Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Ellie Comment

"Mommy, why is Barack Obama always talking about doctors?

Is he right?"

Seriously, this girl is going to be trouble in a few years. I already don't know how to answer her questions.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being a Single Mom is HARD!

Jason was in Vegas this weekend leaving me for my first extended period with both kids. Wow! It was alot of fun, but I was exhausted.
I didn't do it small either. It's hard for me to stay home with both kids all day long. I like to get out and about. So, on Friday we went to Ellie's school fun festival. We played in bouncies, rode rides, played games, and ate hot dogs. Saturday morning we met my friend Amy (also a single mom due to the boy's weekend in Vegas) and her kids at Deanna Rose Farmstead for the apple festival. I love that place! Max loved it too, especially the animals. He is also really coming into his own at the playground. The problem is that he has no fear and really needs to be watched constantly. But, I keep looking up and losing Ellie. When I go to look for Ellie, he starts doing some daredevil stunt and I turn back to him (maybe in time to prevent injury, maybe not). How do I do two kids at a busy park? I haven't figure this out yet. After this we did lunch and then nap. That evening we took a walk to our local park in the wagon. We also stopped at our just opened Russell Stovers for ice cream. This could be dangerous. I don't even really like ice cream, but they have the yummiest iced sugar cookes which could be a big problem. Sunday, we met my sister in law, niece, and nephew for their churches fun festival with more bouncies.
You'd think the kids would be nice and exhausted from all of this activity and would fall right into bed, but somehow they knew that I hadn't really put two kids to bed by myself before. As soon as I'd get one settled in the other would get up and by the time I got that one settled I was hearing from the other. It took me a good hour/hour and a half to get them both to sleep both nights. I hope I get better with practice.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our First Cleft Team Appointment

Today was our first visit to the cleft team for Max to be evaluated. This might be a wierd way to describe it, but overall I would say it was fun. We got there about 7:45, right on time. As soon as we had checked in two other families with children from China (both boys) came in. One of these families I had actually met online prior to bringing home Max. Their son is just a little bit older than Max, but has already been home for over a year. The other family just got back from China LAST NIGHT! Crazy. I definitely would not have been up for this appointment the day after getting home. There was also another family that came in a bit later with a daughter they had adopted from China. She's Ellie's age almost exactly and had been home just over two years. I always love meeting other adoptive families, especially those who have adopted from China, especially those whose kids are cleft affected, and especially boys Max's age who live in the vicinity and might be up for play dates in the future. There wasn't much time for visiting though. They kept us very busy. We were there for about three and a half hours and during that time saw an audiologist, dentist, nutritionist, speech therapist, social worker, plastic surgeon, and ENT. The ENT is my former fellowship director's wife so that was another fun visit. Aside from the fun and visiting it was also an informative visit. We confirmed the date for Max's palate repair (October 20th) and the date for his pre-op history and physical (September 23rd). We also determined that he has mild hearing loss from fluid build up in his ears so we added ear tubes onto his palate surgery. We also found out more about his post-op diet which is one of my big worries about the surgery. Max loves to eat and wants food constantly and we knew his diet would be restricted post-op. I had thought it was for 4-6 weeks, but we found out that it's straight liquids for 1 week and then soft foods for 2 more weeks. That seems much more doable. I'm now ready to get this show on the road and get this surgery done with. It's a big one to get under our belts and I'm hoping that in the year following we'll see some big jumps in his speech.

Affirmation that this is our child

Those of you who know Jason and I well know that we both have a major chapstick addition. Cherry is our flavor of choice. It goes everywhere with us. I guess in the scheme of addictions, this is an okay one to have.
We were at the doctor today and I noticed Max playing chapstick with the red crayon. He truly is our child. Thank goodness it wasn't red marker.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An American Kid

I swear I've only taken him to Starbuck's once.

When we walked in for the second time today he walked in first and walked straight to the counter. He grabbed an organic chocolate milk and got in line for mommy to pay. This kid doesn't miss a thing.

Fun With Family

Yesterday after we dropped Ellie off at school we went out to breakfast with my parents and then we went back to there house to hang out. We've been so busy that this was Max's first trip to their place. We had a relaxing morning with them and got some cute pics of Maxybaby.

Picture Day

Today was picture day at Ellie's school. She chose her fanciest dress (not that there was any doubt in my mind). She actually sat still and didn't complain when I did her hair and she got to wear lip gloss as a reward. She looked really cute when she left. It's a bit hard to tell since I couldn't get her to stop "posing". We'll see what she looks like by the time they took the pictures.
She stayed for lunch and extended day today as well. I sent a change of clothes so that she could play without getting her pretty dress dirty. It's the one outfit that she has that requires dry cleaning. When I picked her up she had her play clothes on, but I new when I opened her bag and found the following note it wasn't good. "Elise didn't tell me about changing clohtes until after lunch. Mrs. Parkey" Ellie had chocolate dipped fruit in her lunch box. It wasn't pretty. Thankfully we won a dry cleaning gift certificate at the school auction in the spring.

Tea Party for One

Mr. sneaky waited until his sister was out of the room and then snuck in for some solo tea party fun. When he plays tea party with her he really isn't allowed to touch anything. He's just been waiting for his turn. They both really enjoy this game and can pass a big chunk of time playing with the tea set. The only down side is when I find out that they've put real water in all of the cups. Of course it never stays in the cups so we've had a puddle or two and some wet socks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fun Fest

On Sunday we went to our local neighborhood fun fest. It's a yearly fall tradition and it's lots of fun for the kids. We loaded both kids into the wagon (this wagon has already earned it's purchase price) and walked across the street to the festivities. Our first stop was the cake walk. Yes, Ellie wanted to do the bouncies first, but mommy made her do the cake walk. Every year we bring a cake and then by the time we get to the cake walk they are all gone and Ellie gets upset that she brought one but didn't get to take one home. So, this year we did the cake walk first, like it or not, and we stayed there until we one a cake. Actually, we one chocolate cupcakes with purple and green frosting and candy on top. They were yummy. Both kids (and mommy) devoured one right away. You can see the evidence remained on Max's face. Yes, another picture of a messy Max face. We then went on to do the bouncy jumper, bouncy slide, face painting, balloon man, many small carnival games, and the pony ride. We finished it off with hot dogs and fritos. Lots of friends and neighbors were out visiting and we stayed for the whole three hour event. It doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Beautiful Ballerina

Ellie started ballet one week ago. She had insisted all summer long that she wanted to do ballet instead of gymnastics this fall. So, we went last week and bought two sparkly leotards, two pairs of tights, a pair of ballet shoes, and a pair of tap shoes. Last week was her first lesson. She was so excited to put on her outfit and her shoes, but when it came time to actually go into the class (without mom), she did not want to go. She suddenly decided that she didn't want to do ballet anymore. I really thought that she was past the majority of her separation anxiety so this surprised me. I had to do a little convincing, but she finally agreed to go into the class and she stayed happily for the whole hour and was very plesed with herself afterwards. This week, she told me before we walked into the studio that she wanted me to leave while she was in class, not to watch her, and that she would tell me all about her class when I got back. What a change. She had another great lesson (I did sneak a peak through the window) and is ready for next week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


We've had a rough two days around here. I'm not sure what the root cause is. Is it that I worked all weekend and that sparked some anxiety? Is it the small cold that Max seems to have? Are his teeth bothering him (he's been biting on his stuffed animals a lot lately)? Is this delayed grief? Is the honeymoon period over? Is he just having a grumpy couple of days? I don't know, but we've both been miserable.

You might remember that Max bonded last and least to me while we were in China. I thought we had made some really good progress since we got home. He was coming to me to play and for hugs when he was hurt. Now, all of the sudden, it's like he wants nothing to do with me again. I'll hand him a snack and he'll refuse it. If Jason hands him the same snack two seconds later, he's elated. If he bonks his head, he'll cry and cry and he won't let me comfort him. If he doesn't get something that he wants, it's the end of the world. Basically, he's been fussing, whining, or crying most of the past two days with no obvious cause. And, the hard part, instead of mommy being able to comfort him, I seem to be making it worse. He's completely rejecting my attempts to make him feel better and these attempts actually seem to make him more upset.

I'm not sure what to do with this. First of all, I'm the only one home most of the day. Second, I'm not going to not show him love and affection. It just sucks to be rejected again and again. It makes me not want to try anymore (I know this isn't the answer, just how I feel). And, the crying/screaming/whining suck too. When he starts, it bugs Ellie who doesn't like loud noises, and often she'll start screaming back. It's giving me a headache. For right now, I'm just going with the perseverance method, but I'm open to suggestions. I figure that if I just keep playing the mommy role, eventually he'll get it and accept my affection. Until that happens, my wine consumption may go up. Costco, get your supplies ready.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

One month family anniversary

One month ago today we met Max. It's hard to believe that it's already been a month. We definitely are still settling into our new family roles and we're still figuring out who he is and how he fits into our family. Here's what we do know. Max is generally easygoing. Not much throws him for a loop. He has made this transition more easily that we thought was possible for any child. He's also a ham. He loves to grin his cheesy grin and wave at everyone. He loves being the center of attention. He loves to be outside and he loves to be active. Riding his tricycle, riding in his waggon, throwing balls, and just running around are probably his favorite activities. He also loves to push his cars and go "vroom, vroom". He also loves teddy bears. Not his lion or his dog, but teddy bears. He likes to go into Ellie's room and sort through her stuffed animals and pull out two or three teddy bears to carry around. He'll let you hold them for him when hes on the toilet or eating, but wants them right back when he's done. He loves to eat and he does it with gusto. He's actually pretty good with utensils, but somehow the food still gets EVERYWHERE. He also seems to be mechanically inclined. He watches how everything is done, built, put together, and then he attempts to do it himself. He loves to flush the toilet, push buttons on clocks (he's caused a couple of late mornings by turning off the alarm), turn water on and off, etc.

So far, there doesn't seem to be much he doesn't like. He definitely doesn't like to be told no. He doesn't like to be too far from food still (this may be a little pathologic). He also has a weird fear of a decorative stone rabbit in our bedroom. It's been temporarily relocated to the closet.

Lots of people have asked how language is coming. I think he's doing well, especially considering the duo insults of an unrepaired cleft palate and transitioning to a new language. So far these are the words that he consistently says in English. They're not enunciated perfectly, but he's trying really hard. Muh (more), mama, mama (baba), bye-bye, hi, Ehie (Ellie), ah-ee (doggie), i-ee (kitty), muh-ee (monkee), a-oo (thank you), vroom. There might be a couple more, but that's what I can think of right now. He also knows these signs: more, kitty, doggie, milk, water, and please (although it's use is limited). Considering it's only been a month, I'm impressed. It's probably more than the number of Mandarin words I know.

I think the most exciting part of the last month has been seeing him grow more comfortable with us and more comfortable in his environment. I love getting him up in the mornings and seeing him smile at me instead of cry. He knows that first we go to the bathroom, then he goes to his little table and waits for breakfast (or often gets to the refrigerator first to try and convince me t hat chocolate pudding is a healthy breakfast option). He "helps" me get him dressed and he knows where to find his clothes. He knows where all of the toys and books are and isn't afraid to dig right in and play. When we're in the carpool line to drop off Ellie he starts saying "bye bye Ellie" and when we're waiting to pick her up he's saying her name the whole time. He also knows that when we pull the curtains and get his bottle out it's bedtime (which he's less and less happy about). I'm just so happy that he seems to have settled into a new routine after all of the changes that he's had in the past month.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The best big sis in the world

Ellie is rocking as a big sister. I can't tell you how worried about this transition I was for her. She's had a difficult year and I worried that bringing home a new sibling would escalate all of the issues that she had been having. Thankfully, I was wrong. She LOVES Max. She loves to carry him around and snuggle up to him. She lets him play with her toys and in her room (usually). If he's upset, she's the first one to tell me what he wants (and she's unhappy if I don't choose to give him what he wants). When he's upset, she sings and has actually sung him to sleep. She loves teaching him new things. I think that she is flourishing in the role of the big kid, the expert, the experienced one. She has been waiting for someone to "be in charge of" and now that she is the boss in one aspect of life, she's happy. She definitely wouldn't take to us adopting out of birth order. She is the oldest sibling at heart. Also, I think it's been great for her to not be the center of attention at all times. She does better focusing her energy outside of her. I think too that some of the changes we've made in how we deal with her actions are helping. Being back in school, in the routine, and mentally/physically challenged every day does wonders too (she loves her school and we do too). No matter what the various causes, Ellie has really come into her own this past month. She's becoming an awesome kid. I'm so proud of her.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Laboring on Labor Day

This weekend has been my first prolonged period of time away from Max. This was my Summer holiday call weekend and with all of the time I've taken off recently I could not dump this on my partners. So, I've been taking call and covering the hospitals from Friday to Monday.

I love my job, but I was not quite ready to be anything but a mom yet. I have been loving my time at home with both of the kids. It's been awesome getting to know Max's cute little personality. I've loved taking Ellie to school and ballet and really getting to be part of her day to day activities. It's been a beautiful week weather wise too, so we've gotten lots of outside time - walks to the park, trips in the wagon, sidewalk chalk, and lots of time on the tricycle (Max's favorite). Do not let him see that tricycle unless you want to spend some time pushing him around on it.

The point is, I wasn't ready to be away from him yet, but I am. Thankfully, it seems to be going well. He's gotten a good combination of Daddy and Grandparent time and he's loving it. He has been really happy to see me in the afternoon/evening which I think is a great sign, and I've gotten some really good evening cuddles. Thankfully I'm nearing the end of my "workweek" and I get to go back to being just mom for a while more.

It's Libby day!

Congratulations to Libby and her forever family today! I'm thinking of you all.