A Full-On Sentence

Talking-Toddler

OMG! My oldest just said a full-on, regular sentence on his own. He said, “May I have some more please?” as clear as day.

He’s been talking, obviously, for a while now but usually in 3 or 4 word sentences like, “More juice please, mom” or something like that. A few days ago I introduced this new long-form sentence. He repeated it after me but didn’t seem to take to it. I let it go and he didn’t say it yesterday.

This evening, I had a jug of lemonade on the floor near my bed. My bugee picks it up and says, “May I have some please?” It would have been more accurate to say, “May I have some lemonade please?” but I’ll take what I can get for his first full-on sentence on his own.

My baby isn’t a baby anymore ….

First Adoption Talk With Our Toddler

Adoption-Magnitude

Last night I had my first honest-to-goodness talk with our oldest about his adoption and how he has two families. He’s still a toddler, so he didn’t care much (or probably grasp any of it) but they say it’s good to talk with them early so #1 you never have to have The Talk with them because there was never a time they didn’t know and #2 you get to practice and mess up before they can really understand and #3 you get to fortify your heart to explain why they are not living with the family they should be, at least biologically.

I was able to eek out a few sentences then I almost started crying. Having to share with another family AND tell them about it is going to be hard but I have to imagine how hard it will be for them to LIVE it. Ahhhhh … good times. #Adoption

Firsts: Baby Boy’s First Puzzle

sacramento-2016-nature-preserve-sign-baby-girl-12-17-2016

The entrance to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve.

He did it!

We we had some work in Sacramento and decided to visit the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve while we were there. The kids had a blast and our oldest decided to complete his first 7 piece puzzle at the park.

Our little ones entered the nature preserve and took off running! Lol They enjoyed walking around the history part (there is a bit about the original inhabitants of the area) and took a look at the deer. Yes, there are deer chilling in the nature preserve. There’s even a sign on the lunch tables that asks you not to feed them. Thankfully for us, they were relaxing in a glade a little ways away from us.

We started off on a trail, but the babies kept trying to jump in the puddles and we didn’t bring their rain boots so that was a no go. Lol Eventually, we decided to visit the education center. There are bathrooms, exhibits, and ….  live animals! There was an owl that we didn’t believe was real, a few snakes in cages, and one snake in the hands of a worker. Eek! Lol

sacramento-2016-nature-preserve-guillermo-fish-puzzleThe museum doesn’t seem that large but there are lots of things to do with kids. There are stations set up with Kendama, baskets that can be filled and carried on the head, puzzles to complete, cooking rocks to move with big sticks, a house to sit in, circles to look through, and box-exhibits that light up. Speaking of puzzles …  our oldest completed two wooden puzzles: one that matched images and one with individual pieces. The one with individual pieces impressed me the most. He’s been playing with a matching puzzle with a turtle, a crab, and a fish since he was a year old but putting puzzles with multiple pieces together by himself was new.

At first, he put the fish in the center …  then looked at it …  then took it out. After taking a moment to think, he started putting the sky in. After that, he put the lake in. Once that was done, he placed the last two pieces (the fish) and the puzzle was complete! After a round of singing (“You did it. You did it. Yeah, yeah, yeah!”) he took the pieces out and completed it five more times. Lol I finally got him to stop by asking him what he wanted to eat for lunch. Lol My babies can eat! Lol

Anyway …  it was a new adventure for all of us and I was excited to see our oldest using a new skill.

Grateful to Parent These Two

I don’t understand when people tell us (the parents) that our kids should be appreciative to have us. They have it backwards. It’s us (the parents) that are so grateful to be able to parent such wonderful kids.

Our oldest is a mature, confident toddler. Our youngest is a dynamic, energetic little toddler. They bring my heart such joy. Having the privilege to watch them laugh and play and grow and talk and eat and walk and live ….  it’s amazing.

It. Is. Amazing.

I’m crying as I write this because I don’t have the words to express myself well. They are both sleeping so I’d better shut up ..  Lol

They are just such wonderful beings and I’m grateful that I get to be here to see it all.

#Adoption

 

Earrings for Toddler

ear-piercing

Since our baby girl is still in foster care (we hope the adoption will finalize this spring), we have to ask permission to get her ears pierced. I’ve gone back and forth about it since some folks think putting holes in a person without their permission is cruel and/or unsafe. I have weighed how she might feel about it in the future versus how I grew up, and how I hope she gets to experience community.

My ears were pierced as a baby so wearing earrings is all I know. When I was in middle school, a friend talked me into getting an extra hole. I made it all the way down to the piercing place, but couldn’t go through with it. I’m scary. Lol I’m super glad that my parents had my ears pierced as a baby or I’d be stuck wearing clip ons (ouch!) or magnets (double ouch!) or stickers that are made for children.

We’re gonna get ’em pierced and hope that she appreciates it in the future.

Anyhoo … the real point of this post is about what kind of earrings we should buy. I see articles suggesting something without nickel and other suggesting specific metals like titanium or 14k gold.

Anyone have any advice? What kind of earrings should we buy? Also, where do we get it done? I asked at our pediatrician’s office and they said that they don’t do it.

 

Our Toddler Had a Language Assessment

Language-Assessment

 

Our toddler does a lot of parroting.

We wanted to have him tested to make sure that he didn’t have a cognitive delay. Two women showed up. One lady “played” with him and took notes. The other lady asked us questions. The one that played with him scored him higher than the question lady, but she said she’d change her scores to be more in line with the question lady. The “issues” they found were:

He doesn’t respond to three-step commands. <– this was the BIG one

He doesn’t take off his shoes/socks.

He doesn’t take off his clothes.

He doesn’t feed himself using a spoon/fork.

He doesn’t hold his pencil like an adult.

I’m sure there were a few others but this was the bulk of what made them recommend services two times per week. It’s not that he can’t do these things, it’s that we don’t ask him to do those things. Her examples all revolved around shoes. For example, “Does he bring his shoes from another room when you ask him?”

I forgot that he does two-step commands when he cleans his room (pick up the pink triangle and put it in the toy box, please) and cleans up the mess he makes in the kitchen (honey, pick up that white, plastic thing and put it back in the drawer). He’d still be a bit behind but not as much as she thought. The lady that played with him noted that he was not doind some age-appropriate things but was doing things older than what was age-appropriate and was giving him credit for those things but said in front of us that she’d change her assessment to fit the other lady’s assessment.  *blank stare*

He can take off his shirt and feed himself, I just don’t have the patience to wait so he doesn’t do it often. Yesterday, I had him take off his socks just to see if he could ….  of course he can.  Since we were on a roll, we taught him to do more two-step commands (come get this paper and put it in the trash, please). I think I’ll try three-step commands next week.

She kept talking about skills he’ll need in pre-school and skills he’ll need in kinder …  I didn’t wanna get into how I feel about public school so I didn’t say anything but …  this assessment made me remember why I’m not feeling the public school system. She didn’t take into account that he knows how to count from ZERO to 10, knows six colors, knows three shapes, and can turn the lights on and off. Once she asked if he does three-step commands and we said, “No” it was over.

I WILL make an effort to let him do more things for himself and find a once-per-week pre-school co-op so we can grow his skills but you know what? I don’t feel badly anymore (I cried all day yesterday). We’re a different family with a different set of expectations.He’s a smart, kind kid that is patient (he sits through 13 hour flights like a champ!), fun (he loves to laugh), and energetic (he loves to run and play).

I thought about these things and then I wondered …  what if he didn’t learn to bring his shoes until he was 3 …  what difference would that make in the larger scheme of things? Perhaps I’m wrong and this would lead him down of the path of not being able to read and then getting in fights and then jail ….  but probably not.

I don’t plan on putting my kid on the school conveyor belt and I feel pretty good about that.

Babywearing an Adopted Infant

Babywearing-Your-Adopted-Infant.fw

I am a huge fan of babywearing and we’re currently working our second adoption from foster care.

With the first baby, we picked the baby up from the hospital. He had already suffered his first trauma: the loss of his biological/first family. I wanted to help him acclimate to our family (we’re a bit scrunchy) so we started babywearing with a no-sew rebozo wrap when he was about three months old. He took right to it and we changed to a mei tei when he was about six months old. He’s 2.5 years old and we’ve worn him all over the world and are still  going strong.

With the second baby, we picked her up when she was eight months old. Coming to live with us would be her second trauma (loss of biological/first parents, loss of foster family) and I was expecting that there might be some hesitance on her part. The first day of our visit, we just looked at her. The second day, we spent almost seven hours together and spent most of that time playing with her, but letting her lead. The third day, we had an overnight visit and picked her up early. We wanted to head to a store or two so I babywore her on my chest in the mei tei. She seemed okay for the first (her foster parents didn’t babywear) trip but I intentionally kept it short. The fourth day, we went to the store again and I did a brief babywear in the mei tei. The fifth day, we picked her up for her last overnight visit before placement. I wanted to go grocery shopping (babies eat a lot!) so I tried a back carry in the mei tei and ….  she loved it! I think babywearing is good for all babies, but especially important for adopted infants and toddlers because:

They can smell you.

Regardless of how old the baby/child is when they come to live with you, they’ll have to adjust to your smell. Smell is one of those animal things. It’s hard to define but you know when you’ve been around a smell that’s familiar. You want your smell to become the familiar, comforting smell for your child.

They can feel your gait.

Babies like car rides, washing machines, etc. Being carried by you should be one of those good feelings. When you babywear, it puts the baby right on your body and helps lull the baby. Many babies will fall asleep while being worn. Bonus!

They can explore you.

You’ll find that babywearing provides a child the perfect vantage point for looking at you and touching you. They will touch, pinch, stroke, lick, and anything else while being worn. I think this is really important for children that are being adopted because they have to get to know you. What a non-confrontational way for them to explore!

Benefits of babywearing from Dr. Sears

Benefits of babywearing for the family

 

Since I’m into gentle parenting, I’ll also just leave this article about Why African Babies Don’t Cry right here.