Now let’s rewind so that all the readers understand what led up to this. When we met Stasik almost two months ago, he was not very adept at doing anything. He was used to doing nothing all day in his crib and a few times a day someone would stick some food in his mouth. His only job really was to chew and swallow. Now in our house he is going to get plenty to eat and an abundance of attention; the caveat is that he is also going to be strongly encouraged to learn to do things on his own. The third day we saw him in the orphanage I placed a teething cookie in his hand. Now if you remember back to that blog post, he freaked out when this happened. He dropped the cookie and cried until I actually placed the cookie in his mouth. Basically, if I did not feed it to him, he had no clue what to do with it. We worked on that every day for the remainder of our stay in Priluky. I would put in his hand and show him what to do with it. We finally made progress on holding it, but when it would get close to his mouth he would drop it, then he would finally take a bite and then drop it and spit it out. He was thoroughly confused. Since he has come home we have continued to work on this proficiency. My secret weapon the last few days, though, has been Carter. Carter gets cookies, banana slices, Fruit Newtons, etc. for snacks. He also eats chicken nuggets sometimes for dinner. Carter will walk around the house and Stasik will watch him. When he sees food, it is like a hypnotist swinging a pocket watch; he will not take his eyes off of it. This is actually working to our advantage because now instead of me just showing him what to do, he watches Carter intently and sees how he feeds himself.
Yesterday we had a follow up appointment at the doctor. I happened to have some oatmeal cookies in my diaper bag and as we were sitting in the waiting room I wanted to use that time for a teaching opportunity. I took out a cookie and Stasik watched it with the vision of a hawk. I took a little piece off and set the rest of the cookie down. I placed the cookie in his right hand and before I could grasp his arm to help him, he immediately put the cookie in his mouth. I thought it must have been a fluke so I gave him another piece; he did the exact same thing. I truly almost cried right there in that office. Weeks ago he could not even take a bottle correctly and now here he was feeding himself. As amazed as I was at that, he had worked the kinks out of a few more new skills that he showed us all later in the day.
When we arrived at our house, we had to change him out of his clothes; as special as our cookie moment was, the entire incident must have spurred a prolonged episode of vomiting. I stopped the car several times on the way home to clean him, but his onesie was still quite a mess. We put him in a new outfit and after about 30 minutes, the vomiting finally subsided. We have a bumbo to help him learn to sit up and we place him in it quite often to build up his core strength. It has helped him improve immensely so we also utilize it when we are feeding him. He sits up more when he is being fed and it is much more therapeutic than the high chair right now. We feed him and Carter at the same time so that neither bot gets upset. Most of the time, though, Stasik finishes his food first because he eats very quickly. After he is done he always wants more and if he sees someone else with food he will cry and just stare down whatever they put in their mouth. He has plenty to eat, but he is just used to not having enough. This activity has decreased substantially, but sometimes old habits die hard. Today, our new addition acted like Marine Sniper; he sat and waited patiently for an opportunity and when it presented itself, he took his shot.
Carter was walking a little too close to Stasik, who was in a sitting position in the bumbo. At the perfect time and with the speed of a cobra, Stasik reached for the nugget with his left hand. He snatched it from Carter’s loose grip and hastily and unerringly stuck it in his mouth. Stasik’s unassuming brother did not know what hit him. Carter checked his hand to make sure of what had just happened. He kept pointing at Stasik and looking back at us as if to say, “Hey, did you see that; what are you gonna do about that”? What could we say; we were just as astonished as he was; only we were probably a little more impressed. Mama bent over to get the nugget and gave it back to our eldest son. After placing the nugget back in his hand, Carter bent over and stuck the nugget right out in front of Stasik’s mouth; as soon as he tried to take a bite Carter pulled it back quickly, pointed at him, waved his finger, and haughtily sauntered away. I think that was his way of saying, “listen brother; that was pretty good, but it will never happen again." Carter kept his distance for the rest of the night. Anytime he had to walk by him he was very careful; it was like he was walking around an open manhole.
Carter went to bed at 8:00pm and Stasik was still up. I wanted to try to give him some more milk before he went to bed. He had thrown up a lot and right now every calorie counts. I fixed a bottle and set it on the floor next to the couch. By this time Stasik was out of the bumbo and playing on the floor. When I walked to get a bib from the bedroom I came back and witnessed him army crawling across the living room to the bottle. I let the whole event play itself out and just watched. As much as we have tried, we have never been able to get him to hold his own bottle. However, in the last few days he has watched Carter roll around on the ground with a sippy cup. I wondered what Stasik’s plan was once he finally arrived at his destination. I figured he would push the bottle over and start crying until I returned to the room and fed him. With astonishment I watched him reach out and do some superman move with both hands outstretched while lifting his chest off the ground. He grabbed the bottle, rolled over and put it in his mouth. He held it up and drank out of it until I took it away to burp him.
In sports terms, our boys had scored a hat trick. Three milestones accomplished by two remarkable kids. What a great day for our family!!
As I laid Stasik down to go to sleep I could not help but wonder what he would be doing at that moment had we not adopted him. He has been a blessing in our home; his accomplishments belong to all of us, but mostly to him and his perseverence. I cannot imagine what these two competitive brothers are going to accomplish together. It is going to be a joy to watch and find out, though.