Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Boring, busy day

Yesterday was such a weird day. How can a person be busy and bored at the same time? It's been cold around here so mornings outside are not happening. Roman had his little class at the local elementary school from 1-2pm, so there was no quiet time. That's okay though, because he really left me to my own devices and did his own thing. So I got a lot done around the house; 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, dishwasher ran, dinner started. But I was bored. I guess that's why I'm not a stay at home mom full time. Around 4:20pm Roman was playing a computer game, Charlie was finally calmed down, and I started watching Oprah. But my thoughts were, "Doug won't be home for another half hour at least, and I have nothing to do."

It's a weird feeling. I mean, there are books I could have read, but you know one of the kids would have interrupted 8 times if I started to read. Usually my time waster is to check email, but with Ro on the computer that couldn't happen. Just... bored. And fidgety.

Charlie, we believe, is actually beginning to teethe. Yes, he's only adjusted 5 weeks old. However, he's exhibiting every symptom. In fact, if you read the article far enough, they mention that even diarrhea, while not officially linked to teething, happens commonly. He's grumpy, he doesn't sleep well during the day anymore (although that could be due to brother's high-pitched & loud sounds), he will suck on a pacifier quite strongly even after finishing a full feeding. Doug felt around Charlie's gums but didn't feel anything significant, but you can't deny the symptoms!

Today we were going to try Domino's Farms again, but it's in the mid-30s outside so I nixed that idea. Instead, I'm granting Roman's fervent wish - to go to Wal-Mart. Yes, folks, he's seen commercials (toys that are available there) and he has been asking to go there for days. Doug is firmly against the Wal-Mart-ization of America (which is also why we go to Costco and not Sam's Club), so I won't purchase anything. But I am curious as I hear people say they have great deals on some grocery items, and I'd like to take a peek at their craft area.

And last, some pictures from my birthday. My friend Wendy & her son Mitchell very sweetly offered to join us for my birthday dinner at Wendy's. They even surprised me with a balloon, card, and free Frosty!

Charlie just cracks me up in this picture. Drooling, "helter skelter eyes," the whole bit. Funny!

Monday, April 28, 2008

By the numbers, for my birthday!

In 5 minutes I will officially be a year older. Yay me!

In weighing the whole family this morning, Roman still is holding steady at 37 pounds, I lost the weight I had gained last week so I'm now back to -4 since I started, and Charlie weighs a whopping 13.5 pounds! We have to turn the swing up to "3" to rock Charlie now, as his weight makes levels 1-2 a little... slow.

We just had our FIRST non-poopy diaper since Wednesday evening. Thank goodness.

Yesterday I went to the Dress Barn as I had a coupon in the mail and I love their lightweight capris. I also now love all their tops. Great groovy designs and colors. While I couldn't splurge, I did pick up a pair of capris, denim shorts, and one top. (more on my changing body shape in another post!) What I love about them is that it's so easy to budget. Their prices are pretty consistent, so I can tell Doug on the way out "I will be spending ____ amount of money" and I can hit it pretty much on target.

Since it's going to thunderstorm today, plans for visiting a petting farm are on hold and we're going to the library. Return 4 items, probably get 3-4 more, and spend the afternoon playing or watching a movie in the basement.

Because Doug is golfing (barring thunderstorm, I imagine) this evening, my big birthday dinner will consist of either Burger King or Wendy's. I'm leaning toward Wendy's cuz I just love their Frosties.

Happy Day!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

the day before my birthday

Tomorrow is my birthday. Every birthday that I can remember has been great. When I was little, my parents would make a posterboard sign to put on the fridge so it’d be the first thing I saw when I came downstairs; a pile of presents would be on the counter, and that evening would be a dinner that I selected, along with cake & ice cream. I cannot remember a single birthday where I was sad, or disappointed, or wished it had turned out a different way.

But for many adoptees, there is always something lingering in the background. For me, it was always the day & night before my birthday, I allowed my brain to wander. I have not shared these thoughts with anyone (outside Doug) until now. On my actual birthday, I push my “adoption” thoughts out, celebrate with my family & friends, and move along to a brand new year. But on April 27 I reflect on the day of my birth.

Do my birthparents know what tomorrow is? Are they thinking about what happened on this day, 34 years ago? Does my birthmother think back to her pregnancy and labor with me? Was my birthfather present at the hospital? When I was born, did she feel relief or sorrow? Did anyone outside the nurses get to hold me? Was there a teary goodbye, or was I shipped off to the nursery and into the arms of the foster family?

Having now had my own biological child, I wonder different things this birthday. Already, just 3 months out, it’s easy to blur my memories of Charlie’s birth and the pregnancy. Can my birthmother even remember me? 34 years later, will I be present in her thoughts tomorrow or will it just be another day?

It’s the one thing that truly bothers me – not medical information, not meeting biological relatives – I don’t care much about that. What bothers me is that I have no knowledge of my first three months of life.

Some of these things I could have answered if I was actively curious. I could try to find out. But I don’t have room or time in my life right now to devote to that. And I have always had the instinctive feeling that my birthparents want it that way. My birthmother was so young, and had a whole life ahead of her to get an education and do something productive. My birthfather, well, had a busy life too. They chose a great thing for me, and I’m so glad they did. But once a year, I wonder if after that choice, I ever occurred to them again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday update

The day was slow in a lot of ways. Roman behaves fine when it's just me. Add Daddy to the mix, and he acts up again. Whines, refuses to play, wants Daddy's attention all the time. Frustrating. He did take a 1-1/2 hour nap, though. Roman did, not Daddy. Although Doug needs one!

Water seems to be making our tummies feel better, and not much else. I had a couple plain mini-bagels for lunch and a bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios. That's it. And all the water. I feel really full, too. We need milk but we're both too lazy to go out. So tomorrow will be oatmeal day.

Anyway, wanted to post a couple pictures. One is of Doug's birthday dessert with all three boys in the shot, and the other is my "April brothers" picture. Roman is too cute, climbed up on the table this morning to try to interact with Charlie a little more. He desperately wants Charlie to be able to respond to him!

Friday busy, Saturday ill

I guess I'll start with Thursday. As it is once people start having kids, Doug's birthday was a small and uneventful day. He was surprised with birthday cupcakes at work, and we had a steak dinner here with strawberry shortcake at home, and then he opened his birthday cards. The end. Roman had Daddy do "everything" at night - that means help with jammies, brush teeth, read a story, and tuck in bed. It's the highest honor, really, since we usually divide these rituals between us both.

On Friday Roman, Charlie, and I got to my school at 7:15 because were helping to host a staff breakfast. It was great that most everyone I work with got to see Charlie, Roman was on his best behavior, and I got some adult-chat. Of course, I was exhausted, having to get up 2 hours earlier than normal to get there. But it was fun.

We then went to Roman's preschool and picked up his stuff - portfolio, journal, extra clothes. The only thing left is a Trike-A-Thon t-shirt that will come later. He said his goodbyes, and I was condescendingly lectured by the owner about Roman just having to "be okay with" the new baby situation. I walked out of there swearing that Charlie will never go there. Roman's behavior has improved by about 90% since he has been home with me, and if that isn't proof that their handling of behavior is poor, I don't know what is.

I THEN dropped Roman off at a friend's for a couple hours who graciously offered to take him so I could go to Charlie's eye appointment a little more freely. Charlie's eyes are "stable" and we were told we were discharged! Hooray!

We had a visitor Friday afternoon who I will probably write about more next week (how's that for being mysterious?), and by dinnertime I just wasn't feeling quite right. By bedtime, Doug wasn't feeling real well either. Please remember we had steak Thursday night.

Well, (too much info coming) I went to bed at 7:30pm and slept straight through until 2:30. After feeding Charlie, I spent the next 20 minutes on the toilet. Yuck. Doug's not that bad off, just cramping and lots of gas. We think that we either have gotten a viral something from Charlie, who has had poop in every diaper since Wednesday night, or we are sick off the steak, which we let sit in the sink to thaw probably too long. Ick.

So today Saturday, since it's also cloudy and looking like a good storm is brewing, is a sit at home, play in the basement, don't go too far from the bathroom day. I may even post later some more pictures!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Random things I keep forgetting to mention

Went to the library last week and was blown away by this cool program . Can you believe it – just for going to the library! I am hoping to take advantage of a couple of these, it’s just driving to some of them that makes me timid, not knowing my way around actual Detroit real well.

Charlie cooed and smiled at a pig toy dangling in front of his chair on Tuesday. Not at me, notice. That’s a smile and coo for Daddy, smile and coo for toy. Zero for Mama and Roman.

Roman was great on Tuesday. In fact, he is getting much better at playing on his own. He “talks” his guys for a few minutes before asking me to play, and Tues. late afternoon he got it in his head to modify the cardboard Hoth base. He gathered paper & scissors, asked to borrow tape, and made “trap doors” and “flip doors” for the bad guys. Now that’s what I’m talking about. That’s a huge step for him. When Doug gets home he gets the report, though – “Mommy only played with me ____ times today.”

Thursday is Doug’s birthday, and he has requested strawberry shortcake for his dessert. Then he confirmed that he wanted to go see a movie ALONE. I think that’s funny, because I asked for 3 scrapbook classes at the MegaMeet for my birthday, which is Monday. Both of us requesting time away from the rest of the family as our present. It’s really okay, though, because last year I spent my birthday at Greenfield Village riding Thomas the Tank Engine. Which we're doing again this year but in May.

Speaking of scrapbooking, I am doing a tiny bit of it when I can. I found this SEI “scrapbook in a bag” that I bought at last year’s MegaMeet that I’m making a “brothers – first year” album. I also have lots of ideas in my head. Once Doug starts golfing, I’ll be getting a couple-hour block of time sometime each week to do my scrapping uninterrupted. Ish.

Charlie is doing one five-hour stretch at night, the late evening/very early morning stretch. We’re down to about 6 feedings a day as he can go about 4 hours in between now. His bioclock is weird, though – no matter what I try, he sleeps only about 30 min. in the morning. He’s awake, alert, bright-eyed, and sometimes even bushy-tailed. After his noon or 1pm feeding, he sleeps. All afternoon. Sometimes even all evening. I have no idea if he’s awake all night or not, because I’m dead asleep until he starts fussing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Infant Charlie vs. Baby Roman

After a meeting last night, a lady who is a midwife asked if she could ask me a personal question. Of course, I don't mind. She asked if I felt differently overall toward Charlie as an infant, than I did toward Roman as a baby. I know she didn't mean it like "do you love him more" kind of thing. Her experience is birthing babies, and the instincts that come with that, and she was curious if it has developed differently.

My brief and precise answer was yes, I feel much differently toward Charlie than I did Roman. We talked a little, but I knew I needed to think more on it. At this point, of course, I don't love them any different. When we first got Roman, I loved him but it was more of a "I'm a responsible for him" love. It wasn't an all-encompassing, throw myself in front of a bus for him love. Yet. With Charlie, I did feel that immediately. Maybe it was because of the way he came to us. Maybe because he wasn't supposed to be here at all.

But now I am in awe of both of them. I tried to explain this to Roman the other day. It is simply amazing how God worked for the paperwork to be in the right place, the right time, and to have Roman's information cross that same desk at the right time, to match him up to us. I know it was God's handiwork because Roman is OURS. Has always been meant for us. I can't believe we were allowed to go to Russia and claim him as our own. I am in awe every time I think of his birth city, of the baby home, of the life he would have led if God had not allowed our lives to come together.

For Charlie, I am in awe of the fact that I grew him. He was a bunch of cells, he was a fetus, and he came out of my body as a living, breathing, human being. There's not much more I can say than that. I look at him and can't believe Doug and I actually created him. And he's a separate little person. Just amazing.

So yes, it does feel different. Both of them came with drama - a Russian adoption and a premature birth. But having both of them now I feel like a complete family.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Update: quiet time

Do you see that evil smirk? THIS is what I have to deal with, all summer long. Lord, give me strength. I took this picture soon after I finished the previous blog and got up to do laundry.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing." Smirk.
"Why are you sitting there?"
"You told me I had to read quietly in my room. I'm in my room - see my feet?"
You all may be laughing, but it is damn irritating to have a child like this. I can't decide whether he's a smart aleck or very intelligent - or both. He does these little word games with me all the time. How and when do we decide he's gone too far into "needs a good smushing" land?

Yesterday, at the storage unit, he asked if he could play with some of the infant toys. "Sure," I said. Then he was putting some Playskool dinosaurs in the car.
"Why are you putting them in the car?"
"You said I could play with them."
"Yes, but not take them home."
"You said I could play with them. I'm going to play with them at home." (Did I mention the smirk?)

And did I mention this prayer again - "Lord, give me strength!"

I play "stay at home mom" today

So today is my first real "stay at home" day, in my opinion. Last week Roman was not his normal self due to fever, and there's just something about starting a week fresh that makes it "real." This morning we had a playdate scheduled with Michelle & her 2-year-old Kaelyn at an indoor playplace. Roman had been there before but I hadn't, so it was cool. Roman played very well around the younger kids there and also played a bit with a 5-year-old boy. We got in the car, however, and the whining began again. "I want to eat in the living room" "I want to have chicken nuggets" "how about fish sticks?" "I don't like bread!" "I don't like sandwiches!" On and on. I have to admit I lost my temper. Poor Charlie probably thinks yelling is how we communicate around here.

It irritated me that he could be so sweet for almost 2 hours, and then when he gets me alone again - wham! back to trying to manipulate. He already splashed so much during bath today he gets 2 showers instead of baths. And now he's trying to ask why he has to rest. Here's his comment - "I have everything on my mind but resting!" I told him flat out, "Because I need a break!"

I have Charlie in a bouncy seat/rocker next to me and he loves just chilling and looking toward the window. He definitely knows the shapes that are Mama and Daddy now, because the other evening I put him in his swing and then went to read a book. Doug went downstairs. After awhile Charlie began to cry. Doug was coming up the stairs and so checked on him - the minute Doug came into Charlie's view, he stopped crying. Simply amazing.

I'm trying to get Charlie on an actual routine now. He was awake all morning,though, and he really doesn't like to sleep (just like his brother). He is falling asleep in the rocking chair, but I tried to put him in his room and he just laid there eyes open, making noises. Little manipulator. I don't mind having him out here with me, but one of these days (when he has the crib?) I'm just putting him in there and he'll have to fall asleep on his own. He does real well with that at night.

It was kind of fun being out with other mommies this morning. While Roman irritates the heck out of me, the days are a lot less stressful. I actually had the thought the other day that I could probably find the time to polish my toenails. I haven't yet, but I could. I never even had those thoughts when I was working. This afternoon will be interesting, though, because there is laundry, cleaning, and some boxes I need to unpack and Roman will have to play on his own. That usually doesn't work real well, but it's one of the many things we're "working on" this summer.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cooing and biking

Doug got an actual coo and smile out of Charlie yesterday. Charlie had been in the swing during dinner, and when Doug went to pick him up, Charlie looked at him, smiled, and made a happy sound. The first time the two went together! Very cool. Charlie also did a first - slept almost five hours last night. I heard him hungry around 4am and couldn't believe my eyes!

Roman and I took our bikes this morning and rode to the library. It was good, except for the part where Roman didn't apply his brakes fast enough and skidded out onto the Mile road. He backed up and there were no cars coming, but he scared the pants off me. So we are no longer letting him lead while biking. Ro chose 2 movies and a Star Wars picture book, and I got a teen novel. Those are truly the best right now - don't require thinking and I can finish them in a week.

How out of shape am I, though? Just that little jaunt to the library has made my legs tired!

Today we have friends visiting us for afternoon & dinner, and they have a 2-year-old son. They haven't spent any time with Charlie; last time I saw them I was still on bedrest in the hospital! It should be a fun visit.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brief update, by the numbers

We have gone through 1 38-oz can of formula in exactly one week. So today we're going to Costco to buy TWO cans of formula so I don't have to keep going back every week.

Roman's temperature is now 98 degrees again. Thank goodness. We are not returning to preschool, as his last day was officially yesterday.

By our scale, Charlie now weighs between 12 and 12.5 pounds!

By our scale, I have lost 3 pounds this past week!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fever & beer

Roman came home yesterday from my parents' and unfortunately, had developed a fever while there. Pretty high, too, 102.3 last night. Tylenol helps some, but his little body is just fighting something off. He appears in a great mood and has all kinds of energy, and then - wham! - just falls apart crying. He is actually asleep already for his nap (12:30).

Luckily, I escaped said feverish evening by taking Charlie with me to the middle school swim conference meet last night. My school won, which is always exciting. I did miss coaching this year, and am glad I'll be back next year. Charlie loved the pool - the humidity and noise put him right to sleep, and he slept the entire 2-1/2 hours we were there. He awoke briefly as I held him and watched the final race - the 400 free relay, always exciting because everyone puts their "big guns" in - and I was screaming myself hoarse. We placed 3rd in that race, sadly, but every single one of our girls swam a minute or faster. Amazingly, our fastest girl did the 4 lengths in 54 seconds... and was beat. Our relay, made up of 3 7th graders and 1 8th grader, actually beat a high school record. Simply incredible.

Anyway, the beer part. Charlie had a bottle (of formula, not beer!), and then coaches from 3 of the middle school went to a local restaurant to have dinner & drinks. I had 2 beers, but stupidly (because I'm always in a haze now) ordered them from the tap. So I actually had 2 pints, 32 oz, close to 3 bottle-beers. Going from not drinking since July, to having 2 pints, I'm a little.... sleepy and headachey today. In short, a very slight hangover. Can you believe it?!

Charlie's new tricks: I'm not sure what he weighs now, but he's graduated to 3-6 month clothes. In fact, I have a couple 3-month outfits from Carter's that his toes go all the way to the end. Doug hates it when I mention it, though, hates to acknowledge that he's growing up. He's practically out of the bassinet, too, lengthwise. We're going to have to put that crib up one of these days (soon).
He also doesn't have the need to be swaddled 24 hours a day either. He's doing great having his legs free. Physically, he's ahead of the game for his "adjusted age" of 3 weeks - holding his head up for periods of time, starting to really kick his legs, even attempts to roll over on tummy time (gets his right hip way up in the air, just can't figure out to tuck his shoulder). Verbally he's still very much an early infant, not doing much and none of it is deliberate sounds, although he does enjoy it when I make cooing or clicking sounds at him.

I forgot to weigh myself this morning until after I had eaten breakfast, which is no good. So I'll have to do it tomorrow. We're hoping Roman feels okay tomorrow to have his finale at preschool and say goodbye to everyone. And I should go take a nap, but I'm hungry myself, and when I'm done Charlie will want to be fed again....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The drama of kindergarten registration

I thought it'd be a simple thing. After gathering all the paperwork (and finding Roman's "American" birth certificate last night!) it would be a snap to run over to the school, turn the papers in, and be done. Oh, no.
The secretary looked at the papers and said, "have you registered him for after-school care yet?"
No, I thought that happened when I registered him for kindergarten.
"Well, that's a different registration, and parents line up to get a spot. I think they're full."
This is my first child; I had no idea I had to do it separately, I figured it was through the school.
"I'll call over and see if there's a waiting list."
*I begin to panic, trying to imagine arranging totally new daycare for Roman*

So she calls, and praise God! There was ONE spot left for the afternoon latchkey at Roman's school. Can you BELIEVE it? I rushed right over, paid my deposit, and Roman has the last spot in afternoon child care. Honestly, this is partly why I hate living in a different school district than I teach. I know exactly what to do in my district, who to contact, and how it all works. For a first child, things are totally unclear here. There should be a packet explaining all this; better yet, explain it online! Where to register, when to register, and all that stuff. Frustrating.

But it was relatively painless, he is all registered, and now we just have to figure out what to do with him when he has days off school and I don't.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A small break

Roman is at my parents' until Wednesday; that is, unless he falls apart and has to come home Tuesday. Anyone want to take bets? I should put a little poll up. Anyway, it's been nice. My parents sensed that Ro and his parental unit could use some "away time" so we can appreciate each other again. I believe that's also true. They had all kinds of fun planned; the hands-on museum, shopping at the dime store, and perhaps the Potawatomi Zoo if weather is good. I think he'll be okay.

It's been nice to have relatively uninterrupted time. Of course, Charlie has his moments (gas pains at noon; now he's grumpy-snorting-sleeping) where I have to stop everything and give him some lovin'. But I'm also able to catch up on things. Speaking of, I am going to register Roman for kindergarten. It's somewhat like adopting from Russia, honestly. There's a big checklist, and we have to have property tax proof, and business mail addressed to us, his birth certificate, immunizations, and about 5 papers came with the packet that I had to fill out. We had ordered 2 copies of his birth certificate and have failed to locate them now; we thought they were in the safety deposit box but no.... can't find them here in the house... so I'm going to attempt to register him with his Russian birth certificate and Certificate of Adoption. Heh. We'll see what happens.

Here's Charlie at my parents' house, caught in the act. Just like a man, falling asleep in front of the tv with the remote in his hands!

And Roman singing, "I'm a rock star! I'm a rock star!" into the microphone at Charlie's "sprinkle" on Saturday. It was at my brother's church and lots of family & friends came to celebrate Charlie's presence. Hooray! Lots of cute gifts, too. Now, I'm off for some research at a local video store and to get my hairs cut.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stormtrooper (insert body part here)

Giving Roman his bath tonight, he put the bendy guy's stormtrooper helmet on the tip of his penis and yelled, "stormtrooper penis!" It was absolutely hilarious. I laughed out loud, then quickly had to have a talk about a time and a place before he thought he could repeat it at preschool. He probably will, though. :)

Charlie's eye appointment was just fine, and only a handful of appointments left. We have to check again in 2 weeks, then 10 weeks, then we'll see a pediatric ophthalmologist who will check out alignment and muscle strength. Then we're off the hook until he starts school, unless we notice something in the meantime.

I did my first official weigh-in today, having begun my new tricks on Monday. I'm already 1.5 lbs down from Monday's weight. Don't you just love the first couple weeks of weight loss? I leave you with my silly family: Toga Charlie, and Roman-Luke on Wampa-Doug.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New tricks

Charlie's new trick - drinking 6 oz a feeding and going close to 4 hours in between. Sometimes longer, if he's in the car seat or snuggled up close to Doug. We're thrilled with this... my mom reminded me that most people with newborns are close to done with middle-of-night feedings by this time; we still have probably a month or two to go before Charlie will stretch all night. So we savor this new 4-hour schedule just that much more. I look forward to the time when I don't have to see 2:30am or 3am involuntarily.

Roman's new trick has lasted since last Saturday - no major fit throwing or tantrums, and his sweet mood has returned. It's sad to think the taking away of Tiny Tigers and his video game showed we meant business, but in the scheme of things it's a minor consequence for a lifetime of fit-throwing. Honestly, raising him has been a breeze until the past month or so. Wait... I didn't post about Tiny Tigers. Based on his behavior, especially Friday night which I won't even recount but know that I cried - we decided he would not be allowed to participate in Tiny Tigers karate. It broke our hearts to do it, but it was the only thing we could think of that would really get his attention. And it worked.

We cancelled Charlie's eye appointment on Tuesday due to a schedule conflict (me doing swim team stuff); it's rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I will of course post as soon as we know everything's normal.

I attempted actual shopping with both boys today at Kohl's. It was not a pleasant experience and I will not try it again. Neither kid was bad; but trying to think about what I needed, plus dealing with Roman, plus a fussy baby, was just no good. I did get what I needed; socks and underwear for Roman, a couple short-sleeve shirts for me.

And the last new trick of the post - I will begin losing weight. Actually, I have begun consciously losing weight as of Monday. I haven't officially joined Weight Watchers Online yet (again), but I know all their tricks and I'm trying to follow a few. Plus, the best advice I ever got - "listen to your stomach. Pay attention to your stomach. Don't eat if you're truly not hungry." That's the hardest thing for me to do - I am a habit eater. In the car, on the computer, got a couple minutes before I go do something else... grab something to eat. So I am trying to break that habit, along with starting to get some exercise. I know I can do this - I lost 25 lbs before we got Roman. I will post victories here every week as I will do official weighs on Thursdays. Go me!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Preschool update

Roman's last day at preschool will be next Thursday, the 17th. There was a lot of "rigamarol" and a paper to fill out, but essentially they were going to charge us for next week anyway since I wasn't giving them a full week's notice (on a Monday, right.). If all goes as planned, however, Roman won't be there Monday, and only half a day Wednesday as we're setting up a playdate. Ah, well.

The owner was in the office when I told the girl that I was dis-enrolling Roman, and he said of course he was disappointed. I played it like it was because I am on leave right now (which partly is true) but made a comment about Ro not adjusting well and being a pistol in the classroom. He apparently was completely unaware of this, even though he is in the office a good portion of the time and has taken over co-directorship. Again, ah well. I have thought about writing a letter explaining my opinion of how this year has gone, but I figured - who knows what the cards hold, and in 3 years I may want Charlie there again, and so not a good idea to burn bridges.

Roman is fine with this development, and when we talked about it again last night he said, "yes, that's fine." He's so cute when he talks like a little grownup.

First: Trike-a-Thon & Baptism

On Thursday at his preschool, Roman rode a trike to raise money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. They watched a little video on it and Roman was really struck by the sick children. Maybe because of his recent experiences with his Mama and brother in the hospital, but he was concerned about children needing people when they're very sick. He also has energy to light a small community if he pedaled fast enough, so he was happy to ride his trike for the full half-an-hour.

And Charlie's baptism was a small affair, for those of you perhaps disappointed that you didn't know about it/weren't invited. We wanted something small this time, just Charlie's grandparents and immediate siblings (which meant just my brother & his kids). Doug's parents had a small window where they could attend, and I had a small window when I wanted it because I wanted Charlie to wear my family's baptismal gown (and not burst out of the seams). We had our friend Paul H. be the deacon and assist with the baptism; his family (with Wendy & Mitchell) have seemed to be instrumental in the birth of Charlie. Believe it! Wendy picked up Roman from his preschool the night Charlie was born, and kept him at their house until my parents arrived and could get him. That plus a thousand little things made us want to have them somehow involved.

I will have more to report on Roman's preschool experience (or, that it's coming to an end) after I pick him up this afternoon.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Our weekend in pictures

While there's lots of news to be had around our house - no Tiny Tigers class, but 2 good days after that - plus we're pulling Roman from his preschool after this week - oh yeah, and Charlie's baptism! - I thought I'd illustrate our weekend in pictures. Stories will come later.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Finally, happy news!

Happy news #1: Charlie was weighed today when he got his last RSV shot. He weighs 10 pounds, 2.5 ounces! Whoa! Chunka-monkey!

Happy news #2: We're getting money back on our taxes! Usually we try to break even, but since I'm not working currently it's nice to get some back.

Happy news #3: We finished going through (almost) every box in the storage unit. People, we have a single-stall "garage" storage unit filled with boxes and... stuff. And after about 5 hours split between 2 days, I am pleased to announce we have 4 empty plastic bins and 1 empty moving box; 5 boxes have come home to be restored to their rightful places (baby clothes, scrapbooking stuff, bedding for the nursery); and 4 overflowing boxes, plus 5-6 pieces of miscellaneous furniture, are being donated.

Still have a way to go - we didn't even touch my 6-8 boxes of "stuff" for and from school. I'll tackle that this summer. But I am darn proud of what we've done, especially since I had to take 2 "big girl pills" and get rid of some things I should, but was holding onto the memories. A broken wooden ship? 5 formal dresses from high school? I cried both times when I made the decision, but I feel good now. It's strange, when the storage unit is all cluttered, I feel like there's a corner of my soul all messy and crazy too.

Doug had to take a big boy pill himself, finally agreeing to donate a couple blankets from his childhood. But there's this crazy little invention called a camera. And amazingly, a person can take pictures of items they will miss, so they can still have the picture, if not the actual item. And so that's what we did, until the battery actually died.

Roman is home with us today and is doing... okay. We attempted a playdate at church but within the first hour he pitched 2 crying tantrums, so I decided to call it a day after the first hour (they play for 2). Mostly he was upset because he didn't want to play with the kids, he wanted to play with ME... and then when he wanted to play with the kids, they didn't want to play what HE wanted to play. He did actually cry when they wanted to play "bouncy ball" instead of basketball. I asked what happened at preschool when that happened, and he said it never does - "They always want to play what I want to play." Great.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A sad day for Roman

We are at the end of our rope with Roman. A friend at church tried to comfort us last night - "he was such a sweet angel the first couple years, I bet you guys are freaking out about this now!" Uh, yes. Here's how the day went.

Doug dropped Roman off at preschool. At the first circle time, Roman was told multiple times to sit down and be quiet. He continued to talk to himself, get up to go to the bathroom, and basically wiggle and move, unfocused, the entire time. Keep in mind, circle time is only 15 minutes. I was at home taking cute pictures of Charlie, like this one.

During Roman's lunch, it gets hazy; the teachers said he threw his lunch on the floor, Roman said it spilled. I tend to believe Roman on this one, because it was grilled cheese & fruit, a couple of his favorite things. However, when they asked him to pick it up, he did his obnoxious noise for no. They asked him again, the note said he got angry and refused to clean up. They sent him to the office to calm down, and he returned and cleaned up. Meanwhile, Charlie was getting grumpier.

During rest time, Roman kept talking. And talking. And talking. To himself, he says. Either way, he got sent to a different room for a little while as punishment. When I arrived to pick him up, the girl in the office pulled me aside and said that the director suggests we bring in a "stress ball" for Roman to play with during circle or rest, to help him focus. Maybe Miss Sheila forgets that I'm a teacher, but those words are code for a couple things - "we think your child has ADD/ADHD" or "we think your child is bordering on Asperger's." In seven years of teaching, I have only suggested that to a parent once, and that's because their child had Asperger's but the parents were in denial.

Could Roman be ADD? It's possible. Since baby-times he couldn't play with anything more than 10 minutes, and still can't. He roams from toy to project, and even at his preschool he has a hard time focusing on a project and tries to get it done quickly. However, when questioned, Roman tells us he is choosing to do these behaviors. I think the problem is what I feared when he began to speak - I suspect he is truly highly intelligent, and is bored as heck at his preschool. Because this happened at his previous daycare too, in every room he was placed in.

Meanwhile, Charlie got really grumpy because he was hungry.

So Roman has lost his Lego Star Wars game through the weekend, and is under threat of losing more toys with every unacceptable behavior today at preschool. His behavior didn't end with preschool, though. At our church dinner he wanted to follow the big boys (9 & 10 year-olds) into a Sunday School room where they had taken their ice cream sandwiches. We said no. Roman fell to the floor screaming and sobbing, causing most eyes to turn our way, and continued to carry on for close to 5 minutes right there in Fellowship Hall. Nice. Meanwhile, Charlie was happily in the arms of our friend Howard, who secretly pines for another baby (his kids are 8 & 10). But here's another picture from home.

Ahhh... love that pacifier.

I did have a talk with Roman about telling us what's going on in his brain. We got out of him the obvious; he doesn't want Charlie in the house anymore, we don't play with him enough, etc. The comment that did get me, though, was when I said it was okay to be annoyed with Charlie, because I am too sometimes - like when he was crying and carrying on in the car, and I couldn't talk with Roman. Roman said, "You could talk to me at home." I said, "I didn't, did I? I fed Charlie and then went downstairs to do some work." "Yeah, and you could talk to me instead." Boy, that did ping my heartstrings.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A family day

Roman and I had a good day today. It was a typical day; a few times he needed to be reined in, but generally he was sweet and I was in a good mood. I have found that I don't smile a lot. This struck me today, when we were walking through a parking lot. Roman was a bit ahead of me and he turned around, and he looked so cute with the wind blowing his hair that I smiled. And I realized that I smiled. Which means that I probably wasn't smiling for quite a bit before then. This is also true with Charlie. When I make a conscious effort to interact with him face to face (rather than narrate my life side-by-side), I have to remember to have a smile on my face. Is it because I'm so tired? Stressed? Slightly depressed? I don't know. But I'm going to have to work at smiling a bit more.

So, today Roman accompanied me to my OB-GYN appointment, where I was officially discharged from postpartum care. My bp was 132/84, which while high for me, isn't a problem in dr.'s book. Then we went to the grocery store to pick up a handful of things, and Roman convinced me to buy Go-Gurt. They should put normal yogurt flavors in there, because "cotton candy" is distasteful to me, but I'd certainly gulp down some raspberry or blueberry flavored ones. Then home for lunch, and Roman went to his first gathering at his "kindergarten school." There were about 10 kids there, all incoming kindergarteners. Today they toured the school and got to see the art room, and an example of all K-4th grade classes (our elem. is only K-4). They practiced walking quietly in a line down the hall. Roman was very proud that he did that. We got a plastic cup with the school's name and logo on it (the Cougars) and Roman is very proud of it.

Then when I picked him up, we went to the bookstore where I spent a Christmas gift card, and Roman got a little something too. We're starting chapter books now, "Magic Tree House." I bought the one about the Titanic. Roman is practically an expert on the subject, and I figured we better start chapter books with a subject we both know and love. He's funny; with all his Star Wars mania, when I talk about real wars he gets very nervous. He likes knowing that I teach about them, but when I suggested a Magic Tree House book about the Civil or Revolutionary Wars, he said, "Oh no, no, no."

Tonight was bath night for both younger boys. And Charlie's bath was a family affair, as seen here.

Roman likes to spray Charlie down with the sink-sprayer. It's a huge excitement for him. And can you believe the belly on that baby? The 2nd picture was taken just after a bottle. And, finally a picture of ME with Charlie! As you can see, he's looking right at me. We've noticed such an improvement in his gaze the last few days. He also responds to smiles quite a bit now. It's so nice to know he finally knows there's a world out here.