Monday, October 5, 2009

Change in the Weather


Leaves fall, there is a crispness in the air, and the four of us begin to settle in as a family. It took longer than I expected to feel like this. Last Friday I had a beautiful day with the kids, and I thought, "Now this is what I imagined." I felt happy, and so very, very grateful for the gift of these children. We have been home just over two months.

A lot has happened, and I feel like I should backtrack a bit, but probably don't have time. It is currently 2:00 am and I am wide awake. I have a lot of posts in my head.

Let's talk about the kidlets a bit. They are remarkable, resilient, rambunctious, beings. There have been a lot of firsts for them. Every day seems to bring a new first; for instance yesterday morning we watched Meazi's eyes get huge as she sat in a convertible and watched the top come off. We have spent the last two months trying to find a balance between letting them experience new things, and keeping them cocooned with us. Meazi is really social, and since the day we met her has said the words, "Children?" and "School" repeatedly. She thrives on being with other children, and so we have responded by spending more time than we imagined with other people during this early, crucial adjustment time.

Meazi's referral paperwork stated that she was turning three this past September 12th. We think that she is older. Her doctor agrees, and eventually we will probably do bone scan to see for sure. We debated whether or not to throw a birthday party. We wanted to celebrate, but we didn't want it to be too much. We decided to follow that old rule, "Invite as many friends as years old you are". So, we invited 3-5 friends. (Little Ethiopian adoption joke there. Did you catch it?)


I worked on getting her into the Pre-K class for four-year olds. Her doctor wrote a note. Meazi is in the program now, and couldn't be happier. It is only ten hours a week, but the structure and the ritual of it have made a huge difference for her. Her English is remarkably better since starting just three weeks ago.
Testing out her backpack for orientation day.


First day of school.


We continue to refer to Melese as "The Bringer of Joy."


And please, somebody get this kid a purple crayon!


Doesn't he look like this guy? Only cuter?

We have been lucky in that both kids love the dogs.


Melese was a little scared the first two weeks, but now hugs and kisses Teddy and Moses as much as Meazi does. Meazi calls Moses, MOE-ZEUS, so now we do too. Moe-Zeus seems to enjoy the boost in stature with his new name. The dogs, while not getting as much attention, have created opportunities for themselves to make up for it. For instance, when mom needs to take Mel for a diaper change during dinner, and Meazi follows (curious to see just how large a poop it is) Moe-Zeus climbs up onto Meazi's booster seat and eats everything off of the dining table. He polished of an entire Chinese food dinner one night, with egg rolls.


I spend a lot of time like this...


Trying to comfort Mel (he is teething, and also doesn't like to be put down), while trying to make sure my daredevil of a daughter doesn't crack her head open.

Meazi loves the water. Our water bill has doubled, and we have had to treat her for swimmer's ear.
Baths, showers, sprinklers, and kiddie pools have been our best friends at home. Just yesterday, she started to melt down a bit and I asked her if she needed to take a nap. What she needed was some time in the tub, so she asked for it, and in we went. It calms her down, comforts her and brings us closer together.

Here are some other things we have been doing,

video


Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year...



I just realized that it is 4:00 am. I am going back to do more of this while I still can...


Things aren't perfect, but they are decidedly...

Better.

Much better.

39 comments:

  1. 2 months home -- wow! We're considering baby/toddler siblings, too; so now I know how long it will take to feel settled. Thanks for the info.

    ReplyDelete
  2. konly two months? you have it this together in just two months? really you are amazing. my guestimate would have been 6 mos to start to mesh as a family. to start.

    thanks for sharing the photos and the story. although i would give up seeing photos for a year (huge huge sacrifice) if it meant you were asleep every night at 2 am and not up on the computer.

    Q is extremely social also and i can see how to deny the social nature of a social child would not be a good thing. these kids need kids!

    hope your week is lovely!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You make me tear up early in the morning. You sound centered, that is definitely the word. Your children are precious, completely.

    My friend has a daughter who his in love with all things water. They have a sand table which always has water in it, never sand.

    Your bringer of joy is still a chunk of love! How is your back doing? Thanks for the great update. I am always wondering how you are all doing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a joy to read! Your photos bring concreteness to the happiness and awe in your family's new life. It is so fun to read of all the new experiences and to see the amazement in the faces of children (and dogs!). Thanks for sharing. Now sleep!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beautiful.

    Bob Laurence also loves Olly Ash's high chair. We call him "night cleaning crew" as he spends a rather lot of time around the high-chair in the evenings...

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! It is such a pleasure to see your little family in all of these new places. I've always loved the touch of reality that I feel your blog provides. Such joy radiates from your childrens' faces. Lately, I find mothering kittens to be difficult...I can only imagine two children.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amazing. Hope you did go back to sleep and selfishly was glad to wake up to your beautiful blog post.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful post, Julie. Thank you for the details, your honesty, and your perspective. While there may be fewer of your posts lately, they are to be savored, pondered and re-read, at least for me, as I wait to travel. I am so glad that things are settling down into a good, happy normal, most of the time. That's what family is, right?
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  9. you're a champ, mama! the last pic is priceless. the only redemption for a tired mom is snuggles with the sappers of energy. they taketh away and they giveth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah, a full blown post! I am so glad things are starting to settle in for you and thank you for sharing your experience. We also are bringing home siblings and I expect our world will be turned upside down for a while!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks Julie for giving us a little peak into your lives together as you all begin to 'fit' together. Those first months can kick your ass in ways that you never imagined.

    Good idea with getting Miss M in preschool with other kids. I am a believer in following your kids lead in terms of what they need- of course it takes a little while to figure them out and what the heck their needs are. But sometimes doing everything by the book can backfire (directly quoted from our attachment therapist:)

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks Julie for giving us a little peak into your lives together as you all begin to 'fit' together. Those first months can kick your ass in ways that you never imagined.

    Good idea with getting Miss M in preschool with other kids. I am a believer in following your kids lead in terms of what they need- of course it takes a little while to figure them out and what the heck their needs are. But sometimes doing everything by the book can backfire (directly quoted from our attachment therapist:)

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Julie, I hope you know how much I love reading your posts. You are both gentle and truthful, and that is rare.

    (I loved watching the video with the GIRaffe. When we visited our babies, we took a handpuppet book with some animals. The babies weren't interested at all, but the older kids LOVED it and knew some of the names in english - seeing your video took me right back to hearing one of the boys proudly saying GIRaffe, GIRaffe, with exactly the same accent as M. Too cute!)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love that bottom picture. Yep- both beautiful children are right there, right beside you. Through good times, hard times, bad times, joyful times... right beside you.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ah, beautiful update. I am so glad you are getting into your groove as a family. Sorry we missed each other this weekend! How about next Sunday at MDR day?

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a fun update to read!!When "Yunnie" saw Meazi's pictures, he started chanting her name like they did for the going away ceremony. Precious!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Loving the update. So glad things are going so well (not perfect, but well :) ). We really should talk soon.

    Oh, and D is asking to type something. You are now the proud recipient of his first blog comment: ghshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhgfffff

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm not sure if I've commented before or not, but I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia and I love seeing your children and hearing about how your family life is going. I know it's not all easy or instantly good, but it does sound like you are all settling in!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great Post & Pics. It's fantastic to see everyone sick in together. Many more amazing times in our future.
    love.
    a

    ReplyDelete
  20. Moe-Zeus...love it! I bet he is so proud and holds his head even higher. :) And the way Meazi says Giraffe is adorable! I am glad things are getting better! I loved getting an update from you and seeing you write again...it has been missed. I also love your stroller...and would love to know what kind it is. We will also need that kind of stroller with the bench for the older child.

    Theresa

    ReplyDelete
  21. yesterday I almost wrote NO MORE WORDLESS or just snapshots:)!!! (though don't stop those!)
    We need you back!!!
    Love that last picture!!!
    Glad you are back and HAPPY 2 months home!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for the update. I adore the way she said "giraffe"

    They are simply precious- so thankful things are coming along for you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great update! It sounds like you are all bonding and growing together as a loving, happy family.

    ReplyDelete
  24. lovely post... it does take awhile to adjust. with each kid i've added to my life, i always seem shocked by how long it's taken me to hit my stride, to find my groove. you're doing so well... well except for the sleep. you should sleeeeeep!!!
    :)
    becca

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am simply thrilled. I know this adjustment has been tough and commend you for admitting the same. I think so many of us just say "everything is great" even when we are grappling with a slew of emotions.
    The kids look amazing. You look amazing. Daddy looks amazing.
    Yes, Mel looks like Harrold only better. It should be illegal to have kids that gorgeous.
    And hello? Is that the cutest stroller or what?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Julie you rock. Give your self time for it all. There is no rush. The carrying and sleepless nights have their own crazy rewards...children that will love and trust you entirely.
    Two months is the just the beginning, I am so glad you are having sunny days.

    Was the incorrect age a shock, was it difficult? I have a friend who is dealing with a situation of incorrect staement of ages.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My favourite picture is the one where she is in line on the first day of school with the cutest outfit I've ever seen! And, of course, the adorable accent. Congratulations on the first two months home!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Just had to tell you that I totally loved your article in Adoptive Families magazine. Your stages of adopting was so right on! And I'm betting you still feel some of those feelings...guilt, bargaining, etc. when thinking about Africa and the other orphans you experienced. I adopted my daughter 9 years ago from Vietnam and am still going through the stages I think. Like you, my mind was blown by that trip.
    Terri Urban
    terriurban@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  29. Keep the posts coming. You're amazing. They're amazing. Adjustments are always tough but it sounds like you're doing great. Maybe more writing will help!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Can't believe it's been two months already! Hope it just keeps getting better and better from here!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I hate that you have sleepless nights (I know that you need your sleep!), but truly love what they produce :)
    (yup, very selfish).
    Thank you for the update. I am so happy for all four of you.

    ReplyDelete
  32. For some reason, this post brought me to tears. I think it's because I'm just so happy for your family. How wonderfully different your life has become over the past couple of months!

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a wonderful post, and I know full well how the last two months must have been for you. You are a wonderful mother and the two of you are spectacular parents and the four of you are a magnificent family and the six of you (dogs of course) are one motley crew of magical creatures. Can't wait to finally spend some time with you (I've got to email you and make it happen, but alas life is as busy for us as it is for you, I think). We think about you often and know that you are doing well because you were made for this -- even if it sometimes feels otherwise. Much love to you all!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hmmm, judging by your no lack of comments, you also don't lack support. You are a loved mama! :) And your kids are totally adorable (duh!).

    Cinds. (Triplet mama)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love how she says, "GEE-RRAF!" And oh, he is way cuter than Harold! And the three of you sleeping look so adorable! I love how you are touching each one :)

    This sneak peak at your life is amazing, Julie! You have no idea how helpful it is to hear of your experience! I have to admit that I am scared S***LESS when I think of taking care of two kids of such different ages. From zero to two little beings already in different stages of development seems completely overwhelming. And yet, you are doing it! Others have done it. I will do it (yikes).

    Overwhelming yet beautiful. You are starting to feel like a family... I love, love this. I can't believe it has only been two months. You are my hero!

    ReplyDelete
  36. OMG J your kiddos are BEAUTIFUL and so happy! You all are doing amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  37. i love this post. so genuine. the kids look great and you sound like you are...settling into your new role, your new life.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Julie your life is fabulous and full.

    ReplyDelete