About Me

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Maine, United States
Happily married for 14 years- celebrating the reality that our children are home

Friday, February 17, 2012

quite a workout!

our bicycles. green one is the "real"

How can I possibly fit in a any time to workout w 2 3yrs olds on my day off?  They are obsessed w/bicycles.  The Wiifit has an exercise where you jog on the board and steer the bike w/your hands holding the Wiimote and your Mii on the screen is riding a bike.  THEY LOVE THIS!  They get out their own "bicycles" and jog next to me on their bathroom stools.  When the voice on the Wii says "step on" they step onto their stools and we rides bikes.  We rotate out being the person who is actually on the screen (they each have a Mii) so they can see themselves riding and getting the flags.  It is pretty great. 
This morning, Hayden forgot that he wasn't the Mommy (he forgets that sometimes) and is shocked when he can't control when and how things get done.  [Can I get a hollar back from any other 1st born out there?  Oh yes!]  I ask him, "Hayden, which one is the Mommy?" He and Garak each point emphatically to me. Then I ask, "Are you the Mommy?" They usually both answer "Nooooooo"  Sometimes that is all it takes.  Today that wasn't all it took.  He got to sit in time out watching Garak and I "ride" for a few minutes and then he agreed to play cheerfully.  That lasted about 90sec and then he was in another timeout :)  After that though he was delightful for the rest of the day.  What a relief not being in charge of when and how the family operates when you are only 3 years old!

no power

safe and loved and secure w/no power

playing w/cars in the kitchen! what a treat!

Daddy played "Snuggle Puppy" & "We Are the Dinosaurs" and we all sang
Super Bowl Sunday we lost power.  We didn't care. We don't have TV service (we have a TV unit to watch recorded shows/videos) so we we didn't care so much about the game.  The boys' reaction was interesting, however.  They started talking about Uganda a lot for the rest of the evening.  Lighting candles and staying together in one room seemed really familiar to them.  They started saying "Momma Johnny has these ones. and Momma Benny has these ones (candles)" They hadn't mentioned Uganda or their old lives much in the weeks prior to losing power.  This was basically a daily occurrence over there.  Garak was really scared when we lost power which he always was in Uganda too.  Crying and clinging to me in fear which is something he does at no other time. (w/the exception of being near dogs).  It ended up being a special time w/the 4 of us just visiting together and we talked about having "no power" time on a regular basis just to enjoy each other's company.

Friday, February 3, 2012

mirror, mirror, you're so small...

Last week and the week before that I was sick and thus deprived of sleep and energy which was unpleasant to say the least.  Since my children were no less energetic than usual but were sick and grumpy, it made for some interesting times. [I know most of you parents are saying, "welcome to the club" but still this was a 1st for me.] In the middle of those days when I felt like I did and they were acting like they were, I honestly had my doubts about how I'd make it through the days.  I was clearly NOT in control as I am used to being and they could smell it in the air and thus needed to test and see how this less controlled than usual Mommy would react to disobedience, whining, tackling brother and strangling him, singing arias instead of napping etc.  I won't pretend that I didn't have a few moments that weren't among my proudest.  They were however quite valuable.
The point is that I learned some important things that are worth sharing.
Maybe the specifics don't matter, but we were/are retraining the boys to take good naps.  Also Hayden was  being really dramatic for a few weeks about drinking his milk (which he used to love and gulp down) and finishing his meals (which he always had eaten all up in the past).  I was taking their pushback about napping and finishing their food so personally.  [long story short; that --my reaction-- is a big part of why they were doing it, but I am getting ahead of myself].  Hayden would get up in the morning and cheerfully promise that "today, Hayden idg going drink my mee-wlk cho fasht and eat my porridge all up in my bell-wee and be chOOOO appy!" and less than 15mins later at the table he'd be crying and pouting and refusing to drink his milk and at the end of breakfast be wailing w/huge tears running down his face because he hadn't finish his food.  It was all I could do to pretend I didn't care either way and calmly say "you're belly will be sad and hungry until snack time" but inside it really bothered me.  I mean, he JUST MOMENTs AGO confidently asserted that he was so hungry and wanted to eat it all up like a good boy etc etc.  Why couldn't he just follow through?  The desire was there, genuinely.  He knew all the reasons why it was a good idea.  He would recite them to me as we walked down the stairs to the kitchen "it will make Hayden cho appy and Mommy cho appy and Daddy cho appy too!"  So he knew it was not only good for him but that it would please his parents and yet day after day he could not bring himself to do it... are you understanding the title of this blog yet?

Take Garak for another example: he came to us with no self-soothing skills and so asking him to calm down and relax until he falls asleep is literally not something he is capable of doing.  He hates, loathes, fights against etc taking an afternoon nap.  Not taking one is NOT an option for him though. So we have tried many things to encourage him to do so.  Most have failed; much to our disappointment and his.  So we would talk about it ad nauseum and remind him of what he was expected to do and he would "smile and nod" so-to-speak and then as soon as we closed the bedroom door the arias would begin along with jumping, shouting, throwing things etc.  I was at my whits end and again taking it very personally as if it was a direct attack on me that he would not sleep. [yes, I know that it doesn't make sense, but I am just being honest.]  You could see his little face wanting to please me and then moments even seconds later his behavior would leave me anything but pleased.  [I can hear you saying um...hello?! he's 2 years old what are you nuts expecting him to like sleeping and control himself!?]  Maybe so but he and his brother are sleeping peacefully right now as I type this.  He has been exhibiting tremendous amounts of self control for the last 2 weeks. 
this is the back of their bedroom door. Garak practically wiggles out of his skin w/excitement at the thought of making that frog hop all the way to his house.
Well, here's the punch line: internal motivation not external is the best kind.  [did anyone other than me already know that?] AKA: it wasn't about me or my efforts.  Daddy found some VERY cool sticker charts. That is all it took.  The peace level at our house has gone up exponentially.  I was a total skeptic about it.  I thought, "no this can't work.  He isn't capable of controlling himself. That is the point of all this frustration. We just have to grit our teeth and wait it out."  However his potty time chart has been a raging success and he rarely if ever has an accident now.   Hayden never needed the charts, really but he is just as excited about his stickers and we act just as happy whenever he gets one too!

4th week on the potty charts. zero accidents.
So, in what way are they a mirror being held up for me? It was a tough lesson I learned about what was inside of me.  I am a grown up who knows better and often still does not do what I know will be best for me and what will make God happy and my family happy.  Just like my boys I will promise to do the right thing and genuinely mean it and then at the very next opportunity to show what I am made of... I don't follow through, I take the easy road, or I let my emotions run the show etc.  That, I realized, was the real reason why I was taking the boys' behavior so personally.  They were showing me a weakness in me and I hated to look into their little mirrors and see it.
A friend of mine once illustrated what she was teaching Pressure will reveal what's inside you in dramatic fashion by squeezing an orange until the juice ran out and dripped down her hand.  She said, "What is inside WILL come out.  You can say it's not in there but when you are under pressure you can't deny that some ugly stuff will surface,  How did it come out of you if it wasn't in there?"  *gulp*

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's not that I don't have a heart

I've been wondering for while now why my heart is not breaking every day for Uganda and orphans and why I don't get choked up every time my precious babies do something new that they would NEVER be able to do had they been left in their situation.  I kinda pictured myself becoming an emotional wreck like I was after my 1st trip to Uganda.  I see other people react to the sight of the boys (remember demographically we are over 99% white here in Maine) when we go out in public and I read in their faces some of what I thought my heart would be doing.  I have been waiting for an emotional  thaw followed by a flood like we have here in Maine in the springtime.  It hasn't come like I thought it would.  Unrealistic expectation?  Today I read a story about Ugandan orphans and it made me feel sick in my heart and physically weak as well.  I also have signed up for a daily link sent to my email so I can pray for people in every country of the world this year.  [It is a big commitment, I know, but it's better to start and not do it perfectly than not to pray for any of them] The website sends you one country per day.  Reading the emails opens my eyes even wider and makes me feel so overwhelmed that I can't bear it and have to cry and just beg God to help them and change my heart so I remember that I need so much less than I have.  So it isn't like a don't have a heart.

Somehow my boys don't make me cry...usually.  I mean I cry when I'm afraid that I won't be a good mother or when I feel like I don't have what it takes to be calm and fair and loving and tender when I am out of ideas and nothing is working.

Will you endulge me while I explore this question?  I welcome --and would love to hear--any thought or observation you may have.  I have given it a lot of thought and I guess one big factor is faith.  Faith produces and calm and matter-of-factness in how I live my days out with the boys.  I mean, God told me to go to Uganda and get my children.  100% out of the clear blue.  From the moment He said "go" I have believed that I was going to come home with 2 little Ugandan boys.  Ok so here's a good point: It would be outside my normal behavior to weep constantly.  But I did when I got back from Uganda in 2009.  I think it scared Norm a little because I was so emotionally devastated which is really not normal for me at all. I was useless. I cried all the time.  I would try to talk about what was in my heart for adopting and I would not be able to finish an inteligible sentence. 

When we returned for the boys, we were on a mission quite literally.  It took all my physical stamina to stay on task and everything over there was a fight [see any of the posts from our 1st trip together] so I guess I didn't feel overwhelmed with emotion about the poor in general of the plight of the orphan in general.  I was focused and driven to succeed.  Unfortunately that didn't happen on our 1st trip this year.  Actually, at the end of that trip, my heart was wounded beyond what I thought it could bear.  I literally felt it breaking and was gasping for air unable to breathe.  I ached for my children.  I have come to understand through conversations here with them that they were aching for me as well.  That blesses me to know we were wanting each other.  I guess also it doesn't mean that becuase I adopted from the 3rd world that I have to become an advocate. Maybe it is as simple as that.  My mission is to these 2 boys.  I believe wholeheartedly that their rescue is 100% an answer to prayers offered up by their biological parents and others who were praying for Uganda and orphans in general.  Probably they are an answer to prayers that I was praying also asking for the honor of doing something significant for God without knowing that this would be the result.