Once again, Jonathan surprised us by doing better than we had dared to hope on the flights home. He did get upset at security this time, but that was something of a blessing, as the security agents moved us through the line very quickly. Then we had a late dinner at the same restaurant we had eaten at with Isabelle and Hallie three years earlier. We met another American family at the gate, and had a nice time talking with them. Then, Jonathan and I went to play on the moving sidewalks. He LOVED those. I think he would have played on them all night if I had let him. Fortunately for me, it was almost time to board the plane. :-) He laughed during take-off, and then sat calmly playing with his seatbelt and cupholder until they served dinner. He ate a second dinner, and then curled up with his blanket and fell asleep. He slept for eight hours!! Greg and I each got a bit of sleep too. Once he woke up, he ate breakfast and then was happy to play by himself until time to land. He didn't even get scared when we landed this time. We didn't have any trouble at the airport, and made it safely to the hotel in LA about 10pm Pacific time. Greg and I hadn't had much to eat since the airport dinner fifteen hours earlier, so we were very hungry. Greg ordered some food, and I gave Jonathan a bath while we waited. Jonathan loves his baths, but he was very disappointed to discover that this bathtub had a textured bottom rather than the smooth one he was used to. He tolerated his bath, but did not enjoy it. He ate a good dinner, and then we tucked him into bed. He fell asleep easily, and we thought we were going to have a smooth night. Unfortunately, he woke up disoriented about 4am, and went into a full meltdown. Nothing we tried would calm him down. He screamed and thrashed for a full half hour, and it was another thirty minutes after that before we could get him back to sleep. In spite of his terrible night, he woke up in a pretty good mood the next morning, and did well for the whole flight home. A good friend picked us up at the airport and drove us back to our house, where another friend was keeping our children. We had warned our kids that Jonathan was easily overwhelmed and frightened of crowds, so they were all very careful to stay quiet and calm. It was so wonderful to see them all again!
The next few days are a bit of a blur. Jonathan had a hard time adjusting to the new time zone, and Greg and I both had bad cases of jet lag. Poor Victoria adores Jonathan, and tried to show that by yelling his name and hugging him every time she saw him. He responded by screaming and running away. Then, she would burst into tears, because her feelings were hurt. Most of the time, Hallie then started crying because other people were crying. Those first 48 hours were pretty rough and involved a lot of tears. Things are getting much better, though. Victoria is learning to approach him more calmly, and he is increasingly tolerant of her. Often they will sit side-by-side in my lap now. I don't think we have had any days without tantrums yet, but we are getting closer. When he does throw fits now, he calms down much more quickly. More and more of the time, he is pleasant and delightful. I will try to update this a bit more regularly now, so there isn't quite so much information in each post. Please keep praying for us as we adjust to being a family of 10 and try to catch up on our sleep. I'll end with a few pictures of Jonathan playing in the backyard with his brothers and sisters.