How’s Cocooning Going & What Does it Look Like

As we near 5 weeks home (1 month ago yesterday we arrived home), we often hear the question, “How’s Cocooning Going?” So, I thought it warranted a post.

Overall, it’s been good. For those who know me, you know how much I like to be out with my friends, hosting friends and just getting out of the house. That has all changed. However, there have been a few things that have helped my sanity level:

1. Walks in the neighborhood and to the park. In the first 2 weeks, we probably went for about 9-10 walks.

2. On a particularly rough day in the first two weeks, my husband came home from work and I promptly handed him one of the babies and said I’m running a few errands – be back in an hour. I remember the wonderful 30 minutes walking around in Walmart in a daze, listening to the quietness (I live in a small town – so it is actually is a quiet Walmart) and just walking around aimlessly. Wonderful, wonderful moments! Wonderful, wonderful husband!

3. Meals being brought by friends – as I have discovered there is more than 1 blessing when this happens. We are blessed with a great meal when I cannot possibly think of or find the time to get into the kitchen and make a meal AND I’m blessed to see a friend for a few minutes. Seriously – so thankful!

4. On the couple of days a week that Jay works in the house, there have been a few times when they have been napping and I get the luxury to leave the house for just a few minutes – even if only to drop off a redbox movie, or stop at the bank, or drop off a stool sample (yes, I know – – – TMI) for one of the twins.

5. We live in a nice neighborhood with a great cul-de-sac. We love our neighbors and often can be found sitting in the front yard – babies on our laps, or on blankets or bouncy’s and able to talk with our neighbors.

So thankful for ways to find some sanity. It has been a good time, but a lonely time, and I’ve sure missed my friends. Thankfully this is just a season and it is SO worth the rewards and benefits we as a family will see. As far as how cocooning has looked for us, here’s what we’ve done so far and what we expect to see in the next several weeks.

First two weeks:
We pretty much stayed at home, the babies stayed at home, and hung out as family.  Noah happily loved on his brother and sister often, happy to help when needed, and occasionally would help hold a bottle to feed them. Jonah occasionally walked over – said I love you to the twins or handed a toy, and then promptly went on his way to play. My mom was here to help around the house and with the older boys, but it was difficult for her to not hold the babies and love them. Those of you who know her, know how hard this was. Just a couple of times during the day when Jay would be on a conference call, both babies were screaming and in those moments where ‘chaos ensued’ I would have mom hold a baby just for a couple of minutes. So thankful to have her support and understanding.

A few people stopped by to either drop off a meal, a gift, or just to say hi for a few minutes. These were nice times for us and eye opening for us as well. During these two weeks,  Micah has been the one who has struggled the most. And one of the ways in which he has struggled has been in the way he wants to interact with me. He would do anything to try and make eye contact with my mom or anyone who stopped by while trying his hardest not to look at me. He definitely is a charmer. And while his personality might be ‘social and/or an extrovert’, the fact that he will try to NOT look at me and smile has been a pretty clear signal that he is struggling with wanting to bond with me. Often times those that come from institutionalized settings will work hard to not connect deeply with parents but be ‘charmers’ to anyone else that come around – consider it a protective manner, perhaps with hopes that everyone will kinda like them – so everyone will ‘accept’ them, at the same time they work hard to not connect too closely for fear of hurt/pain. Already they have had the loss of birth family, and then after being in Hannah’s Hope for 3 months they had special connections / bonding with those that cared for them and they have ‘lost’ them as well.

I did a few very SMALL errands – drive-thru’s, redbox, etc with Makeda (in a town where I can get everywhere and back within 3 miles round-trip) – since she has done well so far, but have made sure that Micah has stayed home in efforts to continue to work on bonding.

Next two weeks:
After a couple of weeks home (and 95+ degree weather with no A/C in our home), we decided to take a family outing/adventure. We went to SAM’s Club/Sears/Walmart to look for a TV. We don’t really watch TV much at all, don’t have cable and pretty much use it for movies only. Well, while I was in Ethiopia picking up our babies the sound went out – yep, there’s a picture just no sound. And knowing that I would be ‘stuck in our house’ aka cocooning, and that the Olympics were coming up – it was time to buy our first TV since we’ve been married (almost 8 years). Jay and I strapped the babies on, Noah and Jonah walked alongside us and we went on our way. Our babies did rather well and truly we didn’t see any adverse reactions.

Since then we have done another family outing (toward the end of these two weeks) took a walk and walked to a small restaurant in town to grab some BBQ. Again, babies did really well.

There have been 2-3 occasions now when Jay has been with the older boys and I have taken the babies to the grocery store. One stays in the car seat in the shopping cart and one is strapped on to me. They love being strapped on and these occasions have been perfect for a small outing.

They are doing great!

Week 5:
My boys are in KS this week with grandparents and Jay and I decided that we would make this week the beginning of getting back to ‘normal’ or at least our new normal. We took a Sunday drive to see the burn areas from the fire, saw Garden of the Gods and went to Old Colorado City to walk around. Babies did great.

In the plans for the next couple of days are running more errands and taking them with us, and tonight we are going to eat at a sit down restaurant! We’ll see how that goes – I’m a little nervous.

This upcoming Sunday we think we’ll take the babies to church, coming a few minutes late, leaving a few minutes early and sitting in the back. My biggest concern is that they still fuss a little before falling asleep and it doesn’t seem to matter which service we choose they’ll either be waking up from a nap or falling asleep for a nap. And of course, we won’t let others hold them yet.

Weeks 6-9:
The following 4 weeks we hope to get used to running around with the whole family. My mom will bring the boys back this weekend and will stay with us for 2 weeks. We’re hoping to allow her to hold the babies some now – which she’s already smiling about! :) We also have 2 close friends that we will begin to allow to hold them over these few weeks. We’ll be watching to see how they do, how they react and interact. We want them to know these families well and feel comfortable with them as they will be seeing them alot. Again – no one will be caring for them in the sense of feeding them, comforting them, changing them or putting them down to sleep, but hopefully this goes well.

We will continue to bring them to church as long as we sense they are doing well – but we still won’t be letting anyone hold them yet.

Weeks 10-11:
Now we get into the groove of things – Bible studies, AWANA’s, school… Little nervous for those times when it’s just the 4 kids and I and how we’ll actually do it all… this might be a time – specifically when at the Bible study for 2.5 hours when I just might have to have someone’s help. We’ll see.

At the 12 week mark:
Jay and I will celebrate our 8 year anniversary – and we plan to have Tara (who helped pick up the babies with me), come over and babysit. We still might not leave until after they are sleeping, and we’ll just go out to a restaurant close by, but it WILL be nice to have a date!

Our hope is that by the 3 month mark Jay and I can get back to at least a date once a month with either my mom (if she’s out visiting) or Tara watching them. And by this point, if we continue to see good improvement by the babies we will begin to allow others to hold them a little. If we sense that they are not doing well (whether from tears or from being charmers and pulling back from us), please don’t be offended when we take them back and go into our little cocoon for a while longer.

Overall, I’m thankful we’re doing this and this has been so good for our family. Thankful for the education we received about this and anticipating our family of 6 to be thriving as we continue on.

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