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!