Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2 Months Home

It's been just over 8 weeks since we landed in the States!  So much has happened it feels like 2 years, but I've only been a "real" mom for just 9 weeks (including the time we took custody in Ethiopia).  Wow.

In the past few days/weeks, Jayce has started calling Anya by her name.  It comes out "Ahna", but it is definitely him calling his sister.  He will tease her, protect her, make sure she has what she's asking for, and try saying "please" for her, if she is refusing to do it herself.  Yeah, vicarious "please" does not work in our house, but it's a sweet idea!
Sharing with sister

Yes, Jayce is talking a bit more.  Not only will he say "ba-my-ah" regularly (it's so cute that we haven't bothered to correct him, and may or may not have been caught calling bananas "bamyahs" ourselves), but he also says "please"!  Yay!!!!  It sounds like "pleeeesh" and is perfectly adorable.

Jayce is also learning his animals, now being able to sit still long enough to observe a book.  I can ask him to point to a puppy, a kitty, an elephant, a bird, a leopard, a lion, and a ladybug.  He'll get them right about 50% of the time.  Hey, it's a good start.

I would like to go on record that I have all but memorized "Tacky the Penguin" since Jayce wants to read it while he's sitting on the potty.  Note to self: need more "Tacky" books in the series.  If Tacky is not available, he will look at his animal book.  I try to have Tacky available because the animal book takes twice as long to look at.
Munching on a green bean glazed with PBnJ sauce

Anya is a cutie pie tornado as always.  I'm letting her eat by herself more often.  She'll pick the bananas out of her peanut butter and banana sandwich and eat them first, then she'll suck the peanut butter off the bread, and then if she feels like it, she'll eat the bread.  It. gets. everywhere.  Good thing she's cute.

She's observing so much around her, and tries to copy everything Jayce does.  Usually she does pretty well, and carries her dish (upside down) into the kitchen, throws things in the garbage (including what's not garbage), and she laughs and giggles when Jayce tickles her.  She can't get enough hugs, and a long hug from her is the most precious moment of my day.  (Well, rivaled by a snuggle from Jayce.  It's a toss-up.)  She and Jayce will give each other hugs on demand, and are beginning to show more and more affection for each other.  She knows the sound a puppy makes and will hear barking and say "pup-pay".

A few days ago, Philip whispered in Anya's ear, "I love you!" and she immediately responded "Ah ooove oooooo!"  and planted a very wet, open mouthed kiss all over Philip's face in the vicinity of his mouth.  (Philip declared that Anya should kiss with her mouth closed for at least another 20 years.) We wondered if it was an oddity, but now it's a regular occurrence for both Philip and I.  We tell Anya that we love her, and we are signing ourselves up for the wettest, slobberiest, most heartfelt 18 month-old kiss ever!  She's a doll, and full of love and smiles and bubbles and sunshine and drool.  Jayce, on the other hand, gives kisses on demand, closed mouthed and dry.  Very gentlemanly and appropriate.  Your daughters have nothing to fear, except for loosing their hearts.

Anya has some vivid memories of the doctor's office.  We visited this morning to get a quick finger poke for both of them (to check iron levels).  Nothing like the horrific multi-poking disaster experienced over a month ago.  However, Anya saw the same nurse and her face scrunched and she screamed for about 5 minutes.  Thankfully blood could be drawn from her foot, since there was no way in God's green earth that she would allow the nurse access to her arm.  We failed to restrain our laughter.  The nurse, actually, also had bad memories of us.  Evidently it was not her best day, inflicting so much agony.  Poor lady.  Really, she is very sweet and she does like us.  But I think we give her nightmares. ::score!::  I think the entire office knows us by name, it was that big of a deal.  On a positive note, the nurse called within a half hour after our appointment and said that both kids' blood work was perfect, no worries, and we have no further visits required for that.  Yay!
Playing in the park with Auntie Sadie.  The kids love swings!

I have ventured out several times with both kiddos in tow.  It feels like an adventure each time, but so far so good!  We have gone to the store, my grandma's house, Goodwill, running with Auntie Sadie, and the Mexican food place.  I took a gamble and asked Jayce to hold Anya's hand in the parking lot.  I had my hands full and couldn't hold on to both kids at once.  It was not a busy parking lot, and I kept careful watch on her, but it worked out perfectly.  Jayce knew exactly what I wanted and kept a very tight hold on her wrist, despite her frownings at him.  Both kids are responding fairly well to our voice, especially Jayce.  We are continuing to practice obeying quickly.

It's a little interesting to me how much our kids don't play with toys.  I mean, sure, they do play with toys, and are continuing to learn that skill.  However, I don't think the basket of blocks has been touch in several days.  I, however, have been climbed repeatedly.  Philip has been bombarded for requests to be thrown on the couch, and my grandmother had a tent erected in her living room.  "Mama in the kitchen" is the best sight in the world to the kids because it means food is coming.  Therefore: the more we can hug Mama's legs in the kitchen, the faster the food will come, right???  I recently installed a blue painter's tape line on the floor, so if I need a little more space in my one-person-sized kitchen, I can ask them to stand outside the line.  We'll see how well it works.

We are both pretty tired, and the heat here has not helped at all.  I actually nap almost every day.  It's not because I don't sleep at night.  The kids are sleeping great, actually!  It's more because it's a new thing to me to have all my energy directed at two small people.  It zaps me faster than anything else!  Hopefully as time progresses I can gain some more energy.  A friend mentioned that it takes her about a year after each child she births to feel as though she has a grip on life again.  That was actually quite comforting, and I will hereby play that card as often as I need to.  I still feel like I should have my act together more than I do.  Oh, well.
My favorite pic right now: Anya making faces at
me in her lion hoodie

Both kids are used to praying before their food.  They readily hold our hands and refrain from scarfing down their fare for a moment.  Anya has begun "praying" along with us in hushed babble, and if either kiddo decides our prayer is too long, they will say "amen!" for us.  When we have music in the car, the kids will "sing" along to it, and Anya was even singing in church yesterday!  Love that Baby Girl and her enthusiasm for life.

They are getting bigger!  I haven't measured them recently, but Jayce is firmly out of 18 month pants (too short, not too big a waist).  Anya is best in 18-24 month clothes now, but she is close to growing out of 18 month dresses.  They are not too short, but are too tight around her chest.  She wore a 2T dress the other day, but it was a bit big.  Jayce is best in 24 month clothes, and even some 2T things fit perfectly.  He's almost out of his size 6 sandals that he's worn since he came home.  I had some size 8 dress shoes that a friend passed on, and he wore them on Sunday.  I'll keep and eye out for some size 7 hiking boots or something similar that he can wear this winter.  We did a "craft project" together tonight, making prints of their hands and feet.  Goodness their feet are big!  I wish I had gotten prints earlier than now, but I haven't really had the mental ability to make it happen.  Tonight, though, Jayce was very cooperative once he figured out what we were doing.  Anya never did quite figure it out and wanted to grab the stamp pad and smear it everywhere.  She may end up being artistic, since she likes to paint with all mediums available (ink, jelly, peanut butter, banana, drool, etc.)

These precious hands and feet.  Quite a mess.

Thanks for keeping tabs on our little family.  That's all for now!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Ok, something is beginning to nudge the back of our brains a little.  This is one of those things that they "prepare" you for in allllll your adoption classes, and logically it makes sense, but you never really "get it" until it happens.

I quote:

"Your children are so beautiful!"

Hmm, why, yes, they are, thank you!  We are very blessed!


What if they were white like us?  What if they weren't black?  What if they were not "cute"?  What if they had a "disability"?  What if they had a "deformity"?  What if our kiddos looked like every other white, middle class kiddo out there?  What if we didn't stand out?  Would the kids still be so beautiful!?  Would you tell me?

I know, I know, we signed up to be a conspicuous family.  We know we stand out.  We know we will be noticed wherever we go as a family, forever.  It's ok.  Really.

I know, your righteous indignation will spout out that every child is beautiful, regardless of color, family origin, health status, abilities, etc.  I agree.  But if virtually anyone would say that almost without thinking, why are we getting so many comments?

Ok, here are some things my children do well:

(Charity, skip this part because I'm using "we" again)
  • We don't make a mess at meal times (usually)
  • We are kind to each other
  • We are observant of what is around us
  • We give hugs and kisses to Mama, Daddy, and our brother/sister
  • We are not possessive about our toys
  • We obey Mama and Daddy
  • We follow rules
  • We go to bed with minimal fuss
  • We enjoy playing with new people
  • We are healthy
  • We are learning quickly
  • We are helpful
  • We explore new things
  • We are happy and ready to giggle

Why single the kiddos out for being "beautiful"?  Of course, our family and friends have to call our kiddos "beautiful".  If they didn't, we'd hunt them down and force the confession out of them.  But what about everyone else?

I don't really have an answer.  Or maybe I do.  I don't know.  I probably don't need one.  It's just one of those things that is nagging on the back of our brains.  Maybe the problem is that the focus is on the kiddos' outward trappings, rather than who they are.  They are not their skin color.  They are not even their unique family situation.  They are people.  Ordinary people that have had extraordinary experiences coming into their family.  They are more than "beautiful".

I wish people said:

"They treat each other so kindly!"
"Your kiddos radiate joy"
"Your kiddos are such clean eaters!"
"How blessed you are to parent them!"
"What fun they must bring you"
"How obedient!"
or even...
"What a beautiful family!"

I wish people saw past the fact that we stand out.  But, then, I guess if they saw past that, we wouldn't stand out anymore, which would be what it should be.  I wish people saw past the attractiveness of different skin colors, past the "oh-wow-you-must-be-saints" of adoption, past the "I wonder what their story is?", past the white-parent-black-kids-eating-organic-hippy-tie-dye-and-tattoos, and saw us as just....  just people. Just a family.  Just parents and kiddos.  Beautiful because we're a loving family.  Not beautiful-er than anyone else.

Just food for thought.  I'm done now.