Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sleep Deprivation

I can't believe it's been nine days since my last post. The days are flying by and are blurred together. Sleeplessness is the title of this new chapter in our lives as Prim is having night terrors (I'm almost positive)and I am having insomnia. Most nights I am down to two hours of sleep and maybe an hour nap during the day. Prim is doing great during the day, she is full of mischief and mayhem, looking for snacks to eat in the cupboard or flushing the toilet to her hearts content b/f mommy shows up to scold her with a firm "NO" and a tsk, tsk of my finger. I don't think I've said 'no' so many times in my life. This certainly was not how it went with G, but little miss finds herself in precarious situations and no amount of explaining is going to make her understand English any better so No will have to do for now.
It is only at night that she has such a hard time. The first few hours of sleep are peaceful but shortly after midnight it is quickly downhill and she is fitful and crying until the early hours of the morning. I'm not sure what to do. H and I spend most of the day trying to come up with a solution but this is new territory and we are at a loss. How can this little girl be so secure and happy during the day be so miserable at night? The miracle is that she wakes up with a huge smile on her face and is so happy to kiss good morning and start her day. Oblivious to her hours of sobbing or crying out.
I can only pray that in time she will find peace and that her nights will be filled with sweet dreams and deep slumber. I am off to try and sleep myself. Maybe tonight will be the night my head hits the pillow and I fall asleep. If not, Harry Potter and I are about to become acquainted.

Monday, August 20, 2007

All About Grace

Everything is about the kids. Every moment is spent playing, teaching, keeping the peace between our two little ones. I feel like I'm back to the infancy stage of having a child. Every moment new and all encompassing. Quckly the things that I loved for myself have fallen off of my independent radar. Tennis, reading, singing at church. All of these things take away moments of physical touch and immediate attention to Prim so slowly they are added to a list of things I will do again once she is more adjusted. At first I felt a bit resistant to giving up these things temporarily. After all, I've only had one child for so long and had finally gotten into a routine that was comfortable for me. G was in preschool and I had all of the time in the world to play tennis, run errands and do things that I enjoyed for myself. I had finally found the "me" in motherhood and I loved it.
It has been hard letting go these past few weeks. At first I felt like I let myself down by not being able to keep the same schedule. That I had allowed my time to be dictated beyond the needs of the individual I had become after moving here. I could finally define myself in words other than wife, mother.....
It took a friend saying to me, "you only have this time once in their life and you have all of those other things to start again forever" for me to finally relax. I don't know why it wasn't ok for me to say that on my own. That it took permission from someone else for me to breathe and not feel guilty. I think it was God's way of shifting my focus once again. It's so easy to get off track, even with the change that we've had in our family. Instead of grasping for the way things were, I should have been holding on to this precious gift in those first few weeks with gratitude.
Now I'm ready. Thank you Lord for these two children that make me a better person. Amen.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pool Dayz

Here are some pics of our water baby. She has no fear-it's so great!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fresh Air & Fun

A great nights sleep and a trip to Toys R Us. Can't ask for more than that! The kids had a great time playing out back and G showed his little sister his awesome cart wheels!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Contemplating the Cone

I'm happy to report that last night Prim slept through the night without crying!! I hope that it's the beginning of a more comfortable period in her transition but realistically I know it may go back and forth for some time. After much needed help my friend Sarah was kind enough to come over and reassemble our baby crib to make it higher and take the front off. I wanted it to be like a co-sleeper and place it on my side of the bed so she was still next to me but not technically in bed with us. She was starting to lay her head on H's pillow and refuse to move in her own silent protest of him being in bed with us (or at least that's what I understood when she looked at me in that tone of voice). Since I'm a very light sleeper I've been having a hard time sleeping even when she is in a deep sleep so this is my solution.
Of course she objected initially when I showed her "Prim's bed!!" with all the excitement of a sweepstakes winner. She shook her head no (she is so very good at that) and laid her head on H's pillow. I asked her if she wanted milk and held up the bottle for her to see and said "mmmm...yummy". She smiled and shook her head 'yes' saying milk and reaching for it and I pointed to her bed and shrugged my shoulders. I know my daughter is only 21 months old but she is already under instruction to master the art of negotiation. She didn't even hesitate and crawled right into the crib, I gave her the bottle, stroked her arm and that was it. Mommy 1 Toddler 0.
G was better today although most of his waking moments were spent tattling on his little sister. Of course he didn't say a word when she stuck the magnetic's silver ball in her mouth for a taste test. H had to pry it out while scolding her and saying "no mouth!!". All I heard was wailing and when she thought she would get simpathy from me I told her "no mouth" and she promptly threw herself on the bed face down and refused to look at anyone. I wondered how long it would take for her to be flat on her face on a pillow before she needed air and was about to set my timer when she popped up, gave us a dirty look and was on her way to accepting us into her good graces again. Is this what they mean by girls are so different than boys?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Our First Week Home

Today is officially the end of our first week home from Thailand. It's unbelievable that we have been there and back and put it behind us. After all of the worrying, all of the preparing and excitement, it came and went and life-as always-goes on. I think after some weeks have passed I will really take the time to sit and reflect on what we've all been through. I will think more about our time in Thailand and with Prim's foster family. I will reflect a bit more on our first few days with our new daughter and most likely begin to compare her beginnings with her growing.
For now, however, we are just trying to get through the day. H is so busy with school, putting in late nights to study and long days to finish make up quizzes, labs and tests. I am trying to stay sane with two children who desperately need my undivided attention, all the while trying to find the small miracles in our time together.
G had a good day today. Very little acting out and a better attitude all around toward his sister. He left us for a while to have a play date and I took advantage of the time and took Prim shopping for a new stroller. It was guilt fully joyful to have her to myself, and I loved making her smile as we strolled up and down the aisles of Target.
When we returned home and picked up G, the smile on his face and my renewed energy put us both on better footing and the rest of our day went smoothly.
Nap time came and both of the kids went down without a fuss and Prim woke once crying only to fall asleep a few minutes later. Her nights are very difficult and last night was very long for the both of us. My neighbor who adopted an older child from Russia wondered if she is experiencing night terrors as a result of the stress. G has never experienced night terrors and has only had two bad dreams that I can think of in his 4 1/2 years so I may need to do some reading. I do know that when she cries at night it comes on very suddenly, she seems to still be sleeping and she reaches out with her hands while calling out for "mom" in Thai. There are times when I can not calm her and she will stop as suddenly as she's started. Maybe it's night terrors, maybe it's grieving. I think it's just too early to say. You would never believe that she has such difficult nights because of her sweet and happy disposition during the day.
So far she rarely cries and needs to be held less. The latter is not something I'm looking for her to stop but she is confident in the house as long as she can see me, and it is obvious that she was very independent prior to being with us. Already she is used to our routine and keeps me on my toes. This morning I took too long to get her dressed so she went into her and G's room, grabbed her jeans that were in a clean laundry pile and brought them to me in the bathroom. have an audience again while in the loo. If I'm lucky G is wondering what Prim is doing who is busy looking at what I'm doing or trying to hand me toilet paper in the bathroom. Then I have four eyes staring at me in earnest concentration as I politely lecture on privacy in the 21st century.
Today after nap time Prim was like a toddler spiked with Pixie sticks and waved and blew kisses to everyone she saw in the neighborhood. She also yelled "YEAH!!" to anything that seemed exciting to her, including my friend's two year old daughter who fell flat on her face on the side walk. Our next bathroom session together will cover Compassion 101 and Curbing Your Enthusiasm During Times of Distress.
She was bitten today by another toddler and only seemed mildly offended. She has already rolled off of our bed, fallen down a few stairs and given herself rug burn all the while picking herself up and dusting herself off. I love her spunk and her willingness to try new things and can't wait to see how she grows and matures with each passing day.
Tomorrow I hope for an even better day than today, even if it is only for me to be more thankful, more prayerful, more willing to look up instead of down.

Monday, August 06, 2007

To Whom it May Concern

Dear Mom & Dad
I am on strike. I will not be nice, I will not share and I will not under any circumstance pretend to like this little person that has invaded my space. Because I became a big brother under false pretenses, I do not feel like I have to live up to my end of obligatory brotherly responsibilities. Per our previous conversations you implied that life after my little sister would be fun and adventurous. I would like to refute these statements with facts of my own and demand retribution for my pain and suffering.
1. I do not have anyone to play with. She has taken over the house and wrecks everything she sees.
2. She wants only my special toys and breaks my legos and does not say 'sorry'.
3. She does not know anything about Star Wars and doesn't respond when I call her Princess Leah.
4. She hits me on the head with toys and I can not hit her back.
5. You say she's a baby but she runs as fast as me and is strong enough to push me down.
6. She does everything on purpose and is mean.
7. She is not my friend and I do not like her.
8. When I play with her toys and she takes them away she is always stealing from me.
9. I get in more trouble now and she gets more hugs.

I could go on but I think you understand my position. My demands are as follows and until they are met I will continue to be emotional, irrational and angry with the possibility for sudden out bursts.

1. She is to get older immediately and no longer be a baby.
2. She is to no longer look, touch, smell or come within 50 feet of my toys.
3. She is to allow me to play with her new toys whenever I want and watch me do so with a smile.
4. No longer hit me or push me over.
5. She is to no longer look at me unless I look at her first.

If these demands are not met I would like a refund on my sister. I know that you have gone to alot of trouble to bring her here but I'm sure once you explain to the sister fairy that she is imcompatible with my rules and likes, they will understand. I will kindly donate a portion of my piggy bank allowance for the next big brother's in-home-defense system (which I gather you skimped on for me).
You have 72 hours to comply with these demands. Until then, the strike remains at threat con delta and timeouts are not recognized as punishment.
Your Son, G

Friday, August 03, 2007

The End Was Our Beginning

There are moments in your life when you must make a choice. A choice to live, a choice to harbor past pains or to forgive, a choice to believe. Choices are not chance or fate, they are not a flip of a coin or a lucky number.  Choosing is a deliberate act often made solely in faith. H and I became starkly aware of the reality of our choice on our way home from Hua Hin.

We left Hua Hin somewhat relieved. This part of our journey was coming to an end and there was nothing more that we could do in Thailand to better acclimate Prim to us, her new family.  We knew that the end of this trip was truly the beginning for our family and we were anxious to begin the long trek home.

Our ride out of Hua Hina and into Bangkok began uneventful. We were driven once again by a local man whose family will always hold a very dear place in our hearts. We talked about his job as a General select in the Thai military, the future of their country with an aging, beloved King, local history and historical anecdotes to pass along to Prim. It only took a single moment and a small pothole for him to lose control of the car.

At 65 miles per hour the car skidded from one side of the highway to the other as the Colonel struggled to regain control of the vehicle.  We crashed into another vehicle, pushing it out of its lane, as motorists around us frantically tried to avoid the collision.  In a matter of seconds we were turned around in a full tailspin while skidding to the opposite side of the highway.  In that last moment, as we slid towards a steep embankment that separated one side of the highway from another, I saw each second in a calm, almost movie like slow motion.

As our car neared the ravine we could feel that one side of the car was no longer gripping the road, and as we began to overturn, H turned around in his seat and screamed at me to hold onto Prim. I will never forget the look on his face as he sat helpless in the front seat.

It's funny the things you remember when your body is confronted with a crisis. I remember as we jerked from one side of the highway to another that I made a mental inventory. G in a lap belt but not safe in a car seat. Prim sitting on my lap, no seat belt. Hung in the front belted along with the Colonel.  The tires screeching were louder than I would have imagined.  I remember a feeling of warmth and heaviness come around my arms as I held tight to Prim.  At some point I tried to reach over and put my hand on G but I was too far away and I thought to myself he's going to be scared.  I remember, when the car settled itself upside down, taking a deep breath because I was still holding Prim even as I was upside down and shaking in my seat . 

H and the Colonel got out of their seat belts with lightening speed. There we were, suspended upside down and all I could do was thank God for helping me hold onto Prim.  As they took the kids so I could free myself and finally on the ceiling of the overturned car, my senses became electrified with fear. All I could smell was gasoline.  It was so strong that it made our space feel incredibly small. I looked at Hung, probably frantic and said I smell gas to which he nodded while obviously looking for a way out. We scrambled to open the doors while trying to remain calm to no avail.  The way the car had landed made it impossible for us to open the doors from the inside.

I don't know when it happened but suddenly my passenger door was wrenched open. Unbeknownst to us many people had stopped to assist us and as soon as I saw hands come through the door I shoved Prim towards them, grabbed G and then thrust him towards another pair of anonymous hands.  I crawled out on my hands and knees, barefoot with H and the Colonel following behind us.

I was so relieved and overwhelmed at the amount of Thai people who stopped to help us and were sharing their umbrellas to shade us from the hot afternoon son.  A small, kind-faced woman had been holding Prim and I remember grabbing her from this woman's arms and holding her tight. I couldn't even catch my breath enough to say thank you. I could only hold my children tight and thank God for keeping us safe.

I am still amazed by the miracles that we witnessed that day. We walked away from a serious accident without even a scratch. Not a bruise, not a bump. I  believe that God wrapped his arms around my daughter that day. I do not know how I held onto her during those precarious moments. He prepared us only days before for this accident with a five minute conversation. On the way to Hua Hin H and I had a discussion about how we would seat the children in the car because of the absence of many seat belts and car seats in Thailand. I had been adamant about belting Prim in with me and H insisted that she not be belted at all because the force my body would make against hers in the event of an accident.  I did not agree but allowed H to make the final decision and I will always be thankful for his wisdom.  I could not have been suspended upside down with her sharing my lap belt without causing her serious if not fatal injuries. 

On the side of the highway outside of Bangkok, we bowed our heads and thanked God for His mercy and protection.  A long time ago, for both of us, we made a choice. A choice to place our lives, our trust, our faith into the hands of a loving and all knowing God and his Son, Jesus Christ. We know that this choice doesn't exclude us from heartache or disaster. We aren't automatically exempt from trials and tests of faith and courage. But what we were given was a promise. A promise of eternal salvation. The promise that regardless of our earthly wants, desires and hopes, that God in Heaven awaits us. The promise that in life or death God will be there in the midst of it all.  That regardless of our circumstances, we are covered by the Blood shed for us on Calvary.

In the end we found our beginning. We boarded planes, came home and began our life as a family of four. We know there will be heartache, laughter and tears. But more importantly, there will be miracles each and every day if we look hard enough. There is a new life to shape and love, a little boy to teach and grow into a man. A family to grow in service to Him and His kingdom.

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