September 30, 2010

Dare I Say...

We have a schedule. And not just a schedule, but one that lands Ash in his bed sleeping 8:30'ish and Leni in her bed sleeping 9:30-10:30'ish and all of us snoozing soundly until 5:30-6:30'ish. And after Leni's AM feeding she returns to her crib for another few hours allowing us to focus on getting Ash ready for school and us ready for work and holy cow this sounds so normal now that I'm actually typing it out and reading it right in front of me. We're so screwed. But until the Sleep Gods decide to revoke our seemingly incredible sleep karma we're going to enjoy the snot out of it.

September 29, 2010

Do I Look Like You Mommy?

Ash is a very perceptive little boy. He hears things, thinks about them, forms opinions and asks follow up questions. So when people see Leni and announce that she looks so much like mommy or daddy he hears them and immediately starts focusing on her to figure out what parts of her they must be talking about. And then he turns the focus on himself to see what parts of him must look like mommy and daddy. To date he's established that only mommy and Ash have brown eyes (dad's hazel and Leni's blue), that he has short hair like daddy, and that his hands are bigger than Leni's. (He never misses an opportunity to inform the world that he is MUCH bigger and MUCH older than his baby sis.) Our differences inevitably come up as well, which almost always includes his chocolateness and mommy's vanillaness, his curly hair and Leni's straight hair, and how his feet will one day be as big as daddy's. They're good conversations. For now. But one day, when he's gained a more thorough understanding of how we came to be a family, that day it might not settle so well when he hears how much his sister looks like his mommy and daddy. It might just settle like a lump of bricks slamming the words "you're different" into his gut. And we like different, we celebrate different, but that day he might just want different to go away for a little while and I hope I have the words to bring him back to where he was the day before. Celebrating our similarities and our differences, loving the uniqueness that is our family, and understanding that sometimes people don't think before they speak.

Recently Ash started talking about a couple trips we have coming up that he's excited about. He began talking about how we'd need 3 beds in Mexico instead of 2 now that Leni's around, and how he doesn't think Leni is big enough to go see the animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom. And then he started talking about bellies. He asked where his Florida mommy lives and where his Mexico mommy lives and if there are babies in their bellies now. A little background: Ashton found out there was a baby in mommy's belly shortly after our trip to Florida last year, and one of the ways we talk to him about his birth mom is through describing that he was born in her belly before coming to us, and he calls her his Ethiopia mommy. So, talk about mommies in other countries/states and bellies on vacation isn't entirely out of nowhere. But, I was under the impression that he "got" that he had 2 mommies, me and his Ethiopia mommy who's belly he was born in. Apparently he thinks he has a mommy wherever we vacation.

These types of conversations are common. Similarities and differences, birth mommy and me, where is Ethiopia and does Leni have an Ethiopia mommy. To some these might sound like simple enough topics, and on the surface they might be, but there's a whole lot below the surface of a 3 year old boy. A whole lot. And I sooooo do not want to screw up the answers.

September 26, 2010

September 23, 2010

While In The Office

Because that's where I am a lot these days. Back in the office. Working. Occasionally sneaking a peak out the window into the windows where my 3 month old is being cuddled and loved by her babysitter. Well OK, maybe not occasionally, maybe A LOT. But we got lucky. Very lucky. Ash loves his preschool, Leni loves her babysitters, we're likely going to be able to hold off putting her in full time daycare until at least January and even then we might be able to keep it at part time if we can talk the babysitters in to extending their availability into 2011. Ash has already bonded with some great new friends at school and is constantly amazing me with new talents. Like the time earlier this week when I found him changing the oil in the Hyundai and fixing the office network so that when you hit Print on a document it doesn't blow up the coffee maker. He's amazing.

Where was I going with that. Oh yeah, while I was in the office... I had a flashback to my university years in Bozeman, MT. Just me, Mike, a zillion pair of skis, and a six pack of Moose Drool. We'd talk about living abroad for a year, traveling, getting married, and moving to NY. We'd talk about family and how amazing it would be to bring home a child through international adoption. I'd balk at the idea of ever being pregnant, but never entirely swore it off. Those were great years.

I want Ash and Leni to have lots of years like that. Years spent outside, traveling, loving people and experiencing life. I want Ash's birth mom to know in her heart that we're doing our best and couldn't possibly be loving him any more, and I want Leni to know she's adored beyond belief. And occasionally I'd like a six pack of Moose Drool to magically arrive on the doorstep. Because really, who knows how far along with those dreams the two of us could have possibly gotten without the Moose Drool.

September 21, 2010

If They'd Just Stop Falling

Dang acorns. Our office/studio is conveniently located directly underneath a giant oak tree that drops equally giant acorns onto the roof of the office sending them bouncing into the yard, sometimes hitting the roofs of the cars first before inevitably settling right in the foot path between the house and the office making it impossible to go between them without shoes on. If they'd just stop falling life would be so much better. Squirrels would have an easier time locating their precious food and I wouldn't have inch-deep pits on the bottoms of my feet from walking around barefoot.

Huh. When the only improvement to life you can think of is removal of the falling acorns in the yard you know you've got it good.

September 16, 2010

That's Just How They Come

I went back to work a few weeks ago and since then have had all the requisite "how's the family how's the baby" questions from clients. Some have full knowledge of the growings of our family, others just know I was out on maternity leave just like the last time two years ago. All of them ask for pictures. It's always funny to watch the reaction from a client who either wasn't around two years ago or was but just assumed maternity leave = birth of biological child. First they wonder how on Earth my 2 year old (which is how old he would be had my maternity leave = his biological birth) could be SO BIG. Then they wonder what the Father situation must be. And then, finally, I relieve them of the massive eye twitching and nervous shaking I've caused and provide them with the answer to why the son I was on maternity leave to mother in 2008 was born a year earlier, and why I was just on maternity leave leave to mother a daughter born, well, born just now. Answer?

Because that's just how they come.

My lovely niece fed me that fancy little line. She was being presented with the idea of an adoption by family friends who were considering it as a possible way to grow their family, and they were concerned about how they would explain where the baby came from to my niece and nephews. Well, my niece who has watched families grow by adoption in 4 out of 5 cases on one side of our family kindly informed the world that she always thought that's just how babies came. Until Leni of course, whose birth thoroughly confused my niece as there were no airplanes or multiple mothers involved. I'm pretty sure she figures Leni got the short end of the stick on that one. Only one mother? Puh-shaw. Needless to say the family friends are now pretty sure the niece and nephew will be able to handle the news of another adoption just fine.


I'm obviously not trying to lighten the impact of adoption or having multiple mothers or any of that, it's just nice to be refreshed with the possibility of simplicity from the very source of simplicity itself - the mind of a child. Well, that and the line makes it easy to screw with poor well intentioned people occasionally who had nothing but an honest pondering about our family and really probably don't deserve to be messed with but it's fun and I can, so there. That's just how I come.

September 13, 2010

Back To School

Today marked our first day back to the closest version of "normal" we've been in nearly 3 months. Ash returned to school (first day of preschool!), Leni's babysitter arrived to take over the baby routine, and mom and dad left, and I mean really LEFT for work. Ever since Leni's birth Ash was either on a modified summer day schedule for school or on vacation from it entirely and we'd been juggling the Ash/baby routine between the two of us and some VERY appreciated family and friends. Without their help we would have surely found ourselves completely looped. THANK YOU. But today, tomorrow and most definitely Wednesday when mommy hits the road and will be out of earshot of the babe for an entire day for the first time ever, there will be no juggling involved. From here on out we've got a schedule back, and for better or worse it seems to suit us.

September 9, 2010

Gunk Haus

And no, I'm not (completely) inferring that our house has been taken over by gunk. But now that I think of it that might just be a nice transition to an update on our transition...

First and most importantly, Gunk Haus is actually a new'ish restaurant in the Hudson Valley that quickly became one we frequent, frequently. The owners spent years completely remodeling their building into it's current state as a brew house/German beer pub and blogged throughout the process. It's fun to follow along with other's journeys. They serve nearly every dish on a homemade pretzel bun. Seriously. And then you get to finish your meal with these little homemade pretzels stuffed with chocolate. And top it all off with great drink and one killer view of the Shawangunk Ridge (hence the name "Gunk" Haus as the Shawangunks are often just referred to as the Gunks). Let's just say we're big fans. And yes, when we ask Ash what he'd like for dinner he tends to reply most often with a name of a restaurant (or his favorite dish at the restaurant), so when he starts blabbing about chocolate and pretzels we know exactly where he's talking about.

And then there's the matter of our own gunk house...

Gone are the days of Leni's 5-6 hour block of sleep at night, she apparently prefers the 3 hour pattern instead. But, hello to the days when she sleeps mostly in her crib in her own room. This is a very good thing. I'll happily move to the glider in her room twice a night to nurse and/or bottle if it means having our own bedroom back to being ours. We didn't go the co-sleep route with Ashton either, though occasionally he'd join us, and still does, when he wakes up way too early or just can't sleep for some reason. I still wonder if that was the right way to handle it when he came home, if he might have attached quicker had we co-slept, but things seem to have taken an OK track with the way we did handle it so I try not to dwell on other possibilities too much. With Leni we don't have the 13 months of separation and loss contributing to the process that we had with Ash so the whole idea of attachment is a much lighter topic this go-round. I barely questioned whether it was time to move her to her crib or not, she just seemed ready. That said, I'm slightly more stressed by her basic health needs than I ever was with Ash. He was 13 months old and much less breakable. His health needs had obvious treatment plans, he could eat anything. A little different with a newborn. Anyhow, different kids and different situations = very different stressors.

Thankfully they seem to dig each other quite a lot. She's most expressive when he's in the room, and he is absolutely thrilled by any conversation that involves the gunk that seems to be constantly flowing out of his baby sister. I'm hoping it's just his age that's prompting a fascination with all things bodily fluid. Want to make Ash grin from ear to ear? Just tell him his little sis has a poopy diaper. Done.

September 7, 2010

Growth Exponential

And this is when all adults of the world, both parents and not, look at me quizzically and shout one large resounding DUH in my gigantic naive face that was clearly on a vacation to La-La Land the day they went over the topic of parenting multiples in Sunday School. And I reply with a gracious yet exhausted-of-every-last-ounce-of-usable-energy sigh and flop of my head into my hands.

Two is so much more than double the work of one. In fact, I'm reminded of the day I learned to graph Y = X^2 and discovered the joys of exponential growth charts. Today I'm feeling a little bit like the upper Y values on that graph of Y = x^2...

Again, DUH. I know.

But. Ashton has been on summer break from school, I returned to work, Helena decided she needed more nutrients than what I could physically offer her all by myself, Daddy's travel schedule has been Insane with a capital I (which I'd make exponentially capital if that was possible), and well... It's been kind of a big month.

Sure, Ash will return to school next week and I enjoy my job and Leni and I are sorting out her nourishing preferences (and my capabilities of meeting those preferences) and Daddy is... well Daddy's still busy busy but also starting to internalize the few yet important keys to a not bonkers Mommy. It's just taking a while to get to that slightly more calm state that once existed but now apparently requires a pirate's bounty kind of bribe to lure anywhere near our property.


Two big enormous super-sized bonuses:
1) Ash LOVES his school and is so excited to start the new year next week. We couldn't be luckier to have such an amazing facility accessible mere blocks away from home.
2) We're worked out a decent schedule with two babysitters that should help us stave off daycare for Leni for a few months. We absolutely trust the daycare center we picked out for her to start full time in January, but there's nothing like knowing that she'll be in the comfort of her own home, right across the driveway from our home office, receiving one-on-one care for a few more months.


Even with those two wonderful facts on full display right there in front of me, I'm still stressed out about making sure Ash gets the attention he needs while Leni gets the nutrition she needs while my work gets the productivity they need while Daddy gets the evidence he needs to remain under the impression that he didn't marry a complete wack job. And not quite so surprisingly all of this is not helping my efforts to boycott Dunkin Donuts.

And the one tidbit that I'll continue to hold on to with every shred of strength in my soul is the knowledge that this is just a phase and these days we're in a sort of revolving door relationship with phases so I could very well wake up tomorrow and not feel the ten ton weight on my chest that threatened to bury me in the Mariana Trench this morning.

Universe, if you're listening, it's about time for a phase change.