While we've never parented a new-to-us 3 y.o. before, we have parented seven newborns. Interestingly, this is not that much different in some ways...and in some ways, it's worlds apart.
It takes time and patience to get to know someone regardless of their age. Much like we would a newborn, we have to discover his preferred bedtime routine, what soothes him, and how he communicates his needs.
Unlike a newborn, he's been around long enough to know what he likes and to be frustrated that we clearly do not. Also, he's attached to people, people that are not here and that he desperately wants. It is heartwrenching to watch and yesterday was a very tough day for all of us.
He needs to grieve. I know that with my head, but my heart is breaking watching it unfold. He spent much of the day just weeping with, and without, tears. Nothing would distract him. Nothing was amusing or entertaining or helpful. He so wanted to be held and wanted to be put down...at the same time. He'd take my hands and wrap them around his waist and then, in almost the same motion, push them away.
We did what we could. We held him, sang to him, rubbed his back, prayed for him, and cried with him.
After sleeping twelve hours straight, he awoke a much happier boy and he's been playing, exploring, and engaging with us most of the day. He is still more subdued than I believe he normally is but, for now, the crying has subsided. Shawn left the apartment to go to the nearby bakery and B brought me his shoes and mittens. So when he returned, we went for a walk and an afternoon meal.
He sits up so well at the table and he's itching to start using utensils to feed himself, but for now, we're feeding him bite after bite, much of which he spits out. He definitely has some feeding therapy in his future. He is very mild mannered and behaves so well when we're out in public.
He does have some self-stimming habits that we'll need to work on. He sits up and rocks with his hippo on his lap when he's tired or just wants a break. He plays with his pinkie on his right hand, folding and unfolding it repetitively, and he tastes everything, much like an infant.
I think some of the stimming will decrease as he learns how to play with toys and increases his dexterity. Right now, he only has a palmar grasp and his play is limited to throwing or banging toys. He has syndactyly and the middle and ring finger of his right hand are fused and I'm not sure how much that is limiting him.
But beyond all of that, I am so impressed with his tenacity, his spirit, his problem solving skills, and his adaptability. He is just a love and we are so blessed that he's ours!