Monthly Archives: February 2008

All About a Toddler

I have started working on the adoption post that I keep saying I’ll write. Really, I have. Of course, some of the things that I planned to write about are colliding with reality and leaving me a bit, well, grouchy. I will do it, though.

For those who are wondering, I have been having contractions off and on since last night. A bit stronger than before, and they haven’t gone away yet. Of course, they also haven’t reached the point of interfering with my day, so I’m not exactly getting all excited. Just–hopeful.

This post, though, is just to brag on the current youngest, C~. He has been getting more vocal in some amazing spurts lately. Today has just been a constant excuse to call daddy and brag on how clever he is. It all started this morning, when I went down to look for something in our “laundry room”–the pathetic little closet off of the boys’ toy room where my washer and drier reside. As I was looking, C~ came up to me.

“Aurae churj!”

Huh????

“Aurae churj!”

I tried to guess at what he was saying to me. I asked him to repeat himself several times. The best I could come up with was “Aubrey’s church” (Maybe? We do know and Aubrey who does go to a church, although not ours…).

Nope.

He then indicated that he wanted to watch the television. I turned it on, glad for the diversion from what he was trying to tell me, and I obviously wasn’t getting.

“Aurae churj!”

Darn.

It took awhile longer, but the light bulb finally went off.

Power Rangers?

A smile. A nod. A sweet little “Yeah.”

I turned on his older brother’s favorite movie–Power Rangers. A huge grin broke out on C’s face, all the way up to his eyes.

“Tank ou, Mommy!”

Fast forward awhile. Power Rangers now forgotten (my kids regularly ask for shows that they don’t actually watch), C~ comes up to see what I am doing on my computer. What I am doing is searching through YouTube for a video clip that I want to put in my next post. Thinking I may have found it, I push play on one.

“Meet Robinsons, Mommy! I watch! Meet Robinsons!” (At this point, yes, I realize that I am in some ways telling on myself, seeing as how C’s cleverness today has a lot to do with talking about movies.)

As I continue scanning through clips, looking for the one I want, he continues to yell at me, “I watch! Meet Robinsons!” I finally got up and put on the movie. This one did suck him (and his brothers) in for a good portion of the duration.

And just now, as I sat down to type this, C~ managed to grab a toy Pirates of the Caribbean ring from N’s stash. As he ran from his brother, he joyfully proclaimed, “I got!” He then came over, put the ring on his finger and showed it to me.

“An-some, Mommy!”

Yes, C~, you look handsome.

Then it is my turn. He shoves the ring (as best he can) onto my finger.

“An-some!”

I have been amazed at how C’s personality has developed. He was, by far, my most stoic baby. Anyone, other than me, who got near him (or, heaven forbid, tried to make him smile) got the stare. He would scowl, then look straight through the offender.

And then, one day, it was like someone flipped a switch.

Now, I have this bright, engaging little boy with a constant grin and an obvious sense of humor.

This is the best part of being a mom–watching them changing and witnessing who they will become.

 

One more, since he just came to me. N~ had taken a Tad toy that sings the ABC’s from him and run off. When he realized he couldn’t catch his older brother, he came to me.

“Mommy, take it back!”

The toy restored, he is now trying to sing the ABC song with it.

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Updates and Idiots

I had planned on writing an adoption-related post this morning, but I know I’m not going to be able to compose coherent thoughts (and, heaven forbid, might write “accept” instead of “except” at some point), so we’ll just go with a little bit of random stuff for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write my adoption musings later. Unless I’m in labor. I’d take that trade-off.

I am going to try and avoid whining about still being pregnant (although, as I think about it, it is going to come up). Suffice it to say, it seems that my uterus is just a really rockin’ place to hang out. I’m beginning to have visions of the baby hanging out in some swanky ’70s lounge with black leather couches, zebra-striped rugs, and a disco ball, and doing the infamous “Ally McBeal Dancing Baby” dance.

Yep, somewhere around my fourth potty break in the middle of the night, all sanity flies out the window.

Well, since we’re already on the pregnancy thing, I will go ahead and share the pregnancy-related edition of the Idiot Files. I have mentioned before that I go to a weekly networking group. I may not have mentioned, but I am currently the Secretary treasure of said group. After yesterday’s meeting (which I missed due to very icy roads and functioning motherly instinct), I received an email from our group’s vice president (who has rubbed me wrong over some other things lately) asking for a copy of the speaker rotation. I told him that I would email it to him and asked if he could confirm whether or not the scheduled speaker had spoken yesterday since our meeting had been canceled the week before. I also asked him some questions regarding paperwork that he hasn’t gotten to me and told him that I would really like to get everything taken care of since I was (at that point) two days overdue already. I got no response yesterday.

Today, I got an email from him (sent both to me and the group’s president) that did not answer any of my questions. What it DID contain was a request for the three of us to get together to discuss it all. Oh, and since he’s all booked up, would we like to do it Monday or Tuesday at 4:00 down by his office (which is about half an hour from me). OK. He is a man and he doesn’t have any kids. But cluelessness only gets you so far. I tried to keep my sarcasm in check. Really, I did. I may not have been entirely successful. Here was the start of my reply:

Hmmm…How do I say this without seeming overly-influenced by hormones? Suggesting to a woman that she will be in any state to commit to a business meeting an entire week AFTER her due date may not make you overly popular. Seriously, though, you guys work out when you want to meet and let me know. If I can make it, I will. But, honestly, I hope I won’t be able to make it.

 

Moron.

*********************

W~ has been cracking me up this morning (well, during the times that he isn’t making me want to throw him out a window). At one point after he woke up, I asked him to put his pull-up in the trash. I then decided to be specific and tell him to put it in the kitchen trash, not the tiny cans in the bathroom.

“Mom,” he informed me, “I don’t throw them in here, only N~ does. Sometimes he throws them in the noisy bathroom.” I can only assume that he means the hall bathroom, where the fan comes on as soon as you flip on the lights.

Later, he asked me to turn on the television. I told him that I didn’t want it on and that he needed to just go play.

“But Mom, ” he countered, “I think my tummy needs the t.v. on.” As if Scooby Doo would somehow cure some dormant intestinal bug just waiting to take him down. Ah, yes, three-year-old logic. What can I say–I don’t see a career as a lawyer in his future.

*********************

OK, a few random questions, then I’m off to enjoy “quiet time.”

First, does anyone have the BabyTrend Sit n Stand stroller AND an Explorer with a third-row seat? (I know, not asking for much here!) I really want to get the stroller, but I’m afraid that I won’t be able to fit it in the Explorer with the back seat up. And, well, with four kids, that back seat HAS TOO be up. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere that I could fold it up and measure how wide it is. I looked at my sister’s, but foolishly did it when I had my mother and her groceries with me, so I couldn’t put up the back seat to see if it would fit (and I couldn’t quite tell from eyeballing it).

Second question: Has anyone had any experience with using castor oil to start labor? I have known people who did it and swear by it, but I’m feeling a bit timid at the thought. Sean is suddenly all for it since it worked for his brother’s second wife*. Since Sean owns his own business and doesn’t want to abandon his office and clients, he thinks I should try it tomorrow so that he can get his wish of having this business dealt with over the weekend. You know, birthing on a schedule. If it would work, I’m all for it. But, well, if it doesn’t work, what a sucky thing to go through and STILL be pregnant.

 

*Minor point of clarification, just in case anyone (knowing that I’m Mormon) just took that way wrong. His brother (who, by the way, is not LDS) has only had one wife at a time. And, despite what an amazing amount of people still believe, our religion not only does not preach polygamy, it does NOT tolerate it. Hasn’t for well over 100 years. We can’t keep those groups out West from calling themselves whatever they want, but anyone who is found to be practicing polygamy is excommunicated from the church.

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Knock Me Over with a Feather

Before I start–for those who are just dying to know (and I know you’re out there since my blog stats have noticeably increased since my due date)–I kept my word and did Zumba last night. It definitely brought on contractions (especially some of the belly dancing moves), but they stopped as soon as I did. I guess I’ll just have to dance through my day today!

Now for what I really want to talk about…

N~ totally caught Sean and I off guard at dinner last night. My laptop was sitting next to our dining room table, and was scrolling through all of my pictures as we were eating. The kids were watching and saying things like “There’s baby N~…there’s (insert name of one of a bazillion cousins)…that’s W~.” Then, a picture came up from our first visit with T~, N’s birthmother. Since T~ initially didn’t think she wanted any contact, we didn’t have a visit until I suggested it for his first birthday. In this picture, N~ is standing in a little stream running through T’s parent’s yard, with T~ standing next to him. N~ looked at that picture and said “There’s my mom.”

I just said, “Yes, that’s T~.”

Sean almost fell out of his chair.

I don’t know if I’ve really talked about it but, at almost five-years-old, N~ definitely has a concept of the whole pregnancy thing. Especially since I have the Discovery channel on a lot, so he has been subjected to the baby-birthing programs. Anywhoo…So, awhile back, N~ made a comment about being in my belly. I took the opportunity to explain to him (again–this is not new territory) about the fact that he was adopted, and that he grew in his birthmother’s belly. For the first time that I can remember, N~ asked me who his birthmother was (once again, this wasn’t entirely new territory–we have taken the initiative on a few occassions to put it together for him, but we really haven’t tried to force the issue since we didn’t want to push him if he wasn’t ready). So anyhow, I told him that T~ was his birthmother. That was pretty much it. He didn’t act like he was really even processing it, and we moved on to another topic.

That’s why it surprised us so much when he referred to her as his mom last night. I just didn’t realize that he was to the point that he “got it.” And while it did catch Sean and I both completely off guard, we’re certainly not bothered by it. I actually totally agree with the point my sister made when I told her about it. It is pretty cool that it is such a non-issue for him that I hadn’t even realized that he got it. No big, uncomfortable talks that he will remember for the rest of his life (which was always the goal). It was just normal to him.

Now, in talking about this, I don’t claim to have it all figured out. Quite honestly (although I didn’t realize it at the time), I think that he is starting to put some other things together, too. The evening before last, we had a pretty similar experience. Accept this time, it was a picture of T’s oldest daughter that came up on the screen. When W~ asked who it was, I told him that it was T”s daughter, A~ (who they have met several times). N~ said, “That’s my cousin.” That time, honestly, I just said, “Um, something like that.”

Don’t misunderstand–if he asks more specific questions, I will explain it to him. But I want to be sure that he really is ready and wants to know before I delve into that one. Honestly, that conversation won’t go how I had initially thought it would. T~ had very specific reasons for making her adoption plan. She wanted her children to have two parents, she wanted to be older and more stable, she wanted to finish school, and (brutal, honest reality) she worried about raising him in her town, where interracial relationships were extremely taboo. Adoption is easy to explain in those terms. But the fact is, most of those things haven’t changed in her life, and she is about to have her third child since N~. I won’t  be able to tell N~ that she decided to parent her other kids because she was more prepared to. Honestly, the only answer I have is that she decided to parent the others because placing him for adoption was just too painful (and, quite frankly, I think that pain was absolutely related to the conception of the other children). So, yeah, not a conversation I’m going to jump into unless I’m sure he really does want to have it.

These are the types of situations that I think potential adoptive parents should look at realistically before they adopt. As I have said before, how I love my children (adopted and biological) is not different–I love them all the same. The circumstances around raising them are different. I don’t have to worry about conversations like this with anyone but N~. I’m fortunate to have a sister who also has both adopted and biological children–it definitely makes it all seem more normal for them.

Sometimes, we have a fine line to walk. I  absolutely do not agree with people who try to make a child’s life all about their status as an adopted person. Certainly, you can’t ignore the fact that an adoption occurred and affects the child, but you also shouldn’t expect it to be the overriding thing that shapes who they are. It is a very fine line, but you don’t have to tip-toe across it every day.

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The Morning Report

Well, I had another weekly appointment this morning.

Sigh.

Despite the fact that I was having contractions throughout the morning (nothing organized or intense, but still…), I’m still not dilating. Oh, and my wonderful blood pressure readings that I have been bragging about? I went from 110/65 last week to 130/75 this week (which would explain why my feet are suddenly starting to swell). I’m still not in the danger zone, but they did tell me to watch what I eat, drink lots of water, etc. since that is definitely high for me, and a rather significant jump from last week.

What else?

Oh, she did a mini-ultrasound to check up on the kiddo. His heart looks and sounds good. He is definitely head-down. Actually, she said his head is way down, which is obviously a positive thing. Unfortunately, she also said that he appears to be somewhat posterior, which is what led to my c-section with W~. She also did the weekly belly measurement, which was about 38 cm. That just seems weird to me–I have never measured behind this late in the game. Not that I will even begin to complain if this one is smaller than his brothers were (assuming that he is still completely healthy, it would actually be a rather welcome thing).

So, where does that leave me? Well, no one has brought up the c-section yet (they will  not induce me, since I have already had a c-section), so that is good. I’ve still got time. My midwife tried to encourage me by pointing out that she never dilated before going into labor with her kids. I guess I’m just stuck on the fact that I didn’t dilate beforehand with W~ and had the c-section, but started labor with C~ dilated to a 3 and managed a VBAC.

Assuming that nothing has happened, I plan on going to a Zumba class tonight. Maybe I can dance the kid out.

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It Came, It’s Gone, I’m Conquered

Today was my due date.

due date

Enough said.

Just have to add: I just let the dog in and it is freezing rain outside. I checked the weather forecast, and we are under another winter storm warning tonight–freezing rain changing to 4-6 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. Yep, I think that Mother Nature is taunting me.

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Housework and Sports

I had originally planned on writing more on fertility and faith today (I have really been interested in reading about some of the other scriptural women–and their families–who are discussed in these terms), but I am going to save that for now. Our bishop gave such a good talk in church today that, while it isn’t directly a talk on faith, I wanted to share the highlights of what he said. I have changed the concepts slightly (he talked about horse stalls, but housework just fits better for me).

Have you ever considered how much your spiritual life is like housework? When you go to clean a room, your natural  tendency is to clear the center of the room. If we can just keep the floor clear and the obvious spaces decluttered, things just don’t look that bad. But the corners…well, they don’t get as much attention because they aren’t always as obvious (if you could only see the two corners I’m between right now–one piled with computer/office type stuff, the other with fabric and craft materials). Anyhow, we frequently approach our spirituality in the same manner. We clean the center of the room–our “public selves”–but neglect the corners. And what are our spiritual corners? Mainly, our thoughts. The things in our head that we can easily hide from the world, but that drive who we truly are.

My bishop said that after pondering on this, he came to the conclusion years ago that the solution was more sports. Sports on Sunday, sports at home, sports every single day. Naturally, he didn’t mean “sports” in a literal sense. He meant SPORTS:

  • S: Scripture Study (John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.)
  • P: Prayer (James 1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)
  • O: Open you mouth–don’t be afraid to stand for who you are and what you believe. (Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;)
  • R: Repentence (3 Nephi 22:22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.)
  • T: Testimony (2 Timothy 1:7-8 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God)
  • S: Service (Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.)

At this point, I’m doubting that any of you are (literally or figuratively) slapping your foreheads and saying “Gee, I never would have thought to do those things.” The fact is, they’re pretty much all of the “primary answers” that we give in church every time we are asked how we should be living our lives. Something about how they were all laid out together in such a memorable way, though, really got through to me. Maybe it is because I have been trying to be more mindful of my faith lately. Heck, maybe it was just the fact that Sean and the kids stayed home from church today, so I actually got to listen and digest what was being said. I just know that I was impressed by the simple truth of the message.

If you really want to increase your spirituality, be mindful of the dusty corners of your mind and heart. Study the scriptures, pray, don’t be afraid to open your mouth and testify of those things you know are true, return to the Lord to make things right and repent when you have gone astray, focus on your personal testimony, and serve others with a joyful heart. As simple as it is, it may also be the most difficult path to follow. But the rewards are worth it.

 

* A note to my non-LDS readers: 3 Nephi and Mosiah are both books found in the Book of Mormon.

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Birthdays

Happy Birthday Janine!

Friendships start because of a common bond. My longest-standing friendship started in kindergarten. The bond? Our birthday. When you’re six-years-old, having the same birthday as someone else is just way cool. We grew up doing our parties together (we even rented out the local roller skating rink a few times and invited our entire grade). Since she grew up with a divorced, working mother, she would stay at my house most days after school. We were like sisters (for good, or bad) as we grew.

It is amazing how lives that have been shared for the past 25 years can be so different. We graduated high school together. I went off to get my bachelor’s in English, came home, married my high school sweetheart, and started my family. Janine got her bachelors in (oh shoot, I forget exactly) something scientific and pre-med. Then she got her masters in ethnomusicology (the study of ethnic music–she plays a wicked steel drum). Now, she is working on her PhD dissertation (also in ethnomusicology). She has traveled the world, learning its instruments and dances as she went. She has probably already seen more of other cultures than I ever will in my life (I’m not trying to sound depressing, especially since I’m certainly not that old–but, well, when you hate flying your options become more limited).

Our lives have turned out completely different, but I think we are both pleased with where we are. And, thinking about it, I’m amazed at how far we have both come. There is so much of life ahead of us still–I can’t wait to see how far we will both go.

*************

With my mother-in-law in town until this afternoon, yesterday was a full day. It started with her, Sean and his brother taking all of the kids sledding in a local park with a huge hill. Sean said that I would have been amazed to see W~. From the description, honestly, I think it was probably a good thing I didn’t. He said that W~ would sit on this flexible little sled (designed to fly over the ice and snow), get himself going straight, then lay back like he was on the luge and steer himself with his feet. As soon as he reached the bottom, he would trudge back up this big, ice-covered hill and do the whole thing again. Over and over. They said he was like a machine. The kid just scares me sometimes. He is incredibly determined and fearless. And he’s only three! We have a picture of him (from this summer, when he was still two), wearing water wings and jumping off of a diving board into a pool. He has the most enormous grin on his face. He did that the same way–over and over, until he was exhausted.

The other kids had a blast sledding, too, and by the time I met up with them they were all visibly tired. They napped as we took an hour drive to one of the closer big cities in our state to have lunch at Dave and Buster’s. What, you’ve never heard of Dave and Buster’s? Think Chuck-E-Cheese for adults. With good food. We had lunch, we played, life was good. C~ had his grandma actually paying (over and over) to ride a car race game. Apparently, he quickly figured out when it was truly going and when it was just in demo mode. As soon as the real game ended and the demo came on, he would insist that she start it over. Not bad for a 23-month-old. N~ just enjoyed the whole experience, hanging out with his older cousin and obsessing over the tickets they had won.

The rest of the day was spent at home–hanging out, eating leftovers, and trying to tune out the cacophony of kids and cousins tearing through my house. I managed to sew together the head to C’s teddy bear–a process that was, at one point, interrupted by his intense interest in it. I am pleased with the result so far.

*************

One birthday, obviously, has not yet occurred. As much as I would have loved to, I have not been able to fulfill my mother-in-law’s desire to see her grandson before she leaves today. Even though my actual due date isn’t until tomorrow, I’m getting antsy. I know I wasn’t this bad with the other two. I just want to see him, know that he is healthy, and get on with adjusting to all of the new challenges a fourth child will bring.

And be able to lay on my stomach again. That would be nice, too.

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