James (1) loved exploring everything, which helped as he was quite delayed physically and he made huge leaps just by searching through a box of toys.
Tom (3) was able to verbalise the strange place. For about the first 2-3 months he kept asking “is it mine?”. He was confused as to why he had his own room, his own toys, grandparents etc. He was excited to be able to own things and by extension have some control over them. He did come with a lot of toys but in foster care he hadn’t realised they were his as there were several other children around, he had no real attachment to any of his toys (even those he slept with). Our home was the first time he had a sense of things belonging. He loved it. The Gruffalo outfit above was one of his first “owns”, we gave it to him the day he moved in and he wore it almost every day for the next 2 weeks. The teddy we gave him for Christmas rarely leaves his side, but when James was ill he lent it to him to help him feel better. Because he didn’t have much sense of ownership before it also means he enjoyed sharing “his” things, now this is an essential skill when you have siblings!
Tom takes real pride in his belongings and will tell anyone who listens that he has his own room etc. I do feel this has helped him understand we belong together. He keeps telling me I don’t have sisters anymore as they are his aunts! When we meet new people and they pass comment on some of the more visible “issues” (no easy word without being identifying) with James he declares loudly “he is my brother and he’s wonky” (this is far better than some of the more rude phrases which go through my head). Tom takes great pride in having a little brother and will defend him with great spirit. He doesn’t have quite the same attitude towards us yet but I believe he’s getting there.
Now the real battle is likely to be if he starts getting angry and controlling over “his” things and we get the opposite – “it’s mine!”. For now we are letting him run with it as we think it’s helping understand this is his family and his home, forever. We want him to understand he has a right to own things, to feel that things belong to him, but also that we sometimes need to share things we treasure.