Saturday, January 31, 2009

That whole Octuplets thing

So I, like most of America apparently, was initially appalled at the mother of the recently born octuplets, especially once new information came to light. She's not married??? She has six other children age 7 and down??? All conceived via in vitro??? No job??? One autistic son??? IS SHE FREAKIN' NUTS?????

And yet...

Well, let's just say I like to play devil's advocate.

And even saying that, I have to say that there's no way I see this woman as a devil. A saint? Maybe in her own mind, not in mine. But not a devil.

Just an ordinary woman who followed a path and got deeper and deeper into it until suddenly she's in the national spotlight paraded about as being an idiot.

What gets me, though, is that so many people talk about how she obviously has no care at all for her children.

Now, lemme say I can see that point of view. I mean, was she thinking about the care her other children would need when she was choosing to get pregnant again while jobless? No. But she had always been supported one way or another and here she had the option of either letting her frozen embryos be destroyed or transferring them. And from what I read, and what I interject, I think this woman really loves her children, enough so that the possibility of never getting to carry and meet their siblings truly tore at her and enough that she could not choose to do away with any lives once they were residing within her.

Again, don't necessarily agree here. I don't think that a woman choosing to not transfer all frozen embryos, or who takes doctors advice and reduces the number of embryos, doesn't love her children. She just thinks differently is all, and wants to give the best life to those already existing.

It's just... a difference in perspective. And a difference in situation. How can any of us truly say that we wouldn't be in her place if we'd lived her life? How could I say that I wouldn't have chosen to have children this way? Wouldn't have relied on my parents this way? Wouldn't have birthed so many and LOVED so many this way?

And above all, how could I judge her, another mother, when the only horrible thing she did was to bring her children to life in this world?

People kill people and others march for their freedom. People support wars, build guns, get drunk and hit other cars and get off with hardly a slap on the wrist. A man who kills a hundred men could be taken as a saint. A woman who births 14 children under circumstances others wouldn't prefer is called an idiot.

Maybe it's just me and my newfound protection of motherhood, and my newfound realization of neosexism, the way that other women treat women so horribly and blame everything on them, and the way that mothers must always be the absolute peak of intelligence and composure.

I'm sorry, but we're dealing with a human being here. We don't know everything. Was she spoiled growing up? Abused? Was she so mistreated in love that she felt she'd never find her life mate? Did she feel so backed into a corner that she realized the only way to reach her dreams was to follow a path others would deem unnecessary?

And when, oh when, did we start applauding people for following the path less taken when it came to just about everything else aside from procreating? What, a woman can stage a protest that costs her state millions to clean up after and we're fine with it, but a woman can't have children?

I don't know, maybe... maybe this whole parenthood thing is warping my mind. Maybe it's becomming a little too easy to put myself in other's shoes. But honestly, if it is I'm glad of it. I mean, seriously, shouldn't we all just step back and breathe and say "okay, so this is the path she chose and she's trying to make the best of it and care for her kids by herself so we should stop judging her over everything."

And maybe people could stop for one second complaining about tax dollars going to the birth and care of her children. I mean, I'd much rather they go to that than a war or some politician's wallet.

Okay, Nik's friend is over and I should entertain. Or play the Sims and eat a grapefruit. One or the other :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yesterday was good. Today? Well....

Yesterday Pax and I both woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. We had so much fun together in the morning! Only a few little warnings, only a few little tiny tantrums, nothing big at all and then a lunch and a nap for both of us. The afternoon was a bit harder since I got him up early hoping to give us some time at the Children's Museum. He wasn't too happy about that at first and was definitely a bit whiney, but I needed to renew our membership and we hadn't been there in over a week! After we left we went to Garner and picked up our new Rocker/Glider with Ottoman (yay!) then came home, hung around, ate dinner and he went to bed and life was wonderful :)

Today? That's a bit of a different story.

I really wanted to keep the same upbeat good communication and happy kid thing going on but that obviously wasn't going to work. First of all, Pax was already on the computer playing with Nick before I got to him. He's a lot worse for me after playing on the computer than he is watching tv, or especially just playing with his toys. He was MAD when it came time to get ready and go. There's just too much on there and he knows it and he's trying to access every game and video and mommy keeps making him stop after an hour or so. How mean! So I got him dressed while telling him we were going to Marbles and he did his normal "throw a fit and cry" thing while screaming "no wubbers, no wubbers!" So we didn't go to Marbles. I usually just take him anyway so today really threw him off. I had no investment in going and I really didn't want to make him sit on his bed and force out an "I'll be good" before taking him someplace where I already told him we wouldn't be going due to his behavior. We went to the mall instead.

Paxton played well on the trains and I was proud of him. He was being pretty good and I was impressed. He was even quiet for storytime (as much as possible for him), listened well and then colored well. It was when we went to leave the bookstore that the trouble started. I mean, it was just too crowded with too many kids being left unwatched at the train table and I knew a big freakout or fight was bound to happen with that many small kids in that tiny a space with such a small number of toys. So we left and went to the indoor playground. He was a bit bratty with me on the way there, but not awful. And he made up for it by running into Abercrombie and dancing to the music. Love that little butt wiggle :)

While at the playground though...


We saw a woman we haven't seen in a long time, along with her daughter and the girl she nannies. Paxton pinched the daughter. Or at least that's what they told me. What I do know is that he ran into the tunnel they were both in but didn't shove his way through, like he normally does. The mom noticed something was wrong then ran over and yanked out my kid and hers. Her daughter was crying, Paxton was grinning, and the mom told me Pax had been pinching her.

It wasn't until later that I realized he was quite possibly tickling her, something he does often, and not pinching, something he's never done before to another child. But at the time I had to discipline him. And I felt awful. I felt awful for the little girl who was crying and the mom who was upset and I felt bad for my son who is himself just a little kid who's trying things out and seeing if he can get away with them. And I felt like the idiot newbie mom, or the irresponsible mom, and even the over reacting mom. It's situations like those where I wish there was some handbook or something just to say "the normal reaction is X." What I did was make him say he was sorry then take him over to a bench and sit with him on my lap, holding his hands and telling him that they were mine for a few minutes since he wasn't using them nicely. We talked about how pinching is mean and how the girl was crying and how it's mean to make people cry, and while objectively this might've been right I still feel like an idiot somehow. Should I have been lighter on him? Asked for more info to see if he was tickling? Now I feel like I was too rough. And I was embarrassed and trying not to cry.

Not long after he did his normal "slide down the slide, lay at the bottom, put feet up to catch anyone else sliding down and then kick if they try to move me or my legs" thing, y'know the thing he keeps getting timeouts for. I just grabbed him and pulled him out of the playground. I put his shoes and jacket on with him crying that he could do it and me telling him that if he was going to act like a little boy (instead of a big boy) who didn't understand what I said and did mean things, then I had to treat him like a little boy and put his shoes on for him. Yeah, he was screaming and crying. We left. I didn't let him have his toys for most of the ride home too since he was just pissy. Once he calmed down he got one until he somehow hurt himself with it (a koosh ball) and threw such a fit at me that I just took it from him. Then he was very quiet.

At home we had cereal for lunch, per request. Then he got his banana. And then the worst possible thing that could ever happen happened: his banana broke in half while he was peeling it.

I'm used to the banana freakouts by now. We have tried different methods of dealing with it, from giving him a new one when he was littler, to putting him in time out when he was larger, to now just outright ignoring him and going right along with what we were doing. We don't want to encourage it by any means. What I mean by freakout is that the banana breaks, he drops it and starts shrieking, then he throws himself to the side so that he falls off the chair as hard as he can and just lays there with tears streaking down his face while screaming at the top of his lungs "NONONONONONONONONO!"

Today I gave him a minute to gather himself up to phase two of freak out, the run over and start punching mommy's leg phase (he doesn't normally punch anymore so he just kinda bops into me then tries to push and then just sorta stands there), and I picked him up and sat him on the potty. Tried to ignore it. Took several minutes and I did have to leave the room or lose my cool, but he calmed down and ate the half still in the peel. He did his normal "mommy fix it?" and "'nother nana?" things, but it was our last one and I'm not supporting that behavior anyway. Once he ate his half of 'nana, he grabbed a couple books and halfheartedly protested while I sent him to bed. I'm pretty sure he's knocked out now.

Boy looked so tired I thought he'd pass out on the playground. Woke up earlier than normal. Sucks for all of us. He loves his sleep as much as I do, so I know how much it sucks little man. Still no reason to be a meanie.

I'm watching myself a bit more too. I feel like such a meanie myself, always scolding or leaving the room while he's crying. Well, if he's actually crying because he's hurt or scared or sad, no I don't leave. But if he's having a tantrum? Especially one where he likes to hurt himself by falling off of chairs? I think it's best I don't give him attention for that. I still just wanna cry, though. I mean, my son is crying. Like, real tears and everything. Siiiiiiiiigh.

On a "ridiculous mommy" note I found myself getting angry at Paxton yesterday while trying to explain why I couldn't just stop the car in the middle of the road in rushhour traffic and get out. I needed to circle around a bit to find a spot at Marbles and by our second run around the building mommy wasn't the happiest camper. I mean, it's all lefts and the lights are set up to turn red right when you get to them so it's not a fast process. Paxton just kept asking "wubbers? wubbers? Mommy, stop car. Go in Wubbers!" And I was trying to explain that no, I could not just stop the car no matter how much I wanted to. I was giving this long detailed explanation until I caught myself and realized "dear Lord, I'm ranting to a three year old." He didn't mind. Everynow and then he interjected with a soft "no" but he does that anyway. Otherwise I think he was having fun watching mommy make a butt of herself.

Ah, crazy little man and his crazy ole mommy. Some days are worse than others, some days are glorious, but every day I somehow love him more :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My rough little one

Let's just say it like it is: Paxton is a tough kid.

Well, sometimes. Somedays he's a total joy, and others he's just a normal little kid, but there are days where, well... there are just days.

And they are very rough days and sometimes they are hard to get through.

Paxton came home on his second birthday after knowing us for only a week. He had started his life as the youngest of three sons in a tiny little hut on a tiny farm in a jungle of coffee plants in Southern Ethiopia. At barely a year old, maybe even younger, he saw his mother die, and then his father. He and his brothers went to live with his aunt and her family. He has a cousin the same age as him and while he still needed to be nursed, so did the cousin. I think it was here that his intense jealousy took hold. He KNEW there wasn't enough and he KNEW he had to get the food, had to cry and beg and be as needy as possible or he wouldn't eat and would be passed up for that other kid, you know, the other one that needs food too (not like a one year old can process that).

After several months his aunt finally couldn't do it anymore. It was just too much, financially, emotionally, mentally. She could not care for him and her own nursing child, and so he went to live in the orphanage. I can only guess the pain that followed, the months of knowing what she'd ultimately do and dreading it, the guilt, the worry, the sorrow...

But this is about my son. My son who was alone, again. The parents who had babied him were gone and the aunt he tried to make a new mother was gone, and even the brothers who had always been there was gone. He even had to learn bits of a new language.

He became one of almost fifty kids in the big kid's home at the orphanage. Among his third set of caregivers he was doted on and loved. There are a few interesting tidbits I learned or saw in the orphanage. I know he stopped eating and got special treatment. I know he was picky with his food and again got special treatment. I know he cried a lot and, again, got special treatment. In short, he KNEW how to impress himself upon his caregivers. He'd been the center of attention as an infant, the semi-cast aside child as a new toddler, and now as a full fledged toddler in a home with far too many children he was going to get his way.

I saw him steal a toy, smack the kid he stole it from, then scold that child for having the toy he wanted to begin with. I saw this on my first time seeing my son. I saw a lot of chaos there, children hitting and punching and kicking and standing on smaller children and children being hurt and no one noticing because there were just so many. I can't say that I know everything my child went through, but I can say that I have a rough idea as to his foundation.

And I can say that the result is a hard child.

He was violent, excessively violent, for several months. I had bruises and marks and was often gasping for breath after a kick to the neck or crying in pain from a punch to the eye. It wasn't that he wanted to hurt me, most of the time anyway. He just knew it worked.

And there are so many other things that he knows work. He KNOWS how to work people. He knows how to throw himself down and cry and how to say his leg hurts and cutely ask for a kiss and how to smile adorably and shyly like he's oh so shy and then give a little hug. He can figure people out, he knows what works with them.

In a way I'm glad he doesn't pull that crap with me. He knows I'll be here no matter what, and he knows I don't fall for it. Make no mistake, this kid is bonded. But there's sometimes and anxiousness to it that I'm just not sure how to address.

He's no longer violent but for the random slap or the threatened throwing of something, though it's often halfhearted and always spur of the moment reactions. He flirts more with others, but doesn't ignore me when he doesn't and never challenges my bond with him (ie, doesn't throw a fit at me if someone else gives him too much attention). Most of my complaints now rest with his defiance (duh, he's 3), his refusal to actually pottytrain for good, and his sudden mood swings that always surprisingly show up around the same time he grows another quarter inch.

There are still times, though when I worry for him. I know love isn't enough, but it's a lot, and I know we need to be conscious and see things others don't even to the point of paranoia. I need to catch when he's getting scared (it's in the way he holds his hands) and when he's overstimulated (it's in his laugh) and when he's simply trying to push my buttons because, hey, this kid is really a lot like me and that's what I'd do to my mom (still do!).

I do worry about things that maybe I shouldn't. I worry that when he's grown up he'll take his intelligence for granted, get on a bad path and stay there because, man, this kid cannot be easily swayed! I'm scared that his need for attention, especially from females, and his fear once he gets too close to them (too worried over the possibility of a new caregiver) might one day translate to infidelity or lack of an ability to commit, or even ill treatment of a women he very much loves. And sometimes I worry that his own charisma and intelligence might get him and others in trouble since he does seem to be able to work people in ways I rarely see other kids able to do.

But then there are those times when I put my mommy worries aside and I think to the future. I think of him finding the right lifemate, someone who understands him and takes him for all he is, maybe when he's a bit older and more sure of his place in the world. I see him using his intelligence, studying, going to school and making a great name for himself. I see him travelling to his homeland, coming to touch with its history and his own. I see him using his charisma for good, becoming generally well liked, and also becoming comfortable enough that he doesn't always have to act like a different person in order to please them. And of course, I see him compulsively cleaning every corner of his house, because man, this little Type A over here, casanova though he may be, is the biggest neat freak I've ever seen (though he still manages to make the biggest messes!).

Sometimes there are days where I seem to be failing at my job. I lose my patience, he's acting horrible and making a scene, and I'm trying to damn hard and every minute that goes by it gets worse and worse and harder and harder until finally we end up in a bathroom or sitting outside or with him on his bed, door closed, while I'm on a computer downstairs ignoring him, and it's like I just can't handle the anger and flightiness and sudden deaging that certain activities bring. Sometimes going to a storytime is the hardest part of the week because he cries and complains and ruins props and grabs attention for himself and is mean to other kids. And yet sometimes...

This past Tuesday we went to storytime and then an activity. He was roughly okay for storytime with Ms Carol. Then we read books, went potty, and had the activity. He was awful. He cried and threw a tantrum and wouldn't stop talking or complaining and would pay no attention to the great woman leading it. I tried to keep my patience, I really did, but eventually it was time out in the bathroom with him sitting on the changing table crying and me trying not to look because I was just getting so dang frustrated! It's HARD when your kid de-ages in front of your eyes and won't listen to you and it's like nothing you do ever works and you feel like such and awful mom and the looks people were giving you as you went to the bathroom, yanking along a screaming child...

Well, it wasn't good. And for awhile there I worried again. Would he always be like this? Always be set off by dumb little things like a storytime that's just a little too much like the together time at the orphanage? Would he always scream when I asked him to sit? Would he always misbehave in public when I actually knew people there?

We went out later and the rest of the activity was fun, but I was just... well, I was PMSing anyway and somedays I really do worry about my son just so much. I mean, he won't even make eye contact at all when we're in these sort of situations....

At the end I got my normal "why are you here again?" looks from a few people and the "I'm glad you're here!" looks from others. We said our thank you to Ms Stacy, said our goodbyes, grabbed our books and jackets and headed off to leave. Suddenly, as is normal, Paxton ran off through the shelves, streaking out of sight while I lugged a full bag of library books. I did my barely controlled "Paaaaxtoooon!", you know the sorta half whisper and half yell.

I ran to the front expecting to find him pushing himself out the door and into the parking lot, but no. There he was, looking for something. And then he saw her. You see, while I had him thank Ms Stacy, I'd forgot to have him thank Ms Carol. He ran straight over to that desk and cried out "Thank'um!" his way of saying thank you. Ms Carol looked up to see who it was and Paxton stood on his little tippy toes and held onto the counter, barely peaking over. When he knew she'd seen him he said "Thank'um for sing wiv me!" When she said "you're welcome" he said his "byebye" and turned to leave, walking over to his stunned mommy and happily taking my hand.

I can't say I'm totally surprised to see my son showing spontaneous care for others. He says excuse me (kyoo meez) to get by people, sowwy if he bumps into someone, and thank you if someone holds a door for him. He doesn't think, he just does it, and if he sees someone crying he always tries to make sure they're okay.

Heck, I didn't even mention how a few days ago I had a little hissy fit and started sobbing while he was crying. He stopped crying. He stayed near me until I calmed down then hugged me, kissed my head, stroked my hair and cheeks. He asked if I was sad and I said I was, so he kissed me and said I was "all better now." When I asked if he was still said he told me "no, Pax'on all better! Pax'on good now! Mommy better now too?" I felt like such an awful mom since I'd just yelled at him and he'd been crying so hard and, well... there he was, telling me that he was perfectly fine, reassuring me that it was okay, hugging my head and kissing my cheek and telling me he was making it better. Several months ago a similar thing happened, only instead of kissing he just punched me over the head as hard as he could while I cried. In both cases I just couldn't stop crying, but obviously the latter's case is certainly better.

So I guess amidst all these icky once a month emotions (you know what I mean) I do have to look at everything objectively and say, y'know... I think my kid might just be turning out okay. Yeah, he might drive me absolutely nuts somedays, but really for all he's been through... Yeah, I think he'll be okay. Though I might believe it more once this week is over and maybe I'll believe it even more when he's through his bimonthly growth spurts and not Mr Pissypants all the dang time.

But I'm still a mom. I think I'll be worrying about him with my dying breath. Ah, motherhood, ain't it grand?

And no, I don't honestly know what point I was trying to make here other than that I am way too emotional this week and he's having another growth spurt and on top of sleeping all the time and eating everything in sight he's also a raging pissant who likes to scream, tear things, and mostly just cry over eeeeveryyyythiiiiiing.

How Nice!

Both Britax and Graco have full installation videos online for the two carseats we're using. We got Paxton's Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 today from Amazon and I'm still trying to figure that one out (just need to get it installed in the car now, missing a step), and Youtube helped me set up BB's carseat as well so he'll be all set to go whenever we get the call.

Which might be sooner now! Well, might be likely now I should say :) They got our stuff and asked us to register for the Yahoo! Group so I guess that means we aren't being turned down by this agency or anything. Yay! That was one of my fears.

Hopefully we'll do our taxes this weekend. The state gets back to us pretty quickly, federal might take awhile, but either way it looks like we're getting all but a few hundred back (in state) and carrying a few hundred in credit over for next year (in federal). And then hopefully next year's taxes will include another deduction and another adoption credit :)

Seriously, it wasn't until that tax credit that I actually became excited for taxes. Ah, child, look at what you've done to me!

Ooo, and when we have our refund back, that might raise our budget and open us up to new possibilities! Hooray!

I know it's not as likely, but I'm gonna guess... April. Which probably means May. I was so set on July for Paxton's referral and it ended up being August 10 (he was in the orphanage August 4). So maybe I should think March?

And I'm thinking blue. We have a boys name that we're already using to refer to the baby, since we don't really want Paxton calling him Baby Bender. We also have a girl's name we love so we're set their two, but we really feel like it's going to be another boy, and honestly we'd be so happy either way :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My haul from the consingment sale yesterday, during half off day. Grand total? just under $100.

My haul from the consignment sale on Friday. I bought the stroller there, too. Total? $150.

Please note that there are bags stuffed under the stroller in both pictures.

I'm so happy about it! One thing about me? I LOVE buying things! Another thing about me? I'm very frugal. Any guesses how this must frustrate me???

You can't believe how happy I was that A) we could afford everything, no problem; B) we needed everything; and C) I had total access to grab whatever the heck I wanted! I literally had glorious dreams about going there again all night Saturday and Sunday morning. I kept waking up all throughout the night all excited. Did I mention my grandmother is a yardsale queen? Now I see why! That was AWESOME! I mean, I was literally pushing Paxton's stroller with one hand, and grabbing bags full of onesies and sleepers and booties with the other, briefly glancing at the cost and contents, then shoving them in my bag as fast as possible! I filled two bags within about five minutes! I was in HEAVEN! And now I'm stuck with all these adorable baby items :) And Paxton got some cool stuff too, of course!

There's another consignment sale in a couple weeks. I'm SO going. I'm also leaving in a few minutes to check out a very nice Goodwill (always has great stuff) on the way to a women's house, where I'm picking up some nice lined nursery hampers (five) which I plan to use in my closet organizer, and which require a bit of driving but are more than 50% off so I'm cool with it.

I still need my prefolds, snappis, wipes and solution, nursing shawl, changing table, rocker/glider and a few more things, but we just ordered our bassinet so that and Paxton's "big boy" carseat should be showing up sometime in the next week or so. It's so awesome!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A single drop of hope

Since it seems there are some people actually reading this (*gasp!*) I'm going to go ahead and warn that this post is about preparing for adoptive breastfeeding and thus includes many TMI tidbits.

Yesterday at the children's consignment sale I really, really stocked up. Like nuts. I kept trying to catalogue it all and always realized I forgot one more item. I'm going back tomorrow, with a lunch for Paxton and my new stroller, and buying more. We will need tons of onesies, prefolds, receiving blankets, etc and tomorrow is 50% off day.

Anyway, some of the items I bought yesterday included items to help me with nursing. I now have 7 pairs of nursing pads, a book on nursing, 3 nursing bras that fit, and a brand spanking new manual pump kit in a pretty little black bag.

I decided yesterday afternoon, while Paxton was napping, to just test out the pump. Why not? I can say, as my first bit of TMI, that every time I think about the new baby my breasts swell and nipples get sensitive. It's like there's this ache there, this need that wants to be filled. And no, husband, you can't fill this one ;-)

So I figured out its intuitive design, hooked myself up and began pumping.

It was awwwwwesome! I mean, it felt like there was this horrible itch in there that needed scratching and the pumping made it feel so much better. It was relief all around.

So I pumped for a bit, knowing full well that nothing would come of it. I mean, I only took 1/3 the amount of Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle that was recommended and no other supplements, and I stopped those weeks ago. I expected that my breasts might get plumper or even a bit sore, but nothing else.

When I finally pulled the pump away from my right breast, ie the compliant and non-inverted one, there it was.

A drop.

A single clear drop of liquid squeezing out, reacting to the pumping action.

My God, there was a small food item coming out of me!

I was, and still am, stunned. I contacted someone at La Leche League for some information and still haven't heard back, though I know she can help (I know her, another Ethiopian adoptive mom). I need to know if this is normal or if this is cause to really celebrate.

Ah, screw it, I'll celebrate anyway!

I pumped again last night and made more liquid and it came out faster. There was a small arc of it in the pump.

This morning there was a little puddle in there. It came out almost immediately.

My left nipple is starting to comply too, no liquid yet and not as swollen, but the nipple is coming out for me quicker and staying out longer, as well as stretching further out. Both breasts are swelling and it's like I can *feel* the insides of them working, especially my right breast. In fact, it felt a little, iunno, heavy I guess, until I hooked up the pump and pulled out some liquid.

I'm starting up with the Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle again. No idea if this means milk will come in easily and if so how long that will take.

And yet... there's hope now. Like, real, honest to God, there's something coming out of my nipples hope.

And right now that's more than enough for me :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Getting Ready Fast!

Gotta love how I talk like my 3 year old, neh? His language has developed so quickly and drastically that it's left us breathless, and now that he's speaking more or less normally, we're the ones that sound silly! I especially keep picking up weird Paxtonisms and am constantly catching myself saying something he'd say. Like how I told my friend I wanted to eat an eggplant when I was holding a grapefruit. Pax gets them mixed up, and apparently now so do I. As of last night it's an eggfruit. We both call it that. Whatever, people can figure out what I mean.

Anyway, the Kid's Exchange is in Raleigh this weekend. Huge consignment sale. I've never been to one before and went in for a "peek." Yeah, I needed to buy a stroller to carry out all my loot! $150 for everything! I thought I'd hit at least $300 but not, it's so cheap! We're now set on things like socks and bibs and diaper covers and nursing pads. I bought a couple necessary books for $5 (not each) and a brand new pumping kit for $10. We're doing a froggy theme this time and there were so many froggy items! I have a froggy baby tub and froggy hooded towels and even a cute froggy pillow and blankie set. I also have two slings, including a gooooorgeous Maya wrap, the right size for me, with the instruction tape included! The stroller itself was only $10 and handled great, I didn't even feel the weight of the 4 bags and several bigger items (including boppy and bouncy chair). I did realize when I got home that I shouldn't have bought a few things, like the onesies that are too big for a baby and too small for Paxton, or the pads that I have no idea where they go. But eh, that makes up like $5 of regret and now that I've seen their prices I can tell you I have about $100 of regret from baby shopping a few days ago. I mean, seriously, all that stuff would've been in the same condition and cost $10 today! It's nuts!

I think I'll go back Sunday for their half off sale. Still trying to find a changing table/dresser. Found one on Craigslist last night but looks like it was snatched right up.

I'm happy to say my first round of Dreft laundry is well underway and soon I can put in the slings that need very careful washing. I'm so excited! Still not "ready right this second" ready but a million times closer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just thinking

It's a little too early to be hooking Paxton up to the tv. Usually we let the tv be on during meals, early in the morning while we get things done, or around about 5:30 or so as Nik comes home at 6 and the tv goes off then. It's not quite five and he's well into an episode of the Little Einsteins. I might just take a short nap on the couch with him while he watches. Eh, I'm allowed to be lazy now and again, right?

Today I was talking with a group of library moms. I LOVE our local library. It's tiny, but intimate. We get to know each other, learn the kids names, learn each others names, and actually get to talk. Today after a fun Rhyme Time I walked over to the community center with Paxton and met up with 3 of the other moms with younger kids who were already there. I've talked to them all before but today I really felt like I was getting to know them. One has a little baby born last August who is just the cutest thing. I love watching her grow! While talking to the other moms one mentioned she was due with her third in July. The other laughed and admitted she was due with her second in August. I talked about our upcoming adoption a bit. I still didn't feel like I was "expecting" like they were. I think I'm in a bit of an emotionally protective sheild where I'm not letting the full weight of it hit me yet. I did that with Paxton too, just held my emotions at arm's length until we were bording the plane in Ethiopia with him. So I'm still a bit wary of saying "yeah, we're having a baby too!" and I'm wary of comparing myself to a pregnant mom, but on the other hand... I feel more like it now than I did the first time.

And that's just one of the differences between this adoption and the second.

This time around I'm more sure of myself and who I am as a mother, a wife and a person. I'm more confident that everything will work out, even if there is a fall through. I'm happy and complete and not depressed, even if I am a bit anxious. I'm, in fact, thrilled. I'm excited. I know this journey will be tough, whether long or short, and I know it might be fraught with heartache, but I know that in the end our children are always worth it and having our child sleeping in my arms quickly washes away all the pain of the path to hold them.

There's another difference, too, and this one is a scary one.

This time we're going to have a baby. Not a toddler, not a kid able to tell us where it hurts or when he's hungry or which toy he prefers. We're going to have a tiny, crying, poopy, totally breakable baby. And my God I need to wrap my mind around that.

There's so much we need! Burp cloths, receiving blankets, onesies, bodysuit, booties, hand covers, blankies, a cradle, sheets and towels and a tiny little bathtub. We'll need to buy new soap and shampoo and a new haircare set. We'll need a new thermometer, maybe the binkie type. We'll need a sling and diapers and diaper pails and a new hamper and just... so much stuff! Granted knowing me and my mother and our skill for getting everything together, that'll take, what, a week? A day even? We work fast once there's a complete list :)

But other than the physical stuff there's the mental stuff. The "OMG baby!" stuff. The, "Wow, this one is so little! Is our house warm enough? Am I holding him right? OMG, is he breathing!?!?!?" stuff. Will I even be able to sleep until he or she is 6 months and bigger and chunkier? Or will I set up a glider rocker right beside the crib and curl up under a blanket every night just to be there? I already jolt awake with the smallest of noise clues from Paxton, how often will I jerk awake with this one?

I think I'll go grab that medical book our doctor provided and read it cover to cover. We're so nervous! A baby! A little teensy baby! We're ecstatic, yes, but it's so different...

I think I might just hang out with those other moms a bit more and beg for advice. So much of raising Paxton just came to us by intuition and maybe that will happen again, but just in case I'm going to read EVERYTHING to, y'know, stress myself out. And maybe learn something in the process.

Been awhile...

And now, onto the next stage... the REAL wait!

Our house is SOLD! It's GONE! Well, the old one. And the new one is starting to gather little onesies and cute little sockies and such, as well as big boy Thomas underpants for a big, big soon-to-be older brother who is so big that he can pull his own pants up and down and get himself on a big potty with no help from mommy.

We had a small snafu when a referal service asked for us to send two copies of our profile. You see, we kiiiinda forgot that part. I mean, I did up a quick website awhile back but we really literally put everything on hold until the house was gone. It was sort of an emotional protection thing. So the past few days have been all about writing, re-writing, re-re-writing, bugging people about reading my writing, re-re-re-writing, printing, fixing, printing again, cutting, pasting, learning to scrapbook very quickly, deciding on the right supplies, driving all over the dang place to get the right supplies, hurting my poor back by hunching over a pile of pretty colored paper for way too long, and then finally getting everything together and paying Kinkos $50 to make 5 nice copies along with 5 copies of our homestudy.

And now... we're ready.

No, we don't have our cloth diapers, and we have only a few bits of clothing, and we still need the baby tub and the sling and the new carseat for Paxton so we can set up the Britax for Paxton. And no we haven't even got the new dresser/changing table or moved some of the things we were storing in the nursery out of there yet.

But we're ready. We have our homestudy and profile, we have our ecstatic friends and family, we have our whiney and suddenly quite jealous older brother, and we're just... we're ready.

And now we begin :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lots going on!

Well, a bit anyway.

Jacob's doing better, or at least was when I was at UNC Monday so I should probably call/email today to make sure everything is still going alright. He's responding quickly which is awesome!

The buyer's at our house actually moved up the closing date fromnext Tuesday to tomorrow afternoon. I'm fine with that, but really? Friday at 3 before a 3 day weekend and you don't even have all the repairs/inspections done nor all your paperwork? I'm a little confused there. Either way, if it gets it done then it gets it done.

Contacted two adoption referral services. They come recommended and are pretty cheap to use, only $1K if you match through them and either no fee or $100 to sign up, nothing big in ye olde adoption world. Only one got back to me and sounds nice, says with our lower budget ($15K inc. travel) it might take us a bit longer, but it should work out anyway. Think we'll sign on with her and maybe another one that I can't find a contact form for and who I'd like to ask a few questions before submitting my info.

Paxton's language development continues to stun us. Yesterday he said "I'm sick," letting me know he was sad (he gets those mixed up). He's never said "I" or "I'm" before and he said it so naturally. While 3 word phrases are pretty natural for him now, he's actually saying 4 or 5 word sentences that area bit jaunty but still grammatically correct. He gets it better everyday so I don't notice it as much as everyone else since I'm with him pretty much 24/7. Nik notices it a bit more, and everyone else is consistently blown away, especially knowing how bad he was at English for a long time.

I don't think Nik's too pleased with me for Pax's latest obsession, I figured "well, he seems to have tv time at these two times of the day, why not switch that out for computer time with the same characters and have him actually learn computer skills?" So instead of glazed eyes staring at Winnie the Pooh or Wall-E or a Noggin show (all on DVD or VHS, no cable here), he now has a knit brow as he figures out the mouse and the choices. And oh are their choices!

In the past few days my son has learned: How to hold and maneuver the mouse, how to left click instead of right click, how to hit X to make a window dissappear, how to click the "next" button, how to go back, how to choose a show then an area of activity then the activity, how to listen to directions from a non-human speaker (the computer) and wait patiently until he's told what to do, how to follow directions, how to click to pick up and drag as well as how to click to pick up then click to drop, and how to carefully click on smaller, moving objects so that he gets what he wants. I can't even count the various skills he's learning from the tons of games, but it's so awesome to see him win a game of bingo or a matching game, or see him set of the instruments he wants and dance to them, or say out loud everything he's doing as he's following patterns and remembering where he planted seeds to be watered and, well... it's not something I want him doing 24/7 but in place of tv time? Most definitely! And I'm hoping to at some point pick up some learning materials, things with numbers and letters and basic addition and such that are just as fun.

Alright, time to stop dilly dallying and get dressed so we can go to the library. We go on Tuesdays and Thursdays now, attending 3 programs a week. That on top of a "meet the animals" once a week at the museum gives him 4 opportunities to sit still and make mommy proud. Unfortunately he typically makes mommy look nuts because she's whispering "just.sit.still!" through gritted teeth while he flails and cries, but we're trying! And he does get better every time, it's just... minute. Okay, off to at least get socks on. My feet are cold!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Praying and Thankful

Today we went to visit friends at the hospital. A friend of our son's, almost 6 year old Jacob, was diagnosed with lymphoma this week. He began receiving chemo yesterday and will continue at the hospital for the next week or two. Then, if he's doing well, he'll be sent home with instructions for his family.

Paxton was obviously a bit on edge, not totally certain what to do in the hospital though luckily the children's wing of UNC was set up wonderfully so he found lots of fun stuff to do. The room was large and there were butterflies painted on the ceiling. Family and friends have been calling pretty much constantly it seems, which I'm sure is both relieving and stressful to the family.

The best news is that Jacob has already started responding superbly to chemo. The tumor was fistsized and it's already gone down considerably and while he wasn't bouncing off the walls like normal, he was singing and talking and enjoying one of his favorite movies and a new puzzle from his teacher. Also good is that the lymphoma is in the Burkitt's family, meaning it's non-Hodgkins and thus has a pretty positive prognosis. So while it's still cancer, it's not the worst case scenario y'know?

So we're very thankful that it looks like Jacob will be okay, and that his spirits and those of his family are still up. Also thankful that he's getting excellent care at UNC.

It's still scary, though. I nearly crashed my care when I listened to my voicemail from Grace, Jacob's mom, while driving across town on Thursday. I did a quick circle back to her house just to, I don't know, be there. I haven't known them long enough to really know how to offer support but I figured at the very least I could be present and listen. While there I just started hugging my son and kissing him and couldn't stop for awhile. After I left her home I had to finish my previous drive to drop off a couple checks with my closing agent. I almost started crying in the car. I had to stop into my mother's office which is near there just to calm down a bit, since I didn't want to be driving while I was shaky. I'm feeling better now, obviously, especially with the positive news but it's still so scary to know that one of my son's playmates, a very young and happy child, is ill with cancer.

In other news, not to jinx everything but so far it looks like the house is set to close in about 10 days. We'll have to shell out a few hundred more in small miscellaneous repair costs but it is soooo worth it. As soon as the money is freed up... wow, there's so much we want to do! Adoption is a big part, of course, but so is removing the tall pines from our property, and so is buying a new big-boy bed for Paxton, and buying some baby items. And there are a few non-necessary items we might want that we've been holding off on, but we may continue to do that until after the second adoption is complete and we have our child home.

And in news related to that, we were approached with the possibility of looking into a sibling adoption from fostercare, siblings ages 3 and 1.5 who are due to be TPR'd very soon. We're only approved for one child or twins up to 12 months and honestly I don't know if we could even get approval for a 3 year old when our only child (who suffers from only child syndrome) only just turned 3 himself. I do see some pros, of course. We'd know and live close to the women they know as a "grandma" and she could keep in contact with kids she's known for a year and a half. The adoption would be pretty much free aside from finalization and what we've already spent. We'd have a very, very good source of the history, both social and medical, on both children. On the con side... we really do picture ourselves with and infant, we think Paxton wouldn't be able to handle a sibling the same age, we're not sure if we could handle two 3 year olds, and honestly I'd be very worried that I wouldn't accept them as openly as I could. What if I felt pressured to take them when Nik and I really feel that our family would be best with a baby this time around? And what if we took them and didn't treat them as well as we could because they'd be fighting with our son (he'd be jealous certainly)? And there's even the possibility that we could decide we feel comfortable with the match and then our homestudy agency wouldn't allow it. Our social worker knows how much we want a baby this time around, would she easily allow us to virtually twin our current child and add a second slightly older infant with no real interest previously? I don't know, I think a lot of thought will have to happen here. We just... we see ourselves with a baby. Maybe not a newborn, but a baby. I see myself nursing, slinging, cloth diapering, teaching to walk and talk and easing Paxton into big brotherhood when he's holding on so hard to only-childdom.

So, we'll be praying and thinking and hoping, and all the while we'll remain very thankful. Jacob's looking so much better, his family sounds so much happier, and of course we're grateful for a healthy child ourselves. They're so much stronger than us! I'd be in a heap on the floor or eating myself to death or something in their shoes! And we're grateful for the house being set to close soon and for the silly little repairs that cost an arm and a leg but are so much more worth it than it not selling at all, and even if it all fails and we don't close we're thankful for at least this time of hope and exhiliration. And no matter what we choose regarding the sibling pair coming free for adoption we're grateful to even be given the choice because it means that we're trusted and believed to be a good home for these most beloved of children, and it means for these children that their foster family is a true family that is looking out for their best interests even when they don't have to.

I pray that everyone sleeps well tonight, that Jacob and his family finally all get a good night's sleep and wake up to a new day of hope, that the children in fostercare sleep well and have nice dreams of their lives to come, whatsoever they may be, that our own little son sleeps peacefully tonight and dreams of elephants and lolipops and his Gambi's strawberries topped with whipped cream, and that all we know and love receive the blessing of a good night's sleep and a hopeful awakening. 'Night y'all!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Well, I suppose I ought to get out of the house...

But I don't wanna! It's rainy and a little chilly and I'm so warm in my jammies and flannel robe. But I need to get dressed, and Paxton needs to get dressed, and I need to pick up a bit and we need to GO somewhere before his sunny personality fades and he realizes we're just sitting at home all day. I was planning on going to the kid's museum again but... it's rainy!!! Maybe the mall then? Maybe the kid's museum in the afternoon again, where we get 2 hours of calm and quiet play? It still takes gas to get downtown so I'd prefer to be there longer, but that actually works out quite well.

Ah well. Another lazy day. I'm always kinda tired/hungry/lethargic/whiney when it's very rainy and wet. It's been rainy for weeks, will be rainy all week again, and while that's good what with us living in droughtland I can't help but wish that we had a nice sunny day sometime soon. Maybe where it's warm. Can't we mix it up a bit? What happened to our hot NC Januarys? The January before Nik and I started dating I remember I was in shorts and a tanktop everyday, taking at least a shower a day because it was so. dang. hot! And now? It's cold. Like, "have to wear socks" cold. And while I love my new Christmas present socks, I'm a flip flops girl and the fact that I have had to wear socks for months and months now is getting a little on my nerves. At least I don't have any blisters from closed in shoes (only 2 pairs now, the only ones that don't hurt my feet).

Okay, sooo... Megan, activate! Okay, okay, I think that did it. I'll go make the bed and get dressed then cloth my boy. And then? Head to the mall. Where I'll sit down and play with the internet on my iPhone. Ah, yes, sounds like a plan!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Things I'm proud of today...

1. Clean house. Well, cleanish. Well, okay, cleaner than it was a week ago, how's that? Maybe once I pick up all the toys displaced in under 30 minutes it will look much cleaner...

2. Good meal. Soup (from can, not so great I know), boiled cabbage, salad and peanut butter-banana-chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Think I'll have another one soon :)

3. Child growing up well. I'm quizzing him on longer phrases and he's trying his hardest and often getting them. He's also "reading" some of his favorite books to himself. Still needs a bit of an attitude adjustment post-Christmas and we're working on it, but generally he's very easy, well behaved, amiable and considerate. I love this kid :)

4. Finding a book to recommend to husband. Husband enjoying his book, which I finished a couple days ago. Not only do we FINALLY enjoy the same thing just about as much (I'm THIS CLOSE to writing fanfiction!), but I get to talk to someone about a book I just read which is awesome!

5. I'm actually reading! Reading I say! Yes, it's only young adult fiction right now, but it's wooooonderful! I'm taking personal time outs from playing with Pax in order to just read. I figure it relaxes me when I'm serious about to break a Thomas train in half, and it's a good example for Paxton to see. And guess what? Now he's starting to pull out books himself and tell himself the story! OMG it's perfect! My brain feels exercised, I read a great story that has me thirsting for more (the 3rd in the series is on reserve, will pick up tomorrow), and my son is being encouraged to read!

6. Cloth diapering. This month marks 1 year of doing cloth diapers almost exclusively. There were 2 or 3 times where we ended up stuck with using a disposable simply because I'd miscalculated when I needed to do wash, but other than that it's been pure cloth, and other than water bills we haven't had to pay a cent in diaper costs in a year. How much do toddler diapers cost in a year? I bet it's more than the roughly $300 we spent on the stash and biodegradable detergent.

7. Gas usage. My minivan is huge and I consider it a gas guzzler. Still, I'm pretty much able to go 2 weeks before gasing up. Even with the much, much cheaper gas now ($2.50 cheaper than a few months ago!) I'd still prefer not to waste too much of the planet's resources. Honestly I'd be prouder if I rode the bus more. It's just that after that last time with the gang thing and the violent threats against a women and the screaming curses right near my totally interested small child... yeah, I might need some coaxing and maybe a taser to try that again.

So that's it. I wanted to go to 10 and I could say I'm proud that I made those cookies again (only a few ingredients, no salt, only brown sugar no white, and no oil) but then again I'm eating them like mad. We all LOVE those cookies, and honestly if I'm going to have sweets in my house (can't live without 'em) it's better to be those than something full of oil and refined sugar. And there's no egg so eating the batter is totally fine! Hmmm, think I'll eat one again now...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Things that make me just melt

1. Paxton copying me. While it's somewhat scary that any word or phrase I utter might be repeated to hundreds of people in public areas at the top of his lungs, it's also just plain adorable to hear him muttering my utterances. Especially cute? Calling a playing animal "silly button!" or remarking "goodness!" when a tower falls over.

2. Paxton going "yeah!" after every other phrase. I guess it's his new verbal tick. Nik pointed out that it was sort of an explanation thing, like an "I'm serious!" Pax would/will often just repeat what we say so adding "yeah" does help us get that he gets it. For example, I'll say "you want an apple?" and he'll reply with "apple? yeah!" Of course, now it's things like "please yeah!" and "good job yeah!" and "potty yeah!" and "hi yeah!"

3. Paxton being so incredibly jubilant that he starts to randomly run in circles around me while laughing. On his good days, of which there are now many, this is a common occurance.

4. Paxton reading and counting faster and better, and recognizing some words. Every time he reads of letters it goes faster and faster, the pauses fewer and far between, and while he still miscounts most of the time he'll sometimes get a straight run no problem.

5. Paxton making girlfriends. I think this makes them melt more than me, though. Paxton grabs a new girlfriend (adult female) wherever we go and makes them play with him. Usually he's successful and whoever the random person is will sit there playing with him until I distract him long enough for them to get away, but they'd better go far since he'll run after them once he realizes they're gone. He'll sometimes do this to men and sometimes to children, but usually it's adult women he's all about. I was a little scared at first of the whole "mommy shopping" thing but he still listens to me, still wants me if he's hurt, and still drops everything the second I mention food, so I look at it as more of a break for me. Besides, it's so nice to see him making friends even if they are at least 7 times his age most of the time.

And oh so much more! Man I love this kid :)