Life as MommyMo

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A friend on one of my creative team forums asked me earlier this week how Max is doing, noting that I hadn't been updating my status much lately on Facebook. I explained that it's felt inappropriate to share fun, silly stories in the last few weeks... Suffice it to say that there has been enough going on that I now have shingles to show for it. The stress that I've apparently been sublimating is mostly outside the four walls of our own house, so it doesn't seem like my news to share. Cryptic, huh?! We'll be ok, though.

As for the shingles: OUCH. I had this once last year. It wasn't fun, but I chalked the experience up to what I've been told by my doctors is a high pain threshold and dealt with back pain for a few days. As one of my doctors has noted, for a girl who will never experience the pain of childbirth, I've managed to experience most of the handful of other things that can be said to be more painful (exploding pregnancy and a kidney stone among them.) Well, none of these things were ever SO painful that I cried (ok, so I went into shock with one... whatever.) Shingles have caused such intense pain that I've just stood in my own house and cried without warning. Not one. Not twice. Three times. AND, the doctor tells me that I'm probably still quite a few days out from the end of this little experience. The silver lining to all of this is that the drug I'm taking for itching is also a happy pill, so if I can get in just the right position in bed after taking said pill, I can just not care what's going on around me.

Ok. Enough whining. Other good things have happened in our lives, as always. Despite all the trauma and drama of late, you can't live with my two kids and not feel happy and blessed most of the time.

Our biggest news? Sam is officially a kindergartener now. He graduated from Pre-K, cap and gown and all. If you have never seen a 33 lb. child in a cap and gown, you have not seen cuteness I tell you. To our pleasant surprise, Sam stood still for most of the program and sang that songs almost perfectly. It was adorable. And, yes, I was one of the mommies that cried when it hit me that he's really growing up. He's definitely not a baby anymore.

Sam has been singing the songs from the graduation program nearly every waking minute since the ceremony took place. I think the kids were told not to sing them at home so they'd be a surprise for the parents. He didn't abide by that too closely, but we did hear some "new" songs during the ceremony. If you are feeling particularly patriotic anytime soon, feel free to stop by our house. You will inevitably catch Sam singing "America the Beautiful" at the top. of. his. lungs.

We also celebrated our fourth Airplane/Family/Gotcha Day with Sam. It was fun to see him understand the significance of the day this time. As usual, we watched "his movie" and just had some dedicated family time. And cake. The girl in the bakery looked at me like I had horns on my head when I requested "Happy Airplane Day" on the cake. Sam attempted to explain by showing her the plane on his shirt that day, but she didn't see the connection.

Max is continuing to adjust really well, too. His sleeping is by no means perfect, but just about every other part of his overall adjustment seems to have fallen into place. Once Rob is able to be home more consistently with him (the aforementioned "issues" have been keeping Rob on the go non-stop for a good portion of the time Max has been home with us) I think he'll even sleep pretty reliably. He's not the champion sleeper than Sam is, but I knew we couldn't possibly get that lucky twice. I'd also always vowed that I'd trade some of the sleeping skill Sam has for a bit of cooperation when it comes to food. I seem to be getting that wish granted with Max. I sure hope it sticks. Sam is five years old and still has the culinary repertoire of a toddler.

I should probably include here for posterity a photo of the lovely faux burgers we made for Father's Day this year. It took Kim and I about six hours with two kids in the house to construct these, but Rob's admiration of our creativity was worth every second.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Eight

And no, that's not a reference to Jon and Kate +8. My other post was so serious today that I was happy to see myself tagged by Melissa to do this fun list...

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To
1. Our first vacation (to Skaneateles) as a family of four (thanks to Wendy!)
2. The possibility of a certain family moving VERY nearby
3. The day when Max has a real sleep schedule
4. Rob being off from school for the summer
5. Taking Sam and Max to Korea for a visit (totally stole this one from Melissa)
6. So You Think You Can Dance
7. Getting another dog (someday)
8. Relay For Life this weekend

8 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Went to a meeting about Sam's kindergarten after-care program
2. Sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider song about 50 times
3. Visited John at the farm
4. Learned that Sam will be learning Mandarin next year
5. Yelled at the dog for eating diaper cream. Again.
6. Stayed up too late watching So You Think You Can Dance
7. Scrapped
8. Switched over Max's wardrobe for summer

8 Things I Wish I Could Do
1. Sing
2. Stay organized
3. Sleep for an entire night without being woken up by screams or the phone
4. Cook better
5. Get another dog
6. Heli-hike in Banff
7. Stay healthy forever
8. Trade my Sienna for a Prius

8 Shows I Watch
1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. American Idol
3. Good Morning America
4. Desperate Housewives
5. Grey's Anatomy
6. The Rachel Maddow Show
7. Project Runway
8. The Daily Show

I'll tag: Kim, Kate, Kelli, Nicole, Shelley, and Jeff (you can use FB if you don't blog!)

A moment

I had a moment this morning, home with Max as usual, that keeps replaying itself. Actually, I think I've been emotionally working up to this point for some time without really trying.

I will preface the moment story by saying that I'm a bit tired, to put it mildly. I don't want to complain, because I come by this fatigue for good reason as well as reasons that are beyond my control (weeks of adjustment to a new baby in the house as well as more than one extended family crisis that demands daily attention from all of us...) I tend to be more emotional when I'm tired, but if that's the reason, I'm glad I didn't sleep last night...

Anyway, I was changing Max's diaper for the third time in three hours. As usual, I took the opportunity to help him "exercise" his legs and stomach muscles a bit by laying him down and only slightly helping him get back up (He's finally starting to do it on his own. Yay!) At one point, I pulled him back up, and rather than giggle with pride as he usually does, he just stopped and stared into my eyes. He had a free hand, and reached out for me. I knew he was asking to be picked up, so I pulled him onto my lap when he put his hand on my cheek, stared into my eyes, and then laid his head on my shoulder.

None of those things are necessarily all that significant, I suppose, but to me, I could just *feel* him thinking that he's happy. Of course, I want him to feel that way, so I'd probably not look further for a "reason" for those actions, but watching that thought cross his little brain and through his eyes just sent me into a totally emotional place. As an adoptive parent, we work so hard to help our babies attach to their new families. At times, it feels like a calculated process. For instance, I hold him in a specific way when putting him to sleep to force/encourage good eye contact. I am very specific about stroking his face and cuddling him, all while telling him that we love him and are so happy he's here every single time I am in the rocking chair with him.

Those kinds of actions are heartfelt for sure, but there's always a part of me thinking about what I need to do to reassure him.. to convince him... that we love him completely and that it's ok to trust us.

His display of his own emotion today caught me off guard and gave me such a comforting sense of accomplishment and calm. All at once, I thought: Wow. It's really working. He loves us, too. I sort of feel like I can stop worrying a bit about the "process" and just be his mommy now. That's not to say that I won't keep doing what I'm doing, but I instantly felt more relaxed about it all.

This comes on the heels of another revelation I had while watching Rob hold Max the other day. We often tell him (and have always told Sam) that we "feel so lucky to have found each other." It's our version of regularly expressing gratitude and reverence for their existence in our lives. Because of how our family has been created, we try to never take for granted all of the spiritual, cosmic things that have taken place to bring us together.

With Sam, we've had an amazing story to tell about seeing his picture online and falling in love with him before even knowing if we'd be allowed to pursue his adoption. The timing of his story in relation to pregnancies lost as well as other circumstances as we started the adoption process have always seemed too incredible for words. If anyone ever doubts that a family is meant to be together, I think Sam's "story" proves that no matter how a child comes to you, the ones meant for you (and the parents meant for them) end up together.

I've said since before we were matched with Max that I wasn't sure how I'd feel going through the "regular" process. To some degree, I felt like we were "waiting in line" for our baby. I am a spiritual person and trusted God's role, but it just didn't feel the same in the early stages.

As I watched Rob and Max together the other day, I realized that the "regular" process is a miracle in and of itself. You are forced to sit back and trust people and forces completely outside your control (and literally foreign to you) to determine the fate of your family. I thought about that, looked at Max, and marveled at how he could not be any more perfect for us. We had mistakenly assumed that we'd more than likely be matched with a girl... I looked at my sweet, calm little baby and heard my rambunctious five-year-old down in the basement. I stopped and thought about the kind, gentle soul that their Daddy is and, all at once, felt complete.

I'm Type A and like to be in control... No one that knows me would doubt that. But one of the many miracles adoption and my own children have shown me is that with a little faith, my life will turn out exactly as it should, even if I don't realize it while it's happening. I've always thought and planned to have two children, but wondered if I wouldn't feel that "hole" I've heard people talk about. Last Saturday, I specifically looked for it and felt confirmation that our family is complete. It's a feeling I can't describe, but even as hard as these last few weeks have been for many reasons, I am calm and I am happy.

Seeing Max look at me as if trying to tell me that he's happy, too, was the ribbon on the grand gift we've been given. Today, all of a sudden, on a regular day in my life, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and it's an amazing feeling.

(I just breathed a nice big sigh. It feels good to get the words out when I'm feeling such strong emotion, even if it's a lot to share with other people. If anyone has ever wondered why I choose to make public this kind of thing, it's because a) I want to capture these emotions for my kids to read some day and this is an easy way to do it, but more importantly b) I was scared that I might never have a family at one point in my life. If someone reads my somewhat private thoughts and can hold on to whatever it is they are waiting for for another day, I will feel like in some teeny way, I've been able to "repay" something for all of our many blessings.)