O is a 3 year old boy. He is talkative and cheerful, with a quick smile and an infectious laugh. It's difficult to understand everything he says, because most of his consonants are skipped or slurred. But his vocabulary is huge. And he is always talking. Always telling you about everything he sees, everything her remembers. Always asking, "Why?"
He picks up the rules quickly. He may not always remember to follow them, and he may not like them much, but he knows them. After he's been with us for 2 weeks, he begins to show us his displeasure at having the ones he doesn't like enforced. "Naptime!" is met with a scowl, crossed arms and a seat on the steps. But we haven't seen a temper tantrum yet.
He loves to play with cars, trains, trucks and toys that make noise. Oh, how he loves toys that make noise.
The hardest thing to see about him is the ease with which he has accepted being in the strange house, with no one he knows. He carries the phone around the house, trying to "show" his father his room. He asks occasionally, "Mommy not here?" but my response that she isn't doesn't elicit a reaction. He parrots back "miss you" on the phone calls, but I'm not sure he means it. He lights up at being told he gets to see Mommy (or Daddy) today, but doesn't seem distressed to return to us afterwards. He's lived in so many different places in his short little life that being somewhere different is . . . normal.
He adores his big sister. Watching the two of them confirms for me that this is one area where the foster system gets it right; to separate these two from each other would be cruel. They've lost everything else that was ever concrete in their lives. They need each other.
After he's been with us a month or so, he gets more challenging. "Don't do that" is responded to with "but I want to!" while continuing the action. He's still getting out of bed at night and trying to sneak into his sister's bed. He wants to sleep "with his eyes open." But the defiance is still very age-appropriate. He's testing our limits -- do we mean what we say? What will we do if he doesn't obey us? -- and we are doing our best to remain calm and firm.