Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Middle

And just like that, our sweet baby girl has become a middle child!   Sydney seems to be handling the transition pretty well (if we had a new SISTER, I think it would be a different story!).  But, today the fuss is all about this chica, because it is her birthday and she is FOUR!  I can't believe THIS happened four years ago today.  It was a hot, HOT June day, and Sydney entered this life with ease and hardly put up a fuss for a good 18 months.  :)  Then she made up for lost time.  But she is still our girl with a very gentle, sweet disposition--but she can wrestle and tackle with the best of them.

Although her big brother rolls his eyes at all the attention she gets over it, we think her red hair is pretty darn special.  
 Sydney still loves to suck on three fingers on her left hand and snuggle with her Minky, but she is determined to be a big girl and not a baby.  I'm not in a rush.  ;)  When I lay in her bed at night, she puts her face right up to mine and wraps her arm around my neck.  She's definitely a mama's girl.  One time Daddy said "How come you always want Mommy and not me?" and she said matter-of-factly:  "Because I yuv Mommy more."
 She often makes her decisions based on her big bro.  What do you want for lunch?  What color popsicle do you want?  "I want what Carson's having."  They fight like the dickens, but she idolizes him.  If only he knew he could work that to his favor!
 She has become VERY opinionated about what she wears, and would wear a pretty dress every day if we let her.  This one (below) was a fancy dress she finally got to wear to a good friends wedding.  She was talking about it all day.  "When are we going to Michael and Kristen's party so I can wear my fancy dress?!?"
 She'll hate me someday for writing this, but in our house, Syd is also known for having some of the loudest toots.  :)  It's not very lady-like, but even I admit it's pretty funny.
 Syd is very tall for her age...according to the growth cart at grandma's house, she's grown almost 4 inches in the last year!  Sheesh!
 We're having a small family party for her on Saturday, but today she did get a big gift from mommy and daddy.  A big girl bike!  She's been out there riding longer than she ever has before and she's rocking it!  I'm feeling relieved we were able to find a feminine bike that did not have Disney Princesses all over it.  I'm so proud of my big girl, and looking forward to seeing her growth and maturity in the next year.  Syd Paige, you are such a delight!  We love you to pieces and you make all of our lives better by being in it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Week Home

Today marks one week since we flew home with our new son.  Feels like it was yesterday!  I'm still struggling to feel like I have my feet under me.  I think a combination of jet-lag, rough nights and severe summer allergies keep me in a bit of a fog and I can't get my energy levels back up.  Maybe it's just the adrenaline is gone, but I'm way more exhausted here than I ever was in Thailand! The meals being provided are a saving grace. I'm pretty freaked about when Trent goes back to work on Thursday, but overall I do think things are going really well. 
I'm sure every adopted toddler's switch to sleeping at home is different.  The last week's sleeping has been interesting as it has morphed.  The first several nights he went to sleep with no problem, then we spent some time with the big kids before they went to bed, then we dealt with lots of waking/crying in the night from Asher.  Those waking/crying times continued to come earlier in the night.  Then last night, he had only been in bed for about 5 minutes before he started to cry. Hard. This is still pretty heart-breaking. Trent was at a baseball game with Carson, so I was SO glad my sis-in-law had come over, b/c I needed her to stay with Sydney while I was with Asher for about an hour.  BUT the good news is, he tired himself out (and, on suggestion, there was some melatonin in his nightly bottle) and then once he crashed, slept for a solid 10 hours, so that part was lovely!  We're continuing to just play it by ear and see what he needs as far as comforting and sleeping.  He's going to stay in the crib in our room for now.
It's interesting to me that I had given so much thought and prayer into the emotionally intense grieving time in Thailand, that I honestly hadn't given a lot of brain time to pondering this in-between time at home.  After the deep sadness is gone, as the jetlag fades, but before our souls are truly bonded as son/parent and brother/sibling.  Also--it's one thing to say it, but another thing to live the truth that attachment is very much a 2-way street.  I was so worried about HIS attachment to US, that I hadn't thought about OUR attachment to HIM.  I'm not indicating that anything is wrong, or that we don't love him madly, it's just that we just met him!  We don't know each other well yet. He's been in our home barely seven days!  To be perfectly honest, sometimes it feels like we are caring for someone else's child and they'll be by to pick him up soon.  I'm sure he feels the same way about us.  "Is this trip over yet?!"  But then we have special moments where we truly feel the longing and the waiting that has come to fruition in this child, and his mere presence makes us feel so complete. He IS our son, and we never have to wait for him again!  We are all making great strides towards attachment; we are pouring on the physical affection and he is learning to reciprocate, even if that is just a mimicking act right now, not one that is initiated by him.  I don't know if I ever clarified, but somewhere around those 3 long time-killing days in Thailand, Asher started to prefer Mommy.  I think it had to do with the fact that Daddy was having to be the disciplinarian a bit more.  He still is fond of Trent, but especially at night he wants me there.  Not necessarily holding him, but THERE.  He'll also walk up and wrap his hands around our legs, and often during the day comes and holds his arms up for me to hold him, and I sneak in some hugs and kisses.  He also kisses us all on the cheek now.  Each day, sometimes each hour, we see and feel that bond growing closer.
 We're also continuing to stay at home as much as possible.  We've run a few little errands, but basically just getting him used to these walls, these four faces and this new routine.  Our family members have patiently waited their turns to spend an hour or two with Asher, and after a short period of shy-ness, he usually interacts very nicely with any of them.  I haven't been great at getting pictures of everyone...sorry!  Here's grandma Mimi reading him a story.
 It's been great to come home during summer.  We had several very nice days to play outside in the yard, and all water-based activities have been a huge hit with this guy.  I'm sure the super cool big bro and big sis also help.
 You'll probably have to click on this one, b/c it's my fave.

 I'm LOVING this orange shirt on him!  And it seems we've waited a lifetime to see him on our backyard slide!

 Haha!  This one cracks me up!
 Good ol' slip & slide!  Too bad the kids don't like to run and slide themselves.  They want Daddy to propel them.

 We also went on our first bike ride as a family of 5.  Asher is not a fan of the helmet (but it's a big deal in this family, so he's gonna have to deal), or the straps, but once we started going, he was pretty stoked.
 Helping Aunt Becky with the water table.
 I know this is kind of random, but this is Kaitlyn looking out the window in sydney's room to where all the cousins were playing int he back.  Love her!

 Special swing just for him.  Another big hit!

I hope that helps feed the photo-cravings of all you friends and family who are anxiously waiting your turn to meet our little guy in person.  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little stuff on Love Day

Here's a few grainy instagram pics that I just uploaded to the computer for your viewing enjoyment, and I have a couple detailed moments that I want to record for my own memory.  1: the morning after we came home, we all ate breakfast together, and everyone finished but me and Asher.  When I was done and said "All done!" and showed him my empty plate.  MY plate, happened to have Woody and Buzz Lightyear on it.  It caught his attention and he held his hand out to hold it.  I gave it to him and he very slowly and calmly picked up each little piece of fruit, every cheerio and every scrap of scrambled egg and moved it from his plain orange plate to the Toy Story plate.  Then he handed me the orange plate back. Ha!  2: We went to Lowe's the first full day home (to get some urgently needed baby-proofing materials) and with all the stuff in that store to see--I mean, we passed an entire aisle stuffed with chandeliers and ceiling fans--the thing that caught Asher's attention was a single mylar balloon, half deflated, marking some sale.  He squealed with delight and pointed and smiled and clapped.  Over one wimpy balloon.  It just made me excited to show him even more impressive things!


This is in the Seoul airport, when Asher was giving his Minky a drink of his water. Presh.

 This was a moment I was dreading (not as much as the plane ride, but still...) it was Asher's first time ever buckled or strapped in to anything, anywhere.  It really went well!  He saw big bro and sis strap in and they were handing him treats all the way home from the airport, and he didn't cry at all!  He whined and pulled at the shoulder straps (and you can see I didn't have them as tight as they are supposed to be) but already he's kind of accepted this form of transportation, despite the fact that it is way less fun than sitting on our laps pressing his face up against the fast moving scenery like he did in Bangkok.

We took the kids berry picking yesterday, and they had a cute little kiddie John Deere.  Ha!

Asher ate his share of strawberries.  Add this to the list of foods he likes.

I don't know why, but this pic (below) cracks me up!  Carson with his legs crossed in the back seat like a little grown up.  He's been so great this week.  Such a big helper.

I know.  Could you just die? My dear friend Kristen brought us dinner tonight, and the kids were finishing up playing in the pool.  She snapped this pic of us as I dried Asher off.  Earlier today my friend Catie reminded me that today is our LOVE DAY.  This is a term coined by our friend Wendy to represent the day we received our referral call and got to see our babies' faces for the first time.  That day for us was exactly one year ago today, June 16, 2011.  I never would have imagined it would be another 11.5 months, many delays, and a record-breaking flood to recede before we met him face to face, but the time has finally come and here we are.  Happy love day, sweet boy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blogging as a form of jetlag coping

Well, I started this post this afternoon while I was trying to stay awake, and now everyone is in bed and I'm falling asleep at the computer, so it will be short.  I wanted to try to get some pics up and just let you all know that we are doing well.  The days are good--Asher does not seem sad at all during the day and we don't have any trouble keeping him up.  Trent and I, however, are nodding off by late afternoon.  Asher has been playing, copying and following the sibs around with lots of smiles and laughter while interacting with all of us.  It's so great to see. We are still working to firmly/gently correct some undisciplined/learned behavior from his life before us.  He has a tendency to bite, spit and hit (and was genuinely SHOCKED when we told him NO).  The hitting and biting are hardly ever out of anger or even frustration, just misguided excitement or playing. We were told by many--including the agency--that the parenting style in thailand is much more laid back for small children.  They are not disciplined and behavior like this is often just laughed at or mildly reprimanded with no consequences.  We're trying to exercise plenty of grace while still maintaining our household rules.  He's doing better and better each day.  We've especially seen improvements with the way he interacts with Sydney.  They took a bath together last night and he was mesmerized when I washed her hair.  The hair he had previously pulled, he very gently was patting and saying "WOW" and running his hand on her head.  It was pretty cute.  He was rough with her at first, but now has been being very gentle.

The nights have been pretty rough.  I think we all are fighting the jetlag--our bodies think we should be awake!-- and this is also when his grieving comes out.  He goes TO sleep like a champ.  10 minutes tops.  However, for the last 3 nights he's struggled, been awake and sad or very agitated between midnight and about 4 or 5am--off and on.  He starts in his crib right next to our bed, then we've moved him into our bed, where he seems calmer, but even in a dozey state, he's an aggressive little sleeper--kicking and whatnot. (Again--not out of anger, just unfortunate sleeping style.) So we've been taking turns leaving the bed and sleeping on the bottom bunk in C's room.  It's not an ideal situation, and it's made for long nights and tiring days, but we know it could be worse.

My friend Diane asked a bunch of questions and I won't be able to answer all of them, but I'll try.  :)  Syd and Carson are still doing great with all of it.  Carson lost a tooth within hours of our return, and when one of his BFF's called for a congratulatory conversation, I was eavesdropping and Carson said, with all intonation of a rehearsed teenager "Oh, sorry.  That noise is my little brother.  He's APPARENTLY having a very loud bath right now."   I've heard both of them drop the term "baby brother" or "little brother" several times in conversation.  They have heard us using several Thai terms to talk with him, but often get it mixed up.  So sometimes they are scolding him and all he hears is "HELLO!  HELLO!"  or when they are snuggling up to him they say "let's eat!  Let's eat!"  But they have been very patient and loving.  Sydney struggles with being TOO loving.  A couple of times she got whacked in the face by her precious baby brother, and I kind of didn't want to correct him, b/c she was totally all up in his space!  We say "Back away, Sydney!" many times a day.  But I wonder if all that loving on him is why he's made such great strides in treating her more gently.

Asher babbles a lot, and I wish I knew more of what he was saying, to know if it is actually an attempt at a Thai word.  We know he says "kai" which is chicken, and to him it means "eat," and he says "naam" which is water and "mae" which is mom for his foster mom.  :(  But he's picking up a few English words and is getting good at mimicking our voices.  He called Sydney "NEE", he calls Mommy "MEE" and Daddy "DEE."  So far he's still working on the hard "K" sound in Carson.  He says Buh-bye, Uh-oh, and NO. 

Right now we are really not having any visitors other than people who are bringing our meals. (http://www.takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=HBZJ6896)  Which, btw, has been a LIFESAVER.  I'm barely functioning enough to shower, let alone prepare meals.  I'm kind of thinking about stopping this post right now so I can sleep.  ;)  But I'll finish up.  We decided to start having some family members over in small numbers, and just spend a casual hour or two interacting with our family, including Asher, of course.  So far, that is working well.  We really want to try to focus on just establishing our routine and our family dynamic before introducing our wonderful world of friends.

OK, really, I need to go to sleep.  But one more question Di asked was what souvenirs we got in Thailand.  :)  Trent got each of the boys some Thai boxing shorts.  That is a very popular sport there, and Ashersaran's foster family said he liked to watch it sometimes on TV with his foster dad.  We got Carson a hand-carved chess set, b/c Trent is teaching him to play.  We got Syd 3 different little dresses/tunics made in Thailand.  I got myself some silver earrings, a traditional Thai sarong, the Starbucks mug and a Thai silk scarf.  Trent didn't really get anything for himself.  Other than a new son.  ;)  Let me know if you think of any other questions--about the trip, Asher, or adoption! 

Here's several pics, but I don't have energy to caption each one.  You are smart...you'll figure them out.  ;) I will say, this first one is of that monumental milestone: first happy bathtime!

Forever linked to sweet Layla!  Someday he won't be so quick to shun those kisses.

The beloved Pantip!  As one other friend said: "If these walls could talk!"  Oh, the intense emotions they have held.

OK, I'll caption this one too.  It is our teeny-tiny hotel room in the Seoul airport.  We paid for 9 hours of time.  Worth every penny!

First night and morning home: