Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bye Bye Bloggie

We're signing off! Thanks for reading.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Not Feeling My Blog

I've been MIA, and I'm not sure why. Busyness is sure part of it, but the other part I'm having difficulty defining. One may be the swirl of emotions I'm feeling that I can't put into words (and I'm never at a loss for words). The other is that when I began this blog I wanted it to be edgy and topical, but it has turned into a blah-blah-blah "look at my beautiful kid" blog. (Not that he isn't beautiful and completely blog-worthy -- he is!) But I want also want to discuss real issues related to adoption and mothering, but I don't trust my own voice on these issues sometimes. Do I know enough? Aren't others already doing this much better than I ever could? Some of the issues are too personal to my family, and though I think blogging about them would be helpful to others, I cannot expose my family's private life here.

So...while I work this out, I'll give you Spud updates.

Spud's progress and endearing qualities:
-He knows about 20 English words now.
-He has a regular nap schedule (Praise the Lord!)
-His eating is getting slightly better; he'll eat pizza and strawberries now!
-He loves jumping on our trampoline.
-He loves to mow the lawn with daddy. He'll sit on WMWM's lap for 40 minutes at a stretch.
-He has learned that markers are only for paper.
-he loves to wake up the big kids in the morning.
-He loves giving kisses, especially during meal times when his lips are covered with things I find personally disgusting (oatmeal, peas).
-He has a baby doll that he carries around very lovingly. He takes it for rides in his little stroller and his Cozy Coupe car. He snuggles it when he sleeps. He feeds it when he eats.
-He is enamored with his own belly and everyone else's. He will pat, squeeze and poke his own belly and ask you to expose yours so he can do the same.
-He often requests the books Peek-A-Boo, Please Puppy Please, and Water Water. But don't try to read him any other book -- not interested.

Less endearing qualities and trying moments:
-He'll turn on every toy he has that makes noise (and he has hundreds of them) then leave the room.
-At one point he didn't know that markers were just for paper.
-When I wasn't looking (stupid me) he got ahold of a bottle of nail polish and dropped it on the tile floor in the kitchen. Before I realized what was happening he had tracked it across the kitchen and was covered in a lovely shade of OPI's "I'm Not Really a Waitress."
-When he trips over something or bumps into something, he'll hit, kick and scold the offending object.
-When he gets pissed off, he hurls whatever is near across the room. If there is nothing close he'll go to the kitchen cabinets and hurl Tupperware, pots and pans. Then I'm pissed off. Then there's a war of the wills. Mommy wins (as far as you know).

Here are the latest pics. Peace.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spring has Sprung

What's in there, Spud?



Friday, May 2, 2008

Poor Spuddy

Spud visited the doctor today to begin his immunizations. Poor thing had 6 shots. Ouch!

Here's one side:

And here's the other:

Next month he'll have to have 6 more shots and 6 more two months after that. Then he'll be caught up.

I had to hold him down while the nurse used him for target practice -- that was awful. Next time I'll be taking grandma to hold him down and I'll wait outside. Spud was so mad at me he wouldn't look at me all the way home and then he refused to eat lunch.

After his nap Spud gimped around like an old man. Since he had shots in both legs, he couldn't figure out which one to favor, so he would take a step and lift one, then take a step and lift the other. I felt terrible for him.

Spud continues to find new ways to make us laugh. WMWM, Tater, Race & I all wear glasses. Spud thinks he should be wearing them too, so he keeps trying to take ours off so he can try them out. Finally I gave him a pair of my old glasses to keep him busy. I'm pretty blind, so he toddled around like a drunken sailor for awhile.

Here is a fun picture that obviously wasn't taken today!

Hoping for a return of the happy face tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cloudy Days

Lest my last post make it sound like the last 3 weeks have been all sunshine and roses, let me say that I could only write that post after having a few consecutive good days under my belt.

Our first couple weeks home were hard. The exhaustion from the travel and emotional roller coaster of the trip settled on me like a black fog. Many days I wept. I mourned the passing of many things -- my relatively unencumbered lifestyle, spending time with my husband and older kids, the childhoods of my older kids, my personal space, just to name a few. Spud needed me 24/7 (of course), and I was sure I wasn’t meeting his needs. Guilt. Sometimes I didn’t like him. More than a few times I thought we had made a mistake.

Though a couple weeks seems short, it felt like they lasted forever, and I am only now able to put that time in perspective. Looking back, I should have expected and been better prepared for the stress of those first weeks. I would have let go of the fantasy of falling in love instantly with my child and being the perfect mom and wife. I continue to struggle with the guilty feelings of not doing enough or being enough for Spud and the rest of the family, but I try to remember to give myself a break. I try to remember in those moments of despair that the moment won’t last forever.

I know for many people the black fog lasts longer than a couple weeks, especially if the family is dealing with attachment issues. My heart goes out to these families.

I’m reading The Post Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption by Foli & Thompson. I wish I had read it before I left; it really speaks to the feelings I’ve had since we’ve been home. Even if you’re not prone to getting the blues as I am, the book will help you set realistic expectations for that much-anticipated time when you bring your child home. Seriously, go get a copy.


Monday, April 28, 2008

You are My Sunshine

(If you want to skip the blah, blah, blah, there are pictures at the end of this post!)

Spud Central is beginning to hum along. Today marks 3 weeks home with him!

Spud is a happy, affectionate little guy who loves being the center of attention. He is spontaneously loving and stubborn – in equal measure :) He seems to have slid into his life here with relative ease. I have not detected any real emotional distress on his part yet, though I’m sure he has experienced more than I realize.

We have had our bumps in the last few weeks – all to be expected. I mentioned the language barrier before; that continues to be a challenge. It’s frustrating not being able to understand exactly what he wants, and it’s frustrating not being able to explain to him what I want. But it’s getting better, and body language speaks volumes (his and mine!).

The sleep issues are also improving. He’s still waking at 4 a.m. on some days, but if WMWM or I go lie on the twin bed next to his crib, he’ll go back to sleep until 6:30 or 7. He’s napping regularly in the afternoons, but usually only an hour or so.

Meal times are definitely still stressful. One day Spud will eat something, but the next day he will reject the same thing. Besides peas and Cheerios, we haven’t hit on anything that he’ll eat consistently. I tend to take it personally when he doesn’t eat, which is ridiculous of me. The pediatrician says not to worry too much about his food intake; it’s the only part of his life he can control right now, so he’s bound to exert his power. That made me feel a little better. But not much.

I have been working on keeping my expectations in check here. Since Spud has slid so easily into our lives with few attachment issues, I tend to forget he just got here and sometimes expect the same from him that I expected from my other kids at his age. It’s easy to forget he probably doesn’t understand 95% of what is said to him and that nearly everything is still a new experience.

Tater and Racer, especially Racer, are smitten with the little guy. They are extremely helpful and patient with him, though they do laugh at him when he’s naughty which encourages the behavior. Tater taught him how to jump on the couch, and now I must break him of that habit even though it’s hilarious because he laughs like a maniac when he does it.

Spud is pretty much a little ray of sunshine in our lives, and we are so happy he is home!

Daddy is Spud's hero, and this firetruck is his favorite toy.

Spud and Dad spend a lot of time tumbling, tossing, and tickling.

Spud gets a big kick out of blowing zurples on daddy's belly. We're pretty sure this is how WMWM got ringworm on his stomach.

This is another of Spud's favorite tricks -- ta da -- Super Diaper Baby!

Brother Tater is passing on all his best baseball tips.

And looking forward to passing on his lawn care duties.

Sister Speed Racer also seems eager to pass along her yard chores.

Racer spoils the kid rotten and tends to give in to his every whim.

And here are some random pictures of Spud being cute.


Friday, April 18, 2008

He's Sleeping!

Spud is napping, giving me a chance to update here.

I was going to give a recap of our trip to Ethiopia, but it was so personal that it's difficult to express. Also, every time I try to put into words what we experienced there, it ends up sounding like trite generalizations -- i.e. the people are beautiful, hardworking, friendly, etc. Romanticizing the country doesn't do it or our children justice. I will say this, the city is beautiful and terrible, and I won't ever forget it.

Soooooo...I'll give you a Spud details!

Where to start? He's much funnier than we had anticipated, and he knows how to work it! This is what we call "the look."

When he's being impish, he'll look at you out of the corner of his eyes while turning his head all the way around. It may not sound funny, but it is HYSTERICAL and we laugh so hard at him, which he loves.

He is loving and will throw his arms around you and kiss you smack on the lips! He loves being tickled and tossed in the air, and he loves his brother and sister.

What have been the challenges? Well, the language thing is pretty huge, though Spud manages to communicate quite effectively with us by grunting, squealing, and pointing. He will even grab your legs and attempt to drag you to where he would like you to be. Napping has been an issue of course -- sometimes we get one, sometimes two -- but never, ever do we go peacefully. But the hardest thing for me has been feeding this child.

We took a trip to an adoption doc in Chicago on Tuesday, and he told us Spud is still suffering the effects of malnutrition (he is 5th percentile for height and 5th for weight). He needs lots of protein and is supposed to be on PediaSure for the next six months. Unfortunately, he refuses to get near the PediaSure and seems to want to eat only noodles and oatmeal. This is stressing me out bigtime, and I would love any advice.

Daddy did bring home some ice cream bars the other night, which at first we couldn't figure out.

But then we decided they were pretty yum!

Other than that, Spud's just hanging out doing your basic kid stuff.

Everything considered, it's all good in Spud Land. Thanks for checking in!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Interesting Posts

We're still recoving here from our trip, but updates are to come. In the meantime, you may want to check out these interesting posts.

Behaviors and Attitudes of Allies to Transracial Adoptees (4/14 post)

An interesting discussion of the role of religion in adoption (4/11-4/14 posts)


Thursday, April 10, 2008

We're Home!

Hi friends and family,
We are home and settling in. The time change is still kicking our behinds, and Spud is keeping us hopping! I'll just manage to get some pictures uploaded here -- I know that's all you really want anyway! Enjoy.

This is Spud on the first day we met him. We went to relax in a beautiful garden by the Ghion Hotel.

Spud checked us out thoroughly and decided we'd do.

This is the first night he was allowed to spend the night with us. Everything went great.

Here we are ready for church!

And here's Spud charming his mama.

Beautiful brothers just hanging out.

Spud can be VERY silly!

Everyone needs a nakey baby picture on their blog.

Finally, daddy and Racer showed up. Spud was thrilled (and so was mama.)

WMWM is such a hottie -- and he carries the diaper bag too!

The boys taking a stroll.

Aren't I precious?

Spud is enjoying the cake served at the HOH 1st anniversary celebration.

This is us with Ephrim, our driver, at a museum.

This is a random picture of Tater's tongue that he took himself. He is quite proud of it.

Dad and Spud enjoying suckers together.

Spud's first experience in a swimming pool.

Hey, he likes it!

He warmed up to Racer pretty quickly.

She's a great big sister.

Racer participated in her first coffee ceremony. Will she love coffee like her mama?

Not so much!

Spud in his PJs ready for the plan trip home.

And here he is - home and already playing with Grandpa . . .

. . . and Meemaw . . .

. . . and Grandpa T . . .

. . . and Grammie!

Hope you enjoyed our pictures.