Maybe I'm slow to pinpoint this, but I think that part of our struggle with Etienne is that he doesn't know where he fits yet. Molly is our brilliant girl, Blake is quirky, Zeke is the baby. What is Etienne? I know that he's inquisitive, bright and strong. He seems to be unsure of his spot in the bunch; more unsure now than 6 months ago. And I find myself as doubtful now as I was when we first got home. Mr E tests our love more today than 6 months ago. He longs to please, yet he can't resist pushing every button and bending every rule.
I am hurting so much for him because it feels like he's being discplined all day long. When he is getting disciplined, he is full of remorse and I feel guilty that I have to punish him. Am I being too harsh? I want him to be treated the same as my biological children, so our expectations of his behavior are high, but is that fair? Again, the doubt. I don't feel like a loving mother, just a rule enforcer and boundry setter.
I don't write this to be pessimistic, but to be real for the other families out there who maybe are wondering if they are normal. Although the boys aren't "new" to our friends and loved ones anymore, it's still new to us. I don't share with my non-adoptive friends many of my struggles because I know that they think "it's just being 3," or that by now we should be adjusted. But I am still surviving most days with nothing but Grace.
Yesterday was the first day E and Z experienced a swimming pool! As you can see, it was a hit. We just have to work on developing a little bit of fear of going under...at least for my sake!