Tuesday, May 25, 2010

being a good mom means feeling like a horrible mom

On a positive note before I let the rant begin, Belay's first round of testing came back normal. So all the scary things that mom's who are nurses worry about are OK. Now, once we finish clearing up the couple infections he does have we can move onto testing  round number 2. Also, the kid wants to walk so badly. He is taking 5 or 6 steps at a time and I think in the next few weeks he'll be running. After the last few weeks of letting him walk around barefoot everywhere we go, including the street festival this weekend, I felt bad enough and found him some 0-3 month "pretend just to look cute shoes" that actually fit him. So now he can go as he pleases, not that he didn't before, but now I don't have to get the horrified looks from the old ladies at this grocery store.

So now anyways...Today was the hardest day I have had since being home.  It doesn't seem to have anything to do with attachment problems or travel or anything adoption related.   It has everything to do with having a 1 yr old and a 2 yr old who have only had a few weeks of getting to know one another.  When a new born baby comes along, there is a good 6 months where they can be set in a vibrating swinging spinning bouncing whatever you call in machine before they are fully interacting. Obviously we were aware of this before Belay came home.  There are many pros to this as well. One being his age is so much fun and two being hopefully, in no time at all, they will be best buds. But in the mean time, these days happen.
I guess it began a few days ago, really.  They have both been having a hard time falling asleep which translates into tough mornings and naps.  So that happened last night and this morning they were a wreck. Adi started crying when Andy left and it pretty much didn't stop.  The kicker came at nap time. How do you put two crying babies to bed at the same time when one is contained and the other isn't.  As soon as Bay would drift off, Adi would wake him one way or another.   I tried to venter out to babies R' us (I know, huge mistake) to get Bay a new bottle (I'm sick of washing the 2 we have over and over and over and over ).  We walked into the store and Adi chose not to listen again. So we walked right back out and went home. Guess I'll have to keep washing those 2 bottles. 
Then the battles over timeouts began. 

So moral of this story is that sometimes being a good mom sucks. I know this. It makes you feel like a horrible mom.  See, if I didn't feel the need to follow through on my threats today would have been fine.  But when I say "if you hit him in the face again you go to time out " or "if you don't sit in the cart we leave the store" or " if you don't lay your head on the pillow I will leave the room and you have to fall asleep on your own"  I have to do it or I feel like I am a terrible mom.  So I continue to follow through with my threats in hope that they will one day pay off. In the mean time I will have sucky days.

Now, I know it sounds like I am picking on Adi in this blog, but Bay is not innocent.  He may be small, but he is sneaky.  He already knows that all he has to do is let that high high high pitched squeal out and someone will come running.  He also was no peach at nap time.  But the beauty of these kids is that they don't seem to remember or care that I am the meanest mom ever. They still seem to want me around. Go figure.

The good news is they were so exhausted, after a yummy spaghetti and meatballs dinner and bath they headed right to bed, at 6 pm.  I love, for many reasons, when they go to bed so early. But tonight in particular as I lay with Adi in her bed I realized one reason why I love this time of night, and year.   As the sun sets low in the sky in the summer the kid's room fills with that soft evening glow. When it shines through the orange/red curtains , the whole room is filled with the warmth of the setting sun.  I held Adi's soft hand and could smell the post bath oil they both had on them.  Belay was snoring soundly and Adi held my hand tight as she drifted off to sleep. I couldn't help but laugh at myself.  How easily we get ourselves worked up about the smallest things. But, I'll do it again tomorrow and so long as I can keep laughing it off, we all might be okay after all.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Belay's first doctors visit

After almost 2 weeks home Belay finally got in to see our pediatrician.  I don't really know where to begin with it all. Nothing surprised me.  He's a peanut.  On the growth chart he'd be a negative 15% maybe more and that is going by him at 11 months, if we go by 14 months its even worse. The concern is not so much about his weight as it is the proportion to his height (he is a whooping 1 % for height, not in the negatives. This lack of consistency between the two is a usual sign of malnutrition....obviously). There are many factors that play into this besides his weight and height, the fact that he has not gained 1 pound in 6 months being one of them  and without going into too much more detail, we are hoping the lab results shine some light onto the matter.  There are best case and worse case scenarios here.  Best case being we treat some worms or parasites, worse case...well I don't want or need to go there yet.
 I am very happy with our doctor and what we are choosing to do at the moment.  He has an ear infection, which I am actually happy about because it explains some of his behavior earlier in the week. He had us worried for a few days of inconsolable screaming, throwing up and not eating.  But in the last few days he is eating more than Adi, and she eats a lot.  So, we will keep doing what we're doing until there is reason to change.
It is a relief to get all this going, for I think we may have a long road ahead.
Belay is becoming so happy, he wants to walk more than anything in the world right now. Nothing is coming in his way, he plows through any and everything in his path.  Its amazing the difference between the 2. He falls flat on his face and gets up laughing to try again. Adi would have been out of commision for the day if she took some of the falls he has.  Is it the 6 months in the orphanage, the fact that his is a boy, or that he is a second child?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

learning to love

As I sat with my new son, rocking him to sleep for an afternoon nap, he hugged his bottle tight.  Once he'd had enough milk, he snuggled that bottle right up under his chin and his cheek nuzzled into the nipple. My first thought was "Ah how cute" and almost immediately after that I felt a pang of sorrow.  The only thing he has had to love on and snuggle is a plastic bottle filled with formula. Not a mama to fall asleep on, or a breast to nurse on.
Moments like this remind me why it is not ok to put him in bed with his bottle and leave the room for the night, although tempting since it is all he knows.   We are in some ways "breaking" his sleep "training", which when you spent the greater part of your child's life trying to get them to sleep (adi) this is somewhat painful.  But even more painful is the thought of him being left alone to cry himself to sleep for the first year of his life  We AREN'T talking about the "Ferber method" here people (cry it out). While I saw first hand how loved these kids are at the care center they live in before they go to there forever home, there is still way too many kids to gently put them all to bed. My precious boy needs to know how it feels to fall asleep in mommy and daddy's arms and to hold on to us, not just a bottle.  He is learning this fast! especially with daddy. When daddy is not at work, Belay is in his arms. They are both so in love! I always said this was Andy's pregnancy.

Today felt like good adjustments are being made. Small, but good.  For 5 whole minutes adi sat and played princesses while Belay pushed the buttons on the DVD player and I sat and watched and NO ONE cried or went to time out. Until Belay took a princess and Adi bit his hand, but we made it for 5 min!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

finally writing from home

                                     Me getting "pinned", actually I think this was the lighting of the candle

                                                        The family after the pinning.

                                                                     This was a "kiss"

I have not been good about updating since we got home. I was waiting to post new pictures of us all at home but it seems that is taking way to long. We have been home for a little over a week and we are just beginning to feel normal again.  The flight home was long and hard. So was the flight there, but we had volcanic ash delays on the way home adding to it. We were met at the airport (a wee bit late, but better late than never huh?) by both Andy's parents and my parents and Andy's brother, wife and daughters.  It was a wonderful homecoming and they took lots of pictures of us that will be treasured.

The morning after we got home, I got up and spent the day studying for my nursing finals, Andy went off to work and Adi to preschool, so you could say we jumped right back into things. On that Tuesday I officially finished nursing school and was "pinned" (nursing graduate ceremony)on Thursday. I am trilled to finally be done with my RN. So needless to say it was a big week.
Belay is attaching well, I think. He always wants to be held and loved on.  Adi loves him and I love watching the siblings together. We have hard moments for sure.  Like getting out of the house, and getting them to nap at the same time without extra hands(since holding belay and laying down with Adi is not productive as they just goof off the whole time). I have found that it is easier to get them to nap one at a time, and the plus side to that is I get special one on one time with each one alone. It also seems that Belay is having a harder time sleeping than he did the first week, but again, I chalk this up to him adjusting/attaching/trusting that we are still here for him.
As a friend pointed out to me a few hours ago, its crazy to think that he had this year of his life that he will never remember, we will never really understand or know about, but will always be such an important part of who he is.
We have his first doc apt on friday, its been hard waiting 2 weeks. But I forgot to make an apt before we left and I really want him to see our pediatrician. He seems to have some trouble eating and throwing up (maybe thats why is is so small) and I'm sure he has all sorts of GI stuff going on. So it will be nice to start some of this testing on him.
Andy is exhausted and really looking forward to summer break. It has been really hard for him to go straight back to work and not be able to take a paternity leave. All in all things are going as expected, they are hard and 2 is harder than1, but it is so fun and beautiful too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

birth mother meeting

We were told it was very unlikely that we would be able to meet Belay's birth mother. But this morning we got a call saying she was here and ready to meet us.  I couldn't be happier with having this opportunity.  Today, so many questions were answered for us, even though it took 2 translators, one knew her language and Amharic, the other new Amharic and English. And, she was very shy and embarresed by some of the questions (like any teenager would), especially when were asked what she wished for his life.  Her smile matched Belay's identically. She held him, although seemed uncomfortable.  She knew the exact day of his birth, which surprised us too. He is in fact older than we thought. How can that be when you are only 14 pounds! We were given the birthday of June 19th, which I kinda liked. It meant we could have his first birthday party for him in a month when thing got settled, it also gave me the summer birthday I had alway longer for.  But she told us it was march 20th! making him almost 14 months old (big difference from 10/11 months)I know it won't matter in a few years, but it makes a big difference for his age.  So, him and Adi and almost exactly 1 yr apart. But it explains the teeth and the walking for sure.
We also found our more information from the nurse at the care center, on his health and vaccines etc.  It wasn't a huge deal, but now that we have all this info, we really wished we had it earlier, it just would have made us more at ease.
So as we set to depart Africa tomorrow, I am aching to return on our terms.  When we can leave the city and see Belays home town...one day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Next few days

The last few days have been beautiful.  Adi is napping after a long day of playing and eating and shopping.
Belay is giggling and talking away to daddy in the other room.
Embassy was yesterday, glad thats over.  It was a long day, we were there all day. 
Belay may gain a full pound before we leave here. He is either eating or drinking a bottle.
I'm finally getting over this cold, somewhat, and am able to sorta smell again. The smells are what will always bring me back to Africa.  I am immediately brought back to my time in Egypt just by inhaling. I know Andy feels the same way. While Adi may not remember much of this trip,I hope she remembers the smells.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 2

The kids are finally sleeping. I already have so much to write and we have only been to the care center once and the rest of the time we have been in our guest house. To begin, Belay was sitting in his beloved bumbo when we got to the orphanage to get him.  There were a gang of kids hanging out outside when we pulled in, naturally Adi headed right there and began playing, so it took us a few extra minutes to actually see Belay. He was a little nervous at first and one of the nannies said that he gets overwhelmed by all the new faces (just like his daddy).
The afternoon went well from there on. He had a bottle in my arms and fell right asleep, and on the ride back to the guest house he loved sitting on his daddy's lap watching the action out of the window.
Adi had fun playing and at one point we saw that she was sitting in the merry-go-round alone and directing a handful of boys to spin her as fast as they could.
All the kids there were amazing and I can't wait to go back and spend real time there getting to know them.  I just have to tell one little story, and I won't mention names, but one little boy just received a photo book of his new family and I had been watching him for quite a while showing it off to all his buddies, so proud of what he had. He finally made it over to me as I knelt next to him to see the photo, he flipped each page one by one and kissed every single  picture. It melted my heart, his is one special boy. I had no idea these books meant so much to them, but they do so famlies...keep em comin
Our afternoon with both kids was uneventful, they were playing nicely together and both fell asleep on their own very early.  Moments after I passed out, adi woke me with a burning fever. We then spent most of the night up with her. Other than the fever she has no symptoms so we are wondering if it is just her body adjusting to the time and travel, like ours are. Regardless, none of us got any sleep, except Belay.  He slept through it all.
The lack of sleep caught up to us all today and we weren't able to go anywhere or do anything except function (barely). I did wake to the sound of giggles and laughter and was a little confused because Adi was still asleep next to me. It was Belay, he was finally coming alive. I can even get him to crack up by tickling him under the chin. He is tiny tiny but is eating like a champ. His arm is maybe the diameter or a quarter, if that. And his 6 month pants fall right off (he is almost a year) But he can take 2 or 3 steps at a time if he really concentrates.
There is also a play room at the guest house and a nanny whose job it is to watch and play with any of the kids. While we haven't left the kids yet, we have spent a lot of time playing with her( Belay loves her)
She is a sweet woman.  In our times up there playing with her she has shared a lot of her life with me and while I don't feel right going into too much detail in such a public place, I will share a little. She speaks a lot of the poverty and droughts in Ethiopia. She also is grateful for the upcoming election in hopes that a new government may help her family eat every day.  She also reviled to me that she has passed her chance to ever marry because her family has no money and no man will choose her family if there is no dowry. This broke me. She is young, and beautiful. Her eyes light up when she sees my kids and begs me to leave them with her, and because of the famine and poverty in Ethiopia, she cannot ever share the love of a husband or family.
So tonight I am filled with sadness and love.  Love for these people, for them giving us Belay and sadness that it has to be this way.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

We are here

After a long trip, we made it. We are so happy to be here that it over takes all the exhaustion.  We did not sleep at all on the 24 hrs of flying, thanks to adi who was way to excited to sleep. She had a blast on the plane, making friends with everyone. She even found another 2 yr old girl to watch dora the explorer DVDs with.
 It took a while to get through customs and our visas and exchange money. It was close to midnight before we got to the guest house. Everything here is beautiful, the guest house is way more that I had anticipated.
Even after how tired we were it took us a little while to fall alseep, I guess the excitement over came exhaustion.
Adi is still passed out and we are waiting to hear about when we can go get Belay.
The other 3 families we are traveling with are all here safe and sound too. Its wonderful to have met them and be here with them.
I will try to update after we have our little guy with us. I can't believe the day has finally come.