Archive for June, 2010

June 30, 2010

Sproutisms, the sequal

1) “Mommies, you sit there pweese.  I’m gonna show you a magic trick.  Ladies and…ladies.  Abracadabra – open Sesame Street!”

2) “What are we going to do with that baby? She’s always pooping!”

3) “When I get older I’m going to have big brains, big arms, and a big belly – just like you.”

One thing’s for sure…that kid keeps us laughing.

June 29, 2010

Ten Things Tuesday

1) Sprout is now 4!  Wow, I can’t believe we have a 4-year-old.  It rained on his party day so he didn’t get his bounce house and ice cream truck, but he did get pizza, a lightning m.cqueen cake, a house full of people who love him, and positively spoiled rotten with gifts. 

2) At 4 years old he now brushes his own teeth and gets himself dressed (so what if 80% of the time his undies are backwards?) and he has tie shoes.  He also has his first bike and will be attending soccer camp soon.  He knows all of his letters and can spell a few words.  He’s so proud to be a big boy! 

3) At 4 years old he also now rolls his eyes, makes faces behind our backs, and if one parent gives him an answer he doesn’t like, he’ll quickly run to the next to try to get a better answer.  Ahhh yes, 4 going on 14.

4) We are struggling with bed wetting.  He’s such a deep sleeper that he just doesn’t wake to use the toilet…despite a million different attempts, he’s only ever had 1 successful dry night.  So he’s still in p.ull ups overnight and mommies are at a loss.  Suggestions please??

5) His teeth are fixed! It took a few hours of filling and capping in the OR, but they didn’t have to pull any which was the biggest concern.  He was such a brave boy and his recovery was amazingly quick.  And for better or worse, bio mom didn’t attend the surgery so all potential awkwardness was avoided.

6) Rosebud is up to 18lbs!  Hanging right in there at  the 50th percentile for her age.  75th for length and 95th for head circumference.  Vaccinations are still really rough for her – spikes a 103/104 fever and is crabby for days.  I can only imagine how bad it would be if we weren’t on a delayed schedule.

7) She’s sitting for long periods of time and trying to pull up on anything she can find.  No interest in crawling, but she beams with pride if you let her hold your fingers so she can walk across the room.  She’s holding her own bottle, eating a wide variety of fruits and veggies, and talks, talks, talks up a storm.  2 teeth have popped through with more shortly to follow.

8)  Her favorite things include: the water (baths, pools, oceans, she’ll take it however she can get it), Sop.hie the giraffe, and tossing her spoons off the high chair with a giggle and an “uh oh”.  She is curious, feisty, and fearless – and I’m pretty sure she knows exactly how cute she is.  We are in trouble.   

9) Both of them are absolutely thriving at the new daycare.  They are loved and challenged and enjoyed – its such a grateful change from the last place.  I’m still not loving the food (nothing junky per se, but lots of processed foods, starches, and canned fruits/veggies), but having one less lunch to pack every day is awesome. 

10)  We still have zero idea what’s going on with their case.  They could be with us for another month, or forever.  They are so tight-lipped on these things its maddening.  Has mom gone to rehab? Gotten a place to live? Completed an iota or all of her plan? No clue!

June 28, 2010

Hello Again

 We’re (begrudgingly) back from a lovely week at the cape and while I have 400+ pictures to sort and edit, I snagged a few to share with y’all on this quiet Monday morning.  They are all SOOC, so don’t judge them too harshly!

We enjoyed gorgeous weather all week which meant lots and lots of beach time – not that anyone would complain about that!   Baby girl LOVED splashing in the ocean and that handsome guy up there caught all sorts of crabs and lobsters and fish – oh my.

When we weren’t beaching it, we did plenty of this:

And this (sorry to have to do that to her beautiful face but rules are rules….):

We even set sail and joined a band of pirates. Arrrrr

And brought Sprout to his first baseball game

But mostly, we just spent a whole lot of time talking, and laughing, and loving.

June 18, 2010

Six Months

Six months ago the rest of my life began.  It has been the hardest, most exhausting six months I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve doubted myself more than I ever have.  I’ve cried more than I ever have.  I’ve learned more than I ever have.

I can’t gush enough about the two children that call me mommy (well, lately its more mama or maaaammmmaaa ma ma mmmm).  I am so proud of them. I am proud to have them in my life.  They are much more than I deserve and even on the hardest days, I know how blessed I am.  I’m thankful for every bump, bruise, twist, and turn that landed me where I am today.

In celebration of all that love, we are off to my favorite place!

See ya when we get back 🙂

June 17, 2010

Tantrums 101

I’m going to open this post by saying that I’m not putting myself out there as any kind of expert.  Every kid is different and there are a million different parenting philosophies, all most of which will work for some kid somewhere.  Truth be told, while it would be great if someone was helped by this post, most of the reason I want to write this is so that I can come back and remind myself what works on days I’m feeling overwhelmed, because surely they will come again.

Now for a little brag…in prep for our case management conference, I was reviewing Sprout’s behavior journal and I couldn’t help but feel really good about the progress he’s made.  In his first month with us, Sprout had at least two “regular” tantrums per day and two to three “severe” tantrums a week which was defined to include property destruction, urinating, and/or screaming until he lost his voice.  Well, he has been with us six months now and recently we’ve barely touched the behavior journal.  His last severe tantrum was in March and now he averages less than 1 tantrum per week.  Way to go Sprout! 

So here’s what appears to be working for us…

  • There are 2 distinct reasons for Sprout’s tantrums and recognizing which we are dealing with is the crucial first step.
    1. Overstimulated, sensory explosions: these tantrums come at the end of a busy day, following a visit with bio mom, or when we’ve spent 10 minutes too long shopping in a loud and crowded store.  He’s tired, he’s hungry, he’s had way too much sensory input and attempts to balance himself by expelling it in the form of yelling, screaming, crying, kicking, you get the idea… Of course the best way to handle this type of meltdown is to prevent it – any mom reading this already knows that.  But this is real life which means that it will inevitably happen at the least convenient time.  So what do I do? First step is to drop whatever I’m doing and get him to the calmest environment immediately available, then I wrap my arms around him in a big bear hug and rock him gently.  I coach him to listen to my heart (studies have shown that a child can actually match the tempo of their heart to their mother’s) and take deep breaths.  At first this type of thing was foreign to him and it would take a long time for the storm to pass, but with some practice on both our parts, we can now go from full-blown rage to centered in 5 minutes flat.
    2. An attempt to control his environment.  Mainly: manipulation, task avoidance, and seeking attention.  This is that naughty kind of tantrum that makes the hair stand up on the back of our necks and our lips purse.  There is only one thing to do during these types of tantrums: ignore, ignore, ignore.  Make sure he is in a safe space, and walk away.  One of the most powerful messages we ever taught Sprout is that he will get nothing out of a tantrum.  And even more, we will not allow ourselves to be treated like that.  I know that this response will put a sour taste in the mouth of some.  It may feel like you are letting the child “get away” with the misbehavior, but I assure you that is not the case.  The middle of a tantrum is not the time to address the poor behavior – I promise that the child is not listening and you’ll just end up in a shouting match.  There is plenty of time to discipline later.
  • The Achilles’ heel of any tantrum is calm.  Calm works for the overstimulated tantrum because it specifically models what you want the child to achieve and doesn’t escalate the outburst.   And calm works for the naughty tantrum because they aren’t getting the one thing they want.  I’m certain that there is nothing more motivating to Sprout in this world than getting me mad.  He is a pro button pusher and as sad as it is, he’s grown to be most comfortable when he’s power-struggling with his caregivers.  It used to drive him crazy that he couldn’t make me mad but now he hardly ever tries, knowing it wont get him anywhere.  The truth is, he’s made me mad plenty, but by staying calm he was none the wiser.  During the worst, I just reminded myself that staying calm would not only benefit me through the one tantrum I was facing, but it would also lessen every one to come. 
  • Parenting takes first priority anywhere any time.  In the privacy of my own home or in the middle of a crowded store – I will parent that child no matter how many eyes are watching. 
  • The tantrums are his, not mine. I don’t own them. I’m not burdened by them – he is.  This relates to one of my primary parenting rules: I can’t control my child, nor do I want to.  The only person I can control is this world is me.  My job is to guide and to teach, but he is his own individual spirit in control of his body and mind.  There is no power struggle because I freely give him all the power he needs and deserves – but that also means he gets the responsibility of his actions. 
  • Don’t hold a grudge.  Tantrums happen. Its part of a child’s job description.  But if you are thinking about it and simmering over it for the rest of the day, they will too.   There is no more powerful teaching tool than modeling, so just let it go.

Parenting is hard and insanely complicated.  The overwhelming truth is that even though this post ridiculously long, dealing with tantrums is just a tiny piece of my parenting and discipline puzzle.  Also, I’ve screwed up on every single one of those bullet points up there.  But like I said, this is just one small piece and the sum is so much greater than its parts.  Keep calm and carry on!

Questions? Reactions? Disagreements? Real-life scenarios? I’d love to hear ’em!

June 15, 2010

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June 14, 2010

That’s my baby mama

Late last night Rosebud and I were sitting in the kitchen while the rest of the house slept.  I was rocking and singing and kissing those delicious cheeks as I’ve done so many times before.  She softly slurped her formula laced with teething tabs and held my finger in her chubby little hand waiting for some relief to the throbbing gums.  Then I glanced up and saw the picture of the woman who created this beautiful child and my heart broke for her.  Did she ever have someone to rock her and sing to her and to ease her hurts?  Does she have any idea what she is missing?   

Over the past few weeks I’ve been finding myself staring at that picture more and more, studying her face and trying to look into the cold brown eyes that I imagine are hiding so much.  There was once a time when I judged her.  I was jealous of her. I was angry with her.  But lately those feelings have melted.  Its occurred to me that there are enough people in this world to pass judgement on women like her.  That’s not my job here.   

On a recent business trip I made small talk with the grandmotherly woman sitting next to me on the plane.  After looking at pictures of all 12 of her grandchildren, I bragged about my wonderful foster kids and the amazing light in their hearts.  As kind as she was, she responded as so many do, “How could a woman do that to her children? It’s just awful.  She should be ashamed of herself – and just give them up to someone who can raise them better.”  

And do you know what? I got angry.  I wanted to defend her – a woman who I hardly know and that I have plenty of reason to be mad at myself, and I wanted to stick up for her.  Maybe she was a foster child? Or otherwise had a horrible childhood?  Doesn’t know life any other way than cold and hard? Feels her kids are a couple of the only good things she’s ever done and there’s no way she’s giving them up? Fierce pride and an inability to admit failure?  She might have other mental or psychological issues – certainly addiction reeks havoc on logical thinking.  I don’t know…I don’t even begin to try and understand a woman so different from me, but I’m inexplicably bonded to her – that’s my baby mama and if it werent’ for her, I wouldnt be who I am today.  
So last night before I clicked off the lights and shuffled upstairs to tuck the snoozing baby in her crib, I glanced again at that picture and said a silent thank you.  Because no matter what else she’s done or hasn’t done in her life, she created the children that I love so much, and have changed my life in the most amazing way.
June 1, 2010

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