A VACATION IN PICTURES

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SIENNA’S TWO-MONTH CHECK-UP

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Stats from Sienna’s Two Month Checkup:

— Girl is not starving. She weighs 12 lbs, 10 oz. That is the 80th percentile, people. She has doubled her birth weight. She’s a full pound and a half more than Brae was at this age.

— She’s also a smart cookie. Her head is in the 80th percentile. Brae’s was in the 90th.

— Thankfully, her height is at least keeping up a little. She’s in the 50th percentile for height. Brae was a full inch and a half longer than she at this same age.

— In a nutshell, I’ve got two kiddos with large noggins. One is long and skinny. The other is short and stout. I love them both equally.

— Sienna was diagnosed with torticollis (occurs in about 1:250 kids). Basically, that’s a fancy name for a stiff neck. Or, as my husband says, “She tends to list to the port.” Meaning, her range of motion on one side of her neck is limited, and she sort of tilts her head to the side. It likely happened with being kinked in the womb. Our pediatrician recommended physical therapy, which we have gone to our first appointment. The treatment regime involves lots of stretching and a TON of tummy time. Sienna despises both. However, I must admit, after 5 days of treatment now, we think we are seeing improvement. On her tummy, she is able to lift her neck up and turn it from side to side. With the stretching, she seems to be waiting longer and longer before she starts crying. The torticollis has also caused her to have a flat side on the back of her head because of the way in which she likes to lie down, so I’m going to ask the therapist about a helmet that will allow her skull to continue to grow without restriction or irregularity. I’m so thankful we did an open adoption because I’ve been able to talk to our Ohio couple and discovered Sienna’s genetic sibling also had torticollis! Needless to say, lots of very helpful emails have been exchanged about what we can expect, treatment plans, etc. The best part is that Sienna’s genetic counterpart has grown into a beautiful little girl with no remnants of the effects of torticollis. ; )

Brae updates:

— He’s gotten sneaky. Yesterday, he was going through my purse and taking out all of the gum. I asked him to put them back. He nodded and disappeared, I assumed to go put the gum back in my purse. He emerged a few minutes later with a sly look on his face, and he had one hand behind his back. He tried to sidestep me, averting eye contact, and go into the living room. I asked, “Brae, what do you have in your hand?” “Nothing,” he said, as he kept walking. “Let me see your hand.” He stopped, turned, and slowly pulled his hand out from behind his back and opened his fist to reveal a handful of smashed gum pieces. It was the first time I realized that my son was capable of deceiving me.

— He called 911. I didn’t know it until my phone started ringing and I didn’t recognize the number. I answered. “Yes, this is the 911 Emergency Department. You called. What is your emergency?” “Huh? Oh… no…. my son must have found my phone and dialed 911. I didn’t know he even knew how to do that. I’m so sorry.” I must admit, I was slightly impressed and was feeling pretty full of myself as a parent that my son knew how to dial 911. That’s when the operator informed me that cell phones automatically call 911 when the keys are smashed together. Figures.

PEE. POOP. AND PARENTING

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Updates from our humble little corner of the world…

— You know you have officially “arrived” into motherhood when you hear your name … your first and last name being called repeatedly over the intercom at a major chain grocery store … “Attention, Fred Meyer shoppers… will Britney Colton please come to the Playland. Your son has urinated in the Playland. Britney. Colton. Come. Now.”

— Brae has bonded with his bowel movements. He loves sticking his hands down his pants and playing with his, umm, creations. Lately, he’s even taken up talking to them. I changed a poopy diaper the other day and Brae insisted on commenting on its departure to the diaper pail with a “Buh-bye, poop! See you later!”

— Brae seems to have regressed a little with the arrival of his sister. Potty training has taken a back seat (not that it was ever really in the front seat, anyway), and has also started waking up in the middle of the night. The other day, he wanted his diaper changed in the crib along with his sister. I’m kind of a pushover, so I let him. As I was changing them both (now that I’m writing this, I’m realizing how silly I was for even allowing him to do this), he looks over at Sienna and says “Uh-oh, Mommy. Sienna has an owie.” I looked at where he was pointing. It was her nipple.

— Brae understands that Norm is dead. When I ask him where Norm has gone, he says, “Norm’s at church.” That confused me for a while. Then I realized that we had told Brae that Norm went to be with Jesus. And, every Sunday, Brae knows that Jesus is at church. This was a good opportunity to tell Brae that Jesus is actually everywhere, and He lives in our heart. This made Brae smile, big. Because now he also believes that Norm is in his heart, too.

— Brae is starting to understand that he’s adopted. Well, kind of. He’s starting to understand that “adopted” and “Brae” go together. Lately, he’s become accustomed to saying, “I’m adopted. I’m SPECIAL,” with a huge grin on his face. I hope he always feels that way.

— I love how no one person that crosses our path is accidental. I very much believe in divine appointments. On vacation a couple weeks ago, I was at the pool. I saw a Caucasian couple with an African-American toddler boy. Sure, this could have been a biological child (hey, you never know), but I thought it was safe to go up to ask them about their adoption journey. They were very engaging and it ended up being an awesome, divine appointment conversation. We found out they are Christian and we exchanged adoption stories, all the while our boys and Brae’s cousin (also adopted) splashed in the pool together. It was such a beautiful picture — an African-American boy, a quarter Peruvian boy (Brae), and a half Hispanic boy (Brae’s cousin) just enjoying a warm summer day. Little do they know the very special bond they each share, and how many sleepless nights, wet pillows, and pleading prayers were spent on their behalves.

— I cannot let a post go by without mentioning my lovely daughter, the diva. I preface all of this by saying I love her very, very much. But the girl is a piece of work! I need go no farther than describing her sleep style. She’s swaddled. Double swaddled. She’s in a vibrating chair. The vibrating chair needs to be already vibrating before she goes in, not after. She wants to be fanned. And not with an oscillating fan, but a fan directly on her. She wants the sound of my womb (that sounds silly) playing in the background, and it is, on the sound machine. And she wants to be rocked with a binky held in her mouth (it’s too much work for her to suck it in herself), and then gently placed in the chair.

I know. Ridiculous. And I’ve completely enabled it. Well, no more. I’ve put my foot down. Stomp.

With Brae, I never read any parenting books (well, I read the “Happiest baby on the block” and determined at Chapter 3 that my son already was, so I stopped reading). Brae was just cool with whatever we tried. He was very adaptable.

Sienna is different. So, after much resistance and gnashing of teeth, I gave in and read “Babywise”.

I’m a changed woman. Meaning, since I’ve implemented the methods in Babywise, Sienna has given me a gift: 9.5 hours of straight sleep at night!

My initial hesitation to Babywise was simple — I’m set in my ways when it comes to parenting. Or, at least I like to think I am. I’ve raised a perfectly healthy and happy 2.5 year old boy, and I did it without any parenting book. And, probably the bigger reason, I simply do not have (want to make) the time to read a parenting book.

But, I’ve been tired of living like a zombie, and I needed my sleep. (Thank you, Kelly).

So, right now, thanks to Babywise, Sienna is in her crib (well, she’s in her vibrating chair, which is IN her crib — hey, no judgment, it’s baby steps, people).

DEATH. AND A VACATION.

PhotobucketWe had to put our beloved Golden Retriever (12 years old), Norm, down last week. He had a tumor in his nose that was spreading into his eye. He was having difficulty breathing. His last stool had blood in it. The vet said we were doing the right thing, and it wasn’t too soon. She said he would have held on as long as he could, for us, but that it was time. When it was time, I couldn’t go. Tygh went. Instead, I sobbed as we loaded Norm into the car one last time. And I’ve been crying ever since. And my dear husband, whom I’ve seen cry 3 times in nearly 8 years, cried. I miss Norm so much. The house seems so much lonelier. And our other beloved dog, Lilith (5 years), has been completely out of sorts ever since (lots of whimpering, and chewing up our walls). I know others may not agree with this as theologically sound, but I believe that Norm is in heaven. In my heaven, anyway. In my quiet time yesterday, I felt very strongly Jesus say to me, “Norm is with me. You will see him again. He’s running in the fields.” Thank you, Lord.

— And then, we went on vacation. It actually helped to just leave the house for a week while we grieved. But, as expected, the silence was deafening when we came home. No Norm running out from the garage, barking. No dog hair all over the floor, the couches. No poop to pick up. And, since my sister had taken Lilith for the week, no pet to love on. Just humans in our house. It doesn’t seem right.

But… since there is never a dull moment in our family, below are the bullet points of a fun-filled (albeit bittersweet) week…

— It started off spectacularly, with a visit to the ER. That’s right. The night before we left for vacation, Brae woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. So, we got some chocolate milk (don’t worry – I gave him some real medicine, too), and he and I went downstairs, cuddled under some blankets, and watched 2 hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (the theme song still rings in my ears). Then, the next morning, I asked him, “Brae, do you remember being sick last night?” He paused. Then, he smiled. “Yes! Yo quiero do it again (I want to do it again!).” Sigh.

— So, back to the ER part of the story. After Brae had the fever for 48 hours, Sienna got sick. And then Brae started puking. So, I took Sienna to the ER (while on vacation), and Tygh stayed home while Brae spent the entire day throwing up. Thankfully, both are now better.

— Brae put a bottle of Vicks Vapo-Rub in his hair. (side note — that stuff works better than any hair gel I’ve ever seen).

— Brae insisted on making his own sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly. And ketchup. (he ate the whole thing. Twice).

— My sister-in-law and I took Brae and his cousin for a bike ride. The boys rode in the chariot that my sis pulled. Up hills. With Brae shouting from the comfort of his seat, “Go faster! Pedal. Your. Feet!”

— Brae has OCD. He insists on touching things and not letting go until he counts to ten. And then he’ll let go. Sadly, I think I inadvertently taught him this.

— I have these little figurines in our house. They are on a table in the hallway. I like them to face a certain way. Brae likes them to face the other way. In the morning, they face north. At some point during the day, without me seeing, Brae turns them to face south. And then I turn them back. It’s this little dance we do. We’ve never talked about it.

— This evening, Brae saw me watering the flowers. He asked if he could help. I nodded, and handed him the watering can. I wanted him to feel independent, so I went inside to do other chores while he watered the flowers. A few minutes later, he came in with a huge grin and an empty can. I went outside. He did a great job. Watering all our rocks.

— I’ve been teaching Brae to pray at night. We fold our hands, and I say a simple little prayer out loud for the both of us. The other night, I asked Brae to pray. As usual, we folded our hands and closed our eyes. I sat silently waiting for Brae to start praying. After about 30 seconds, Brae bursts out, “Amen!”. Apparently, the boy likes to pray just in his head.