Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Play

Well the weather this weekend wasn't great but we did our best to still have fun.
We made our own puzzles!  I stopped at ArtMart and while browsing, found plain white 10 piece kids puzzles that you draw/paint yourself.  I bought three and we had fun using the markers to create our Picassos and then putting them together.

We managed to exhaust the playdoh with handbuilding, cookie cutters, a doh press and stencils. This time we managed to keep more on the table than the floor :) This was followed by a trek around the neighborhood by way of scooter. He's learning which was is right, left and straight, slow but sure.

We made two trips to the park, one on Saturday and one Sunday.  Saturday the playground was full and as usual some parents were not watching their kids and they were crazy. Christian managed to come away unscathed this time, which was a relief to me.  On the way to the car, he did body rolls down the big hill.  I showed him the steepest area, he plopped down and off he went.  As he turned over and over and I got glimpes of his face, I could tell he was concerned about how fast he was rolling. I started hooting and hollering, "yahoo, yay, how fun!"  He stopped in a patch of tall grass, looked a little disoriented as he stood up and looked at me. I yelled, "Yahoo, how fun, that was great!" He broke into a run up the hill with a huge smile on his face, asking if he could go again :)

We had a "match game" card tournament, which ended in a tie, followed by a marathon book reading session.  He's finally down for the night (at least I hope so) and I get to finish the laundry.  I'm sorry to see Monday and work come so soon.  One more play day, with sun, would be great :)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Wanna Hug

Christian has been very huggy lately, at unexpected times, and I LOVE it!
He'll be eating his breakfast while I'm in the bathroom trying to tame my crazy hair, and he'll come strolling in and say, "I wanna hug." I happily comply and then he's off to finish his breakfast.

Then we'll be playing; cards, puzzles, cars...and he'll just stop in the middle, turn to me and say, "I wanna hug." No matter what kind of day I've had, that always makes me happy and is the best part of the day!

I know there's going to come a day when he's too embarrassed, too cool, too old to be hugging Mom, so I'm going to get as many hugs as I can, while I can :)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Allergies...gggrrrrrr! Easter Egg Hunts

  I hate allergies!  Christian and I BOTH have blocked sinuses and are miserable.
I have tried three different over the counter allergy medicines, and none of them are helping.  But Christian has it worse, there aren't any medicines you can give a 3 yr old.  We're going through tissues at record pace and I can't seem to drink enough water.

On the up side, we had a great Easter :) Christian had fun playing with his cousins and Aunts. He was Uncle Bob's shadow when they were in the barn and he even played with Millie, the little dog. This is HUGE because just four months or so ago, he was scared to death of the little thing, although I don't blame him because she's one of those little dogs that jumps all over you.

We went to the fire departments egg hunt in the park.  They divided the kids into age groups and had areas roped off, which was good because the older kids would have mowed over the little ones. Christian's age group was 0-3 and there were about a dozen kids.  The fire truck sounded off the siren to mark the start of the hunt.  Christian took off like a flash and ran half way up, while the other kids starting picking up eggs right at their feet.  I was thinking, 'smart kid', when the delayed reaction hit him.  He turned around, saw all the kids running toward him, with their parents following close behind, and he burst into tears.  He told me that the siren scared him, I felt so bad for him.  Really loud sounds scare him, but the siren didn't last long and it was over in about 3 seconds. After a few hugs and redirecting him toward the eggs, he was off again snatching them up.  We went back to Grandma and Grandpa's to investigate our stash.

The hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's went great.  Christian dashed around the yard shouting, "there's another one!"  We had alot more eggs than I realized and the hunt was taking a long time.  He started walking and looking for them.  A bird landed close to an egg and I told him he better hurry and get it or the bird will fly away with the egg.  He raced over, grabbed the egg and scolded the bird.  Then he was looking for more eggs and keeping an eye on the sky looking for more birds.  A few flew by (high up) and he would shout, "Oh!" and snatch up another egg.  He had a blast!

Now I have a bucket FULL of candy that I cannot seem to stay away from.  Every evening I tell myself that I'm going to take it to work, but I haven't managed to get it there yet. I am, at this very moment, indulging on a Reeses mini egg...yum!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Long Time Away

It seems like a year since I last posted! I've been very busy lately and can't believe it's April already!
Christian has been busy with the doctors:
1. ear infections

2. followup on ears and evaluated delayed speech
3. low on iron again, a "not good low number", so he's back on the iron drops which don't taste good and constipate, fun.  Internet search for foods high in iron and that list goes to every grocery store trip with me. I am SO lucky that he literally eats everything I give him...whew!

4. appointment with an audiologist to see if anything's there that's related to the delayed speech.  Hearing is all good and they even said he has a very good vocabulary, right at his age level, which is great due to the fact that he's only heard English for 15 months now. Yay! They said I must read to him alot, which I do. I love to read and want to instill that in him if I can, which so far isn't too hard because he loves to read too and typically asks me to read "one more book Mommy."

5. Audiology report sent to speech therapist; met with speech therapist. He had to go by himself with the therapist, which is baulked at first but gave in and off he went down the hall. An hour later, the therapist said the letters and sounds he's not producing yet (s, f, th...) that he's not supposed to be able to pronounce them until the 4, 5, or 6th years, so he's on track with that.  But, yes I knew a "but" was coming.  He cannot manipulate his tongue like he should be able too, which is a direct result from the way they did things in the orphanage.

He isn't able to move his tongue side to side, up toward his nose or down toward his chin.  Right now it does affect how he chews, which is with his front teeth and mashing the food to the roof of his mouth, but he can eat, so they are not concerned about it. However, it can affect his future speech development.  So the therapist gave me things to do with him to get his tongue moving and we also got a good vocabulary report from her too.  Most parents try to keep their kids from sticking their tongues out, but I am trying to get mine to do it...crazy!

So the good news is, according to regular development, he speaks like he should, not quite as clear, but not delayed enough to be concerned.  But we have to work now on the tongue thing, so when it comes time for him to pronounce those tougher letters and sounds, he'll be able to. So if you happen to see us out and about and I am asking him to stick out his tongue, it's not to promote bad behavior, just future good speech :)

Otherwise he's great, active, getting more funny every day. He's still in the "why" phase, which I pawned his questions off on my parents this past weekend. Hey they raised six kids, they know how to answer those "whys" that go on and on and on :)


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Forward and Downward

We had a followup doctor's appointment to see how Christian's ear infections were doing.  The right one was all clear, but the left one still showed some inflammation but nothing to worry about, sometimes they take a little longer to heal.  His right foot turns out when he walks, hops, runs so at the last visit the doctor said maybe his legs were still weak from the lower vitamin D and iron levels he had. She suggested some gross motor skill activities to see if strengthening the legs would help that. So we just finished a soccer session, which he LOVED!  The doctor did some more tests and found he has a tibual torsion which is basically his shin bone is slightly curved, a sign from an awkward position in the womb.  There is nothing to do about it but it isn't severe, and she said many people with this condition in more severe cases have gone on to be very good athletes. The athletic part wasn't my concern, I was worried the turned foot was something to do with his hip which may then cause issues with his lower back, but thankfully none of that is the case....whew!  And he did really well in soccer and typically was first or second when all the kids ran from one side of the field to the other.

So he had some blood drawn to see how the vitamin D levels are progressing and we should hear back mid week.  His speech is still not as clear as it should be, even with the delay of being in his past environment and with English not being his first language.  So we are having a fully audio test done tomorrow to see if there is anything there that is contributing to the delay.  Then depending on what that test reveals, will determine what the speech therapist will do, because we have to see them after the hearing test.  I hope I'm not deluding myself, but I don't think there is anything wrong with his hearing, I just think he stubborness and being as busy as he his, he just could be bothered to stop, listen and learn.  At times when I try to get him to repeat something and ennunciate it more clearly, he will tell me, "don't teach me Mom."  Independent three year old :)

Today we headed to the park because it was a gorgeous day!  By the time we left he had two skinned elbows and a goose egg on his forehead.  The sidewalk was the culprit.  It slopes down toward the playground and he was running down, so excited to get there, he turned his head to see how far back I was and BAM! down he went on his elbows.  He fussed a little, I picked him up, said, "bummer," gave them a kiss and down he went on a run to the playground.....tears diverted.  Then on the way back to the car, up the slope, he wanted to race, and me needing to get some exercise in, deciding it would be fun. We used the sidewalk joint as our starting line, counted down from three and out of the blocks we shot.  We didn't get fifteen feet when he stumbled in front of me, I stumbled, tripping him in the process and down he went and bonked his head on the sidewalk.  Big screams and tears ensued as I hugged him, rubbed his back, telling him it would be ok.  I was finally able to peel him away from me so I could see if it was wasn't.  He sobbed through his tears, "Mommy please carry me," so I hiked up this sloped sidewalk carrying a 33 pound kid.  He'd stopped crying right before we got to the car and I kept looking at his eyes to make sure he was ok.  We put the Elmo ice pack on his head when we got home and he was happy.

I soaked him in the bathtub with bubbles, applied the Neosporin and then we played with the matching cards.  So hopefully he won't have any injuries tomorrow at school, poor little guy, he went through the ringer today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sitter Search

I've been looking for some babysitters lately and decided, upon a recommendation from a friend, to check out the SitterCity website.  I received several replies and have interviewed two young ladies.
The first one was adorable, sweet, kind and seemed like she'd be a great sitter.  I decided to try her out this afternoon when I went to a baby shower.

She arrived on time and played with him for the three hours I was gone.  Christian has been sick but has been feeling fine the last several days and this morning was fine. However, something wasn't "fine" because he threw up.  They were on the swing and he upchucked, at least he didn't get any on her!  She cleaned him up, got new clothes and off they went to play again.  Great, just great. I find a sitter that seems good and the first time out Christian throws up.....sigh.  Only time will tell if she'll sit for us again :)

The second young lady I interviewed drove me nuts and I actually had a hard time ending the interview.  She told me SO much about herself, situations, future plans, on and on and on.  She didn't ask a single question about Christian. I had to cut her off multiple times to tell her what I needed from a sitter, how often, details and she would launch in about herself again. She was "nice" but, I guess the best word is, distracted. When Christian meets new people, sometimes his anxiety comes out in overstimulated play, which is what happened during this interview. He kept climbing on my lap, trying to get my attention and wanting to tickle wrestle.....being a normal 3 yr. old.  The sitter proceeded to reprimand him!  I was shocked, and yes, annoyed.  Then as I was trying to wrap it up, again, for the umpteen time, she asked what time it was and then said her friend was having a birthday party in a few minutes. I told her we were done so I wouldn't keep her and she proceeded to get her phone and text her friend. Then she texted her boyfriend and then read his response to me.  HELLO!!!!  This interview is over, get the hell out of my house already.  I finally stood up, opened the door, told her "thank you, I'll let you know."  She stood in the door and talked more.  I slowly closed the door, easing her out and told her we had to eat dinner, have fun at the party, have a good weekend, I have more sitters to interview so I'll let you know.  She finally left, what a mess.  Obviously she's marked off the list.

Christian has been talking about wanting to go on a train ride.  So we're going to ride the Metrolink light rail tomorrow for a little bit. He's so excited!  Now I have to look up the routes so I don't get us lost :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ears, Nose and Knees oh my!

Christian has had it rough the last week.  He's had a cold for a few days, cough and stuffy/runny nose. We've been blowing his nose for what seems every 15 minutes which has caused it to be sore.  So not only did he not want to blow his nose anymore because it hurt, it was draining down his throat making him cough so much he would gag.

We ended up in the ER Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1:00 a.m.  He has ear infections in both ears, apparently pretty bad.  The only symptoms were that night when he couldn't sleep, crying in pain, saying his ears hurt.  I guess he should have been in pain a few days before, but he has a pretty high pain tolerance level, so it didn't get to be too much for him until his ears were already pretty bad.  So after the ER we head to CVS to get the prescriptions filled then finally home at 2:00 a.m. and we also got ointment for his sore nose. The meds kicked in fast because by Sunday noon he was his ol' self again :)

Then Sunday night and Monday night he wakes up crying saying his knees hurt....growing pains.  So I rub his knees until he falls asleep and then drag myself back to bed. I don't drink coffee or tea so getting a boost of caffeine to get through the day isn't an option. I gave up soda for Lent which was my caffeine source, but I think I'm going to have to make a trade because some days I need that boost, I think God will understand :)

Hoping for an interrupted night's sleep tonight.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Soccer Sadness

Today was not a great day for soccer. Christian hasn't been feeling well this week but got better toward the end of the week so we went to soccer this morning.  The first 15 minutes went fine and was downhill from there. He didn't want to be there, was rolling around on the turf and whining. I would have been embarrassed but three other parents were struggling with their kids too and two of them were crying.  Not a good day for several of us and we parents just gave each other the sympathetic/frustrated look.

Ten minutes in the car and he was zonked out.  They do run quite a bit in soccer and combined with him being under the weather anyway, he was wiped out.  He is taking a nap as I type this and I hope he sleeps long today so I can get a few things done around the house :)

We have two more soccer classes left, he loves it (usually) and his legs are stronger...YAY!
Now I need to decide what large motor skill activity is next :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Made the Cut!

I had my first Parent Teacher conference on Friday afternoon. When I arrived at the school, the kids were still playing in the yard, so I snuck into the school, because I knew if Christian saw me, he would think it was time to go home and the meeting would have been impossible.  He was so wrapped up in pulling another kid in a wagon that he didn't even notice me and didn't hear a little girl loudly say,"hey Christian's Mommy, what are you doing here?"

We sat in the kitchen, out of sight, because in 5 minutes they were coming in for nap time.  The director reviewed his developmental milestones, cognitive and social level and language levels with detailed forms they use.  As expected, he is still behind in language but is at an incredible level due to the fact that English is his second language and he's only even heard English for 14 months.  She did say she's noticed bigger leaps in his language in the last month, so that gap may start closing faster.  I thought his language was improving quite a bit lately, but then I didn't know if it was just wishful thinking.  So glad to know it's real!

His large motor skills are right there with other kids his age, with the exception of his balance, this he needs alot of work on.  His legs are still not as strong as other kids his age due to the lack of iron and vitamin D he had when he came home, but it is improving a great deal, so I expect the balance to catch up soon.  I'm going to enlist my Dad to build a balance beam, close to the floor, that he can play on at home. They have one at school and the director says he loves it, even though he falls off alot.

The other thing he needs alot of work on is his fine motor skills.  This is where daily tasks come into play alot, and I just need to remember to let him do them.  I'm either in a hurry or don't want spills, so without realizing it, I tend to do the small tasks for him.  These are things like twisting the caps off water bottles, toothpaste, etc., tearing open things like the breakfast oatmeal packets and peeling things like bananas and stickers off the sheets. So today I let him do it all and he did great, the stickers gave him trouble, but heck, the usually give me trouble too!  I looked online at things to do to develop fine motor skills, other than writing and the ones stated above, and opening and closing latches was another good thing along with lacing things and buttons.  I found some latches in my basement that I'm going to mount on a board for him to play with and my Dad said he had a couple more to add too.
I got online and ordered some lacing kits and a stuffed monkey that you can dress with clothes that have buttons, snaps, clips and a zipper.  I think he'll have fun with these while working those chubby little fingers :)

So all in all, the parent teacher meeting went great and we didn't get kicked out of preschool!
I just can't say enough how blessed I am that I was able to get Christian enrolled in this preschool.  The directors and teachers are absolutely wonderful, they work so hard to expose the kids to a multitude of experiences and you just feel how much they truly love what they do by the commitment they have to the preschool.  They are a blessing to every child they encounter.  Thank  you with all my heart Busy B's Preschool!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Christian has been pretending a box of crayons is a guitar for the last several weeks.  He really ramped up after he saw his cousin Curtis playing his guitar.  Growing up, my parents did everything they could to expose us to as many different things as possible because they said it made a person more well rounded, and I believe that too. So I have been trying to expose Christian to as many different things as I can; music, sports, reading, nature, science, mechanics of how things are made, art, etc.  And with music being a big part of my life, it's natural for me to want to develop this with him if he's interested, and so far it looks like he is.

After searching the stores, I decided on a child's play guitar from Target.  It has a keyboard on the fret and a motion sensor thing when you strum the strings (there are no strings), a zip bar, three settings for music genre and three settings for music type.  Thankfully it also has a volume button!  I bought it yesterday and he's barely put it down.  He's added a little dancing to support his vocals :) I'm happy he likes it and it will be interesting to see how long it holds his interest.  I'm being careful not to push him into anything, just showing him different things exist and he can do what he wants with it.

He still likes soccer and I think before we do another swim class, I'll look into either a baseball or basketball clinic with the YMCA.  These activities are greatly improving his coordination, making his legs stronger and helping him understand how to listen and follow instructions in another atomsphere other than school.  It's really helping his maturity level catch up as well as making our bond even tighter.

Target sponsors free family night at The Magic House, so we went this past Friday. As expected it was packed!  Christian hasn't been there yet and the last time I was there was with my niece and nephew many years ago.  The place has expanded and is more amazing than I remembered.  Christian was so overstimulated, he just ran from one thing to the next in a daze of confusion.  After I managed to slow him down and got him to focus, we were able to actually "do" some of the activities.  We both had a blast, confirmed by his meltdown when we had to leave :)  I asked him what his favorite thing was and he rattled off everything he could remember. Heck, I don't think I could even pick ONE thing as my favorite.

While dodging kids and keeping my eye glued to Christian as he raced around, I took a minute to step back and actually SEE, FEEL and OBSERVE the space, activities, energy and people.  It was creativity in every aspect and I soaked it up and left there feeling refreshed.  Being an Interior Designer people assume you are being creative all the time and see it as being "fun".  While there are many enjoyable elements, being a designer is also about hard work, technical and financial aspects, deadlines, difficult clients, challenging team mates and as expected, office politics.  Lately work has been frustrating, tiring and disappointing and I find myself unhappy more than happy, which I don't want for my life. It's exhausting feeling like you have to fight for respect, for what you've earned, for your chance to finally do "that" creative project.  At times I feel so beat down I just want to give up and say, "do whatever you want and I'll just input it into the computer."  But I just can't bring myself to do it, at least not today.  I have so many ideas I want to try and at 45 yrs old, I'm losing faith that I will be given the chance, at least at the place I work now.  There is still a thread of the good 'ol boys club that exists as well as the office politics of who you suck up to, which I was never very good at.  I was raised to believe that if you do the best you can do each day, do the right thing, always with ethics and integrity, then it will be noticed and you get your chance.  Sorry Dad and Mom, I know you believe that but it's just not the case.

So as I stood in the Magic House, I absorbed the excitement and wonder shining from my little angel's eyes, the huge smile across his face, all wrapped up in the creativity swirling around me and felt peace. I feel the spark of the creative energy again, the excitement of "what if".  It has given me so many ideas of what's possible.  I just have to decide if my workplace will help me achieve something or if I have to find other avenues.  I am cautious, yet hopeful, I can use my creativity moving forward and Christian is my inspiration, as always :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Humming Along

I usually have music playing, either in the car or in the house. I have always loved music and thank my parents for not letting me quit piano lessons when I was 12 yrs old and wanted to be doing other things.  Playing the piano is like therapy for me, but I admit, I haven't had as much time to play since Christian came along.  We play together, which usually consists of him just randomly hitting keys and me cutting in when the playing turns into pounding :)

Christian loves music too, it was our connector between visits.  If you remember in my early posts, I took a wind up music box, that played Farmer in the Dell, to the orphanage with me.  He was mesmerized by it, kept a death grip on it, while swaying back and forth to the tune.  When it wound down, only then would he come near me to have me wind it back up, then he'd move back to his safe place across the room. Each time he came to me to rewind the box, his safe place got closer and closer to me, until he was finally sitting on my lap.  From what I could gather, the orphanage had either very little music or no music at all based on what I was told and observed.  I guess that may be why he was so enthralled, because it was something new.

So he now has music all around him; the radio, CD player, LeapFrog learning DVDs, piano, musical toys, and me singing.  I've noticed recently he's been humming when he's playing, not anything recognizable to me, but some sort of tune. I wonder if it's a Russian song he's remembering?
The other day one of the teachers told me that Christian kept catching her eye one day, making her laugh. He was either humming to himself as he played or talking to himself.  Well I guess I'm teaching him something because I talk to myself alot and am usually singing or humming a tune also, it runs in my family.  When we made the 2 hr drive to my parents house last weekend, I heard him humming away in the backseat and trying to sing the words, it was SO funny!

I am so happy he enjoys music because I believe it enhances  your life in so many areas: psychologically, mentally, emotionally, academically and socially. I've been thinking recently if, and what, instrument I would like for him to start taking lessons for.  The piano would be easy because we have one but I do know some companies have a rent to own type of payment plan for instruments.  Right now he is not mature enough to stay focused to start lessons but maybe in a year or two.  Whenever he says, "show me" when we're playing the piano, he wants me to play a song or tell him some notes. So I've been doing that but he still can't "play a song", but that's fine with me because the smile on his face and his chubby little chin lifted up, as he sings at the top of his lungs, shows me how happy he is, which is all I need.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Christian has learned the amazing art of 'pretend.'  It is enthralling to watch him and see what his mind comes up with, how it switches when a new thought comes into his head and how he acts it all out.  I love pretend!

So our sofa has become a transformer of sorts.  We've soared through the air in a helicopter, only to land for repairs, refueling and of course to get some snacks.  Magazines are our food trays, and the mailbox door in the wall is the food service window where he shouts out our order.  We each have a passenger (a.k.a. stuffed animal) who are buckled in with our seats belts, which are the stringe on the cat toys.
If the helicopter goes too high, Elmo gets sick :)

Another night we are in a bus, cruising down the street and we always get into an accident with a car.  This is because Christian wants the police to come, with their lights and sirens blaring and giving tickets to the bus driver.  First he is the bus driver, then after the accident, he becomes the police man handing out the tickets.  We have paper badges and paper slip tickets, and last night a new twist, the cat toy string seatbelt become handcuffs!  Every night a new element is added.

Then we were a boat last weekend, with sharks circling us as they swam around the coffee table.  The green shark is nice and we can pet him, but the grey shark bites us.  When they dive to the bottom, we can make a run for it but no other time. The pillows on the floor are the rocks in the ocean that we can step on and the sharks can't get us.  This game is especially fun for me because I played it when I was little with my siblings.  We would take turns tossing the pillows and see who could jump from one to the other without falling in the water and getting eaten by the sharks.  I don't think I want to introduce that element yet to Christian because I don't want to scare him.

I can't wait to see what the sofa transforms into next!  Having so much fun :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stuffy X 2

Both Christian and I weren't feeling well this weekend, which made for a challenging couple of days :)
Friday my head had so much sinus pressure I was convinced a nasal passage was going to explode.  So after I dropped Christian off at school, I spent the rest of the day napping on and off, filled with meds.  Friday evening was the worst. I was still feeling terrible and Christian came back from school all stuffed up too.  We were both pretty pathetic, just zoned out on the sofa, taking turns blowing our noses, while watching Thomas the Train.

Saturday proved to be a better day.  Christian was on the move early and did great at soccer again.  He was a little grumpy and did one temper throw down on the field, but I coaxed him back up and off he went with the other kids.  He has the biggest grin on his face when he's running and kicking the ball, I just love it! I've managed to get some video without being plowed over by the other kids, which believe me, is hard to do, there are so many of them and they dart around so quickly.  I still wasn't feeling so great, so I didn't run with him as much as last week, but he didn't seem to mind.

We both took a long nap and then did puzzles and colored before supper.  He is talking better and better every day, and with his added dramatic facial expressions, is so entertaining to watch him talk.  He's been repeating things I say, some I want him to repeat, some things not :)  Now he's added the emotion to what he says which at times is hysterical and fascinating but also gives me that, "oh crap, I don't want him to say that."  For example, when he's not listening and doing what I tell him to, I say, "Christian, you need to do what I say."  He says, in a sassy tone, "Why?"  I say, "because I'm the adult and you're the child and it's my job to teach you things."  So a couple of days later, he's not cooperating when it's bathtime, and I ask him what he's doing and why isn't he listening to me.  He tells me in a haughty tone, "because I'm the adult and you're the child and I do what I want."  Oh really???  This may sound funny to you, but at that moment I was so mad.  Not just that he wasn't listening to me or that he smarted back to me, but the tone he used was all me, exactly how I would say it, and it didn't sound nice.  Reality check!  Now when I'm tired and frustrated and he's not cooperating, I need to be more cognizant of my tone as well as my words.  Sassy kids annoy me to death and I do NOT want my child to be sassy to adults!  But the good news is, I am starting to feel better so that will help my mood :)

I pick him up at school today to find out that same monster child bit Christian again!  He didn't break the skin but he's already got a purple bruise outline of both sets for teeth. Makes me SO mad! The monster bit two kids in one day.  I don't blame the teachers because they have to watch all the children, not just one, but I do think the parents should have a handle on this by now.  I know I didn't go through the biting stage with Christian, but did with my nieces and nephews, and let me tell you, this stage didn't last seven months.  It's the same scenario, the monster wants something another kid has, goes up, grabs the toy, bites and runs off.  The kids are taught to say loudly, "Please stop biting!" and then go tell the teacher.  Well today as the teacher was telling me what happened, she told Christian when he sees the monster going to bite him, he can run away to the teacher.  Ok, I get this, but it's not like Christian is standing there and LETTING the monster bite him, it all happens so fast that he's not going to have time to run away before getting bit. So I was the bad mother today and told Christian that if the monster bites him again, to knock him to the ground and then say, "Please stop biting!"  Maybe if the monster gets knocked on his butt a couple of times he'll think, "Hey I'm not going to steal that toy from Christian and bit him because I'll get knocked down."  I'm actually surprised he hasn't knocked him down or pushed him yet based on the wrestle mania he lived in at the orphanage :)  All I can say, if he ever gets bit on the face, Momma's going to come unglued!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Came to Terms with Hopes for My blog

Tonight it hit me square in the heart, the concept and hopes I had for my blog have not come true, by my own hand.  I came to this stark realization after reading a compilation of blogs, over a ten month period, from an incredible woman on her own path to having a family. My eyes are still wet with tears from relating to some of the situations and feelings she described with such honesty, compassion and humor.  There are some things I can closely relate to, not that she or anyone else would know, because I've kept it to myself, as I usually do.  I knew her at first as an aquanitance, so to speak, now consider her a friend, and hope to become closer friends in the future.

I can be too focused at times and realize at the end of a day that I've barely spoken to anyone in person, on the phone or even sent a personal email. I get so focused on getting what I need to get done that day, because I'm always interrupted numerous times, and I want to make sure I stay on schedule.  For years a large part of me was defined by knowing that people thought of me as dependable, responsible and the person who can get the job done.  A pressure I have placed on my own shoulders, and fed by the sporadic compliments of, "I can always count on you, you never let me down," "you're such a great leader and example for others," blah, blah, blah.  This is not to brag, simply for you to understand that those comments and support, whether genuine or self motivating on their part, drive me to do better each day.  The reason behind my need is another story, that being the private person that I can be, may never be revealed to "this public". So where I may appear distant to some, it isn't intentional, my mind is just busy, busy, busy going from one thing to the next and forgetting to experience the precious breath's of life's moments.

This woman's blogs brought it all home for me tonight.  The essence of her blog, though not about adoption, is what I dreamed my blog would be like, an open and honest journal of my adoption journey, complete with all the emotions and hopefully a little bit of humor. But I failed. I failed myself and more importantly, I feel like I failed my son.  I planned to give him these blog entries one day, for him to understand and feel the enormity of what it meant for me to finally find him and know the depth of my love for him. But in order for him to really know and understand this, I have to write those feelings down, which I didn't do, not really, because it exposed me too much to people that I didn't want to know me in that way.  I am a private person for the most part, for a several of reasons, so I thought with a blog, I could be somewhat anonymous which would allow me to fully open up without regrets.  When people know the author personally, sometimes you get judgements, comments made publicly about your blog, or maybe you just don't want to mix your "circles": friend circle, aquaintance circle, work circle, family circle, etc.  I messed up, I'm not "anonymous."

When I started my adoption journey, at first I didn't tell anyone because I was afraid it wouldn't really happen.  Then as I started telling a few people here and there, the responses were full of support and best wishes, with a few people asking me if I was going to blog about it.  Now at this time I had never read one single blog, let alone know how to go about creating one, and then there's the daunting task of what to write about and how often.  Then heaven forbid, was anything I had to write about interesting enough for someone to read.  Hello dummy, a blog is for you, not them.  This realization dawning on me late in the game.

So I was excited to start!  I created my blog, wrote as often as I could, trying to make it interesting and humorous so people would want to continue reading it, and of course I told alot of people about it.  The latter is my biggest regret now. Now don't think, if you're reading my blog right now, this means that I don't want YOU to be reading it, it's just that I've mixed my circles and wished I hadn't. I wrote for you and not for me. I had no idea going through an adoption and raising a child by yourself would be as wonderful, heartbreaking, challenging and dream fulfilling as it has been with my gift from God, my son. I cannot tell you how many times I have written my blog, only to erase it, because it bared too much of my soul and I didn't want to be that exposed, and yes I feared being judged. I intended for my blog to be like my friend's is; open, exposed, truly expressing what she's feeling and thinking. My is edited. Edited so I don't reveal too much about someone else or how I feel about them; edited so I don't hurt someone's feelings; edited so it's not held against me or misconstrued by co-workers; and let's be honest here, edited so people don't think less of me for what I feel or think that day.  I wanted and needed this blog to be more personal than I've made it and I do regret the time I've wasted.

So looking forward I have some decisions to make. Do I start making this blog more open and personal with my feelings as well as the "facts" about my son and our life, or do I end this chapter, titling it "Left Sided Angel" and begin another chapter under a different name.  A decision to sleep on. 

No matter what I chose to do, I want to truly thank the special woman for letting me into her life and blog, and making me realize I need to step outside myself throughout the day and interact more with the people in my life; pick up the phone, send an email or make plans to see each other. 

Everyone has a gift to share, they all come in different forms and sometimes when you least expect it. Thank you!

Oh, Christian's second soccer class went good and we've had an eventful weekend that I'll tell you about tomorrow. Goodnight.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Soccer and Yolka

Yesterday was our first soccer class. I decided to sign up Christian to keep him active during the cold months when they don't get outside at school as much. The beginning class is "Kickaroos" and it's a parent/child class where the parent is on the field with the child and helps them listen and do the activities.  Based on our past experience with the swimming classes, I knew my being on the field was the best approach.

Christian did great!  He listened very well to the coach, which I think seeing two kids throwing fits, had something to do with it.  These two kids simply did NOT want to be there and let everyone know by yelling, crying, throwing a fit laying on the field and pushing their parent away from them. I felt so sorry for them because this was Christian's reaction in his solo swimming session, that we only made two classes out of the eight when I decided it wasn't a healthy situation for either of us.  Christian just stared at the kids throwing fits in amazement.  I leaned down and whispered in his ear, "Wow, those kids are throwing a fit, and look, everyone can see them."  He looked at my with wide eyes and said, "oh, that's not good."  I hope he got it, but he is only three :)

They did this little drills and games and he just loved it!  He was sad when the class ended but we were headed to play with a friend and see the friend's new baby sister, so he was good. I think the thought of him getting to ride in his friend's battery powered fire engine is what was the real motivator.  He had a great time playing and fell asleep seconds after we got in the car to head home.  I just hope he likes the next soccer class :)

Then today we went to the FRUA's annual Yolka Festival.  It's the Russian/Ukrainian Christmas Festival, that a local Russian group holds to the FRUA organization.  They had Russian crafts for the kids to do, drinks, cupcakes and literature for the adults.  Then the entertainment began with Father Frost's granddaughter coming out and telling the story of how Father Frost came to be.  Father Frost is like our Santa Claus, but of course different.  Of course Father Frost made an appearance and Christian was almost off my lap and on his before I could catch him. He LOVES Santa!  They also had people do some traditional Russian dances, in traditional costumes, which was wonderful.  They taught us the most common Russian Christmas song as we all held hands and walked in a circle.  Then Father Frost said he would hand out gifts for those who had prepared a poem, song, joke, etc for him.  They called up the 4  yr old and under kids first, so up went and got in line. I had no idea what to tell Christian to say because he gets shy and clams up.....I don't blame him :)  I told him to sing a song and he gave me a look of terror, stared backing out of the line saying, "No!"  I convinced him to tell Father Frost "hi" in Russian and told him to speak slowly and loudly in the microphone.  When it was his turn, he walked confidently up to the microphone, said VERY loudly, "pree-vyet!" and broadly grinned, oh so proud of himself.  Everyone chuckled, Father Frost gave him a gift, and off he ran to our seat to see what he got.  Others that have been to this Festival before, had poems and songs all ready.  Now we know for next year.

I watched him closely to see what his reaction would be to hearing Russian spoken.  I've been told that some children get very scared when they hear Russian again for the first time after they come to the U.S. because it reminds them of the orphanage, and hearing Russian makes them think they will be taken back there.  Christian didn't show any reaction to hearing Russian being spoken and he didn't repeat anything they said either.  I think he was too young when he came with me to remember the language.  I'm just glad he didn't have an averse reaction.  These adoptive families are so dedicated to keeping the Russian heritage alive and commonplace for their children, it's amazing to see.  I did try to learn Russian before I traveled but wasn't that successful.  Russian is a difficult language to learn, plus I didn't have alot of time to practice.  The few words I do know, I use regularly and he knows what they mean and can say them.  I would like for us to learn the language someday and will have to find people who speak Russian to visit often to keep the language.  We can learn it, but if we don't speak it with people, then we'll lose it. 

Right now Christian is too young to understand anything about the adoption, where he came from and what it all means. The Festival had a brochure of Russian children's storybooks you can buy that are written in English, that I want to get to read to him.  This is just one small way that I can connect him to his Russian heritage for now.
What a great weekend we had!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Big Tent

This past weekend I decided to introduce Christian to one of my favorite activities from childhood.....building a tent.  Now these aren't tents that take a mere five minutes to make.  No just tossing a blanket over a card table and calling it done.  These tents are a construction feat with secret places hidden under the draping coverings. As children, my sisters, brother and I were as particular as kids can be, by contemplating what the best layout would be.  Now as an adult, and a designer on top of it, my space planning experience came rushing forward and "the big tent" was about to be born.

Christian was running around me in circles, stopping to jump up and down, squealing in excited anticipation.  He kept saying, in a singsong voice, "Mommy, we're going to have a BIG tent, I'm so excited!" His excitement was precious as well as contagious.  He was surprisingly patient while I stood in the middle of the living room, bed sheet in hand, trying to decide which of the layouts, that were flying through my head, I would use.  A decision has been made.

No my choice of draping material, a bed sheet, was chosen so really heavy items wouldn't be needed for anchors, but medium weight items could be used instead.  As a child we used every blanket in the house, and due to their weight, we had to use stacks of encyclopedias to hold the blankets in place.  Then as you crawled through the hidden maze below, you had to be very careful not to get tangled up in the blankets or you risked a possible concussion from the encyclopedias raining down on your head.
With the bed sheets, I only had to use one book, or four magazines, to anchor them down. I'm not really sure how long it took me to construct the "big tent", but when completed it encompassed the entire living room and contained a maze of four tunnels and two rooms hidden below.

We crawled around inside for a while and then Christian invited all his friends to play too; Elmo, Clifford, bunny, moose Ollie, Teddy bear, horse Galahad, to name just a few. Our two cats even stopped by to investigate, only to later jump on top of the tent causing a minor collapse, which was promptly repaired.  Now to recreate my childhood dream, we needed "the" two special additions.  I went to the kitchen and returned with snacks and a flashlight.  While we ate snacks, I propped the flashlight to shine on a sheet and showed Christian how to do shadow puppets.  A good time was had by all!

I realized later that if there had been an emergency, I had only left enough space to open the front door, with the only access being to crawl through the tent. Good thing there wasn't an emergency!
This tent lasted most of the day and spawned a second tent, different layout, the following day. I don't know what it is about those tents that makes them so much fun, because I don't get the same feeling from a camping tent. Is it the fact that you made it yourself, the hidden secret of the maze of tunnels below that aren't even hinted at when you view the tent from the outside, or simply the element of imagination that makes it so magical.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad Christian loves tents so I have a reason to build them and relive part of my childhood again.  Hey, go build a tent and you'll know what I mean :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snow Up There

"Mommy, why is the snow up there?" I glance out Christian's side of the car as he asked me this question, wondering what Christmas decoration he's spied this time, that is still tiredly hanging on to the holiday season that past so quickly.  My eyes scan between the landscape and traffic, searching for the "snow".  "Mommy!?" I hear again from the back seat.  My eyes dart back to steal a glance at his to figure out what he is looking at. He is lounging in his car seat, head laid back, mellow and gazing up into the sky, that was filled with big fluffy clouds.  His "snow."

I smile now as I type at the memory, how sweet and innocent, unbridled imagination. It makes me stop and realize just how much Christian has to learn, experience, enjoy, dream and be inquisitive about. It nudges that part of me that loves to learn, planting that seed of excitement to want to learn something new.  Like I need to take on one more thing right now :)

As soon as I realize he is talking about the clouds, my mind snaps to attention and searches for an answer.  Now I want to give him the facts, but not too complicated, but a part of me wants to insert some fantasy element to spark his imagination. "Well that isn't snow, those are clouds."  Christian is currently in the "why?" phase, which is fascinating to actually see him thinking with the expressions on his face, but this phase can also be annoying if the "whys" don't stop.  For example:
     Me: That isn't snow, those are clouds.    
     Christian: Why?
     Me: Because clouds live in the sky.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: Because that's where they are made.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: They are part of the weather, like rain and sunshine.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: Because that's the way God made it.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: (getting tired now) Because God is the smartest ever and knows we need clouds.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: (me floundering now) Because that's what God wants to do, and he gets to do whatever he  
             wants, whenever he wants.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: Because he's God.
     Christian: Why?
     Me: Because that's just the way it is.
The end finally!

I then got about a three minute reprieve and then came, "Mommy, how do birds stick up there?"  Shit, are you kidding me???  I'm not sure I can think how to explain that one so I decided to redirect from the start. "They have wings made of feathers, that help them float on the air.  You know feathers, like the one you found in the park."  Any mention of the word "park" leads to, "Can we go to the park?"  The "Why Loop", as I call it, was detoured, at least this time.  The conversation continued on about the park, which park should we go to, what's his favorite thing at the park, etc.

His curiosity is definitely waking up a part of my imagination that has been dormant, as well as improving my communication skills that some things just need to be explained in simple terms.  It's a wonderful phase he's going through but also exhausting and a test to my patience at times.  It's definitely keeping me on my toes.

So my question to all of you is, did you laugh today?  Why???

Monday, January 2, 2012

Handsome and Pretty

We are learning the difference between handsome and pretty.  When I would say, "oh that's so pretty," Christian would say it too, so far so good.  Then when we were in Target a couple of weeks ago, I saw a little girl all dressed up and said, "oh isn't she so pretty." Again, Christian repeated me.  Then we saw a little boy dressed up, Christian tapped me on the arm and said, "oh isn't he so pretty." Hence the introduction to the word handsome. I told him that you call girls pretty and boys handsome.  This was a new game to him, so he practiced all the time.

At Christmas, when we were dressed in our finest for Mass, Christian looked at me and said, "oh Mommy, you're so pretty."  I was extremely flattered, a little embarrassed and overflowing with love for my little angel. I scooped him up and with a rib crushing hug, told him he was the most handsome little boy ever.  He then proceeded to tell everyone in the family that they were either pretty or handsome, loving the reactions of gushing and hugging directed at him. Such a little charmer!

He has been sick the last week, so we've been trapped inside the house for most of the long holiday weekend.  He started testing the boundaries with little steps toward  "the line" in discipline, just seeing how far he could go.  My cell phone finally died, just in time for my free upgrade to arrive, so I'm finally among the majority of the world and have a new smartphone.  Christian has been told, like the previous cell phone, that he is not to touch all.....especially this phone! I've had the phone for four days and I swear I've told him not to touch it, 50 times, every day. I blame the fever for making Christian go out of his head, because with a hint of a sly smile, his little arm was reaching for my cell phone, and his eyes were on me.  I gave him the one eyebrow lift and in a firm, no nonsense tone, said his name.  He slowly lowered his arm, broke into a huge grin and said, "Mommy, you're so pretty."  HA! HA! HA!  I fell out laughing, I couldn't help it. I told him he was handsome and a little charmer.

So the days progressed that whenever he was close to crossing the line, I would deliver "the tone" and he would respond with the smiling cheeky, "Mommy you're so pretty," line. The first several times it was adorable but then I had to clamp down because he started doing what he wasn't supposed too after saying his "line."  I guess he thought if he said it, that gave him permission to do what he wanted. Although hearing it so often and in such an adorably sweet way was wonderful and of course I won't stop him from saying it completely :)

Wishing everyone only the best in 2012!