Sunday, July 27, 2008

T prefers our bed

Long story short - see the title. Long story long - keep reading.

T survived his first weekend away from home. During the day, it was lots of fun. At night, it was not.

We visited my parents to entertain guests from Belgium (the cousin of my AFS exchange sister from...ahem...12 years ago). My Belgian "cousin" Jurgen, age 10 when I knew him, is now all grown up and touring the US with a friend. We were happy that they wanted to stop and see us. They drove all the way from Ohio - one goal of the trip being to experience the wicked roller coasters at Cedar Point. (I remember him telling me 12 years ago that he was going to visit Ohio to do those coasters - I think it's pretty neat that he kept his boyhood dream!)

While we normally would not have considered T spending a night away from home this soon, we thought the circumstances were such that we should give it a try - and one of us was prepared to head home with T if we needed to.

We arrived at my parents' home before they did on Friday, and I think this helped him to feel comfortable more quickly...he explored the new surroundings with just us, and by the time my parents were home from work, he was already feeling good about being there. (In contrast, when we first visited my sister's place, he was initially very uneasy despite meeting her many times and being comfortable with her in our home. So maybe we'll have to ask people to hide for 30 minutes when we visit them!)

T liked hanging out Friday evening and ate well at dinner. (He'll eat nearly anything now - we are so lucky!) He happily sought out my parents' laps for stories, and was in a great mood. At bedtime he fell asleep fast - he was worn out from all the attention. We hemmed and hawed, and finally decided to try leaving him with my mom so we could both go out with our visiting guests. Conversation:
Me-"Would you mind terribly if Kyle and I BOTH go out tonight? We can put T in your room in case he wakes up and you can keep an eye on him."
Mom-"Of course not. I'd be happy to watch him."
Me-"He normally doesn't wake up. If he does, you can give him some water and he'll probably fall back asleep. If he's still crying, you might have to walk him around a bit."
Mom-"You mean I'd get to pick him up?"
When we left the house, I was confident he would sleep, Kyle was worried he'd wake and be really upset, and Mom was barely concealing her glee. Someone speculated she might just poke him to wake him on purpose to have an excuse to hold him. =) This was our first time leaving T with someone. Once we were out, I was half enjoying a child-free evening and half worrying he'd wake and be really upset. (Not that I admitted this at the time to My-Worrier-Kyle, since it was too late to change our minds.)

As luck would have it, he slept until 12:43 and we pulled in the driveway at 12:45. Fortunately, he wasn't crying. Unfortunately, he was wide awake. I spent the rest of the evening trying to settle him down, but he got increasingly more agitated although he was clearly tired. He would only lay down on top of me, but couldn't seem to get comfortable, and would roll off and start crying. I tried pacing with him in the carrier. I tried rocking him in a chair. I tried sleeping in the bed. I tried laying on the floor. Then I tried all those things again. And again. At about 2:30 in the morning, I gave up and let him play on the living room floor, where he finally fell asleep, toys in hand. He slept lightly and woke often to cry softly so I had to rub his back a lot to keep him sleeping. This meant that I was sleeping on the floor as well. I used to crawl out of bed to sleep on the floor on purpose when I was little. I thought it was comfortable. Now I'm not sure what I saw in it, because I was really sore by the time we woke.

During the day, he was his normal, sunny self, if only a bit more tired than usual. My mom and grandma and I hung out with T while the boys enjoyed a baseball game. T was enjoying having 3 people to read him stories and play with him. He ate well and by bedtime he was again exhausted. He fell asleep at once, but at 1am, he woke crying and he and I were miserable the rest of the night. From then on, he couldn't stay asleep more than 10 minutes at a time and woke crying. I would hold him and rub his back and he'd eventually settle down and sleep another 10 minutes. This repeated itself until a little after 5am, when he woke screaming with extra gusto and I grumpily pushed him at Kyle and told him to take our fussy monkey away so I could get some sleep. Poor Kyle did as asked and I was able to sleep for a few hours.

T was so tired from the ordeal he actually fell asleep while chewing his breakfast. The rest of the day was fun. We visited the park and wished our guests well on their journey back to Ohio.

Now we're back home and I am wondering how he'll fare in the wee hours tonight. I think he was so fussy in Milwaukee because he was sleeping in a strange place. At bedtime, he was so tired it didn't prevent him from falling asleep, but after getting a few good hours in, he woke and was scared and unhappy about being away from home. I don't think it's because he woke while we were gone on Friday night, just because we were home so fast, I don't think he even realized we were gone. I'm kind of thinking we'll get our answer tonight. If he sleeps well, maybe he just wanted to be home. If he's fussy again, maybe we traumatized him by sleeping away from home or when he woke and we weren't there. Maybe. I guess we don't know. I wish he knew more sign language than "milk" and "more". In any case, I'm not excited to sleep away from home again soon. We had a great time, but the lack of sleep is going to hurt - we normally use the weekends to catch up on sleep and recharge. Now we're exhausted and the work week is looming large and long.

On a totally unrelated note, T loves sweet corn, so here are a couple gratuitous kid pics from dinner this evening.

Monday, July 21, 2008

T's Utterz

You'll notice a new feature on the blog. On the right you'll find "T's Utterz". This is a feed from T's Utterz page.

What is this and why are we using it? First question first:

-Utterz is kind of like Twitter, only with audio, video, and text. It's meant to allow for very quick and short updates. So, it's kind of like a blog to blog about blog stuff between blogs. Make sense?

So, then, why? A couple reasons:

-T is starting to talk, and we want you to listen.
-T loves to play with the phone, so this is a great excuse to give him some practice.
-I find myself finding things I want to blog about, but not having the time. Now I can blog on the phone while I'm carrying T.
-There are a million little things it's impossible to blog about, but this gives us one more opportunity to record what's going on for our own sake, and for yours.
-I need to learn more about these new communication methods people are using these days.

You can also find this feed on Punkin's blog, if you're getting sick of logging on to Critter Quest everyday.

Don't worry. We'll keep blogging...but I hope this will open up some new opportunities.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thai Pavillion and Friends

Today T and I met our friends with their Thai daughter at a Thai Pavilion and Gardens. It was a lovely, hot morning, and we had a silly photo shoot with the kids. I think the parents were far more interested in this activity than the children. The cutest pictures were of the 2 of them-briefly holding hands, posing with stone elephants, etc., but I have a no photos of other people's kids rule, so here are the solo shots.
He was enthralled with watching the ducks in the little stream.
He normally gravitates to water, so I thought he'd love the sprinklers across the paths. Not quite.
The only thing that got him smiling was holding his maraca, which I unfortunately didn't think to break out until we were leaving.
Oh, and his pants? Yeah - they are indeed supposed to be shorts....for a much larger child. Thank goodness he's too little to know he should be embarrassed.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ah, the weekend

Weekends are going to be a lot easier than the work week. We managed to survive juggling both work and T, but it's difficult, especially since T had some pretty rough days. On the attachment front, I feel like we went backwards a bit at the beginning of the week. He was probably a bit stressed about only one of us being around at a time. I can't say I blame him - so was I. We've been playing lots of attachment games and T wanted nothing to do with them, or us. It's frustrating, but I know we'll get through the tough days one hour at a time.

Friday my sister stopped over to visit and we stopped at Kyle's work on the way to the library. His co-workers got to meet T, and I am happy that T was shy and tried to burrow into my chest. It's good that he feels safest with us. All the new people were a bit overwhelming to him, even being in the carrier, and the visit ended in tears and hiding in a back hallway.

Everyone's feeling a little better now, and T might have even given me a couple of hugs this week (a first). (Either that, or he's trying to kill me with a death grip, since the hitting and biting have failed.)

Saturday was lovely and T got to meet his betrothed. She came home from Thailand a week or two after him, and is precious. They exchanged wood chips at the playground to cement their relationship.

Today we hiked the local trail system again. The loops we tried were WET and BUGGY and totally unmarked. We had a very rough map, and there were many extra minor trails that were not on the map, so it was near impossible to follow and we had been hiking for a good 40 minutes before we reached a point where we could say, "Ah, so THIS is where we are." Once I felt confident we'd be able to find the car again, I enjoyed the hike much more, and stopped along the way to sample the blackberries. T was a good sport, and even got in a short nap. The highlight for him was watching the snapping turtle we came across. But oops, we left the camera in the car, so use your imagination. It wasn't huge - maybe 12" long.

I'm trying to psych myself up for work this week and I fear I'm failing. I guess it'll arrive if I'm ready or not.

Oh yeah, and tomorrow, T will have officially been home with us for an entire month. How the heck did THAT happen so fast?


Sunday, July 6, 2008

The end

Today we played at the park to enjoy our last day of freedom together. T enjoys to climb up the slides even more than he loves going down them. He walks/wobbles a little more each day, although he still prefers to cling to furniture along the way and sometimes decides crawling is just easier.

We also took a long hike (T in the Ergo carrier) during which T got his morning nap and Kyle and I had a chance to talk. It was a pretty trail that runs past the playground, so we're thinking of making that a weekly excursion. Hiking with an extra 24 pounds is a lot of work, but I tell myself this lets me off the hook from further exercise, and earns me ice cream besides.This afternoon we'll play in the yard, and's back to work. Kyle will work full time and I'll work half-time, going in to work after Kyle is home for the day. That way one of us will always be home with T. We have this schedule through the end of October, and then we'll switch and Kyle will work part-time and I'll work full time until sometime in early 2009. I'm a little worried about when both of us go full-time, because that'll mean late nights for me, but it's a long ways off so I'm choosing to ignore that fact.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Public Service Announcement

A warning to adoptive parents who visit the excellent website a4everfamily for attachment resources:

The following game, as listed on the site's "Attachment Activities", must be played with extreme caution if your child already has teeth, or the experience may be traumatizing for all participants.

Cracker/Cereal Kisses

For older babies: Place a Cheerio™between your lips and allow the baby to eat it directly from your mouth.

Ow! (from experience)


Happy Fourth of July!

T's first Fourth of July was a busy day. We watched the parade with lots of family.
The color guard always makes me tear up a little, even though I'm not a very patriotic person (just emotional, maybe?), and standing with T while they passed really threatened to make me cry.
He wasn't quite sure what to make of all the commotion, and was wide eyed through most of the parade. It wasn't until the parade was finished that he started to wave (his current favorite pastime) at all the spectators who were walking back home.
Nana, Great-grandma, and my sister brought the quilt we collaboratively made for T (I did minimal work and braided the tails), and we got a great photograph with 4 generations of us together.
After the parade, Kyle's family stayed for dinner. The after-dinner entertainment was T. He never tired of crawling in and out of the cabinet set aside for him in the kitchin, yelling "Bye!" and waving each time he tried to close the door on himself. (Don't worry - the latch is removed!) And we didn't tire of watching him. Well, perhaps we did, but we didn't let on - he was so proud of himself.