January 26, 2010

Day 11

Posted in Momming, Ramblings o' P at 2:22 pm by Erin

Good news: good workout this morning!  Delicious blueberry tea at work!  About to eat taco salad for lunch!

And on the opposite side…we are struggling so much with parenting P lately.  He’s such a sweet kid under most circumstances, but sometimes he just gets in these moods and they’re awful.  Defiance, arguing, tears, etc.  He had one this morning right before school and we actually had to send our neighbors on without him (we carpool and it’s their week to drive) so we could deal with him.  We haven’t found a way to get through them yet, and it’s wearing on us.  And they’re never followed by a good day.  Case in point: he had on on Sunday before Sunday school, and his Sunday school teacher asked me “Is he getting sick?  He was just not himself today!”  I’m not expecting today to be a good day for him at school.

I think a lot of it is related to him being tired.  He didn’t get a good night sleep on Saturday since we were out at our friends’ house until 9 p.m. (he usually goes to bed at 7:30).  Last night, I got home from work at 8 p.m. (don’t worry, I didn’t have to leave to go in until almost 4) and the kids were not only still up but playing downstairs!  I was so ticked at J, let me tell you…  But the fact is, he missed almost an hour of sleep last night and threw a tantrum this morning.  We need to be extra-vigilant in getting him to bed and hope that takes care of most of it.

*sigh* This parenting stuff is hard.  Fun most of the time, but hard.  Now I need a nap!

Oh, so that I only end on good news: I only have to be at work for another 40 minutes and then I’m going home to play with my kids!  And J is making dinner tonight!

May 11, 2009

Hope you all had a nice Mother’s Day

Posted in Momming at 11:09 am by Erin

Because mine sucked, for various reasons (in no particular order):

1. Finding out that my favorite aunt has cancer.

2. Recovering from Saturday's migraine, which always leaves me feeling fuzzy-headed.

3. J being gone for 5 days and not getting home until last night (read as: the 5th day in a row that I was home alone with both kids).

4. Having a HUGE fight with J after the kids went to bed.

5. Finals' week.

I have to say that Friday was a much better Mother's Day.  P's class had muffins and juice for moms as they came to drop off the kids, and both kids brought home the Mother's Day gifts they made in school, which were adorable.  I am a sucker for little picture frames with their names on them and paper flowers.  Can't help it.  So I'm choosing Friday as my Mother's Day, and forgetting that yesterday ever happened.

January 23, 2009

Our kids? Are freaking angels.

Posted in Momming at 1:20 pm by Erin

I said those exact words to J last night.  We went out for my birthday to a Japanese steakhouse–you know, one of the ones with the hibachi and they cook in front of you.  They don't put the best chefs on Thursday nights, just so you know…  Anyway, J was sitting next to P, who was next to K, who was next to me.  P, of course, is 5 and K is 2.  Soon after we were seated, another family was seated near us.  They had boys who were 3 and 7 and a 5-year-old daughter.  The other mom and I were sitting together so we chatted a bit through the ordering and while we were waiting for the cooking to begin.

Shortly after the chef came out, they started giving out the food.  All of the kids were happy about this (I had no idea that K likes miso soup!) and started eating.  They happily watched the cooking and ate for a little while.  Then our kids kept eating and, when they weren't eating, were sitting in their seats*.  Their kids ran around the restaurant.  Literally ran around other diners at other tables.  They played with toys along the floor in the main walkway.  They yelled across the restaurant.  Every once in a while the parents would pipe up with "Sit down and try to eat a little," but did nothing when the kids ignored them.

Had I been one of the other diners, I would have been really annoyed.  I was slightly annoyed and I was there with kids!  More of my annoyance came because P kept asking if he could get up and play with them after he was done–and was put out when we would say no.  We've taken our kids to many restaurants and insist on good behavior there.  We've never hesitated to leave a place if they're not behaving.

It doesn't normally occur to me to be proud of our kids for behaving properly at a restaurant because, hey, they're expected to act appropriately.  But last night, I was so proud of them because I saw what it could have been otherwise.

*Actually, funny story about last night: at one point, K kept trying to stand up in his booster seat and was starting to cry (which usually leads to yelling loudly when he's upset).  I asked him if he needed time-out because he couldn't sit nicely–and he said "Yesh!" (That's not a typo.)  I scooped him up, told J that it was supposed to have been rhetorical, and took him to the outer lobby for time-out.  He sat quietly in time-out on a bench and when we came back, he was ready to behave and finished his meal nicely.

June 17, 2008

Sharing some happiness of the kidlets

Posted in Momming at 9:45 pm by Erin

Because I’m tired of all the sadness around here, and I need to get back to enjoying my children.

I’ve been home with the kids for about a month now.  It’s been pretty enjoyable for the most part.  We have a good routine down–we try to do something in the morning or late morning, come home and have lunch and quiet time, then have a snack, some home playing, dinner, and some after-dinner fun of some sort.  I’ve instituted an at-least-once-a-week No Drive Day, when we don’t leave home.  We play in the wading pool, garden, and have lots of fun at home. 

Swimming is big with both kids.  K is a water baby of the highest order, which is truly amazing for a child who would scream while standing in the tub, grabbing at us for dear life, when he first came home.  The boy wants to swim by himself in the worst way, though I can’t quite let him do that yet.  P likes to swim on his own now that he’s figured out that a life jacket will keep him up.  Let’s hear it for the peer pressure that taught him that he could do it–it makes taking both kids to the pool on my own MUCH more enjoyable!  I turned in the paperwork for them to both have swim lessons and am hoping to get them scheduled soon.

We read a lot of books.  Today, I realized that we’d read 5 books of P’s choosing (well, one was a chapter of Runaway Ralph) by 2 p.m.  K’s not quite as interested in books yet–he likes to listen but isn’t particularly interested in sitting still to do so, even with a short book of his choice.  I think it’s mostly that he doesn’t like to sit still.  Did I mention that he’s walking and doesn’t like to stop?  Anyway, P is very into long stories and chapter books lately, so we probably spend an hour or more reading each day.  It’s spread out quite a bit–we read a couple of stories after getting dressed, another couple at the beginning of quiet time, and then later some more before bedtime–but it’s a lot of time to spend reading.  My “voices” are atrocious but the kids don’t seem to mind.

We also had our 3 month post-placement report done for K last week.  Three months.  He’s been home for three months.  It is incredible.  He is such an incredible kid.  We struggled a lot the first month but honestly, I sometimes can’t believe the difference in such a short period of time.  At first, he almost never smiled.  He was noticeably scared and anxious ALL the time.  His sleep was punctuated by terrified cries and screams, as was much of the rest of his day.  Now, he is the happiest of children.  He and P spent the time at our new social worker’s house chasing each other, wrestling, and laughing without reserve.  She looked at them at one point and said “They just adore each other, don’t they?”  Tonight, I flipped K upside down to blow kisses on his tummy.  He giggled and every time I’d turn him upright, he’d arch his back and expose his tummy so that I’d do it again.  His giggle is infectious.  His smile makes me fill with joy.  We were a happy family before he came–who knew there was so much more happiness to be had?

May 12, 2008

There really is no difference

Posted in Momming at 8:14 pm by Erin

Before K came home, I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to have her second child.  How can I possibly love this child as much as I love the first?  Will I ever feel the same way about him that I do my first?  Will I be as excited about his first milestones as I was when my first baby did them, or will they just seem routine?  Will I constantly compare them?

And I had what I assume are the typical concerns for a mom about to adopt a child.  Will I love this child as much as I would love a bio child?  Will I ever look at him and feel like he really is mine, not just by law but by my heart?  Will I be able to do things with him without wondering if I’m just pretending that he’s my son? 

The first month home didn’t exactly reassure me on any of those.  I know that I’d read posts from people about how hard it is at first, how it’s OK not to feel bonded to your child right away and that the attachment has to grow.  That didn’t reassure me.  I felt bonded to P from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and motherhood fit me very naturally.  The sleep deprivation was tough, the nursing was tough–but it felt like I was born to do it (which was strange in and of itself, but that’s another post).

The mothering came right away with K.  Although I struggled a lot with the emotions, I know how to mother.  Even though he was an unfamiliar child, I know how to hold and soothe, to cuddle and play with a child of that age.  I even commented to J while we were still in Ethiopia that it felt very natural, very familiar.

In the last month, the rest of it has come.  I admit that it was a lot faster than I’d ever expected it to be, especially after the first month, but there is no doubt.  I look at K and can hardly believe that this wonderful miraculous child is mine.  I watched his first steps and cheered and squealed and called everyone as if I’d never seen a child take a step before.  I don’t compare them, except to think about what each one is/was doing–I’m not comparing K’s actions at 18 months to P’s at that age and finding them better or worse.  He’s his own person, and I find that much easier to realize than I’d feared it would be.  At the same time, I do compare some things.  Just like P, I see the joy in K’s eyes when he sees me come into a room and know that it is reflected in mine when I see him.  I tell him I love him so very, very much and mean it every bit as much as I’ve meant it every time I’ve told P the same thing.

And, though I’m sure K wishes it weren’t so, I can discipline him without fearing that it’s going to sever that bond, that attachment, that love.  I don’t fear to take something away from him that he’s not supposed to have, even though I know it will make him scream and cry, because I love him enough to discipline him.  I don’t fear to give him time-out when he’s hitting someone or one of the dogs, because it’s a part of being his mama.  And I don’t worry that he will turn away from my hug at the end of it.

I know there will be many issues in the future, both related to adoption and related to the fact that I am his mom and that he will chafe at boundaries like all children do.  I am sure that I will hear "You’re not my real mom!"  I’m sure that I will hear "I don’t love you!"  (I’ve heard it from P already, so I know it’s coming.)  I’m sure that there will be other statements guaranteed to break my heart a little bit each time he throws them at me.  But I also know that I love him enough to be his mom, and none of those statements will change how I feel about him as my son.

May 10, 2008

On Mother’s Day

Posted in Momming at 8:16 pm by Erin

To all of you who are mothers with your children in your arms

To all of you who are mothers with children in your wombs

To all of you who are mothers with children in your hearts

To all of you who are mothers with children in your dreams

Happy Mother’s Day.

March 8, 2008

And we’re back!

Posted in Momming at 8:24 pm by Erin

I thought I would have a chance to write more while we were gone, but I barely had time to write an e-mail each day (well, most of them) to my friend, who posted for me on my other blog.  It was an AMAZING trip, and K is a wonderful little boy.  I started calling him K on this blog because his name starts with M, which is the first letter of the name for the first little boy whose referral we couldn’t accept; now I’ll keep calling him K because that’s the first letter of the nickname that I’ve already given him.

There will be more coming, including pictures, but I can’t seem to upload them tonight.  I’ll try again tomorrow and will be writing lots more about our trip in the days to come.

Tonight we gave him a bath, and I mean "we".  K hates the bath.  He has a cry that is as shrill as anything–there have been times when I’ve held him while he shrieks like that and when I put him down, my hearing is muffled.  It’s seriously dangerous.  Fortunately, he calms down very quickly.  Anyway, he cried like that the other day when I gave him a bath.  I was not anxious to repeat the experience, so J held K while K stood in the bath, and I washed him.  He was OK until it was time to wash his hair (fortunately, that doesn’t need to be done as often as it does with P), then he screamed bloody murder.  But as soon as it was done, we wrapped him in a towel and I massaged his scalp with the olive oil treatment that we bought.  He was happy, his beautiful curls were back, and then we did a massage with baby lotion that he loved.  J read him stories and I gave him a bottle before bed.  We do those bottles for bonding and I think they’re as important for us as they are for him–I just love having that time to rock him and look into his gorgeous brown eyes (he has long, curly eyelashes), and whisper, "My beautiful, precious boy."  And I look into those gorgeous brown eyes and see his birthmother.  He has her eyes, and I am so thankful that we can tell him that when he asks.

I have fallen so hard for my son.