So, I'll just try to think of some overall observations, I guess. First of all, Caleb is absolutely wonderful. Sure, our other kids do get a bit exasperated when he gets into their things and there is no longer a fight over who gets to change his diapers, but there is still a lot of argument over who gets to sit by him in the van, who gets to push him in the stroller, etc.
Some of you might remember that while we were in Ukraine, Caleb basically lived on bananas and yogurt. While those are still favorites, he has expanded to pizza and spaghetti and hamburgers and sweet n sour chicken and corn and beans and sweet potatoes and pineapple and apple slices and milk and Coke and apple juice and rice and potatoes and . . and . . . At his Dr. appt he weighed 36 pounds and was 35 1/2 inches tall. He handles a spoon quite well and not bad with a fork either. He still is not crazy about French fries. He likes to dip the same one in the fry sauce over and over again, just sucking off the good stuff.
He can say no (his favorite word but usually spoken in a very nice voice) mama, dada, gramma, kitty, sock, shoe, up, banana, Teresa and mimics lots of other words. He mimics signs for play, more, milk, and sometimes dog. He can follow directions like 'go get your coat', 'get your shoes' (though he will bring ALL of them, not just a pair), 'get in your chair' He occasionally shoots off a string of words that I don't understand but the tone of voice indicates that maybe I really don't want to know what he is saying--then I have to put my finger on his lips and remind him 'nice words' He also sometimes sings in Russian?/Ukrainian? and then I would love a translator. He has put on his own coat totally by himself 3 times (upside down each time), has got on a sock 2-3 times, can pull up the front of his pants (the back gets stuck on his diaper) He has even put pee in his potty a few times (today he knew he did it and jumped up to show me!) and poop once. He hasn't pooped in the bathtub for quite awhile. He very much likes the Barney song and anticipates the "with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you" part. He also loves the "It's signing time with Alex and Leah" song from the Signing Time DVDs and sways back and forth and tries to copy the signs. He can do high fives, knuckles, and thumbs. He folds his hands prior to eating while we pray.
There is some progress in his relationship with our kitty, Jade. I really wish I had taken a video of their first few days because it was so comical. I can still picture Caleb on forearms and knees with his bum-bum up in the air studying the cat. Or even curiously following the cat. As long as the cat was staying still or walking away, all was well and good. But if the cat would come closer, Caleb was immediately, quickly backing away saying "Neh, neh!". The cat would actually stalk Caleb and spring out at him at times. Caleb still notices where the kitty is, sometimes scoops her food out of the sack into her bowl and will pet the cat under certain conditions but still doesn't want to lay beside her to get his diaper changed.
His Welcome to America party on April 19 at our church was a lot of fun. I was so touched by all the people who showed up on a Saturday afternoon and by so many lovely gifts. For those who don't know, the room was decorated in red, white and blue. A special display was made showing his citizenship paper, a letter from President Bush and the photocopy of our birth certificate in Ukranian. We played a flag trivia game, opened packages, ate yummy cookies, drank punch and my pastor's wife (who is also an adoptive Mom) shared about the need for church and family to welcome him into our lives. He received a booster seat for the table, many adorable outfits, diapers and pullups, a matress cover and a sheet set (finally put them on his bed tonight), gift cards, money, books, toys--even a plastic replica of the Statue of Liberty that was actually purchased on Liberty Island.
On April 27 he got to wear his green Rainbow shirt and navy blue vest and go up on stage at church with the other Rainbows (a church club for 3 and 4 year olds) to receive his badge and a crown.
Today we were at Arctic Circle for lunch and after wearing out his French fries (see above) Caleb went over to the indoor play area. Another little boy enticed him finally to climb up the stairs. Once Caleb got the hang of it he was up the stairs, down the slide, up the stairs, down the slide, over and over and over. By then the little boy was trying to get him to crawl in the tube but Caleb wouldn't have it. Finally after Blondie left, Caleb did climb through the tube. He wasn't too crazy about the landings with their woven metal (or plastic) I noticed this at a playground yesterday as well. I think maybe it scares him to be able to see through to the ground.
I think I'll close on this note: a couple weeks ago we were at a small restaurant helping a friend's grandson with a fundraiser and this ambulance pulls into the parking lot. My oldest son--with an autistic spectrum disorder--was immediately talking about wanting to greet the driver when he entered. Sure enough the unsuspecting guy was greeted with a big hug upon arrival. Thankfully the man was very kid-friendly and showed our crew the inside of his ambulance, much to their delight. He also spent quite awhile talking to Caleb--thought he was so cute. He had a brother (I think it was) with DS whom he dearly loved and is also in the process of an adoptive home study. My husband told him about Reece's Rainbow, of course. Wouldn't that be cool if he and his wife end up adopting an angel from that site.
OK, it's 3:01 am and my brain has retired. This is the best update I can do at this time. I hope it gives at least a hint of how wonderful we think Caleb is.