Friday, December 30, 2011

easy as riding a bike. baaaaahahahahahhaaa!

we got the kids strider bikes for christmas. they rode them around the house christmas day and then we started venturing out. karyssa's getting pretty good. she'll lift her feet up as she glides down a hill. asher is finally walking easily while sitting on the seat now. he'll get the hang of it soon. tonight paul and i took both kids out and it's a good thing we both went. at one point i heard paul, from behind me, shout "HEY! NO!" and i realized it was one of those commands where he had to react faster than he could formulate a sentence. i turned behind me to see asher on the top of the railing of a bridge. *sigh* i was watching karyssa ahead of me. we went under a tunnel and were debating which way to take back home when both me and paul took our eyes off karyssa. she had gone up a hill just beyond the underpass we were standing under when we heard the "eeyayayayayayayayayaaa!" noises of karyssa coming DOWN the hill with her feet completely up. she had NO control but she was balancing!! i have no idea how she didn't land on her face but she made it. i've been giggling all night about the noise she made as she came down the hill. when she got to the bottom and flung herself off she got up, dusted herself off and cracked up laughing at herself along with asher. sometimes i still can't believe how fearless and brave she is.

in other how's-she-doing-with-the-birth-family-stuff news lately she's started asking me "you bought it?" or "you made it." at first i couldn't figure out where the questions were coming from but now i understand she's trying to figure out who gave her what. clothes, food, toys, you name it. if it's new she wants to know it's origins. *sigh*

two nights ago we let her play mommy of all of us. holy napolean syndrome, batman! it started with her putting daddy "to bed" on the futon in the family room. then she started tidying up the room. i'm not sure how she knew that's what i do when i put them down at naptime but it's exactly what i do. fine by me to have help tidying up! then it moved upstairs where she put daddy and brother man to bed in her bed. then i came upstairs and she put me to bed in asher's bed. i started calling for her, then as soon as she'd get to my room paul would call for her "MOMMY!!!" at the top of our lungs. then she walked into paul and asher's room and shouted "I SAID GO TO BED!!!!" and i said "oh my! is that how mommy talks to you?" i honestly wanted to know how i was being interpreted. but she said no so innocently. when it was time to stop and go to bed she threw a ROYAL fit. she was loving the power a little too much. tonight we let her play a teeny bit more of it but she got so violent we had to end it quick. i'm starting to wonder if i'm not the mommy she's imitating but i can't imagine she can remember that far back. i'm not sure if all the recent contact hasn't triggered some memories. time will tell and maybe i can find a way to ask her with out directing the conversation. oh my poor baby and how far she had to go to get to me. thank god we found each other.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

continued backlash and more proof for liberating decisions

this morning i told karyssa we were going to mcdonald's to play with kaden, mason, noah and isabelle. and karyssa said "i don't want it." which means she didn't want to. i said "don't you like playing with isabelle?" and after prodding i said "does she touch you funny?" and she said yes and i asked where. she pointed to her head. *roll eyes* i said "does she say mean things?" and she said yes, i asked "and what does she say?" "sorry". ok...pretty sure at this point this entire charade is made up to avoid going to mcdonald's when it hit me...the last time we went there we met step-grandma and grandpa.

eventually she went anyway and we played and got lunch and came home. then i put the kids down for naptime aka quiet time because "we don't want it" for "naptime" either. she started sobbing. odd but not totally out of the ordinary. i left the room and came downstairs to tidy up and she was still sobbing. i went back up there and said "sweetie, what's wrong?" and she pointed to her sippy cup that she had thrown to the end of the bed. i got it for her and sat on the edge of the bed and said "i've been wanting to talk to you. did you not want to go to mcdonald's today because you were afraid step-grandma and grandpa would be there?" and she shook her head yes. i choked up and said "you know what....we're not going to see them again either. is that ok?" and she shook her head yes. "you don't ever have to see them again. and some day if you want to you just let me know. it might not be this year or until you're 18 or never...but if you ever want to see them again you let me know. ok? and if you never want to see them again that's ok too." and with that she calmed down and fell asleep.

in her mind they all had a chance to protect her and didn't. and she knows their only job was to protect her and they failed at that. i know meeting with birth dad gave her closure. i think she was starting to believe all of that was a bad dream from a past life or something and seeing him made her realize it was real. it WAS her life. it DID happen to her. and i think in her own way when she crawled up in his lap she was forgiving him in a sense, but she hasn't forgotten that he didn't do the one job he was given as a father. and even though she can forgive, she doesn't have to forget. and i don't want her to feel like that's a bad thing or that she's holding a grudge. she needs to learn to protect herself. and if forgiving but not forgetting helps her protect herself and speak up for herself in a way, than so be it. i couldn't be prouder of her for finally finding her voice. aaaaaand i'd be lying if i didn't say that it makes me glad to have more proof for our liberating decisions below.

Monday, December 26, 2011

liberating decisions!!!!

ok. so. i mentioned yesterday about us having birth family drama going on and i'm ready to share.

we have been trying to have an open adoption. we've been encouraged (polite word for: pushed) to do this and so we tried. this is the first time we've done this whole adoption thing so we figured we'd follow the professional advice.

well, i will tell you after a year of trying their advice sucks and it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.

i've gotten a couple emails from the kids step-grandma...yes...STEP-grandma and i ignored them. i was sort of hoping that they would forget and stop writing. teehee. bad plan. we finally met a couple weeks ago and i was amazed at how much they favored asher and didn't acknowledge karyssa. they asked ME questions ABOUT her but didn't ask HER any questions. red flag. and they didn't just ask "so...what is she into these days?" they asked "is she potty trained?" "can she talk yet?" WTF? you were sitting RIGHT HERE when she said "mommy, i've gotta go potty." 2 birds with 1 stone. seriously.

then the accidents started up again. no poop in the potty. it used to be food and now she has a new power.'s the clencher...and you're going to gasp but you can't judge me: we met with birth dad and let him see the kids again for the first time in 18 months. it was a. tear. JERKER! we met at a local restaurant and we got there first and when he walked in and sat down karyssa took one look and stopped dead in her tracks. i could see the wheels turning. there was practically smoke coming out of her ears from the gears in her head. then he put his hands down and she went to him. she remembered him right away but she couldn't figure out what he was doing there and what was going to happen next...was she coming home with us? would she have to go back with him? ugh. it killed me. he sobbed and sobbed right there in the restaurant. and she got really scared and looked at me and i said, with tears in my eyes "it's ok, honey." he cried for another minute and then said "thank you so much, you guys. this really means a lot to me." after that karyssa warmed up and sat on his lap until the food came! she opened her presents and he helped her put on some play earrings he had gotten her. at the end he picked up asher and looked him over. he couldn't believe how big he had gotten and that he was walking. it was a good visit. the man from the table next to us said "you have beautiful children" and while i sat their trying to figure out how this was going to play out both paul and daddy ******* said "thank you." i'm sure he thought i was a surrogate.

afterwards paul and i had some new unexpected feelings. i guess we'd never realized before that she'd bonded. with anyone. so in a way it was a relief that she HAD bonded and we can mark Reactive Attachment Disorder off our list of things to worry about in her future. but it also made us realize, before she was ours, she was someone else's. we hadn't considered that with either kid and it was actually easier to deal with with asher because he hadn't bonded with anyone else before. he was a day old when he came straight from the hospital. he didn't know birth dad. in his mind this man belonged to karyssa but he had nothing to do with him and who he was. i've realized a lot of things about that meeting. i've realized, with all my adopted family, i never thought about who their birth parents were, or what they looked like, or how they were doing with the fact that somewhere out there they had a baby that was adopted to another family. they were mine. my cousin. my aunt. my 2nd cousin...they were and always had been.

then this last week karyssa started having LOTS of accidents. PEE accidents! she hasn't had a pee accident in a LONG time. and she might as well just be in a diaper 100% of the time for naptime, which is typically finished off with a nice poop. (sorry-tmi) so finally i realized, every day since we had met with her birthdad she had had an accident. finally one morning she came to my bedside with fresh underwear and said "mine are wet." ok-i wanted to cry right then and there. i realized this decision to meet with birthdad, that we meant in the best interest possible for the kids, was the worst thing we ever could have done. i began to wonder how many weeks it was going to take us to get back to square one with potty training. i pulled her up on my bed and said "what did you think about seeing daddy *******?" i wanted it to be open ended so i didn't put feelings in her head. she just sat quiet. i said "did it make you happy, or sad, or anxious?" again no answer. i said "mommy and daddy wanted you to get to see him again because he misses you every day. but i think that was probably not a good decision. we won't go see him ever again. some day when you want to you just tell mommy and we can do that again. but for now, we won't see him again. and it's ok when you are ready to see him again. ok?" and with that she shook her head yes and has peed AND pooped in the potty 100% of the time. not a single accident for days now. and on christmas eve when we went out for breakfast she asked paul to draw a picture of her, then asher, then daddy, then mommy, then....daddy *******. she wants to know he's ok, but she doesn't need to see him to know that. the way the child mind works will always fascinate me.

so for all of you who said "trust your gut" or "they are with you for a reason" or "they are where they are meant to be" you were right. we did the best we could with the situation given to us and realize sometimes the "best interest of the children" cannot be predicted by a social worker who just finished a seminar on connections to the birth family. yes, they will wonder where they came from. yes, they will wonder whose toes they have or who their nose came from. and for those questions we have pictures. for the deeper stuff, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

but for now it just feels liberating to be able to make the decision with facts and proof and wet beds and poopy pants.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

the MAGIC of it all!

sorry i haven't posted lately. been dealing with some heavy birth family stuff and was waiting for the silver lining to appear. maybe i'll post later.

BUT today is christmas and that means SANTA....and jesus. it's true. we're christians and that's the #1 reason but when you've waited and waited to have little people to celebrate with it's SO exciting to smother them in gifts. all season long when karyssa would ask for something i would tell her we'd have to tell santa. and when it was finally time to go see santa to tell him her greatest desire was a cinderella castle she said "i'm gonna ask santa for TWO cinderella castle's!!!" i quickly nipped that in the bud and said "we don't want santa to think we're being greedy, so we need to just ask him for one." last night we gave them their pajamas and when she opened her hello kitty pajamas i said "how did santa know? you told him you wanted a cinderella castle but you never said anything about hello kitty!?!" and she said with christmas magic oozing from every pore "he just KNOWS these things." oh my gawd she is so funny!! tonight at dinner she said "let's go to bed again so santa will come again!" again...nipped it in the bud and told her she was going to have to wait 365 days for him to come again.

asher got a paint pad from uncle brock and aunt liz and today when karyssa went to touch it he started screaming "MINE! MINE! MINE!" he also ran laps around the house with his new wheel-barrel full of stocking stuffer toys. after dinner he took off his pajamas and said "potty!" and ran into the bathroom and went a full potty on the potty and then ran out of the bathroom to tell grandma and grandpa who were on the phone. he was SO proud of himself he leaned into the speaker phone and shouted "POTTY!" ugh! i love that little boy and his achievements. he then ran around the house like a naked banchee and i've got to say he really does have the cutest cheeks ever. i think it's the way the front of his thighs stick out so far you can see them from behind. and then get distracted by the sweet cheeks. mmmmm....have i mentioned how much i love these kids?

both kids got strider bikes and wow karyssa is good on it. she can already pull her feet up and glide. asher will sit on it and push himself along so i'm sure it's just a matter of time before he's cruising on it. good thing because i lay awake at night excited about them riding their strider bikes along the trails as i run along with them. UGH! can't wait to get running regularly again. ps-it's my turn to run a marathon next year and i can't WAIT!

aaaaaaaaanyhow...that's all i can remember for today. so glad to finally have little people to smother with christmas magic.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

she makes me GIGGLE!!!!

on sunday the kids and i went to petsmart to get dog food and a couple toys for tatum for christmas. on the way in the door karyssa said she wanted to walk. this is her new thing. walking in the stores instead of sitting in the cart. so the deal is, if she stays with me she can walk. if i have to tell her not to touch or to keep up or keep with me, in the cart she goes. and i'm usually pretty good at just getting what we went in for. but. i do love fish. so when she got the idea that she'd like a fish i had a hard time saying no. we got the cheapest set up we could get. a simple bowl, and one fish. i let her pick it out. she picked a blue beta and i said "so why did you pick that one?" and she said "because he's blue!" good reason. we went to check out and i said "so what are you gonna name him?" "fishy raditastic" (for privacy reasons i don't post our real last name.) it was the first time i realized she knew her last name. i call her by it all the time. but i never realized she was recording that. i was so excited. i love hearing her say her last name because we gave that to her, like a stamp on her heritage. i love that!

tonight we had a sitter for a couple hours and when we came home paul went in and i took her home. then when i got back paul told me they had convinced her that they could sleep in the same room, in the same bed! he had gone up there and when he opened her door they sat up shoulder to shoulder in the bed. we ate dinner, opened mail, then i started making a pie for dinner with our casa tomorrow night and that's when we heard karyssa calling for me from upstairs. What the?? i went into her room and we got to giggling...pretty quickly...and i said "you sure schnookered paige into quite a few things tonight didn't you?" and she giggled and said "yep!"

oooooh she makes me LAUGH!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

proof she "doesn't remember"

the other day i was talking to a therapy group on the phone and they asked me a little about karyssa's history. so i explained "she was 13 months when she came to us through foster care and before that she was highly neglected." she was watching a movie so i got up and walked to the other room so i wouldn't bother her. lately when i go through a drive-thru window or talk to someone on the phone she'll ask "what did you say to that lady?" a little while after the phone call she asked "why did you say that to that lady?" not "what" but "why". i said "do you mean why did i say you were neglected? you know what that word means?" and she said "when i was a baby." *tears* yes...exactly like when you were a baby! i didn't know what to say or how to approach it. we want to be honest but i don't want to paint a bad picture of her birth parents for her. if she comes to that conclusion on her own than so be it, truth be told, they deserve it. but i don't want to be the artist of that. so i said "they didn't know how to take good care of you, that's why you got to come and live with mommy and daddy. and i'll make sure you're never neglected again. i'll take very good care of you." not sure if that's a good or bad way to approach it but...i was a little surprised. i mean, she's 3. but now that she can talk all kinds of new information is coming out.

in cute news: asher's been trying to climb stairs like he's just walking up them instead of doing it one foot at a time on each step. it's so cute. and bonus: he finally slept through the night last night. the night before he got up at 4:15 and i went in there and put him back in bed and he screamed bloody murder and paul went in and told him to stop that and get back in bed. and with that we didn't hear another peep from him until after 7:00. little booger. not sure why he listens to daddy and not mommy. i love him. and the other day i was looking at a christmas card a friend had sent me. it had pictures of her 3 girls on the front and i was examining how much they'd changed since their card last year. he was sitting in his chair next to me and saying "i wanna see!" which sounds more like "ionasee!" except that he doesn't just say it once so it was more like "ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!ionasee!" and when i finally caught on and turned the card so he could see the girls he stopped, examined, and said "aaaaawwweeee." it was SO cute! he is such a little character. last night after dinner we were decorating cookies for desert and i went to take pictures and said "say cheese!" and he said "cheese!' and i got my first on-cue picture of him-SMILING! so excited about that development. and lately i've noticed when i say "give mommy a kiss" he hums as he's coming in for the kill. teehee...yes, yes i do that.

*sigh* i love these kids.

Friday, December 2, 2011

more for me than you

asher has been babbling in paragraphs for a while now but not a single word. sure, he could say momma and daddy...well technically he could say "monny" and "daddy" but then on thanksgiving he started saying "hot!" it was more like "hoh", not really the "t" on the end. well today he said full sentences numerous times. he said "i wanna see" and "see christmas lights". don't get me wrong - i fully do not expect any of you to make out these sentences but when you question him if he really said what he said he says "mmmhm." i'm a little bit floored tonight.

two weeks ago today i caught him up on the end of his crib, riding it like a horse, leaning forward and giving his window raspberries. needless to say we moved him to the big boy bed that weekend. last thing i need is for him to fall from 5 feet in the air onto hard floors. he did not like the move. he had a few nights of straight sleep and then went back to crying during the night. for 2 1/2 hour blocks of time. exhausted we set up the toddler bed in the nook in his bedroom and that seems to be helping. i hate the feng shui in that room now. but i'll figure that out after a few more nights of uninterrupted sleep.

he's been flirting lately. OH it is so cute. he squints both of his eyes and then tries to look at you through all the eye lashes. then he blinks a little bit. adorable. and then he morphed into this shoulder thing where he shrugs just the left side 3 times...he does it when he's teasing or being mischievous. oh my it's adorable.

he loves airplanes the way karyssa loves trains but then the other night in the middle of one of his sleep boycots a train went by (we live in a town where no matter where you live you are within earshot of a train) and at 4:00am, with daddy taking that shift, clear as a bell, i hear from my bedroom *thuck* "choo-choo!" *suck*suck*suck*. he had pulled his passie out to say choo-choo and then stuck it back in maggie simpson style. so it was surprising to me that he had noticed a train when normally he's an airplane man.

i can not kiss his cheeks enough.

he is ALL boy. tonight i set up the train set and made a figure 8 for each of them to play with. on karyssa's side there's silent playing except for the occasional command to not touch her set or to give her yet another coveted train car. and from asher's side i hear a low grumble of "mmmmmmmm-mmmmmmmm-mmmmmm" like a car noise would make. only in his head it was completely appropriate for a train. is that a natural boy thing to make such a noise when playing with something wheeled?

he wants so bad to potty train but he loses interest after half a day. the other day he sat up on the potty and pushed and pushed and when we looked in again there were 3 little turds. karyssa got excited and squealed "he pooped on the potty!!!" only to squeal her gum, freshly earned from her own poop on the potty, right between the 3 turds. bless her little heart. thank god i had more gum.

he FINALLY likes playing in the snow. which is a good thing considering we live in the great state of colorado and there is currently plenty of snow to play in. i think they go outside twice each morning and twice each afternoon, even if it's dusk he'd rather bundle up and play outside than stay inside with me making dinner or tidying the house.

*whew* all this to say i LOOOOOOVE my little boy. he is the most handsome thing i've ever laid eyes on and looking at him makes my eyes dance. i tell him so all the time. i love the way he sits still if i whisper how much i love him in his ear.