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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What we’ve been up to…..

So, what’s been going on in our lives?  Lots of things… I can’t believe it’s been over two weeks since I posted on this blog of mine!  I’m going to do an old fashioned update on life here… so if that kind of stuff bores you, then just move on to the next blog in your blog reader.  But if you like looking through a windowpane into another’s life, then come take a peak into what’s been going on around here. 

Just to really intrigue you (not), I am sitting here at my desk while the littles are asleep and the big guys and the King Fish are away at basketball practice.  I’m typing and getting up every 30 seconds to flip my book that I am copying for the boys schoolwork.  How exciting is that???  Multi-tasking at its best!  <grin>  Okay, so let me see where to start with this post….

I’d like to start with school and tell you that we fell behind a bit this month.  But I’ll have to back it up a bit first, to share some things we’ve been dealing with munchkin.  It’s so funny because I have been reading post after post by adoptive families talking about eye contact and their adopted children.  I love how God reveals something to me, and then reinforces it.  Again I have to back up… sorry!  Our adjustment with little Munchkin has been very smooth.  I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but it has been waaayyyy smoother than with Small Fry.  It does help that he is over a year younger than when Small Fry came home.  We came home in November right before Thanksgiving.  We hit the ground running through Jabber Jaw’s birthday, and then hosting Thanksgiving here with family.  Then we began the Christmas festivities and a week of my husband being home.  Fun times for all… lots of one on one dates with the older boys and game nights with the family.  It was really wonderful!  And then sometime in the beginning of January it hit me.  As I held our little Munchkin, it dawned on me… “He’s not looking at me in the eyes.” 

Now, we should be familiar with this, as we dealt with the same issue with Small Fry.  But for some reason I guess I was on auto-pilot.  The holidays, life’s busyness, and the fact that Munchkin is generally a happy little baby… lulled me into autopilot.  Small Fry was older and was so angry.  I dealt with his anger which was really grief, for the first two months.  There was no disguising his issues, they would literally smack me in the face every day during those early months. So, I guess munchkin kind of flew in under the radar.  But about a month ago that all came to a halt, as I noticed his actions, and both The King Fish and I began discussing our plan. 

For those who haven’t adopted, you may not be aware, but it’s quite common for children coming out of orphanages to not make eye contact.  It’s a stage of development that they’ve missed.  I am so envious when I see a new mom looking down at her baby’s eyes and cooing at him.  That little bundle is looking right back into his mama’s eyes and staring.  This is done daily, usually at every feeding, and many times just in between.  I remember marveling at my baby, and could sit and stare at his little face forever.  I loved when eventually the staring back at me turned into a smile.  It’s the sweetest thing!  Without even realizing it, those babies are being shown that someone loves them, and if a mom is feeding her baby they are learning that not only does mama love me, but she is taking care of me too.  I can trust her…. And this cycle, this eye contact scenario, happens over and over… hourly, daily, weekly monthly during the early development of a baby’s life.

But both my little guys missed this when they were infants.  They probably were not held when they cried, and they were probably given a bottle that was propped up in their crib.  There was no one to coo over them and marvel at God’s new creation.  It’s just a fact of orphanage life.  Too many cribs with babies and too few workers.  They would be lucky to get a diaper changed when they needed it, much less someone to sit and hold them for an hour or so a day making eye contact.  And so they fight that intimacy.  They are unsure of it, they aren’t sure if they can trust it.  And it takes time and work… lots of intentional work (often disguised as play), to help them overcome it.

Small Fry is not even close to the same child we brought home.  We have always kept his world small, and he has done an amazing job of bonding with us.  Today this child will come running when daddy comes home.  He will run to me all excited when I pick him up from the church nursery.  He loves to snuggle with me on the couch.  It’s so hard to believe that, because he didn’t even have a clue what snuggling was when he first came home.  If I tried to hug him he just screamed his head off.  Oh my how far he has come!  Today he was not very kind to his baby brother.  Completely unprompted by any of us at home, about 10 minutes afterward he came in to Munchkin and said, “I’m sorry I was not nice to you, do you forgive me?”  Both Tiger Shark and I were blown away because it was completely unprompted…  he is learning and I am proud of him!

Anyway, back to the eye contact.  The King Fish and I have been working on really intentional eye contact with our Munchkin.  During dinner especially we will do goofy things just to break down his barriers and help him to focus on us.  Even if it’s just to smile at us, while we feed him.  My favorite time is after his nap.  It’s just me and him on the floor.  He wakes up so happy, and I will just allow him to direct the play however he wants.  But I’m always on the floor looking  up at him, or peeking from behind a toy at him.  We have some of our best eye contact times after nap time!  The King Fish is also working on some bonding time with him during the evenings and on weekends.  We are also holding Munchkin in our cradle position at bedtime and me at naptime.  I remember how Small Fry used to fight this, because it’s such a trusting position for them, and it’s one thing that they don’t have a lot of yet.  Trust.  I have seen some big improvements with our Munchkin and rocking him. 

All that to say, it’s time consuming…. and I knew school was going to lag a bit while I made the time to work on this.  So, we are a bit behind in Math and History particularly.  Thankfully The King Fish is helping out in the evenings and teaching some of the history lessons.  I love that, because he is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to that subject, and his tidbits of information that are outside of the text, really enhance the boys lessons.  Thankfully the boys are ahead in a few subjects like Grammar… and they take outside classes in Science and Writing and Literature.  Soooo thankful for those classes!!

Jabber Jaws collarbone is all healed up and he can join his big brother for the last 4 weeks of basketball.  He’s so glad to be feeling better again!  The boys have started tennis again, and will be playing in several tournaments throughout the year.  Before Munchkin arrived home, we would practice tennis for an hour and a half in the morning, and then in the afternoon after school.  It’s one of the benefits of homeschooling, and with this southern heat, it’s a good way to stay cool.  Not sure how we’re going to swing that with our Munchkin.  He’s way too on the go, to perhaps stay on my back, during that practice, and he’s too young to let lose on the court.  He’d probably walk right into the ball machine… not good!  So, I’ll have to figure that out…  Another thing on my mind is exactly where Jabber Jaw will hopefully play football next year. 

For me personally, I have been dealing with the dreaded plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.  I can’t even believe that I have to admit that.  I tried taking care of the PF myself, but all my stretching and icing plus insole shoe wearing, wasn’t helping.  So I went to the Dr. and also told him about the tennis elbow that I had since September.  (I know lame, but I really thought it might go away….)  My strength in my dominant arm (which has the tennis elbow inflammation), is 1/2 of my non dominant arm.  That was directly recorded from the physical therapist working on the elbow and the PF. That’s when I knew it was pretty bad. I’m starting to feel a little better after about 3 weeks.  However yesterday I bit into a little red hot candy.  (My son gave them to me for Christmas).  Anyway…. I actually chipped my tooth.  I can’t believe it!!  So,  today I went to the dentist and got a temporary crown put on.  It feels weird.  The worst part was that the Novocain wasn’t taking effect for some reason, and he had to reapply like 4 times!  It took so long to take effect, that I think 10 minutes before he finished I was officially numb.  I was there for 2 and 1/2 hours!  Crazy!  I am ready to get the dumb permanent crown, because this temporary one is just bugging me.  Other than my health issues I  think I’m doing pretty well!  LOL! 

We have been working on paying down debt from this latest adoption.  So, the room renovations have been put on hold.  I am so bummed!  Right now it’s an organizational mess, and if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, then you know that it irks me.  I would just like to actually “finish” a project!!  I am hoping maybe this weekend we will be able to get one small project done here at the house.  I really want to post some cute photos!

I guess that’s an update in a nutshell.  I have not pulled out my new camera in almost a month.  How is that possible???   I will do a picture post… of some sort, soon…. I promise! 



Troy and Rachel said...

Jackie - It sounds like "life" going on there! SO much to do so litle time. I always enjoy reading what's going on with your family! Take care!

Jeanette said...

Doing the same stuff here :) Some days are great and others not so great. We'll get there!

I had tennis elbow... but I called it cookie elbow since I didn't even play tennis. But I ate a lot of cookies :) Up to the mouth and down, repeat... I actually got it from playing the card game Solitare :)

Becky and Keith said...

Such a great mom you are to notice the little things!! I love Small Fry's response to the little guy - means there is a lot of GOOD going on in your house! :-) Take care of yourself - a hurt mama is not a happy mama! :-)

Tracey said...

It's so good to get an update from you, Jackie! It gives me specifics to know how to pray for you guys. So glad to hear Munchkin is adapting well!

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