Friday, August 28, 2009

Four for Four

How fitting that Charlie woke up at 4:00 a.m. today, on the morning of his fourth monthday. There are some advantages to having a baby who thinks it's time to get up this early, one of those being an unexpected opportunity for a little blogging, with a helper!

It's happened once again, yet another month has slipped, like sand, through the hourglass of life - Charlie baby is four months old today!! I can't even think about this fall and how fast the time is going to begin to whiz by once life becomes even more hectic for our family. Somehow it still seems like we just finished Christmas this year...but 2010 is only a few months away. How is that possible?

Charlie won't go for his 4 month checkup until Monday, but for now (according to my home measurements,) he is 14.2 lbs. I swear he literally gets bigger by the minute! I love being here with him, and getting to know his little personality a little more each day. He is a very sweet and social little baby. He really likes to be where we are. He will play on his play mat for a few minutes, but when he's awake, what he really wants is to be held and talked to, and to be with us big kids.
{UPDATE} Measurements after going to the doctor:
He's 24.25 inches long - length for age is in the percentile: 10th - 25th
He's 14 lbs - Weight for age percentile: 25th-50th
Weight for length percentile: 50th - 75th
His head circumference is 16.5 inches - Head circumference for age percentile: 50th - 75th
He has a few new games that have become his favorites, and he's starting to really enjoy watching the goings on of the world around him. In keeping with him turning four months old, I decided "four for four" would be a good way to organize this post.
  1. Charlie loves to play "mimic me." He will babble or coo, and when we repeat him, he belly laughs. He will do this for as long as we are willing to play along, and he especially likes this game when he first wakes up in the morning. He is also definitely mimicking the high pitched way our voices sound when we say, "Hi Baby" to him...but I doubt he really knows what he's doing yet.
  2. He's becoming a good communicator. He will put his hands in his hair, or begin rubbing his face with his hands, or rubbing his face on my shirt when he's sleepy. Sometimes if we don't come pick him up right away when he first wakes up, he starts his "mad babble," which is a high pitched, loud talking sound that would sound exactly like baby babbling if you didn't know better. I know it's kind of wrong, but this makes me laugh a little.
  3. One of his favorite new tricks is to play peek-a-boo with me when I'm hugging him close. He rests his head on my shoulder, right up next to my neck, and then looks up until he finds my face. When I say "boo" he giggles. This seems to be a special thing between mommy and baby, but then again, maybe I'm a sucker for a little Charlie love!!
  4. He has rolled over a few times, as mentioned in this post, but he still doesn't do it on a regular basis. He seems to be able to roll over more easily the less clothing he's wearing. He's also beginning to get really good at sitting up by himself. He's not entirely stable yet, but he's definitely working on and improving this skill daily!
Lots of other changes are happening too. We'll be starting cereal a little later today, but that's a topic that deserves a post of its own. We're also working on establishing him on a bedtime routine that we will be able to stick with when school starts for me this fall. So far it's going OK, but I'm sure there will be more forthcoming about this process as well!

On the adoption front, we have our first of three post placement visits with Elly next week. She said the meeting will only take about half an hour. I'm not too nervous, except for the normal feelings of wanting my house to be perfect while at the same time knowing that's impossible! It won't be long at all until a day to which I am very much looking forward is looks like our adoption finalization (GOTCHA) day for Charlie will be on National Adoption Day, which is pretty exciting for us!!

That's all for now...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Room with a View

Although the shell of Charlie's room decorations have been in place since we brought him home back in May, the accents and extras have been a work in progress. Today my younger sister, Holly came over and painted a tree mural on his wall for us.

It is absolutely beautiful, and I'm so excited about his room coming together. I am so thankful for my amazing, talented, generous family...I honestly don't know what I'd do without them!!

We had a fun and productive day, although little Charlie was clearly not feeling his best again today. There are a few details that Holly still wants to work on, like the quotes she's going to write above the window, etc.

I might also incorporate a few more animals at some point, but overall...Mr. Baby's room is now complete with a view that will (hopefully) keep him happy for several years to come!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Water Park Wednesday

Mr. Baby and I had a great day at the water park today! Due to the unseasonably cool summer we've had so far, this was the first day we were able to go swimming for more than a few minutes. We did go swimming one other time, but that was in a lake and it wasn't warm enough to swim for any length of time.

Today was perfect weather-wise, we had so much fun. We also had some great company consisting of my friend, Nancy (the one from my previous post,) Nancy's best friend, Kate, who is in town right now from Boston, along with her husband and their four children. Our water park gang included four adults and five children, ranging in age from three months to 15 years. I've been hanging out with these guys off and on all week, and I can see how I could become spoiled to having so many little helpers running around! Charlie is loving all the attention he's getting from the cool big kids, and well...I'm enjoying having him entertained without having to worry.

The first thing we did was go into the wave pool, which was a little overwhelming for Charlie until I held him really close. Once the waves came on, he was sound asleep in a matter of minutes. It was really sweet for me to snuggle him close while the waves gently rocked us back and forth. After that, we spent some time in the wading pool, where Charlie actually kicked his legs a little bit. After a bottle, lunch, and diaper change, we headed back to the water, this time to the lazy river. We were in an inter-tube, and again, little C. was asleep before we even made a full circle around the river. Honestly, these are moments I will cherish forever...even though there are no photos of the sweetness.

In other news, Charlie rolled from his tummy to his back this morning! He was lying on our bed the first time he did it, so we moved him to the floor...and sure enough, over he want! I don't think he's quite figured it all out just yet, but he's well on the way.

He's also doing some major teething right now. He's not eating as much, and he's drooling non-stop. He's almost always got his firsts crammed into his mouth, and if not that then he's chewing on something.

I can't imagine him with little white teeth in his mouth, but at the same time I can't wait! It's funny, even when he's clearly not feeling his best he's such a happy little boy. How did we get so lucky?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Fall"ing into place

One big item on my to-do list for this summer has been to find care for Charlie for the time when I head back to school this fall. As a full time student, I find that I do a lot more piecing together of my schedule than I would if I were working the same amount of hours at a job. School is good in that it does allow some flexibility with when I study, and how I work out my out-of-class time. Still, my load is full, and my school days are jam packed this coming semester. I'll be leaving the house at 7:30 a.m., and not getting home until 9:30 p.m., with very few breaks between classes. Ugh...I am definitely NOT looking forward to two entire days where I won't see my little boy at all when he's awake.

However, I am well aware that it could be much worse. My sister is a full-time working mom, and I see how hard it can be for her at times during the school year, especially when she's just going back. Plus, that's my future...the life of a FT working mom, and I know there are aspects of it that are not going to be easy.

Having said all that, I am feeling very comfortable with our arrangement this fall, and very thankful that it's worked out the way it has. One of my oldest (length of friendship, not age of person) friends, Nancy, lives only two houses down from us. She and her mom, Sharon, were among the first people to meet little Charlie after he came home. I could tell immediately that Sharon was enamored with the little guy as soon as she saw him. A baby person definitely knows another baby person when she sees one! When my friend told me a few weeks later that her mom had been offered an early retirement package from her full-time job, and that she had mentioned possibly watching Charlie for us...well, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A few weeks after that, I called Sharon, and sure enough...she wants to keep Charlie for us!

I can't even begin to tell you the feeling of peace that came over me as I talked to her. She's even willing to come to our house so he can still be in his own environment, which was not something I was counting on. She sounds thrilled to be able to be spending some of her time with a little one...she sounds the way I used to feel when I would be asked to care for my friend's babies, or for my nephew/nieces. I will miss my sweet boy on the days he's with Sharon, but I will not worry about his well being, and that is truly priceless!

On top of having worked in one for two-and-a-half years, I went to one daycare center back in June, and I just can't do that. I always said I would never leave a baby in a daycare center when I worked there myself, but as a's completely different! I'm not making any judgments about people who use daycare centers, own them, or work in them...but that arrangement is simply not for us at this point in time. I could envision when Charlie is a little older/more able to be self-sufficient and tell me about his days that we might do that, but I wouldn't feel at peace at all if I had to leave him at a daycare center this fall. I'm certain there are some excellent centers out there, but my heart just isn't in it while Charlie is this young.

It's also working out nicely because Michael was able to work out his job #2 schedule so that he can be home on the evenings I'm in class, and he has a fair amount of flexibility with his day job as well. They are letting him work from home one day per week, which means Wednesday afternoons when I go to my practicum class, Charlie's Daddy will be at home with him. Now if I can only get the boy on a schedule that includes regular afternoon naps (right now he is still sleeping in shorter spurts throughout the day) we will be golden! Oh, and we will definitely have to find some way to work in time for Charlie's Mommy and Daddy to see each other as well...yikes!

Summer is quickly coming to an end. To spice up this boring post a little, I shall leave you with a couple more pictures of Mr. Baby. He is growing SO MUCH right now...every single day he looks bigger to me, and he seems to learn something new every day too. Such a tremendous blessing!!!

Charlie and Cousin L. out for an evening walk to the park!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday with Ty (and his mommy!)

Today was a fun day for me, one I've been anticipating for quite some time. Ever since Rebekah and I found each others blogs over a year ago, I've felt I had a special connection with her, one that I couldn't quite explain. When I found out we both live in the same state, and not that far apart, I knew we would have to meet IRL someday. We've talked about this for a while, and was that day. Our time together was awesome and, of course, was made even sweeter by the presence of our two precious baby boys, Charlie and Ty. Our little ones, both miracles in their own right, are only about a month-and-a-half apart. That in and of itself is one of the many blogging blessings for which I am so thankful. Especially after today, I hope these sweet boys will become, and remain good buddies as they grow.

After following her story for so long, it was amazing for me to finally meet sweet Rebekah and baby Ty in person. We both agreed today that we couldn't have gotten through the adoption process without blogging and the connections we've made here. There is so much comfort in knowing you're not alone throughout this journey. Being able to give Rebekah a real-life hug, after so many of the virtual variety truly made my day!

There is something so amazing about a friend who has walked such a similar path. Today there were so many things we didn't even need to explain because we have both been there. There was not even a moment of awkwardness because, even though we had never met before, we already knew each other on a deep level. And the adoption thread is beautiful too. Before blogging, there were times when I felt pretty lonely and misunderstood where infertility and adoption were concerned, but those days are gone. Rebekah is a beautiful spirit, and she is every bit of the mom I always knew she would be. Seeing her holding her sweet son today was heartwarming. We have so much in common as moms, which I love even being able to say after so much of the pain we both felt while we waited for our beautiful babies. I am hopeful that our paths will continue to cross for years to come...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Lately there have been some heavier topics on my mind...clouds entering my perpetual state of happiness if you will. I've been thinking a lot about Charlie's story, and how we will frame it (especially the sad parts) for him so that it's not too painful. Obviously the truth will always be at the center of everything we tell him, but I so want to protect him from the negatives...and mostly from the negative perceptions of people who don't know us.

I read an article a while back about positive adoption language. It was written by an adoptive mom who meant well, but some of the comments that were left for her were harsh. Quite frankly, they were hard to read, but they also really got me thinking. I can totally see some of the points made in the responses. I can understand how telling a child his first mother "made an adoption plan" for him because she loved him would leave him with some confusion about love. Young children take everything literally, so I get what some of these adoptees were trying to say. Although, I don't necessarily agree that to frame a child's story in a positive light is to sugar coat it in a way that is inappropriate. After reading some of these comments, I am left feeling sad, and wondering, "What is the right thing to say?" As Charlie's mommy, how do I explain it properly?

The sad fact is that pain and loss are central to every adoption story, but is it wrong for us adoptive parents to want to handle our children gently where their adoption stories are concerned? The reailty of some of the comments is that they don't consider the alternative...and they certainly don't offer a "better" solution to the language/terminology/viewpoint they are naysaying. The point is, this just has me thinking a lot about what we will tell him when he's old enough to understand. I really don't know the answer to that. Right now we tell him parts of his story all the time, and I talk to him about adoption almost every day...but right now I'm just talking, practicing for the future I guess. Right now it doesn't matter the way it will someday, when he can understand.

Then there is the age-old balancing act of being a mom with the rest of life. School starts again soon and I'm nervous. Nervous about being away from my baby for two [very] long days every week. I realize it could be worse, but I'm not going to see him at all two days a week and I'm really not sure I'm OK with that fact. I'm also nervous about being able to study and continue to be the kind of student I've been for the last several years. I would love it if I could simply be with him for this first year, but in the long run that isn't really what I want either. The thought of putting school on hold, even for a year, gives me an entirely different kind of stomach ache. And all this begs the question, "In fulfilling my dream of motherhood, have I lost myself?" The answer to that question is inevitably yes...or at least I have lost some former parts of myself.

But is that bad? Is it not appropriate that some of the old me should be cast away as I make room for a new little person? I have always been a very involved, very active person with a lot of hobbies and interests. People talk about being bored, but I rarely have times when I can't find something to do that interests me. And now...well, I'm finding that things like gardening, and writing in my paper journals, and keeping up with my other blog, and taking non-baby photographs...they are falling by the wayside. And yet, at the end of the day I feel satisfied that my time that day was well spent. I will never reach a point where I look at my child and wonder if I spent enough time with him, or held him enough, because the answer to that will always be yes. To me, that is as it should be, but what about having a sense of self outside of being a mom? Certainly there is value added to the child by having a mom who is self-interested and self-involved to an extent. I think the key here (as with most things in life) is balance...but how do you strike a healthy balance, and how do you know that it is healthy, as opposed to having the scale tipped too much in one direction or the other?

Then there are my thoughts about racism and how to handle that as Charlie gets older. We are fortunate in that we are in a very diverse area where there are many "different" families and resources available to us, but there are still some hard truths here that we must all learn to face as our family grows. I'm in no way ready to tackle this topic in a manner that will give it fair play on my blog, but I do think about it a fair amount, and somewhere in there, I'm trying to make it all make sense. One thing that having Charlie has taught me in a short time is that being "different" brings the reality of racism in our society to the surface. I've been trying to find some good books on the topic so any suggestions would be appreciated. These thoughts leave me with the question, "Is my love enough to protect him?" To some degree I think it is, but in time, I will also have to teach him how to handle this particular evil of our world with a sense of pride, self confidence, and humor. That amongst all the other "normal" growing up lessons and difficulties. Wow, now that is a tall order if ever there was one!

All of the above having been said...or typed...there is still such tremendous joy that floods my heart every time I look into the eyes of my sweet little boy. It is such a gift to be "the one" for him. To be able to make him smile and giggle like no other, and to be the one who can comfort him when he's upset. To be "Mommy," well...there is nothing sweeter or more rewarding!