Julius is about the size of a 3 year old. A head taller than Paul. He is long and thin. He eats like a horse but his thyroid keeps him from keeping weight on. We need to adjust his meds. Julius loves to eat and is not very picky. Sometimes he does not care for a food, but he just eats it a little slower. Julius has learned to hold his head up to eat. He has a very small mouth and a little tongue he likes to stick out to swallow the food whole. They are now swallowing macaroni- noodles, whole oats oatmeal, (not the ground up kind) and small veggie pieces. We are thinking hard on how we are going to get them to chew. They like swallowing everything for now and they really can eat alot!!
Julius loves to clown around and laugh. He loves to make faces. But the faces aren't funny- they are almost scary- like pulling on his eye lids etc. We gently move his hands and laugh with him. He likes physical humor too, he hits things and kicks them with his legs thinking he is very funny. He hits his head on things intentionally and laughs. We love that he loves to laugh, but we need to show him what is really funny! He needs to learn these things he's doing may have entertained the kids in the orphanage, but not in the real world.
When he's with Dad he will use laughter to soften Dad up. Then he will try to knock things off walls, pinch necks with his finger tips and scream! Dad then has to tell him no, but how can he, Julius conned him! And Julius is just too cute!! How could someone that cute be naughty! LOL! With me I know laughter means something is up. I tickle him to get him to continue to laugh but watch closely for what he has up his sleeve! I can't let him rip my glasses off my head!! He's learning Dad's more fun! LOL! Last time he took Dad's glasses, Dad didn't even notice!!??
When I hold Julius on my lap for bonding time, he doesn't trust me. I understand his caution. He holds himself stiff. He and Pauly flinch when you raise your hands up. It takes Julius a few minutes to think about what I am doing, why I am holding him. Gradually he relaxes into my arms. Everything I do is strange to him. I try to get him to respond. I smile- he looks back at me very serious. I talk to him, I say his favorite sound "ba-ba", I sing a song, I kiss his head many times, no response. He watches, but does not respond. There is a way to reach him. We see it. It is just going to take time. He likes to be near us. But he's really wondering about all of this touchy feely stuff.
Julius LOVES his new brothers and sisters. I bet he was quite the clown at the orphanage with his silly antics. The kids love to play with him too but he is in the "I'm going to touch and break everything phase". So they can only play where he can't reach these things. Sometimes they don't find that fun. But he doesn't care!! If they want to play Barbie we can put him in the playpen next to the Barbie things and he gets his own Barbie in the playpen. Of course he throws it! He likes his freedom so he is trying harder to "play" nice so we don't have to keep him contained too much.
He walks to things and does not walk without hanging on to something. I think soon we should be able to get him to let go!
Julius acted very independent when Tom met him. Pushing everyone away. Never accepting help. Now after a few times of us gently but firmly pushing his hands back as he pushes us away, he is accepting being touched. If I hold my hand out to him he puts his hand in mine. He even lets Pauly touch him now. Before he pulled Pauly's hair- just because he could. In Pauly's little world people don't fight back.
Julius now feels concerned for Pauly, he doesn't like to see Pauly unhappy when we tell Pauly no. This also makes Julius trust us less as he sees Pauly get very angry and have tantrums. We are only trying to stop Pauly from slapping his own face. Julius doesn't understand. He just knows we made Pauly cry. He watches us much more closely than Pauly does. The boys were not close at all when Tom visited them and when they were in Bu*lgaria. But now since everything we do for one boy, we do for the other, Julius notices.
God has given Julius the gift of fun and humor. Everyone enjoys being around Julius because of this. I remember our oldest adopted son was like Pauly, people were put off by his disability. Our Molly was in a wheel chair, but just because she was as cute as a button everyone loved her. Now they are drawn to Julius. We can't wait to see how Julius blossoms from all of the correct kind of attention to help stimulate his mind and grow! Right now he attempts to avoid new people, he won't give them eye contact. But he'd easily let them carry him off, away from us. So much contradiction in a tiny body!
I always tell the kids- anything worth doing is hard work. Loving Julius and Paul is hard work- and we all agree- they are worth it!