A two year old can't be counted on to have two good days in a row, so we arrived for our visit this morning with hopeful, but not high expectations. Simon was about to have breakfast and he wasn't in the mood to let Mommy or Daddy help--he preferred to show us cars and play. So he was a little moody until Ana got him to eat. We had a good visit in the morning and we had fun showing Simon videos that Grandma Mary sent of Scout and Aunt Claudette sent with messages from Aimslee and Ryker.
We did change two things in our approach to Simon that seem to be helping some, though it could be he is just in a better mood. The first is that we started calling him Nijat ("nee-jaht") more rather than Simon (we still use Simon a little, but not as much). We'd been using Simon because his foster family was trying to help him learn it, but we found he wasn't really responding to us calling him Simon so thought maybe it was too many changes at once. We'll have plenty of time to gradually shift to Simon in the future, but for now it is more important for him to feel comfortable. And he has responded better to us the last two days when we call him Nijat.
The second change in approach became possible because we are more able to recognize his mood changes and escalations now that we know him a little better. Thus, when he is starting to get sad, mad, anxious, upset, etc. we are able to back off and give him space. And we were able to communicate with Nana that this is ok with us, that he needs time and space to calm down. As such, his outbursts are a bit shorter the last two days.
Before nap time, Simon, Daddy and I rode along with Ana and Nino to take Nika to daycare. When we got there, Nino and Nika got out of the car, while we waited in the car. This triggered a Nino-Tantrum, with Simon crying so hard for his Nino. I held on to him tightly, sat him so he could look out the car window, turned on songs on my iPhone and then just talked to him, hugged and kissed him and tried to reassure him. He'd almost calm down, then get upset, then almost calm down, then get upset, but gradually he did better and got to where he wasn't fighting to get away and then to where he had just hints of sobs. I even got him interested in watching lego trains on the iPhone for a little bit. Triumph, especially given that it was right before nap time. Also it was reassuring that we will be able to comfort him in the future when it is time to say goodbye to his wonderful and loving foster family.
We left Simon to take his nap and Misha dropped us off near liberty square (aka freedom square). This square has Tbilisi City Hall, a bust of Alexander Pushkin and a tall monument of St. George slaying the dragon.
|Monument of St. George (not use what the building in the background it)|
|St. George Slaying the Dragon|
We walked for a bit after lunch, and decided to visit Jvaris Mama Church, a small, quiet chapel. A small temple at this site was destroyed by Mongols in the 5th century and the church wasn't rebuilt until the 16th century. The current church was rebuilt in 1825 and the interior frescos were recently restored.
|Jvaris Mama Church|
|Crosses in the brick wall around the church|
|Fresco of Jesus with Rock with Skull|
|6 foot cross with rock with skull|
|Close-up of skull on rock|
|St. Demetrius slaying gladiator Lyaeos|
|St. Demetrius slaying a dragon|
Simon was pretty lively and in a great mood during our afternoon visit. He is communicating more and more with us and as we learn his Georgian, we can respond better to him. Nana sat nearby for awhile, but then gave us some space (and she did laundry) while we played. Simon was totally cool with this arrangement and the only time he asked for Nana was when we didn't understand him. He'd pushed all his cars behind the sofa and was back there with them and told me something in Georgian that I didn't understand. He cried, Nana came and figured out that he wanted me to come back behind the sofa too (she motioned this to me as her English is limited, though better than my Georgian). As soon as I went behind the sofa with Simon, he was happy again. He motioned for Mommy or Daddy to pick him up, came when we called him in Georgian, told us to "wook" (look), called me Mommy many times...It was a great visit! When it was time for us to go, he even wanted to go with us, so Dato (Nana's son who is studying to be a doctor) rode down in the elevator with us and Simon waved as we drove off (into the sunset no less)!