I don't normally spend that much (those character plates are expensive!) but this is a special one for him so we went ahead and did it. For at home later that night we went with generic birthday plates.
I got the giggles myself as I was on the phone with my friend sharing Kenny's antics tonight. This is such a precious time for us as a family, even Matthew and Joshie are very happy for him and excited without a hint of jealousy. Joshie wanted to know if he could sing Happy Birthday to Kenny tonight to be the first, but I told him it wouldn't count until tomorrow when he was really 9 years old. Matthew took some money he had been saving that had been a gift to him and decide he wanted to buy his brother a really nice gift and spent it all on him. Now he is anxiosuly awaiting tomorrow so he can give it to him. For those of you reading this who have bio children or adopted infants, imagine for a moment that your child was almost 9 and had never in his or her life had their special day marked by anything...not by a gift or a cake. To most of us that is unfathomable, but to almost every child in an orphanage this is reality. Kenny may be the one getting the gifts tomorrow, but for the rest of us LaJoy's witnessing his glee it will feel like Christmas has arrived a month early.
You know, Kenny's birthday brings up thoughts in my mind of his birth mother and birth father. I don't think of birth parents every year on the boys' birthdays, but this first one with his new family is significant for Kenny and perhaps that has triggered my thoughts. I sometimes wonder if they mark the date in their minds, if when they see November 15th, June 12th or December 26th roll around do they pause for a moment and wonder about the fates of their children. Do they try and create a picture in their mind of what their son would look like as a 9 year old boy versus the infant they elected to relinquish? Do they call their lost sons by a secret birth name known only to them rather than the false birth name assigned each of my three sons by strangers at police stations or hospitals? Do they ever regret making the choice not to parent, reagardless of their reasons? It is often hard when I think of them, knowing that my greatest joy in life which has been parenting these three little boys has been served to me on a platter of sorrow from someone else. A quick little prayer of thanks is given that at the very least, they can contemplate their son's unknown future on his birthday rather than considering his abortion date.
Kenny's presence in our family also brings up other interesting thoughts at quiet moments...like what would Matthew and Joshua be like had they not been adopted at such young ages and instead had been institutionalized until they were 8 years old. Would they have come out of it with the same resilience that Kenny has shown? Would they be hardened to the point of no return?
And what would our lives have been like without them the past 7 1/2 years?
On a lighter note, (OK...maybe not!!) Matthew had an accident at the end of last week, and we are very blessed it wasn't worse. You'll see in photos I'll take tomorrow that he injured his left cheek just barely below his eye. He ran into a metal handicapped parking sign that easily could have taken his eye out. We are amazed that it is healing so quickly as it was quite a gash. At school kids kept asking me what had happened to him and Matthew grinned as I told them straight faced that he had been bitten by a shark. Evidently Matthew didn't use his injury for bragging rights as no one seemed to know what had happened. While not quite on par with the "Q-Tip" incident that my older Blog readers are familiar with, this one was at least self-inflicted and thankfully didn't require an ER visit. We had a brief converstion about his skin and what it would look like when it heals. You see, with his much darker skin color the pigment changes, often for years afterwards, after he gets banged up. He has a spot on his forehead that he rubbed raw when he was little and still self-soothing by rocking himself to sleep that has only recently faded close enough back to his natural skin color that one has to look very closely to notice it. I think we will find this injured area looks much lighter for a long time to come. He didn't say much about that but I think it bothered him a little bit. Maybe it will "turn color" more quickly than other injuries have, we'll just have to wait and see.
I promised an update on the Time4Learning web site and response from the boys (and this is unsolicited and unpaid now). We have been using it for a few days now, and I can honestly say that this is a phenomenal learning tool, and if you have kids at home and haven't checked it out I urge you to do so without delay. Yesterday Matthew rushed in from school begging for "computer school". He sat there easily for over an hour. Kenny spent an hour on it as well the past two days and Matthew would have gone for 2 or 3 hours tonight if I had let him. Josh even at not yet 5 years old easily understands how to progress within the program and how to operate it himself with almost no assistance from me, it is that user friendly...and this is the one thing I have found that will keep him motivated and interested in pre-school readiness activities. All 3 boys adore this, and although there is a "playground" option that can be used after studies are completed which contains over 100 games, they have spent relatively little time there and almost all their time on actual learning activities. This is far more intensive study than I had at first imagined...if you are comparing it to the standard old learning software out there, think again. This is challenging, serious educational material presented in unique and creative ways that keep kids coming back for more. Matthew's third grade subjects and activities are real learning, and cover far more than he would get it in school and in more depth. To say that Dominick and I are impressed is a little of an understatement...we are thrilled with what have found. It is the perfect tool for all three of our kids, but especially Kenny with us unique set of learning issues and gaps. We took him down to 1st grade math although he has functioned fairly well in Math this year at the second grade level...and already in 3 days we found an area that was an obvious gap and was important for him to understand...and have easily brought him up to speed. We literally had to rip the kids off the computer tonight so we may find that we have another problem that arises, too much screen time!!
Well, I guess it is time for mommy to go to bed too as I have a lot to do for our busy day tomorrow! I have my oldest son's First Birthday Party to host!!