Friday, October 15, 2010

Family Update.

So, it seems adoption is a never ending state of change :) When we think we've got it nailed, we realize, we don't.

The nutshell version, Homeschool is out. Traditional school in.
Hayden at the Apple Orchard

I thought what would be best for us this year, was to simply be together. In July, we decided to go for it, to homeschool. We were 2 months into our new adjustment with Lucy. Things were going super duper well. Matt was home full time (being a teacher, we enjoyed the luxury of a summer home this year, instead of his usual picking up a summer job). We got to know Lucy, and she got to know us.

What we didn't realize, was the impact of Daddy-o going back to work full time, and back to school himself (as a student) two nights per week would have on us. We dove into homeschool. Matt started back at work. It seemed good. THEN, Lucy began to get a little "high maintenance". Demanding my attention every moment she was awake. Shreiking and screaming at me, literally, if she didn't have it. Homeschool + shrieking baby= unproductive education. This past week, it all really caught up with me. It was already a challenge to get Hayden to want to "do school" with me. He really just didn't understand that learning sometimes takes priority over bike riding or lego building. So, when I finally could pull him in for some learning time, Lucy, would instantly start DEMANDING my attention. I'd go to change her or put her down for a nap, and I'd end up with butt cracks drawn on my garage door in sidewalk chalk.  It seems this mama can't meet all the demands of homeschooling a kindergartener and preschooler, and a *needy-recently internationally adopted-turned her life upside down 14 month old.

After a melt down Tuesday and some heart to hearts with some wise folks in our life, we prayed about what we needed to do.  I began to think back, when did Lucy become so needy and demanding? Why do I feel like she's changed? Oh, right. She had two full time parents for the first 3 months home. We pretty much had one parent on baby duty, and one parent on big boy duty all summer. She had constant attention of one adult. I began to realize that it's ok for me to not homeschool. That maybe being together every waking moment isn't what we need. Maybe we all need some breaks and changes of scenery. Maybe it's okay to let Lucy have high priority attention right now. She's still figuring out how to be a part of a family, even though she's done incredibly well adjusting. It's not done. And, it's ok. And, Jack, former baby of the family, just might benefit from some one on one time with mommy while Lucy naps, and Hayden is at school.

So, today, I enrolled Hayden at the neighborhood school. I met his awesome teacher. I am SO excited for him to GET to go to school, I know he's going to love the stimulation there, that I just can't give focus on right now. He starts Monday. He doesn't know it yet, but I know he's going to be thrilled.

Turns out, the best plan is to be okay with the plan changing. (You would think that I'd already learned that lesson this year, international adoption and all). To do your best to parent your kids, and when you realize it's not working, be willing to adapt. Be ok with admitting you don't have it all figured out and nailed down...heck, even that you made a bad call. I hope my kids will learn that it's okay to be wrong and mess up, as long as you are willing to try and make it right.

Lucy girl at the pumpkin patch
* Hope I'm not making my sweet girl look bad. She  IS doing incredibly well. She's so smiley, loving and really blossoming in so many ways. It's just really easy to take that for granted and forget that life is still super different for her. Her little life has been majorly shaken up every few months HER WHOLE LIFE. That's traumatic--even for the sweetest of babes.

I forget sometimes, that this time of pouring our attention into her, is healing her wounds. Her need to be the focus of our attention is her way of making sure we're not going away, not leaving her behind. It's so easy to loose sight of how many scars her tiny heart has. How every day of her hollering at me, is her asking me to love away her hurts. It's so easy to just want to move on to "normal" and forget the major losses of her life. That those months of a mother naturally focusing 24-7 on her newborn  baby and being totally attached...didn't exist for her? She's still trying to catch up, sweet girl.
Wow. I haven't really pondered that in a while. Still brings tears to my eyes when I do.

Lord, give me your grace. Give me patience. Give me unending amounts of unconditional love to fill up this little wounded heart. Let your love, through us, heal her scars. Let me see what you see. Let me hear those demands for what they are...
Lord, let us find the balance. Let us continue to build a safe home and confidence in all of our children. Help us find ways to nourish each of our kids hearts with the kind of love they each need.  Give us wisdom to know when were screwing it up and to try something new. Thanks for blessing us with these 3 amazing little humans as our children.
Jack with his pumpkin

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

4 Months Home...Lucy report.

I truly can't believe we've been home for 4 months already!
My favorite picture right now...

FOUR months?? I can hardly believe it's been that long, but it also feels like she's been here forever. I've become the worst adoption blogger ever this month, since school has started, basically. But, to catch you up on Lucy this month, here's a little list:

Lucy is growing like a weed! The girl is chunking up a bit, but she's really tall. She's all of a sudden feeling really heavy to me. At her one year check up she was in the 90-95th percentile for height! So, she fits in perfectly with the Kesler family and our tall tall boys and large feet :)

Lucy is really blossoming, physically, and emotionally.
  • She still says da-da with varying voice inflections for just about everything, but she's pretty clear at communicating what she wants. She does a few baby signs, which are super helpful, but her favorite is simply the sign for "please". Please, please, please. As in, give me that NOW. We joke she's saying "pretty pretty please" because she does it with such enthusiasm, especially when related to food. 
  • We can't fill up this girl. She chokes/gags about 4 times per meal, becuase she inhales her food and swallows it whole. We laugh, but wonder, is this a Lucy thing, or an international adoption thing? She acts like she's never going to see food again, at every meal and snack. It's no wonder she's filling out! She's also finally willing to drink from a sippy cup and holding her own bottle (which we haven't pushed, but I'll admit, it's nice now she can occasionally do it herself-like in a long car ride).
  • She is becoming much more affectionate with us, which we LOVE. She's learning to give "loves" and kisses, and is offering them without us asking now.  Every once in a while, she'll just lean into me with her forehead, offering up her sweet face for a kiss from Mama or Dada.  It feels like a milestone. She was accepting of our affections before, but it feels like a big deal that she's now offering up affection, with it being her own idea.
  • This girl LOVES soft things. Soft cuddly stuffed animals, soft jammies, and of course, her favorite purple blankie. You hand her something soft, and she just grins and snuggles it up to her face with this look of pleasure...."ahhhhh, this feels sooooo goooood". It's so funny!
  • She isn't yet walking, but her strength is improving every day. She crawls with intensity. She is pulling up on everything and loves walking behind her little push toy or shopping cart at Grammy's house. She's even let go and tried to stand a few times on her own.
  • She has figured out the stairs, which I'm relieved about. She can finally turn her self around and go down backwards. It's a relief to me! We can get rid of our baby gate lockdown and not worry she's going to tumble down our 3 steps.
  • She is sassy. She is happy. She is giggly. Everyone we meet tells us how smiley she is. We get stopped constantly in stores or checkout with people who are taken with her charm and beauty :). She is a beautiful girl, and we are happy to admit it, after all, we had nothing to do with it!
  • She has a love hate relationship with her brothers. They make her laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Hayden adores her and is very helpful. Jack, can make her laugh so hard, but then, he'll smack her in the head. He just doesn't seem to get being gentle!
  • She is going to sleep on her own now, about 75% of the time. But, I still love to rock her. But now, I usually rock her for about 5-10 minutes, and then put her in bed, and she goes to sleep on her own.
  • She adores her Da Da. Lights up every time she sees him. Once he's home, she doesn't really want me to do anything for her. Probably because he's so smitten with her...
  • Grammy or "Daaaa" is a close second to DaDa. Again, she knows who will hold her endlessly, give her whatever she wants and dote on her every whim :) She's a smart little cookie!

We are loving our sweet girl!
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