Sunday, December 16, 2012

This dreidel has dropped!

It has been a busy and fun 8 nights of hanukkah around here, and this little dreidel is glad the spinning has stopped!  In 9 days, we packed in two birthday parties, 1 large family party at grandma's house, a party at Micah's daycare where I did a little show-and-tell about hanukkah with another mom, 4 nights of entertaining and making latkes for friends at our house, including a spontaneous party for 10, an evening of dreidel-playing, an afternoon at the botanic gardens, and a daytrip an hour south for a little hike.  Whew!

There were presents galore --hanukkah been berry berry good to Micah. Early on, I realized that there were too many presents, and so half of the things I bought are getting either saved for later or returned.Tonight, I realized with great pleasure that despite all of the new toys in the house, Micah was happily playing with a salad spinner and a shoe. He has loved the books he's gotten, the playmobil figurines, a simple slinky.... It was great fun last night when we had 5 children ages 4 and under and they all happily playing more or less together with the playmobil animals and people.

I think we successfully created a lot of happy moments with hanukkah that will be remembered, which is such an important foundation when he sees so much Christmas around him. I feel so lucky that he is growing up in a world where his holiday is recognized and discussed at school and in public -- so unlike it was during my childhood in the Jurrasic era. And while he exclaims happily when he sees a Christmas tree or santa claus in public, he already understands that they are for Christmas and we celebrate Hanukkah.
Micah continues to love books, and today in the car ride to the hike he kept himself occupied for a long time just looking at the ones we brought. One of the was an illustrated version of the song "Sunrise Sunset" and it amused me no end to here him softly intoning the words to himself. He's particularly interested in the word "swiftly" and keeps asking me what it means. Another popular book right now is an illustrated Grimms Fairy Tales. I bought it because, ever since Halloween, Micah has been asking me all sorts of questions like "What do giants do?" and "What's a troll?" and asking me to tell him stories that I barely remembered, like Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. Well, now that I've re-acquainted myself witht these stories, I can't say that I think they're very appropriate for children! For example, Rapunzel, stolen from her parents, is locked into a tower at age twelve and when a prince tries to rescue her, he is blinded and she is cast into the desert all alone. Yikes!

Recently the word "alone" has seized Micah's imagination. It started one day at dinner, when Adam got up from the table to get someothing and Micah also left the table. I called them back by telling them I was lonely. Now Micah keeps asking me on the way to school whether I will be lonely at home without him and daddy, and when I had to run a quick errand after dinner tonight, he was afraid I'd be lonely. I've been trying to tell him that there's a difference between being "lonely" and "alone," but I think this is going over his head at the moment. Probably no coincidentally, it is getting much more difficult for us to leave him with a babysitter when we want the occassional time away. Perhaps just as well; our babysitters recently raised their prices so it isn't quite as appealing as it once was, but I do wish he'd give a warmer reception to the two nice girls who have been babysitting for him periodically over the last 2 years. Even when Grandma comes over, he wants to be reassured that we're not leaving before he truly relaxes with her, and she's his favorite person in the world.

I guess this is a natural phase for toddlers, and a compliment to how secure he feels with us. We're treasuring the trusting comfort he has in us while also trying to set some firm boundaries. We realize that this sweetness and love of being with us can't last forever. I love holding his little warm hand and cuddling with him while reading, and adam loves to make him roar with laughter by threatening hin with falling in the "hot lava" of the floor, or by chasing him up the stairs. One little milestone recently passed very sadly, when I noticed that he had gone from utterly guileless to trying to hide from us when he was eating or doing something he wasn't supposed to. Oh how sad, he has learned to lie and deceive. But he is still so very sweet and transparent in his motives, and really doesn't want to do anything more than have an extra piece of candy now and again!

 Family togetherness on the first night of hanukkah
 A hanukkah carnival offered sugar galore and a face painter
 Best present of the holiday, promptly and surprisingly given the name "Pasta."
 Teaching the young 'un how to gamble
 It's a hanukkah candle, people!
 Playing with our neighbor friends.
 Garden of the Gods hike
 What, me worry?
8th night.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Words seem to be failing me

Seems that the larger and more complex Micah's vocabulary and conversation ability grows, the less I'm able to capture who he is in words.  Does that mean it is time for me to give up blogging?  Probably not yet because I find it very useful for my scrapbooking. 
He is turning into such a fun little companion, almost always cheerful, curious, and wanting to participate.  He makes us smile many times over each day.  I love having conversations with him in the car -- he always asks good questions about what he sees around us, and loves watching out for certain landmarks, like the "funny car" -- an old truck rigged up to look like a train engine parked outside a VFW post.  When I bring him a snack for the car ride home from daycare he tells me I'm a "nice mommy", and he is very affectionate with both of us.  He still has that adorable toddler speech, saying "weely" instead of "really" and "twee" instead of "tree," and it is cute to hear him trying to get out more complicated thoughts or questions.
He loves to pretend Daddy is a monster and run away from him, but also loves to get caught and have a ticklefest.  Hates when any other friend at daycare tries to talk to me -- will loudly announce "No! That's MY mommy!"  Loves doing art projects at school and home, although his art still looks mostly like scribbles, he will identify it as being something specific.  {interestingly, the girls seem far advanced of the boys in terms of creating representational art.}.  He has a new set of drawers at home for art, and recently he snuck out of bed one night after I tucked him in to nab some paper to draw on in his room -- I came up to find his bare chest covered in blue marker, but so far we haven't had any more writing on the wall incidents in this new house.
After being officially out of diapers 3 months, he's just hit a major milestone where he seems to get with the potty program.  It has been a long stretch of many loads of laundry a week until now. He just didn't really care at all, but this week it seems that a lightbulb has gone off and he understands.  We still have to watch for the tell-tale crotch grab to steer him to a bathroom when he's immersed in something else, but he has been taking himself to the bathroom pretty often too.   
October was a fun month, with pumpkin festivals and a weekend that we spent in an 1880's cabin, updated with a few electrical outlets for lights, electric blankets, and a small vcr player, but no indoor plumbing or running water.  We brought my nephew and the boys loved peeing on trees, playing with deer bones that they found lying around, and exploring the weird relics of the 1880s that made up most of the village.  For halloween, Micah inexplicably decided he wanted to be a ghost -- was it from reading Clifford's Halloween book dozens of times?  Regardless, he was a very cute ghost several times, including a party at school where his fleece costume was way too hot, and a few other outings. With Halloween, we've had a big influx of new topics to discuss, such as mummys, vampires, goblins, and witches. It has been a challenge to explain these things in ways that are appropriate for a 3 year old! And every time we cross a bridge he wants to know where the troll is.
Favorite playthings recently include a playmobil -- can't wait to see all the imaginative play that comes out of these cool toys -- and big-sized legos and blocks.  He also adores books and has progressed to books with more words in them -- loves to be read to but will occassionally "read" them himself. And his CD player in his room gets a lot of use -- he will often put on a CD to listen to at bedtime or when he's having some quiet time in his room.  Speaking of that, perhaps as an adjunct to potty learning, he seems to be outgrowing his nap, and has trouble falling asleep before nine if he's had a long afternoon nap. Looks like we'll be transitioning out of the nap soon as we'd really like him to be in bed before we are!
We're enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend now -- had 14 people for dinner yesterday, with Micah swiping the candy turkeys from the table and playing contentedly with his cousins instead of eating a real dinner, a nice day of playgrounds and leftovers today, with family movie night after dinner, and plans to go to a wildlife sanctuary tomorrow.  All in all, our family is very content right now and we feel so very luckly.
 New playmobil toys ... the house hasn't been that popular but I don't think it is because it is pink....

 Spending time at the Guffy jail with cousin Ben. A cold weekend in the 1880s!

 At an inflatable haunted house for halloween.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving with Grandma.  Micah has decided that it is grandma's "job" to tickle him under the chin, and will loudly demand that she do her job as soon as he sees her.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Micah has a new best friend, and her name is Dora.  How oh how did we create an addict? It wasn't so long ago that Micah's TV viewing was limited to the occasional glance. He came home from daycare and played with blocks or trains, or "helped" me cook. But somehow, in the last few months, Dora has crept in slowly and steadily, first earning her place because she offered a few words of Spanish, and then serving as a convenient transition time from daycare to dinner. But suddenly, she's become an obsession, to the extent that there are tears, kicking, and screaming occurs when we turn it off.

And turn her off we do.  Because really, Dora has very little redeeming value. Yes, she speaks Spanish occasionally, and yes she does teach some navigation skills and nature/cultural facts. But when I see the trance my son goes into when she is on, I know that can't be good.

We even had a little incident where Micah sulkily told us "Your not my mommy" and "you're not my daddy," after we turned Dora off for dinnertime.  I'm pretty sure it isn't in the good parenting manual, but we had to have a little discussion of shipping him back to India and what we would do with the $$ we spend on daycare each month.

And Dora is also not helping our potty training efforts.  Due to the aforementioned trance, there have been way more accidents at home than we'd like {daycare is mostly accident-free these days.}

Thoughts and suggestions on how to cut the TV obsession without throwing the box out the window?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Three last month.... a little medium boy

I can't believe that it has been over a month since Micah's big birthday bash.  At three, he is finally starting to understand that his birthday is his special day, and this year it lasted an entire week.  We held his birthday party a week before his actualy birthday due to some other conflicts.

The party had a safari theme -- we decorated with some calendar pictures of African animals saved by Grandma Judy, invited a face painter, and "commissioned" Aunt Jackie to make a giraffe-shaped cake. The kids each brought a safari animal and we had a parade, read books about safaris in our tent set up in the backyard, and we played pin the tail on the monkey.  A good time was had by all!  The good part of having a birthday party for a 3-year old is that you still get to set the guest list, so we had a nice crowd of our friends and family, and kept the menu simple {for us!} - sandwhich roll-ups, chips, dip, and cake and ice cream.  It is nice to have a summer birthday because all the chaos happened in the backyard. Exhausted, we ended the day with a family trip to Benihana, where Adam has been anticipating with glee for a long time... I thought it was more expensive than it was worth, but it was a memorable end to the day.

At the end of the week, I took brownies into Micah's school so they could all sing happy birthday to him, and on his actual birthday, we had dinner at Grandma's house.

And the rest of the summer has been a whirlwind of Micah-growth.  For most of the summer, he's been insisting on falling asleep in our bed, or waking up in the middle of the night and wandering into our bed. One night, after we put him to sleep in his own toddler bed, we couldn't find him.  Panicy minutes later, we found him asleep in our closet hidden by low-hanging clothes.  I finally put two and two together and realized that he was uncomfortably in his toddler bed, now way too small for him.  So one of his birthday presents was a brand new big-boy bed from Ikea.  He loves the cozy space and the three drawers where he can store all his treasures, and we love not having to walk him back to his own bed in the middle of the night. 

So, big boy bed, check.  Running outside without us to play with his friends {several much older kids) in our cul de sac, check.  Definite opinions about things and wanting to do everything himself, check, check, and check.  We kept telling him, hopefully, that these things meant he was a big boy and, hint hint, big boys use the potty.  No dice.  "I'm not a big boy, I'm a little boy," he insisted.  Adam finally hit on a solution, telling him, no, you're a medium boy.  Now he loves telling us, "I'm a little medium boy." 

And even medium boys can use the potty, apparently. This week, to our surprise, we came back from a few days away to learn that his daycare had decided to move him to the next room, where diapers are not allowed.  He had had a few potty successes before, but they were very sporadic.  Now, after only a week in the new room, he's had a few accidents, but a lot of success. His only big disappointment is that in the new classroom, they don't give candy rewards for success the way they did in the old room.  Several times, I asked him when I was taking him home if he needed to use the potty, and he insisted on going to his old classroom to pee since he knew they gave treats there, which made me laugh.  I was also amused by watching him try to figure out why his underwear had a flap in the front. That's definitely a question for daddy!  This morning, he came to wake me up to tell me he had to use the potty.  "I have a feeling" he told me.  We are so proud of him. We just discovered some video snippets from when he was a baby that we have been showing him, and he loves pointing out all of the things he couldn't do when he was a baby that he can do now.

One last amusing anecdote.  It has been important to me that Micah know from the very beginning his unique story, including the fact that he didn't grow inside me.  He knows "Rajeshree grew me" and he has seen pictures of the doctors who helped us.  This morning we were reading a library book about a mother telling her daughter about all the changes in nature she observed while waiting for her.  I liked the story because it isn't heavy on the pregnancy part, more on the waiting part, which I think rings true for all of us who had babies in India.  {also, the book has beautiful watercolor pictures of nature and makes me tear up every time I read it} Anyway, this morning when I read it to him, I did point out the picture of the heavily pregnant woman at the end, explaining that the baby was inside her. I thought that would be the end of that, but sure enough, Micah immediately asked "how did the baby get inside her?" Luckily, right now it is enough to talk about the daddy put a special seed into an egg and it grew into a baby. Yikes! Time for me to create that book I've been thinking about to explain surrogacy!!!

Anyway, my little medium boy will soon be up from his nap -- time to go buy him a new backpack and underpants! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mr. Personality

When you're expecting a baby, you wonder and wonder what the baby will be like as they grow up -- what they will look like, who they will take after, and, if you are expecting a baby in India, what gender they will be. Some of those questions are answered as soon as the baby is born, but other answers emerge more slowly.  With Micah turning 3 this week, we're beginning to learn a lot more about the personality of our dear boy -- who tells us several times a day that he's not a "big boy" yet, just a "little boy."

He's an observer:  He needs to observe an activity for a while before jumping in, but then masters it quickly.  If he can't do it right, he doesn't want to try it. For example, he didn't want to do anything on a playground except swing for a long time, but now he's a little mountain climber. Right now he's observing the potty process at school, with two boys who are a bit further ahead of him in putting it in practice. This is requiring some patience for mommy and daddy, who would love it if he would start dressing himself and trying the potty more willingly, but I think he's not too far off track for a boy.

He's a collector. We refer to him as our little financier because he loves to gather like objects up into a hoard. His latest passion is to walk around the house gathering pieces of paper and putting them into a sack.  Problem is, sometimes those pieces of paper are trash and sometimes they are important papers! He also can't leave the house without putting some "precious" objects, ranging from rocks to toys to photos, into his bag. Thinking about this, I realized that we've been doing this a lot lately too -- gathering up swimsuits and towels before heading to the pool, or gathering snacks to have when we're away from the house, so I realized this funny little habit is just based on what he sees his "bigs" doing.

He likes having explanations.  We were trying to think of a way of bribing or rewarding him to get rid of his "beechies," but before we did, we actually told him the truth:  the dentist said that beechies were bad for his teeth.  And what do you know, within a few days, no more beechie!  {We're still looking at many years of orthodontics someday}.  Another example: exhausted from the game of Micah jumping out of bed a thousand times and frustrated at having to be mean to him in order to get him to stay in bed, I sat him down and looked him in the eye. "Micah, mommy doesn't want to yell at you or make you cry at bedtime. You don't have to go to sleep right away, but you have to stay in your room."  And sure enough, I stood outside his door and heard him moving around and singing happy birthday to himself, but he didn't come out.  We were so spoiled by having such an easy bedtime routine for so long that I suppose we are due some trouble, but at least now I know how to deal with him around it.

He's happy. I can count on one hand the days that his day care reported any other mood than "happy," and those were usually days he was sick.  He's just a cheerful, contented guy who has an easy time with transitions.

He's verbal.  Micah loves knowing the right word for every kind of car or truck, and is a good conversationalist.  He sometimes has so much he wants to say or ask that he stutters a bit trying to get it all out, but we are always amazed at how much he knows and remembers.

He hates commotion. Loud noises disturb him, and when his cousins started fighting recently he told them it was time to go home.

What I find most interesting about a lot of these traits is that in many ways, he's a lot more like me, his non-biological parent, than his adventurous, thrill-seeking dad.  I have to admit that this tickles me no end.  He loves his dad's silly side, and they will always be the best of buddies, but very different personalities.

Loading up his stroller with candy at a grocery story.
Popsicle pause on a not summer day.

Whee!  Not afraid of the highest slides anymore.

Having a happy 4th of July in Arcata, California.

Next post: Micah turns 3.  Wahhhh, my baby has left all traces of babyhood -- except diapers -- aside.

Friday, June 1, 2012

No!!! I Wanna Do It!!!!!!!

Insert a crazed wail with the title of this post and you'll get the general idea of what it sounds like around here lately.  This refrain can be heard from morning til night, sometimes followed by a very sweet, "Can you hep me?"  Yes, we are in all-out toddler mode.  All cooking -- even boiling water -- must be supervised (from a stepstool that's a highly dangerous addition to any cooking routine).  All gardening requires surrendering the tool you'd prefer to use and using the plastic version instead. 
Making Zucchini ribbons 
The other way we know we're in toddlerdom? The sound of the word "Why" reverberating over and over.  I love having a curious kid, and having the opportunity to take a deep breath, think about how to explain something in terms a nearly-3-year old can understand, and make my best case to the prosecution.  However, anyone whose kid is in this stage will know the end of the story..... no matter how good your explanation, the response you get back is likely to be another, slightly whinier, "Whyyyy?" When he really doesn't understand something, however, it is more likely to be the very cute, "what you say?" 

The flip side of "why" is that there's a lot of pretending going on.  When he wants some snuggles, my little boy suddenly turns into a kitten, meowing for attention.  And he loves dressing up in his fireman costume -- too cute.

I've learned in another way is that children are the univere's way of teaching you humility..... I find that I'm already bumping up against the limits of my understanding of the physical world, unable to answer why it thunders, or what snails eat.  And Micah's already posed some tough questions I thought I wouldn't get for a few years, like "what's god" and "what's a soul?"

Some of my favorite Micah-isms at the moment -- he still calls the computer a "bee-ga-do," still asks to be carried by saying "uppy!"  and still cherishes -- and squirrels away like a little financier -- his "beechies" (pacifiers.)  Those beechies are going to college with him, I'm pretty sure, along with his "na-na,"  which he sighs with delight and tells me "its so soft and cozy."  He loves being part of a "Micah sandwhich" -- we ask him "who's the bread? and he answers "ME!" "who is the peanut butter?"  DADDY!"  who is the jelly? Mommy! and then each kiss him on a cheek.  (Interestingly, when I was a kid I would only eat jelly sandwhiches, and my mother told me I was going to be a jelly sandwhich when I grew up.  Now it appears to be true on several levels!
And the final way we know there's a toddler in the house?  So much ENERGY!!  He's always wiggling and dancing, sometimes just taking off and doing a lap or 7 around the living room, doing funny walks or demonstrating how he can stand on one foot.  He loves going to the playground (no longer calls it a "geygound" sadly) and has gotten more adventurous about climbing and slides.  But we were very impressed with his ability to sit still recently -- we took him to the circus last weekend, the first time we went to entertainment where everyone had to stay in their seats, and he lasted for the entire first hour very happily, despite a lot of sensory overload.  Even during intermission, he sat quite still while getting his face painted, but his attention (and ours, I admit) started to flag during the second half, so we beat a hasty retreat and considered it a good outing. 

We've all adjusted to and grown to love our new house.  Micah was a trooper during the move, spending several long days at Grandma's house.  Our new house has lots of room for guests, by the way, so we'd be happy for visits from any of our surrogacy "family" should you ever find yourself in Denver!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wheres I Goin'?

For the last few months, as soon as Micah wakes up from sleep or nap, or when we pick him up from daycare, his first question is, "Wheres I goin'?" It is a sure sign that he's trying to make sense of the world around him, to detect patterns and understand why he goes to school some days but gets to play with mommy and daddy all day on others. He wants to understand where everyone who is important to him is at a give moment. If mommy picks him up from daycare, he wants to know where daddy is, and vice versa. It reminds me how very confusing it must be to be a 2-year-old, with no way of predicting what is going to happen to you next.
That's why I know we're going to blow our little boy's mind when we move homes later this month. Like many out there with toddlers, our house suddenly isn't quite big enough for all the toys, blocks, cars, and games, and it is time to move before someone gets hurt..... Of course, I think Adam is completely deluding himself in thinking that when we have a finished basement, the toys will be confined there. But there are other reasons for the move, including a better elementary school, more space for all of us, and fewer home improvement projects for Adam. Oh, and grandma will be just half a mile away. Think Micah will probably be walking there himself by the end of the summer, since grandma is his favorite person in the world (hi, mom!)
Moving with a toddler, is there anything scarier (OK, Ed and Paul, moving with THREE toddlers is way scarier.) But how can my husband claim, with a straight face, that we have the same amount of stuff that we did when we moved 5 years ago sans child, sans home office suite, sans 100 lb glass dining table, etc? The next 3 weeks are bound to be stressful as we try to pack and maintain some normalicy for Micah. As for me, I'm sad to be leaving our cool mid-century mod ranch for a more conventional (but beautifully modernized!) suburban house, but I trust that the next 5 years will build as many happy memories as we've built in this house.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

32 Months

Feel like I've been slipping in documenting the ongoing Cuteness that Is Micah.... maybe because we're too busy trying to keep up with him to document! Some highlights from the last 2 months:

1) You love using wooden blocks and toddler-sized legos to build. Your usual request is for help to build "a zoo" to enclose your assorted plastic animals or "a towah" to reach as high as you can.
2) You want to eat whatever we're eating, unless it is spicy, and want to be involved in our cooking.
3) In the bathtub, you fill a container with water and then offer it to us to eat "spicy blue cake."
4) Your ideal ANYTHING is blue. When we ask you what kind of dog you want, your answer is "Bluuu" even though you have a pretty extensive vocabulary. When I told you you could bring one stuffed animal on our next trip, you immediately asked for a Bluuuu giraffe. Uhm, I actually meant a stuffed animal you already own.
5) You love to sing. Current favorites are a melange of Old Macdonald with B-I-N-G-O.Wheels on the Bus is still on your hit parade, too.
6) You REALLY want to wear underwear like daddy, but have no interest in the potty. Instead, you ask to wear a pair of red shorts that I told you was underwear on top of your diaper, often under pajamas or jeans. You know that there are treats in store when you sit on the potty, but still not interested.
7. When we drive home from daycare, you want to know where everyone is at that moment -- where's daddy, where's grandma, etc.
8. You're so interested in noises, and want to know what every noise inside or out is.
9. You know that when we shut the engine off of mommy's car but leave the lights on, the sound that the car makes is "Turn-the. Lights-of. Turn-the. Lights-off."
10. Grandma is your very special buddy. Every time I ask you what you dreamed of, you say "Grandma."
11. On our recent vacation to Mexico, you learned to say "Hola" and "Buenas Dias."
12. On our first night, when we were staying at a hotel before driving to our beach cottage, you kept insisting "I want to go to Mexico!" We kept trying to explain that were were there already.
13. You really wanted to be buddies with the 5-year old staying a few doors down from us, but he really had no interest in playing with you. That didn't stop you from following him around, though!
14. You made everyone laugh at the restaurant we went to that was having an open mike night by dancing in a different style each time you went back and forth.
15. You made mommy and daddy laugh when you asked Adam to get out of the beach chair he was in, then made him give you the book he was reading, then you pulled the chair closer so you could push Mommy in the hammock, as Adam was doing before he was usurped.
16.You were a great traveller - napped on the airplane after the initial excitement was over, eating new foods and sleeping in new beds. Even let us leave you with a babysitter one night who only spoke spanish.
17. You amaze us with your memory. Recently we went to a restaurant and after we were finished, you kept asking about the waitress giving you a rink. It took us a while to remember that the last time we were there, at least 5 months ago, the waitress had given you a candy ring.
18. You've become a little mimic. Daddy was telling someone a story and shouted "don't do it, Man!" as the punch line; you now use that line appropriately, even adapting it to "don't do it, Lady" when talking to a woman.
19. I'd say you have a pretty bad vitamin addiction, perhaps because you don't get too many treats and the vitamins are candy-like. In mexico, you got a lot of popsicles, though!
20. You know the correct answers to the following series of questions:
Who is older, mommy or daddy? Who is prettier, mommy or daddy? Who is smarter, mommy or daddy (OK, this one is subjective, but since he answered "mommy" I'm going to say he was correct!) and Who is funnier, mommy or daddy (definitely daddy.)
21. You tell everyone "Daddy is a chef" and when asked what mommy is, reply "mommy is a very good cook!"
22. Bedtime is stretching a bit later these days, sometimes 8 pm, but you're sleeping a little later in the morning, too. But you're always happy to go to bed and sleep with the room pitch dark, as long as you have your pacifier and blanket.
23. You're very cuddly when you just wake up, particularly from a nap.
24. You've learned the word "no" but are mostly a very cooperative boy, eager to do whatever mommy and daddy are doing.
25. Except use the potty.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lieber Award - It Gets Better

So, I'm not 100% positive, but I think that I won the Lieber award the other day, from my friends at The Journey Begins. As Kerrie rightly notes, my blog hasn't really been about surrogacy or India in quite a while. Our little bouncing bundle is now a walking, talking, exploring, willful, fun, wiggly little boy. I remember the whole drama of surrogacy -- wondering how you're going to have a baby, then anxiously counting weeks of pregancy, worrying about the health of your surrogate and baby(ies). But it has become a softer memory, mellowed by time (like they say about childbirth?) And so, for those of you who are still in the thick of it, I want to tell you: it gets better. You may start off your journey being infertile, or not in posession of all the right girl-parts for baby-making, or having gotten started too late, but after all is said and done, a nurse will place a baby in your hands and suddenly, you're just a parent. All the trauma you experienced won't go away, but they will be replaced by the same responsibility and the same love every parent feels. So hang in there, enjoy your last moments of freedom, and, once your baby arrives, savor -- and document --every moment.

It is my understanding that this prestigious award comes with a responsibility -- to pass it along. For that, I need to give a big shout-out to The Mikes. Their blog is no longer about surrogacy either; they had their beautiful Rose and Eva just a few months before Micah was born, and they are truly one of the "pioneer families" in Indiansurrogacystan. They are my homeboys from Boston, are wicked funny, and, at the time that the surrogacy world was inhabited mostly by women, they shared a viewpoint that those of us with ovaries didn't have. Most importantly, when the path was being navigated for how to get a baby home from India, they provided crucial information and advice, complete with checklists, for those of us nerviously awaiting our big moment. We were lucky to get to visit with them a little when our children were all one and change; I felt like I was meeting Indian surrogacy royalty!

I'll leave you with a few photos that document how far our journey has taken us, and how some things don't change:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes

Maybe it is because of his two recent encounters with the medical system, but when I asked Micah to show me his leg because he seemed to be dragging it in pain, he told me, "You're not a doctor." And again, when I told him I was going to give him some cough syrup, I got the same "You're not a doctor!" Gave me a good opportunity to remind him that only mommy, daddy, or doctors can give him medicine, that he shouldn't try to help himself.

My other recent favorite quote was when I recently told him, "Micah, did you know that your name, in Hebrew, means "Who is like God?" and he dutifully repeated back, "My name Hebrew "Who likes Hannukah."

These are such precious months. Suddenly we can really see how we've trained up a new little member of our family to be just like us, joining us for cups of herbal tea, clinking mugs and saying "L'chayim!" He plays "baby stegasaurus" with daddy, butting heads and riding on daddy's back, loves to grab mommy's hand and take her to a comfy chair to read. Favorite books include the Micah Being Born book, where he can name Rasheshree, his surrogate, and tries to understand where he's hiding under her sari, and where we show him the picture of the woman who gave us the teeny tiny egg that can grow into a baby. He loves watching Mommy and Daddy cooking through the pass-through window in the kitchen, though Mommy is terrified that he'll fall onto a hot burner or pan sometime. And he loves, loves, loves cuddling during the half-hour long video he's allowed before bedtime, Classical Baby -- each of us has to have our own "na-na" on our lap.
We feel so lucky to have been blessed with such a smart, sweet, little boy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Umbilicus Be Gone....

As you may be able to tell from the photo in my previous post, Micah was born with a very impressive outie belly button and a very minor umbilical hernia (small hole where the belly didn't totally close up when he was forming in utero.) Although it might never have caused a problem for him, it had the potential to, and so last week, we took the opportunity (and the blessing of very good health insurance) to have it fixed, and to have the extra umbilical cord "tucked in" at the same time. It was very scary bringing a toddler for what was basically elective surgery -- I hardly slept the night before -- but Micah was an amazing patient.
We thought we'd carry him out to the car while he was still asleep at 6 am, but he woke up and, when we told him we were going to see a doctor, he insisted on getting dressed. We checked into the hospital two hours ahead of surgery, as they requested, and then had to wait in a nice play area until the doctors arrived. Micah didn't know what was going on, but wasn't at all thrown off by the deviation from our normal routine, and played happily (although he kept trying to take off his mini hospital gown. What I was most afraid of was that he'd ask to eat or drink and we'd have to tell him he couldn't, but he never even mentioned it. He did get a bit restless at about 2 hours and asked to go home, but some nurses distracted him a little. Daddy went with him to the anesthesia room, and he was quickly put under before he could worry.
Barely half an hour later, the doctor came to tell us that the surgery was over and Micah was sleeping. He woke up enough to drink some juice and talk enough for us to realize that he was OK, and so we were able to take him home, where he slept for several more hours. He did seem to be in some pain that first day, so received regular doses of tylonol, but was mostly back to normal the following day. He's commented several times "my belly's messy" -- he is a bit swollen and the wound is covered with a shiny superglue, so I've tried to keep his diaper away from it. He couldn't take a bath for 5 days but that is the only restriction on his activities.
It is very strange to see his new innie, and at times I do miss his unique, perky little outie, but I think he'll be happier as an adult that we had it done. He seems so much more mature with each passing day, and the removal of the last little bit of umbilical cord seems to have cemented his move from baby/toddler to "big boy." This morning, after telling me that I needed "your purse and your wallet and your keys and your phone" to take him to daycare, I left the room for a minute and when I returned, I found that he had emptied some of the stray receipts and undeposited checks from my wallet and was trying to tuck them into his own (tiny) pockets, so I can see a foreshadowing of the teen he will become all too soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Our beautiful New Year's baby....only he keeps insisting "I'm a Big boy!"
Lots of menorahs for the 5th night of Hannukah (also known this year as Christmas Day)

And on the 8th night of hannukah.... we went to the Urgent Care Center....

Has it really been only a month since I last posted? Seems so much has happened since our busy Thanksgiving week celebration. Micah's vocabulary and understanding of the world around him continues to grow exponentially, and with it his creativity and thinking skills. One night in early December, as we were reading him stories before bed, Adam lay down on Micah's bed and used one of his stuffed animals for a pillow, and we were surprised when Micah indignantly protested, "That's my doggy, daddy, get your own doggy!" That was really the first time he asserted himself fully armed with the English language. Our favorite Micah-ism right now is that he describes anything that is big using the adjective "big daddy", such as calling a dinner fork a "big big big daddy fork."

In general, though, he continues to be an agreeable, easy-going little guy, mostly happy to go along with whatever his "bigs" suggest. I say mostly because, well, he is a two-and-a-half year old, and we definitely have times where he becomes suddently emotional or defiant. I'm finding this stage of childhood much more physically demanding than the baby stage, and wishing that I were in better condition -- I can see a point not too long from now when he'll be able to run faster than me, and I am scared! He's just about 3 feet tall now, and weighs about 27 lbs -- heavy enough that it is getting harder for me to carry him for long stretches. He tells us dozens of times a day that he's a big boy, but still loves his "beechie" (pacifier) and "na-na" (blanket) when he's sad, and a kiss still makes every boo-boo feel better. We're not anywhere close to ready for potty training, and everyone assures me that boys are usually not ready until closer to age 3.

Hannukah and the week stay-cation we had over the Christmas/New Years holidays were fun and low-key. Micah really enjoyed helping to put candles in the menorah and the ritual of lighting them; he liked getting presents but isn't yet that impressed by getting them. His very favorite was a lamp with an African savannah that revolves around; we actually just peeked in at him after bedtime tonight to find that he had turned it on after we left the room and fallen asleep on the floor clutching a plastic giraffe that we had earlier seen him "showing" the other giraffes on the lamp.

Our biggest Hannukah adventure was on the 8th night -- I had scraped the old dibbles of wax off the menorahs to be able to put in the new set of candles, and as I was taking some photos of Micah with the candles lit, I noticed him sticking one of the old dribbles up his nose. My attempts at getting the wax out resulted in a hysterical child, and by the time Adam tried the wax was no longer visible. Knowing that it was likely the wax had gotten out but not sure, we reluctantly cancelled our babysitter and bundled up to go to a late-night urgent care center. Micah was adorable and charming the whole time we were there, no sign of distress at all. After spending half an hour filling out forms and answering questions with the staff, we were put in a waiting room to see a doctor. Micah gave everyone a chuckle when he escaped from the waiting room and ran into the clinical area, loudly asking "Where's my doctor?" Finally, the doctor and her assistant came in, and the doctor examined his nose with her light for several minutes with no sign of the wax. The nurse practitioner then rather timidly asked, "what color did you say the wax was?" When we told her red, she suggested that we look at Micah's sleeve, where, sure enough, a little drop of red wax was glued with snot. So we happily went home, glad that our insurance and not we were footing the bill, and happy that we could still catch a later movie.

Other events during our holiday included attempts at sledding (Micah did not much enjoy it), and an attempted stay at a YMCA camp in the mountains (we cane home early -- turns out that it isn't much fun to stay in a hotel room with a 2 year old during weather so cold that you can't go outside.)
Micah loves to sing and listen to music. On the first night of Hanukkah, we attended a choral concert (not a kid-oriented event, unfortunately) and during a quiet portion of the music Micah happened to notice the percussionist's foot-bells and loudly started singing "Jingle Bells" (I'm told this isn't a Christmas song per se, but it sure sounds like one to my ears!) We took him to see the lights at our Botanic gardens; seatd in a backpack that Adam work, he sang non-stop for an hour and a half. Most recently, he's been singing a song that he must have learned in school, "my daddy comes back, he always comes back, he never forgets me." Very lovely that he can re-assure himself like this, and I don't think it is a coincidence that his minor phase of not liking to be left with a babysitter seems to have passed too.

Our New Year's Eve was quiet but nice -- an early-evening playdate with a neighbor, a good dinner at home, bedtime for Micah, and then Adam and I watched The Bridesmaids while enjoying homemade profiteroles. We actually stayed awake until 12:01 in our own time zone; a first in at least 3 years.

I have been loving all the happy news of new babies and babies on the way in India, and love all the pictures of growing children around the world who share the same unusual birth story. I wish everyone who is still waiting for their family to be complete good luck and baby dust in the new year, and health and happiness to all of the Indian surrogacy community!