Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Lot to Be Thankful For - 28 months

Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday in my family. My parents got married on Thanksgiving weekend, and my mother's parents also got married just a bit before Thanksgiving in 1939, which apparently was The Year With Two Thanksgivings, when Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of the month to the 4th to stimulate the economy, but some states continued with the traditional date.

It is funny to me that, in 2008 when we were actually in India over Thanksgiving, we didn't even really think about missing our big holiday -- our heads were too swamped with thinking about the huge decision we were making, and worrying about all the potential implications. After three of the most stressful days of our lives, we had left Mumbai to fly to a yoga center in Goa for some theoretical relaxation, but who could relax? Surrogacy in India was a big unknown; we were one of the first western clients of our clinic, and there was a lot of anxiety on our part about whether we were ready to be parents. In hindsight, so laughable, because we can't imagine life without our little Micah, but at the time, it required a lot of deliberation, up until the moment when it was too late to change our minds.

Of course, that Thanksgiving will be remembered around the world as "India's 9/11," the day of the Mumbai terrorist attack. Oblivious and off the grid, we didn't learn of the attacks until Friday, after both of our families spent their entire holiday worrying about us. Even after we came back, we didn't really get what all the fuss had been about, because we knew we were safely hundreds of miles from Mumbai.

Still, we came back from Mumbai with the greatest memento of all, and especially at Thanksgiving, we remember all that we have to be grateful for. This year, our family gatherings extended for an entire week as we celebrated my parents' golden anniversary and stored up as much time as we could with my sisters, one of whom is moving with her family half-way around the world for a few years. What a busy week we had!! A pizza party/family talent show on Monday, hosted my visiting sister's family for dinner on Tuesday, went out to a fancy restaurant with 5 children under the age of 8 on Wednesday, hosted Thanksgiving for 21 people on Thursday, family photos and an anniversary party for my parents on Friday, and a cousin's bar mitzvah on Sat! And on Sunday, we collapsed! Micah was a trouper throughout the week, and just loved being treated like a "big boy" with his 4 older cousins,. They were so cute together, especially how they all sat around Micah's train table for Thanksgiving dinner while the grown-ups dined in relative calm in a separate room. I miss having a baby, but at times like this, it is bliss having a (slightly) more self-sufficient little boy.

Micah's verbal skills seemed to really explode by spending the week with his cousins, and he's so excited that he can formulate questions better and explain what's on his mind. "Was dat" is still his favorite question, and now when he describes something, he can often use two adjectives and noun, and create more complicated sentences. My favorite recently was when he wheeled his play shopping cart in to show me, announcing: "look, my na-na (his favorite blanket) cover up my paci." All his favorite things in one sentence! My least favorite element of verbalization came during a quick trip to Target, where he was confused by a (female) employee's appearance and loudly shoulded "Was dat monkey-boy?" Oooh, the first of many times to have to cringe at your child's candid observations (we made sure to go up and introduce ourselves to the woman.)

He loves playing his "air guitar" (a stringless toy guitar) and will command us to "play band" with him, dragging other toy instruments in to wherever we're sitting and motioning to demonstrate how to play them. He loves ordering us where to sit, and whether we're allowed to sing or not. His energy is amazing, and he'll jump up and down for 30 minutes at a time while playing his air guitar and performing his special versions of The Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle, 5 Little Ducks, and a few songs we don't recognize. Youtube is still his very special addiction; we don't ever let him watch TV but after only one lapse over the weekend, he walked into the living room the next day and demanded "watch TV!" Bad boob tube!

He still loves playing "catch me if you can" at bedtime, and getting him to lie down and go to sleep has become a ordeal of closing the door and holding it shut until we think he's asleep, followed by 30 minutes of him leaving his room only to be sternly shoo'd back in. It is hard because he's usually very proud of himself and cheerful when he re-appears from his bedroom, and I usually have to be the meanie who marches him back to bed.
So much to be thankful for!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween.... Dat's Funny!

This month, Micah's favorite expression is "Dat's Funny!", often used after being turned upside down, seeing a funny picture in a book, or doing something that we think isn't quite so funny, like spilling an entire bowl of soup on our glass table or running around the house naked to avoid having his nose wiped. We love seeing Micah's emerging sense of humor and fun, although it has gotten a lot more physically demanding to keep up with him! Sometimes it takes two of us -- and all of our patience plus some we didn't know we had -- to get him dressed in the morning. And there have been some...... moments, let's say. A few days ago, Adam and I were catching up at the end of the day while Micah occupied himself, and we soon discovered that his occupation had been drawing on the walls, with permanent marker! His "Dat's funny" quickly turned into repeating to himself "Daddy mad. Only wite paper" while we struggled between mad and the desire to laugh. We've left the walls marked up for a little while, so we can reiterate "only wite paper."
His newfound independence has also happened at bedtime, too.... our formerly easy bedtime turned into a supernanny-style showdown for a few days, with a few dozen trips out of bed, being carried back each time with the words "Its bedtime, goodnight." Finally, Adam discovered an easier option: if we just hold the door shut for a minute or two, Micah will give up trying to get out and go to sleep. Unfortunately, we can't do this trick in the middle of the night, when we've had a barefoot little boy show up in our bedroom at 2 or 3 am. Because no one gets much sleep if he stays in our bed, one of us will have to carry him back to his room each time, but he pops back in by 5:30 or 6. What a good little alarm clock!
We had plenty of halloween fun this weekend, and a little bit more planned for tonight. I asked Micah what he wanted to be for Halloween thinking he had absolutely no clue what Halloween is or entailed, but I got him the giraffe (his favorite animal) he requested. Then I was surprised each time some well-meaning adult asked him what he was going to be, and he confidently replied "elmo." Oh well, too late to send back the giraffe costume, and it did get a lot of compliments!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gears and Guitars

Lucky for Micah, our next-door-neighbor not only meticulously polishes the inside and outside of his mint-condition 1965 Mustang frequently, but he also indulges Micah by letting him sit in the "wace caw." Micah can hear the engine revving from inside our house and stops whatever activity he's engaged in (or not, see "dinnertime" below) to go take a look. He still loves to identify all forms of transportation, and any car ride with Micah is a running commentary of what types of trucks, busses, and other vehicles he sees out of the window. Even from inside the house, he can identify the different sounds of helicopters, airplans, motorcycles, and lawn mowers, and if he hears an ambulance or fire truck, he wants to go see it. He's also loving his brand new electric toothbrush, and reminds us every day when it is time for his "noisebrush" (come to think of it, it is used more for making noise than brushing teeth at this stage, so perhaps it is a better name!)

Micah looooooves music, so we recently bought him this cheapo plastic guitar, which has become his prize possession despite the fact that it quickly lost two strings. I bought him a much sturdier little harp that has actual metal strings and makes actual pleasing sounds, but so far, he's less interested in that. Whenever we go somewhere with live music, Micah is happy to just sit and watch the instruments for a long time. Music lessons are definitely in our future!

I don't think we've ever used the term "milk mustache" with him, but that's what he told us after he drank Daddy's post-exercise protein shake. We're happy to sneak in extra calories wherever we can, because our boy is lean like daddy and not very interested in dinnertime. We've found we're more successful at getting him to eat if we let him away from the table and then periodically entice him to have a bite when he runs by us. Not a method of eating that will win us any best parenting discipline awards, but for a wiggly little boy, perhaps the best way of getting calories in. He will still eat almost anything, but if it is red in color or unfamiliar to him, he'll ask "spicy?" to make sure it isn't. He loves nuts and dried fruit, and knows where to find it in the cabinet, but his favorite snack is a bowl of "ce-re-er-re-er-real."

Our annual local pumpkin fest. It was very hot and he still doesn't understand the idea of posing for a picture, so this was the best I got. My little boy is so patient and gentle. He put up with several photo sessions, and let Mommy and Grandma drag him all around the park, before finally asking, just as we were considering leaving, "Micah turn horsies?" We thought he hadn't realized that the horse-drawn carriages circling the park were an optional attraction; turns out he was just waiting for us to figure out that a ride was his rightful reward for posing for pictures!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

25-26 Months

The month of August was a bit of a hot, crazy blur, between a camping trip, a family reunion in California, and bedbugs. Micah grew up so much in the month since his birthday. He's slowly graduating from two-word phrases with an implied verb or noun, but not both, to recognizable sentences. He got a puzzle game that requires matching up pairs of related objects, and went from having no capability at all to being able to make quite a few pairs before getting bored. He became a willful toddler where he was once a docile boy, and he started to ask for food treats and to be taken to a "grey-gound". While there have been occasional exasperating toddler moments (sometimes whole hours or afternoons!) he's still mostly a very sweet, easy-going boy who can be gentle or silly or watchful, but hardly ever naughty (and when he is naughty, he immediately suggests, "time out?")

Moving from a back-ward facing carseat to forward-facing gave him a new sense of being with us in the car, with more interaction and conversations. Many verses of "the wheels on the bus" have been demanded, and we talk about the construction equipment, trucks, and other things we see from the window.

On our trip to California, he spent some time with his aunts, cousins, and grandparents, and now he understands that they are part of his family even though he doesn't see them often. He's learning that not everything goes his way, and he's learning (slowly) that he can't hit or bite when that happens. He loves to tell us what to do now, and will pick up my purse and drag it over to me when he wants to leave the house, pointing to the crook of his elbow and telling me "suitcase wight here" to indicate where it should go, or tell his daddy, "Daddy, floor trains" when he wants daddy to get off the couch and play with his choo-choos. He's become very interested in music, and really enjoyed the "instrument petting zoo" at a local fair, where musicians let him get very close to and watch them play instruments. We now try to play more classical and jazz music for him, and show him Youtube videos of different instruments (he asks "Wheels on Bus on co-peuw-da?").
We've been indulging his interest in transportation by taking him on a real train ride up in the mountains on a historic train. It was fun and exciting, but because it was a bit too long for a toddler to be confined to a seat, pretty physically exhausting for mommy and daddy who had to wrestle to keep a wiggly toddler from falling out the window or running on a moving train. We also stopped by a fire station one day last week and the firemen were so nice; they all got up from their dinner and proudly showed off the firetruck, letting a very happy little boy "drive" the firetruck and offering to take a very happy big boy (Adam) on a "ride along" for a day. I'm very happy that his interest in transportation is also mixed with a healthy dose of caution: when we're taking out and about and he hears a car, he'll remind us, "car coming" and grab a hand or shrink back, even if he's safely on a sidewalk or driveway.
All in all, we're having a lot of fun with Micah's new ability to comprehend and interact with the world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

From 1 to 2 In Review

On a happier note, I'm pleased to share this chronicle of Micah's 2nd year. Once again, made using Scrapbookmax software and many products from www.thedigichick.com and published in hardback using www.shutterfly.com.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Thunk postscript

It was lucky Micah fell out of bed; in changing the mattress over to the car bed, we realized that he had somehow acquired a million fellow bedmates: bedbugs! Yikes! The last few weeks have been upsetting, difficult, and expensive as we try to get rid of them. Nothing makes you feel quite so terrible as a parent as seeing your child covered with signs that he's been nibbled on in his sleep for weeks.
So that you, my loyal readers, can reap the benefit (and hopefully avoid some of the cost) of getting rid of the critters, here are some of the lessons I've learned so far:
1) Accept no hand-me-downs or yard sale purchases that cannot be washed in the clothes or dishwasher. We think ours arrived in some plastic truck toys given to us by a neighbor (who later told us that they had bedbugs.) Bedbugs die at around 120 degrees F, so tossing things in the dryer on the hottest setting or the dishwasher will kill them, but with thick things like stuffed animals, it is hard to know whether they've reached the right heat inside.
2) Wash everything that comes into your house right away.
3) When arriving home after travelling, wash everything that's been in a hotel room right away.
4) If you do acquire bedbugs, don't go for the most expensive remedy right away. We had an exterminator come in and perform the less-invasive treatment of steam-cleaning one room. We had to take everything out of the room and wash it (a good opportunity for giving away a lot of his outgrown clothes and toys). The more expensive option would have been to bring in generators and fans to heat the ENTIRE HOUSE to 160 degrees..... costs about $1/square foot, at least in our part of the world.
5) Don't assume that one treatment solves the problem. We bought new mattresses and a new bed (threw away the car bed; it was either infested before we got it or got very infested in just a day with us), and new changing pad. However, the next day, we found a well-fed bedbug on the plastic-encased mattress, so we moved Micah out of the room and set up a full booby-trap situation.... heavy-duty chemicals and a carbon-dioxide "lure" to draw out all the remaining baby bed bugs. We've had that set-up for about a week and still are drawing a few babies out of hiding, so can't let Micah back into the room yet. I'm not sure when we'll be able to declare "mission accomplished," but I don't want to do so prematurely.
6) Don't buy expensive products when inexpensive ones will do the job. We bought a $75 "bed bug beacon" (instead of paying the exterminator $100 to rent his detector) only to discover that the active chemical ingredients are sugar and yeast. D'oh! An adequate bed bug lure can be built using common household items for about $10......
We have had some fun adventures while dealing with this unpleasantness, so my next post will be back to our usual happy family fun.

Monday, August 8, 2011


pimp my baby.....
Vrooommmm! Daddy's "my-come" going for a ride in the garage. Yes, that is a naked boy on the motorcycle....nothing comes between me and my "mycome! "

That loud THUnk you heard on Sunday afternoon? That my friend was the sound of the future being ushered in by our son. We had just settled down after a hot and sweaty bike ride -- Micah for a nap, and Adam and me for a nice quiet lunch. A quiet that was disturbed by the aforementioned Thunk. We instantly knew what it was, even as we were racing to his room, even as we were thinking to ourselves "but he's never tried to climb out of his crib before." The crying we heard when we got to his room proved what we already knew.... he had somehow climbed out of his crib and landed on the floor.

What could have caused him to do that? He actually seemed to be mostly asleep even through his tears. Was he dreaming of his successful climb of the monkey bars at our local playground only a week ago? Was he dreaming of trying to get into the front seat of the car to pretend to drive? Sure, there have been other "big boy" signs that we've gotten recently..... in fact, earlier that day I had purchased the next biggest sized diapers for him and, strolling through the baby aisle, realized that we wouldn't be needing anything from that section (except for diapers) any more. And he's started to demand a big fork when he sits in a big chair at the dining table -- not even a salad fork will do. Regardless, I thought I had a few more months to enjoy the safety and peace of mind of the crib. But that was all left behind by that loud Thunk. If he could do it once, even in his sleep, he could do it again. No sooner were the tears dried than we started planning a trip to our brand-spanking new Ikea to buy a big boy bed.

But even that plan was put into fast motion. Later that day, on our way to go out to dinner, Adam excitedly pulled a U-turn, exclaiming "Look, a car bed!" Silly me, I thought he was directing my attention to some flatbed truck.....no, it was a bed in the shape of a car, bound to delight a transportation-crazy little boy (and his daddy). And for $10, the bed was ours, and the crib dismanted before the day was done. Micah actually did a big ol' happy dance when it arrived in his room -- I thought that was just a figure of speech, but now I know it is something that 2 year olds actually do (along with melting spaghetti imitations, but that's a story for another day.)

I hope that its a long time before he has a pretty blond in his bed again!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The wheels on the bus...

The wheels on the bus go round and round and round and round and round. Wheels of all kinds, but busses in particular, are an obsession at our house these days. One of Micah's favorite passtimes is to sing the wheels on the bus song, and call out the names of members of our family for me to sing their special verse (the grandma on the bus says 'have a cookie' is one that Micah likes to sing himself; Adam objected that his verse, "the daddy on the bus says 'sit right down'" was too scolding so we changed it to "the daddy on the bus says 'look around!'"). Going to see the school bus parked outside of daycare is still an everyday event, and if we don't walk to see it, we have to drive by it and wave goodbye. Micah's first full sentence, "Aunt Jamie, look! Wheels!" was also transportation-oriented, and his obsession while we were camping last weekend was to climb into daddy's car and sit in the driver's seat. Dangerous, since he also knows where the key goes into the ignition!

He's beginning to know the specialized names of lots of different kinds of trucks, including fire truck and garbage truck, and I had a heart-to-heart conversation with him the other day in which I made him promise to always use the term "gumpda" to refer to dump trucks. He'll pull out books from his bookshelf just so he can look at a single page that has a picture of a bus or a truck on it.

Yup, he's a boy all right. We think he's a pretty smart boy, for sure. The other day, standing in front of a vending machine, he pushed the button and, when nothing happened, asked me "money?" I'm 100% positive he's never seen either of us use a vending machine, so I don't know how he knew it required money. When I told him I didn't have any, he suggested the next logical step: "ganma" -- ask grandma for money!!

Another sign that he's becoming a boy: he's learning how to razz his Daddy by implying that he has lady parts, and being fascinated with watching water come out of his "peenie". And so it begins!

This weekend we had an early birthday party for Micah (Adam was originally slated to be out of town during Micah's actual birthday weekend in two weeks.) We camped out at a local campground, and invited family and neighbors to come there for an evening cookout. It was a lot of fun, though I'm not sure the birthday boy realized it was all on his behalf .... until the bus cake was brought out and the birthday song began. He asked us to sing "hah birdy" several times, which we happily did. A weekend of good food, sun, waterplay, and sleeping in the camper was a great way to celebrate our special little boy who has brought so much sunshine into our lives.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Days Flying

The days are long but the years are short.... how many times pre-kids did you hear someone say some variation of that line and scoff at what must surely be an exaggeration. But it becomes very true when you have a child. In fact, I was just recently "chatting" by e-mail with a fellow Indian surrogacy mommy ho just brought home her son and trying to remember how long it took Micah to sleep through the night and how we did it.... realized that it seems so long ago, when at the time it seemed to stretch on forever.

Our lives have been busy for the last few weeks. I was in Boston, then Adam was in Phoenix, then Micah and I few to Phoenix for a visit with some family and friends.... then I was back in Boston, and most recently we had houseguests last weekend and will again this weekend! All so good! Highlights include:

  • A surprise stop on the "surrogacy world tour" when we started talking to a male couple in our hotel in Phoenix and discovered that their 6-month old doctor was born in Delhi! We look forward to connecting with them again when we visit Southern Cal at the end of the summer.

  • Spending time with Micah's grandpa and nana, and introducing him to his Aunt Tracy

  • Visiting with some dear friends in Tucson, who were entertained when Micah decided to strip to his diapers while we enjoyed a lovely alfresco dinner out.

  • Micah's thorough enjoyment of airplane and bus travel on the trip. He must have announced "Aih-pane!" 300 times en route!

  • Regular family bike rides after dinner, and often Adam and Micah commute to daycare via bike.

  • Watching Micah play with our visiting friends' 4-year-old -- lots of hugs, learning to share toys between these 2 only children, and splashing in the bath together

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gone baby gone

I was startled to realize today as Micah and I had dinner that about 90% of what comes out of mouth is recognizable (at least by me) words. No more baby babble! Wah, I'm the one crying, as I thought the babble was pretty cute.

Now, I'm not saying that we're over here having a Great Books discussion. Most of the conversation goes like this:

Micah: Guck!

Me: Oh, you want to go see the truck. Yes, let's go walk up the street to see it.

Micah: Guck! Noise!

Me: Yes, the truck was making a lot of noise this morning.

Micah: Man

Me: There was a man driving that noisy truck, wasn't there.

Micah: Guck! (getting distracted while we're walking) Circle.

Me: Oh, look what you found! A (disgusting piece of plastic trash) circle!

Micah: Circle. (showing me) Circle, etc.

He's also started stringing 2 words together, as in Daddy car, Mommy eye. This is the result of a good idea that Adam had a few months ago to distinguish between things that are Micah's and things that are someone else's. I highly recommend making this distinction as soon as your child starts talking.

Lots of things are starting to click all at once. He's gotten the concept (but not the specifics) of counting, and will count up to 6 with a little prodding and a lot of hints. He is totally obsessed with Daddy's me-come (motorcycle), a new addition to our household that currently sits, unregistered, in our garage. He also loves to pretend to talk on the toy phone, and will say "hi grandma," but if you get him to talk on a regular phone (such as I was trying to get him to do while I was away recently), you get a confused expression. He insists on going to visit the schoolbus parked at his daycare every day, and woe betide me if I try to get him into the car before we walk down the block and peer into the bus window and name all the parts. This afternoon, I transitioned him away from the bus by singing "the wheels on the bus" song as I've done several times in the past, but this time I heard him singing it in the back seat (without any words) on the way home.

We're off on another adventure this weekend -- Micah and I are flying to meet Adam in Arizona and visit with some family and friends. A few people I've mentioned this to have asked if this is Micah's first plane trip, and i just laugh! First time travelling with just one parent, though, should be interesting. At least it is a very short flight!

Friday, April 29, 2011

America's Most Wanted Babies

The week of April 25th saw the birth of three of America's most wanted babies, at least in my little world. First off was a dear friend who spent a long time trying to get pregnant, and who I was urging to look into surrogacy. I even introduced her to some members of our surrogacy "alumni" society, and wouldn't you know, she found out that her last ditch, last embryo IVF procedure had been successful just a week or so later. At the same time as I was talking to my friend about going to India, I was contacted out of the blue by a woman in California whose husband had met my cousin's husband and discussed their struggles to have a baby; my cousin's husband gave them my name, I talked to the wife, and they dropped everything and jetted off to Delhi for a quick trip that resulted in a baby boy in the middle of last week. And finally, the week ended with the birth of a sweet little girl to a friend of mine from Boston who decided, after years of looking for the right man, to fulfill her dream of a child while she could. All these babies are so wanted and treasured, and I'm thrilled to have witnessed the parents' dreams come true. Again I realize how lucky we are to live in at a time when medicine, technology, and societal norms have come together to make it possible for those of us who lack perfect "equipment" to achieve our dreams.

Back in my immediate world, I was away for 5 days for business, and came home to what felt like a smarter, more clearly communicating, exceptionally sweet little boy. Some developments over the last month:

  • On several mornings, Micah's crib held a naked little boy who figured out how to strip off his PJs (and one day, his diaper) before we arrived.

  • He's mastering the art of stacking things into "towers" very patiently.

  • He now loves slides and has started to climb playground equipment more confidently -- does everything more confidently, in fact.

  • He loves to hold hands and walk down the block (sometimes making me "march"), and knows which houses the other kids on the block live in.

  • He loves to "help" daddy with yard work especially if it involves a shovel or stick.

  • He missed his chance to fulfill the role of the youngest child at Passover because, a minute after I changed him into his dress clothes before dinner, he promptly vomited 3 times and went to bed before the seder. Performance anxiety? Or an after-effect of swallowing a fairly sizable rock the day before that passed smoothly into his diaper?

  • He still says "bye-bye" to inanimate objects.

  • He switched from calling my mother "maga" to "grandma" overnight.

  • He now calls the pacifier "paci" and it is even more indispensible.

  • The question "Was dat?" has returned, and he will repeat new words that interest him.

  • He's been scolded at daycare for throwing food and biting other children .

  • He loves peering under the couch to find our scardy-cat cats, and knows their names.

  • He still has an outie belly button that's clearly not going away on its own.

  • He loves looking a photos, and can name relatives he's only met a few times and identify pictures of mommy and daddy from the days when they were much younger-looking. He also identifies himself as "Mah-kah."

  • He loves "this little piggy", getting tickled and nuzzled, and getting chased around the circular path through our living room and kitchen.

  • Just today, he brought two stuffed monkeys that were in his crib to breakfast, and tried to give them his pacifier and feed them some of his breakfast. How cute is that?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

20 @ 20

At 20 months, you are:

  1. Obsessed with shovels. You notice them everywhere, even calling your spoon a "shi-va," and want to spend every minute in the backyard dragging one of our big sharp tools around.

  2. The only thing you like as much as shovels is sticks. Expecially waving them around the house.

  3. Ask for "boots" as soon as you wake up in the morning. (that's books, not footwear.)

  4. Will eat brussel sprouts, bean sprouts, asparagus, and any other veggie, often before other toddler-friendly food.

  5. But meatloaf is your favorite dinner. Just like your daddy.

  6. Still lay down and go to sleep as soon as we put you in your crib. And we're still amazed, each and every time.

  7. Ask to go "ou-dide" at 7 am every morning.

  8. Were amazed when we went out one morning this week into a short-lasting snowstorm. You learned the words "snow" and "crow" that morning.

  9. As soon as the word "school" is mentioned, you ask about your favorite buddy, "Ally."

  10. Are happy to be dropped off at school, particularly if you get first dibs on the schoolbus toy in your room.

  11. Have started singing the Twinkle Twinkle with mostly nonsense words and a few syllables of recognizable words.

  12. Know the shapes for hearts and stars and can say the words. Circles and squares, not as interesting.

  13. Got a new trike from a neighbor and love to be pushed around on it (pedeling can wait, it seems.)

  14. Love getting horseback rides from daddy, and giggle uproariously, but get jealous if mommy tries to get in on the action.

  15. Will politely tell us "all done" and hand us every item on your plate as soon as you decide the meal is over.

  16. Know how to ask "pssss" for something you really want, but get frustrated if we don't know exactly what that is.

  17. Immediately answer "no" to any question we ask you, as if you've given the matter great thought.

  18. Love to have Grandma visit and give her a big hug. You'll occassionally give kisses on request too.

  19. Imitate us frequently, like when we wink at you and you try to wink back.

  20. Make us laugh and smile and glow with pride every single day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One more hassle

I thought I was done with nearly every legal and religious hoop that needed to be jumped through for Micah. Indian birthcertificate, check. US passport, check. Exit visa, check. Circumsion and conversion, check and check (or should I say, slice and check.) Adoption decree, big check (and yes, it required a big check.) Then we sat back, patiently waiting for our state to figure out how to issue a new birth certificate..... and waited..... they contacted the State Department to ask for a new Coninsular Report of Birth Abroad.... and waited. Finally, today our lawyer sent me a letter from the State Department asking for certified copies of my birth certificate, marriage certificate, adoption decree, and a notorized request for an amendment to the birth certificate.... what a pain. Adam wonders why I care so much, but I know (from this request if nothing else) that there are many occasions in life when you need to show your birth certificate, and I want Micah's to reflect the correct information. I just feel bad that each time he needs a copy of his birth certificate, he's going to have to request it from the State Department. What a pain they are to deal with!

Monday, March 7, 2011

19 months/Mexican sunsets

We're back from our Mexican excursion, safe, sandy, and (only me) sunburned. Bliss. Back in the day (say, less than 2 years ago), a good vacation for me and Adam involved daily hikes or water activities and covering as much ground as possible. But we've quickly realized that with a toddler, less is sometimes more, so we found ourselves a simple house right on the beach and parked ourselves there for a week, venturing away from our little village only to find an ATM mid-week to support the local, cash-only merchants.

It was amazing to watch Micah thrive on this week of being a "free-range" kid! Right before the trip, he had learned a new word, "happy," to tell us when things were A-OK by him, and he used it frequently on the trip. He also used a new command, "Ow-dide," barked with increasing intensity to tell us when he wanted us to take him outside (it was rather funny that he usually issued this command from the open-air living room/kitchen or balcony of our rental house!) Although it was somewhat tedious for us to chase after him as he toddled down the nearby beach access road to visit the stray cats and merchants, it was wonderful to see his self confidence and curiosity. And although somewhat embarassing for us, it was also quite funny to see him walk up to strangers in restaurants and on the beach and try to play with their beach toys or eat their dinners!

Another new word used frequently on this trip was "wow" -- used when seeing something spectacular, like the ocean for the first time, or a beautiful sunset. Folks, there is no better reason to become a parent than to hear the joy and wonder of a child saying "wow" in that way. It is so interesting as a vocabulary word, too, so different from the much more frequent pointing to things and naming them: birdie, woof, guck. This one says "I am having an experience and I want to make sure you understand it." A parallel development: learning to arrange the face into a fake expression. One of the books we brought along on this trip shows a woman with a surprised expression -- big eyes and mouth in a large O. By the end of the week, Micah was frequently making this expression, sometimes appropriately but mostly because it got a laugh from us.

We also observed a new fascination with motor vehicles, including "heh-co-co" (helicopters, or what you and I know as airplanes), and any non-car vehicle, all falling into a category he calls "guck", or truck. Adam made the mistake of letting Micah sit in the driver's seat of our rental car while we did the paperwork, and he suddenly wanted to climb into the front seat every chance he could, and onto the dune buggies common in the village we were staying in.

In the last few weeks, we've also seen him increase his ability to really play imaginatively -- he picked up sticks several times and called them "heh-co-co" because they looked somewhat airplane-like. He was firmly attached to his "sh-sh" (shovel) and rake that we bought to play with on the beach, and if he had assigned you to the rake, he would give it back to you every time you stopped raking the sand. And Adam and I got to participate in more rounds of "ring around the rosy" than either of us has in many a year. Micah was really interested in other kids on the beach -- watching the big boys play ball, and joining other kids who were digging away to "help" them with their sand castles. He was also eager to hug and love every dog that came his way, and we were luckily that this village has a lot of very friendly dogs!

All in all, he was an easy-going travel companion, with the exception of about half of each 3 hour plane trip and a few nights at dinner where we kept him out past his bedtime. He slept each night in a little tent (Adam described it as a kennel) without any difficulty after the first time, ate nearly everything he tried (except for some spicy salsa that we accidentally put on a drumstick), and bravely faced the teeny-tiny little ocean waves (though he really didn't get the concept of playing in the water.)

All in all, while it was certainly exhausting for us in a completely different way than our past vacations, we're so glad that we were able to spend such quality time relaxing with Micah and watching him grow... and heck, I was even able to finish half of a long novel, something I rarely accomplished on previous trips with Adam!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Amost ready

The grandparents are worried about crazy drug cartel kidnappers; I'm worried about packing enough kid equipment and making sure we have everything lined up on the home front while we're gone; Adam's worried about..... well, he's not worried about anything, he shows up on the trips I plan and creates adventures for us (oh, and cleans manaically before we go). Micah's in his crib dreaming of eating sand and how much fun he's going to have escaping from his peapod tent, which arrived today. He's a good sleeper, but has never slept outside of a crib or pack-and-play and I'm afraid he's going to enjoy his freedom too much. But have na-na, will travel. I love it when people at the airport see his passport and marvel at how a toddler has a passport.... little do they know he was born with a passport!

One more day of stress trying to get everything done at work and then at home, and then we're off! Are there any Indian surrogacy babies we can visit on the Pacific coasst of Mexico? Speaking of, I checked in with a new friend in California today... she heard about Micah's story when her husband had some medical treatment with my cousin's husband. We talked on the phone and e-mailed a few times over the summer, and poof, she was off to India and is expecting a baby in May! I feel so happy when I'm able to help someone else achieve their dream of parenthood that they didn't think possible. Can't wait to visit them in SoCal at some point; another notch in my Surrogacy around the world trip!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another plug for CSN stores

... silly me, I never took advantage of the benefits I received about blogging about the huge online CSN stores. They have stores for everything, including backyard swing sets, This time, I'm planning to check out the Kidco PeaPod Travel Tent -- a much lighter alternative to taking a Pack 'n Play on an airplane with us. Airplane, you ask? Yes, we're getting ready for a family beach vacation in Mexico -- Micah's second trip abroad, not counting his birth -- where we could use it for his sleeping and any potential naps on the beach. We have a few other trips other planned for the next few months, and I think the PeaPod Tent will be useful in our camper over the summer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Busy boy

I think we're finally out of the winter doldrums here.... poor unreasonable little boy had an ear infection last week which is finally better, and Adam caught Micah's cold and nursed it far longer, as we adults usually do. With everyone finally better, and with the construction project in our house finally wrapped up, we were ready for some fun this weekend. In one tiring day, we took Micah sledding for an hour, and then after his nap, I took Micah and his 5 year old cousin to our Children's museum. I now have the utmost respect for parents of 2 children -- it was an exhausting two hours trying to keep my eyes on two children at once! Later that evening, Micah and Adam kicked it watching the Superbowl together.

Adam's Superbowl party, hangin' with the boys....Micah and his cousin Ben.

Sledding... Micah wasn't too sure he enjoyed it.

Adam trying to catch big air.

Micah's new favorite toy... looks like he's doing some geneology research there.
Micah just hit the 18-month mark. He's still tracking along his growth curve, at about 10th percentile for weight, 40th percentile for height (poor boy has the wrong genes for height.) His eyes are still blue, but with more of a greenish tint, so he'll have no trouble with the girls (or boys...whatever!) Of course, Mommy still thinks he's very smart. He loves trying out new words -- my favorite right now is "hay-co-co" for helicopter -- and every night grabs my hand and insists on "boots," leading me to his room to sit in my lap and read books. He loves any technology, and has learned how to crash computers and pick up any telephone-shaped object to say "hiya" . He loves his daycare, and at the end of the day he loves to go into every empty classroom and say "bye" to everyone. He's still a good eater, saying "apple" to signify that he's hungry (or that he actually wants an apple!) and he'll eat most foods that we eat. He loves to have music playing and to dance with us; to get horseback rides from mommy and daddy; to splash in the bath; and to snuggle up with his "na-na" and pacifier at the end of the day. Other new tricks: learning to wink, asking "peasssss" when he really wants something, sitting in a grown-up chair to eat. We seem to spend most of our time just watching him in amazement and grinning in pride at what a little person he's becoming!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm trying to figure out why they call this stage "toddler." Yes, toddling is a characteristic of an 18-24 month old, but a far more pervasive characteristic is unreasonableness.... I think they should be called unreasonablers. But I guess that would be bad marketing. Anyway, my own particular unreasonabler is still a pretty nice boy to have around. We're just mystified, though, about the fact that suddenly, 2 weeks ago, he woke up one morning severely attached to the soft, snuggly blanket that's been in his crib for months, and demanded to drag it with him throughout the house. It even suddenly acquired a name, na-na. Some days we can pursuade him that na-na has to stay in his crib (with his pacifier), but other days it must come with him. And for the last two nights, he's wanted it snuggled next to him in his high chair, which is not the best place for it, especially when dinner is spaghetti and meat balls! My little unreasonabler really wanted to bring na-na in the bath with him, but I drew the line at that, which meant that tonight's bathtime was extremely short and tearful. Both Adam and I had blankies when we were little, so I suppose we can't object to this new phase, but I'm going to try to disallow na-na from leaving the house, both to keep it from getting too dirty and from getting lost. We'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Batten down the hatches!

No drawer or cabinet is safe anymore, including the fridge door! No stick shall remain un-swung! No step-stool shall remain in its appointed corner (tho' he hasn't figured out the idea of using it to climb, I'm sure that isn't far away.) No book shall remain on its shelf, and no forkful of food shall remain un-flung. No catfood shall remain it its bowl. No command to "Walk" shall be ignored. The favorite blanket shall not remain in the crib, but shall be dragged around the house (through the aforementioned flung food) and given a name: na-na (same as he calls bananas.)

Houston, we have a toddler!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I am so happy that the new year has started off with happy news in blogland, with a sac for Kerry and Mark, a baby on the way for a friend of mine who's tried for a long time, and everyone else's babies thriving and doing fun new stuff. Here in Denver, Micah hit the 17 month mark last week and has been full of fun lately. I took my first "staycation" (unless you count my maternity leave that I had to use vacation time for!), and we spent the week doing fun family activities with my sisters, nieces and nephews. No Christmas for us, but we were lucky to spend the weekend in the snowy mountains, seeing fireworks on a ski slope, eating bad chinese food, and taking Micah out in the snow. He went on an 8 mile snowshoe trek with Daddy and did great, despite falling out of the backpack due to a wardrobe malfunction -- the snow was deep and fluffy, and he was unphased (what a trooper!)

His spent a lot of time with his four cousins, who range in age from 4.5 to 7.5 and who all wanted to love him to death, but he pretty much did his own thing: exploring, riding the life-sized stuffed collie at Grandma and Grandpa's, tucking in for a full meal when the other kids were done in 30 seconds. Other highlights of our staycation were a trip to see the special holiday light display at our zoo, a New Year's Eve party that ended at 7 pm local time (mommy was asleep by 9), a fancy tea outing with my nieces, mom, and sisters, and a bedlam-like photo shoot with all the cousins.

Micah's new cute tricks include reaching out to hold mommy or daddy's hand and commanding "Walk," getting most of the food from a bowl to mouth via a spoon, pulling books off a shelf and backing up into the waiting adult's lap (though he often looks at one page and wants another book), learning to point to eyes, nose, mouth, hair, and belly on cue (tho' he calls everything on the face "ays"), giggling hilariously to "this little piggy" (and repeating "weee weee weee" to himself at random times), bopping along to music whenever he hears it with the request to "dance."

Not so cute tricks include banging on our antique glass display case when he wants attention and thinking it is a game when we sternly say "no" and chase him away, frequent love bites on mommy or daddy (note: don't pretend to nibble on your adorable infant, for he will surely gnaw on you in return when he has teeth), wanting to dip his hands and feet in the cats' food and water at every opportunity, and literally melting down onto the floor when he wants something we don't understand. Toddlerhood, nous sommes ici!