Nov. 2012

Monday, July 30, 2007

Eli 3 months old

Today Eli is 3 months old. He is sleeping through the night, eating a lot, starting to roll to his side, cooing, smiling, and laughing when tickled. Today was his first try at the Johnny Jump Up. He enjoyed the view watching his brother and sister play.

Isaac's bedtime

Sometimes getting Isaac to bed can be tricky. He will willing go to his bedroom. Its how he gets there or whether or not he stays in his room that makes bedtime later and later. Isaac is the master of stalling. It starts with him going to bed and us saying our good nights. We have been letting him read some books in his room for about 20 minutes.
Last night when he heard me walking around the house he called out "mom read one book to me." and one book become "just one more" again and again. Once his reading time was over he called out "daddy please tuck me in".
A few minutes later we heard the pitter patter of little feet running toward the living room. Kyle caught him in time before Isaac noticed we were eating ice cream.
Isaac: "Mommy WANTS to kiss me."
Kyle: "Mommy is feeding Eli now so you need to go back to bed and wait for mom to finish. She will come and kiss you then.
Isaac: "Daddy march with me and sing Bob the Builder"

A few mintues later I go to Isaacs room to kiss him.
Isaac: (after I kiss him) "Mommy you were eating ice cream."
Me: Yes I was Good night

A few minutes later again Isaac opens his door
Isaac: "I want to eat ice cream"
We cave and dish him out a bowl. He enjoys it at the table and then walks into the living room and sits on the couch.
Isaac: "So lets talk." Lets talk about when Eli gets bigger and I will play with him."
Me: "What will you play"
Isaac proceeds to talk about all his plans for him and Eli. Flying with grandpa. playing cars and trucks. sleeping on bunkbeds, etc. Finally Kyle and he march back to bed again and Isaac is either satisfied with his time spent with mom and dad, ice cream in his tummy or flat out tired enough to fall asleep.

We don't always cave into the request for cereal or ice cream. And we don't always let him come in and out over and over again. But there are times were we are simply just enjoying the delay tactics. Its amazing what a 2 year old can come up with sometimes. There are times when we just want to enjoy the company and tricks of Isaac and let go a little bit on always following through with the discipline. He'll only be 2 once.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Prema's Passort Finally Arrived

It will soon be 14 months since Prema arrived in America at the Chicago Airport with me. We entered the country with a huge stack of papers that I gave the Immigration Officer for her file. I was told that in 90 days her green card would arrive in the mail. Still to this day we have never seen her green card. In October 2006 Prema and I went to the Immigration Office in Tampa to get the needed green card for various legal reasons. There was no record of her ever entering the country. The entire stack of paperwork I brought in with me was lost and never entered in the computer. However, I was told not to worry because they would still give me a green card. It too was supposed to arrive in 90 days and still has never come. In November Prema's adoption was finalized making her an immediate American Citizen. In January we went back to Immigration to apply for Prema's Certificate of Naturalization for any future need of varification that she is a citizen through adoption. We were told that we didn't really need the certificate, but that instead we should just go and get a social security card and American passport. We didn't follow their advice and applied for the certificate anyway which we hope to receive in 9 months. In April as we began to fill out our taxes we realized that we were unable to claim Prema as a child and get our adoption credit unless we had a social security number or a green card number. This was a problem because we had not applied for the passport or social security number because both applications required the green card number that we never had received. We decided to try and apply for the social security card anyway (in person) and we were told that we could not apply since we did not have a valid visa for her and thus needed an American Passport. So two days later we applied in person for the American Passport and much to our surprise it was accepted even without the green card number. We were told however that it would take 8-12 weeks to get the passport. So we filed an extension on our taxes in order to buy us time to get a social security number. Finally yesterday Prema's passport arrived. It took 12 weeks and 5 days but it did arrive. Now we can apply for the social security number and pay our taxes and not have to deal with the United States government again in regards to Prema's adoption. Hallelujah!! Her passport is pretty fancy too. Our government has updated it's look.

It makes you wonder how many other people are walking around American with no record of their entry....hmmmm. And with how confusing this entire process has been filling out all the paperwork properly, I am certainly glad there was no langauge barrier. I can't imagine what others are going through as they try to find their way through the mazes of our Immigration system.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Isaac Working with Wendy

Isaac has always been intrigued by construction work since he has observed his daddy, grandparents, and Uncle Sam working a lot around our house. He has his own little wooden tool box that he carries around the fix various items around the house, some pretend and some real. Since his addiction with Bob the Builder, he now has Wendy as his assistant on his contrustion sites. Wendy was make believe until Isaac found a Wendy look a like (fisher price little play figurine). Now Isaac is digging ditch for pipes, mixing and pouring concrete, fixing broken doors, planting trees and building walls with Wendy. It has been a lot of fun watching him pretend using his tools, dump truck, and loader/ backhoe. Wendy also now accompanies Isaac to bed, to the toilet, and other various places. Although, she is so little we sometimes lose her.

Earlier today Isaac and Wendy were fixing a wall on our porch. Isaac was straddling a pole and fell to the ground (a supervised fall- mom Michelle saw it coming but allowed the incident to play its course). However, no workman's comp here...Isaac and Wendy were back at it later this morning.

side note: some of you may begin to wonder if Isaac ever wears clothes...he does. Just not if it we know he will be getting dirty immediately and we'll have to attempt to get dirt stains out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Prema can...

The other day Prema and I were making her a "Prema Can..." book. It is a book with 6 pictures of things Prema can do herself with easy to read repetative text. Prema can sweep. Prema can draw. Prema can dance. Prema can strong sit. Prema can swing. Prema can jump. The point is that she can read the book herself and memorize reading her name and the word "can".

As I was trying to create this book with her, I was stumped about the possibilities for each page. Its hard to think of things Prema can actually do herself. Her inabilities are so numerous that we often get caught up on those. Yet as I was rocking Eli today and watching her put together a 100 piece puzzle I began to think about all the things Prema can do since her arrival in the States on June 2 2006 (13 1/2 months ago). She has come a long way. We often feel like she could be further along or that we could have taught her more (Michelle), but that is mostly when we forget to count all the little things she has learned that others just don't have an idea she couldn't do before (especially self care things).

when she arrived her abilities and behaviors were pretty much equivilant to 6-18 months old. She could feed herself with her hands and awkwardly with a spoon and fork, she never stayed in one place, always got into everything, and could tell us she had to toilet with her own made up sign (grabbing herself). She could also walk but fell all the time.

But now Prema can...
crawl backwards, sweep and swab the kitchen floor, clean the bathroom, make beds and change their sheets, put away silverware, tie her shoes, run for 3 minutes without stopping, alternate her arms moving them across her body (cross crawls), complete 100 piece puzzles on her own (couldn't do toddler puzzles when she arrived), identify all 25 letters of the alphabet, identify many numbers 1-10, use the toilet the American way (this mean learning to use toilet paper), zip her coat, put a belt on, brush her teeth, brush her hair and put in a ponytail holder, strong sit 10 minutes (meditative sitting style facing wall), use fork spoon and knife, set the table, shower herself (including adjusting the water temperature), draw a circle, express some basic feelings, read her picture chore chart, snap, button, ask for things ("mom please..."), sign some children's books, lock and unlock doors, open doors, pull weeds, blow bubbles in the pool, stay on the left side of the road when walking/ running, look and wait for cars to cross the street, pump herself on the swing, climb various play structures, jump into pool herself, draw a person, write letters in her name except "e", match family member names to their pictures, identify extended family members and their relation, sort items, clean up the table after dinner, pretend play, fold clothes, take out the trash, follow 1-3 step directions, and communicate (has a large vocabulary in ASL and is putting signs together to tell stories)!!! There are probably some things I am even forgetting.

Sometimes this list seems huge and sometimes it seems small. But what I often loose perspective on is all the countless failed attempts and training it took to accomplish these things. None of it could have happened much faster. When you are working with a 10 year old brain that has been damaged by all the trauma she has endured, things take time. But the amazing thing is that a brain so badly damaged can heal and make new connections that didn't exist before.

Way to go Prema! And I have to give Kyle, myself and all the others who have helped us a pat on the back too. A year of acheivement at the cost of a lot of stress, many days and nights of fighting, thoughts of hopelessness, thoughts of regret, limited ability to leave the house, our family unable to enjoy things together and much more. Hopefully this next year will be filled with more joy, more success, more laughter, and more hope.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Italian Feast

Last night Kyle and I went to a little Italian restaurant, courtesy of a friend, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was the first time in 3 months that we have been out without one of the kids in tow. It was awesome! Not just the food, but the expience itself. A little place in a strip mall building. Dishes that don't match. Red and white checkered table cloths. Old maps, pictures and flags on the wall. One main waiter and two assistants for the entire place. Your table for you and only you the entire evening. No menu or price list to see, just the waiter's display of the food before its cooked and his descriptions of how "beautiful" the food will be after he cooks it with a little bit of this and that. His favorite food to show you is always the live lobster he will kill and cook for you. "Senora, would you like...." He always addresses the women at the table first. Kyle thinks its because he knows if the woman is happy, the man will order more things and maybe even get lucky.

We started with some steamed artichoke and stuffed mushrooms. Kyle ate the lambchop with potato and spinach. I had the lobster with a spicy red sauce over die for. But before you eat it, he shows it to you while its steaming hot (just the lobster that is, no sauce or pasta) and says, "I clean it for you." He then proceeds to pull the thing apart and mix all the meat in with the pasta and put spoonfulls of sauce on it while he hums some italian tune. We ended with coffee, cheesecake and tiramisu.

You leave your dinning expereince feeling refreshed, reconnected and more joyful. The food is excellent. The server is a joy to watch. And you have met new friends along the way. I am not sure if it is the charisma of the server, the wine the lets you feel loose, or the food that comforts you...but as the evening unfolds the restaurant becomes a place for complete strangers to connect. Everyone parts with good-byes to all the staff and a committment to come again some time.

Thankfully we have been able to make La Trattoria da Gaetano a wedding anniversary tradtion for the last two years and will continue to do so year after year....Thank you friend (you know you are) for making our wedding anniversary celebrations enjoyable and renewing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bob the Builder Addiction

What is it about Bob the Builder? Isaac watched his first Bob the Builder video last Friday and has been hooked ever since. He marches around the house like Bob singing "Bob the Builder, Can we fix it, Bob the Builder, Yes we can" over and over again. He has become Bob himself and uses the stroller and various other items to become Lofty and Scoop to ride around on. He has watched other videos in the past, but none have held as much as Bob. He becomes entranced as he watches the video. And strangley the video just keeps playing and playing over again if you don't stop it yourself. How many children are just watching and watching and watching because their parent is busy and doesn't know the 30 minutes are over? scary.

Yesterday Isaac was jumping in the trampoline and singing "Alleluia, Alleluia, Bob the Builder". As Kyle's mom said, some adults may be offended by this...but God is probably amused.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Anniversary to us!

Four years ago today (July 19) we were married. As a tribute to my husband and one thing he enjoys doing- that I don't think I did before I married him- I will make a list about our marriage

4 years and:
places we've lived: Largo Florida (2), Madison, Wisconsin (1), Cross Plains Wisconsin (1), Kolkata, India (1)

places we've visited: Thailand, Nepal, Muncie Indiana, Portland Maine, San Diego California, Boston Massachusettes, New York New York, Omaha Nebraska, Darjeeling India, Puri India, various places in Wisconsin, Sandusky Ohio,

kids: Isaac (born April 1 2005), Prema (arrived June 2 2006), Eli (born April 30 2007)

things we've learned/ studied: Bengali, American Sign Language, Reactive Attachment Disorder Therapy/ Parenting, Love and Logic Parenting, Electrical Code and trade (Kyle), various home improvement techniques such as tiling, laying hardwood floor, building an addition (Kyle), how to raise a deaf child/ Deafness and its culture,

fights/ arguements/ heated discussions: too numerous to count

things we still want to do: too many to list and ever changing

things we love to do together: talk about various topics, theorize about the world and its people, go to the beach, watch movies and anything else we can do with or without the kids and its not stressful or need too much planning.

Its been a good 4 years full of ups and downs. Each year seems to be more stressful than the next, but we hang in there. We continue to learn more about each other and make more adjustments for the other.

Happy Anniversary Kyle...I love you!

Happy 8th Birthday Prema- but not really?

On March 21 we celebrated what we believed to be Prema's 8th birthday. Two weeks ago we discovered she is much older. In India a bone age was done to determine a birthdate for Prema since all of her history is unknown. ( check out this) Since Christmas time we started noticing signs of puberty and thinking it was odd for an 8 year old. A trip to the pediatrician confirmed the onset of puberty and the need for another bone scan. The bone scan reported that Prema is actually 2 1/2 years older making her 10 1/2 years old. We have been told by one pedIatrician and another adoptive parent in the same situation, that Prema's malnutrition in India resulted in younger looking bones. Now after a year of good food and vitamins her bone age is catching up to her actual age. So the reality is that Prema could also be even older than 10 1/2 as bone ages can't be extremely accurate.

This discovery has brought relief and grief to us. Prema has missed many windows of opportunity for optimal achievement. She may never be fluent in sign language in turn affecting her ability to read and write. Her physical development is far more delayed than we thought. And yet as we grieve these losses for her and us, we also find relief in understanding why we have been working so hard to get Prema to achieve certain things and any achievement has come very slowly and painfully. The pressure we (especially Michelle) have placed upon ourselves and her to "catch up" is lessened now as we change our expectations and dreams for her.

We have decided to keep her legal birthdate as it is (8 years old) since her physical stature and maturity level are not the same as the average 10 year old.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

240 volts ac

this lizard met a sad end. If one could write in lizard language, one would need to make a warning saying, "240 volts will do you dirty lizard."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Baby Heavyweight Champion

At Eli's 2 month checkup 2 weeks ago he weighed 16 lbs 8 oz, double his birth weight. He is in the 100th percentile in weight and 98th percentile in height for his age. I am not sure if they would even tell you if he was above the 100th that may be the case too. He pretty much only wearing a diaper. We have switched his clothes 3 times so far from 0-3 month to 9-12 month clothes. The 9-12 month clothes are not even a sure thing to fit him so most of the time we don't even bother. Thankfully its hot in Florida. One person asked me why he wasn't wearing clothes and I said "look at him, he has his own sleeves already (rolls over his wrists)." We love his soft flabby rolls. They are fun to grab and tickle. Fittingly his nickname is Chubbs. He is a lot more fun these days with his coos and smiles. He loves to watch his brother Isaac run all over the house.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Isaac the Fireman

Isaac has a little fire truck that he likes to ride. He got it from his cousin Isaiah and it serves many purposes. Sometimes it is an ice cream truck, a delivery truck and other things. He has had a lot of work done on the truck including new tires and wheels....many hours have been spent riding back and forth like this. The world is safer with fireman Isaac on the loose.

Body Art for the Young

For one of my (Michelle’s) Mother’s Day gifts I was given body crayons to draw on the kids. It has been fun trying out my artistic talent (none) out on the kids. Thankfully there is a book of ideas for me to copy. The kids make their selections from the book and denote its placement on their body. When they are finished we all take a dip in our kiddie pool and wash it off.

Prema Swinging HERSELF!!!!!

In June Prema successfully pumped herself on the swing for the 1st time. You wouldn’t realize what a call for celebration this is, unless you have seen her unsuccessful attempts before. For a year we have been trying to get her to do it with so many failed attempts. Eventually we gave up and decided to push her so that she would hopefully get the feeling of it. Due to her years of neglect she does not have much coordination making it difficult to do anything...including walk sometimes. There were times we were wondering if she would ever swing herself...and then it happened. Now we wait for the time she will become coordinated enough to ride her bike and swim herself.

Aquarium Visit

In June Kyle, Isaac, Eli and I went to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa for a morning trip. Kyle took off work on a Friday to escape the crowds but we were not so lucky. Just about every YMCA in the area was there for a summer trip. Regardless of the crowds, Isaac thoroughly enjoyed the visit. He enjoyed the giant grouper, sea dragons (awesome) and the scuba divers in the shark tank. After viewing all the fish Isaac enjoyed some time in the wet play area. It was his first time walking in the cargo net alone. He was a bit frightened when he met up with the other little boy in the camo shorts and red shirt. Both boys were too afraid to let go and go around the other. Before Isaac broke into tears Michelle went in the net to help him down.

Summer Swimming

...One way to keep myself (Michelle) sane in the late afternoons as I wait for Kyle to come home and lighten the load. I lather the kids in sunscreen and send them outside to fill up the pool and swim till their hearts are content..or they break the rules and I end their swimming time.
Isaac is notorious for having an extremely smelly and gooey poop filled diaper that initiates the swimming time. Its easier to just take him outside and hose him off than use the wipes...hence his bare butt. However he does sport a swim suit if he shares the pool with Prema.