Friday, September 28, 2012

Pleasant Friday

A very nice, cool breeze is coming in through my open windows and, for the first time all week, the sun is brightly shining. Olivia won't be home from school for another hour and, strangely enough, ALL of the other kids in my house are still napping. It is quite peaceful.

I have caught up on two DVR'd sitcom episodes and washed the dishes and ordered photos for pick-up during my shopping trip later this evening. It feels weird to be sitting here with actual free time on my hands.

Don't get me wrong. There's always stuff that could be done. But there is not anything that needs my immediate attention. That is nice.

This week has been kind of hard. It's been raining and muddy, so I can't send the little noisemakers outside. They are getting a little antsy and possibly bored (which may be why they are all working on 3-hour naps). I think we are all looking forward to the weekend.

Specifically, I'm hoping to spend a whole day at Local Theme park with these two cuties!
Yawn! Can't we get out of here and do SOMETHING interesting?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Challenging children

I read an article today about kids with disabilities, and it made me think of my friend's daughter, Mary, who has Down Syndrome. Mary is a sweet 4-year-old who believes herself to be in charge of everything. Recently, her Mom brought her to help with hospitality at a program we were leading, and Mary was just hilarious. She would march people up and down the stairs, babbling and gesturing to show people where they needed to go. I can understand about 10% of what she actually says, but it is obvious that SHE knows what she is saying. She is determined and headstrong and prone to tantrums, but she is also sweet and social and engaging.

The other interesting thing about Mary is that she is adopted. In other words, her parents consciously chose to accept the challenge of raising a disabled child. And they do so with grace and patience that overwhelms me.

I've seen many families who have been blessed with such a special person in their lives. I have often wondered if we'd be strong enough to open our home to a disabled child. Sometimes, I feel a little guilty for not having done that already. Then I start to feel a little guilty for thinking that, just maybe, our family might be complete with two kids. I mean, there are all these kids out there (especially special needs and foster care kids) who need good homes, right?

It's OK, really, to be happy with "just" two. It's OK not to think about the future and whether or not other kids might someday join our family. Simcha rocks, by the way, for reassuring me of this. Babies are hard. Even easy babies. Sleep deprivation sucks the life right out of you.

Additionally, I realize that we have some special needs in our family right now anyway. Always a challenging child, Olivia has ramped up the level of challenge since Marty appeared. She is emotional and insecure and attention-seeking and NEEDS every ounce of energy I can give her. Yesterday was a good day. She listened and helped out and did what was asked of her probably 80% of the time. There were no major meltdowns. There was relative peace in the household.

And by the time she went to bed, I was exhausted. Bone-tired. Weary. Keeping her at her best requires constant creativity and intervention on my part. Starting to melt down because Mommy needs to fix dinner and can't draw a dinosaur right now at this very second? Oh, wait, didn't we draw a dinosaur already? Look in your notebook...oh, that was a mermaid! Silly me! Can you check your notebook to see if we drew any other mermaids? Are there any with purple hair?  Why don't you draw a bunch of fish friends for the mermaid and see how many friends you can give her before I finish making the soup? I'll bet you can draw at least ten! No, don't touch your brother. No, honey, don't pick him up. He's fine right there. Why don't you show him your mermaid family. Tell him a story about the mermaids. He'll like that. Just don't pick him up. Please. You are doing a great job.

It's an exercise in distraction. And balance. And reassurance. Trying to keep her happy while keeping the baby is a lot. (And by keeping the baby alive, I mean keeping his sister from crushing him. She is not good at discerning what is "gentle touch" and what kind of touch will cause serious bodily injury to her infant brother.)

What I'm saying is that, for now, two is enough. Sometimes, more than enough. That may change as the kids get older and (please God) less needy. Or it may not. And I'm OK with that. If we are called to be good parents for these two kids, part of that is determining whether a new addition would, in fact, be good for these two kids. And being open to whatever God is calling us to do. Right now, he's calling us to keep Marty fed and happy while paying extra attention to Olivia's emotional needs. And that, my friends, is plenty.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Two months

Yesterday, Martin hit the two-month mark. He seems older than that to me.
So serious.
There are a lot of things I've noticed about his infanthood that are vastly different from Olivia's. He is just so EASY. I'm sure I wouldn't feel this way if I were an inexperienced first-time Mom, as all babies have their difficult moments. He spits up. He fusses occasionally. Sometimes he doesn't want to sleep. But overall? This kid is so laid back, rarely cries without cause and occasionally sleeps through the night at two months old. He's relatively predictable.

By contrast, Olivia's infanthood was hard. Again, I'm sure some of it can be attributed to our first-time-parent status at the time. But I feel a little bit like it was initiation by fire with her. The sleep deprivation of a day-night confused baby was extensive. She didn't figure out that nighttime was for sleeping until she was at least two months old. She spit up a lot, and she had an inexplicable fussy time that tended to last something like two hours at night. It was HARD.

On the flip side, once she figured out how to sleep at night, she started doing it pretty well. She was fairly easy to sleep train after that and started sleeping through the night consistently at 5 months. She was also quick to hold up her head and would entertain herself with toys on the floor quite early. Marty still needs someone to entertain him most of the time that he's awake.

The kids, they get like each other. Olivia is still quite rough and can't be left unsupervised with Marty. But when I can get her to calm down, she is so sweet. She sings to him and talks to him. When he's in one of this chatty moods, he'll lay on his back and just jabber away. She loves to talk to him when he's doing this. He loves to smile at her when she talks to him. It's obvious they adore each other.
Yeah right, Mom. I am simply tolerating her until I'm big enough to fight back!

In other news, Olivia is toying with several different ideas for her Halloween costume. This is one of her ideas. She's a football player. Marty is her football!
I hope I don't have to remind her not to throw this ball.
Looks like a winner to me. Easy, cute, easy. Did I mention easy? Also, look at that big kid sitting next to the monkey and the pillow. How small she once was!

Friday, September 14, 2012


So, yesterday was Martin's well baby visit, but it was also his day to get his very first round of immunizations. For that, we had to make a visit to the hospital because his doctor doesn't administer them. This is a photo I snapped just prior to his shots. He had just eaten and was very happy...he had no idea that in a few minutes the nurse was going to stick him with three needles.

He cried loudly and briefly after each one (more like an indignant protest, like when you are unjustly punished for something you didn't do) and then got very quiet and just started observing everyone very closely. He was wary of his big sister holding his hand. He was wary of Mommy for letting this happen. But for the nurse, he reserved his very special, very serious stink-eye. I can tell he's going to be an expressive one!

We scheduled all of these things early-ish (7.5 weeks) in order to get them out of the way so we could do our post-placement home visit, which we were told would happen after his 2-month doctor visit. And then we could finalize after that. We were expecting finalization to be scheduled in late September or early October. But apparently the courts are busy...we got notice last week that our finalization hearing will be held November 29th. Grrr!

I suppose this is not a big deal. The way the laws are written in our state, there is an almost non-existent risk of adoptions being overturned after initial placement. However, without finalization, we can't get a social security number or give him our name, legally, so it does provide a little confusion for doctors and the state's online database for vaccinations, etc.

In other news, the kids have become quite fond of each other.
Olivia excels in getting her little brother to smile. He loves to watch her.
Oh, can you feel the love?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Because this IS my baby book...

Martin had his (not yet) 2-month well baby doctor visit today. He is measuring in at 22.5 inches and 11.5 lbs. Wow. No wonder my back hurts a lot.

Also, his head is 15 inches circumference. Although this measurement really means nothing to me.

The end.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Posting is not high priority in these parts. Can you tell? I spend most of my posting time washing bottles and burp rags. Life with a baby.

Quick update. Olivia got her cast. It is a "wet cast", and can, therefore, go in the tub and the pool. Also, she has pulled the gauze out and tucked it back in about a billion times. Her arm is going to be one big bruise or callous when this whole thing is over.
Still, she rocks the cast. Hates it, but doesn't let it slow her down...much.

Also, Marty is smiling. Unfortunately, he has also learned to turn it off as soon as I grab the camera. But I did manage to get one great smile photo. Don't you just LOVE the dimple? Melt my heart!

I have decided that his grumpiness comes from either overstimulation, deviation from his schedule or his current cold. Ditto for spit-up. Because it is not consistent. He is occasionally grumpy and spits up badly only when he seems very congested. So I'm going with that theory until something else presents itself. Other than a really bad afternoon on Labor Day, he has been happy about 95% of the day. I don't know how I can top that, really.