Thursday, March 31, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess I didn't write a Manic Monday post because sometimes it is better not to say the things you are feeling/thinking and instead just let them pass.

I confess the sun came out today and the wee one and I went for a long walk around the river with a good friend and her baby.

I confess I had a date with Javier Bardem last night. I went to see his movie "Biutiful" and it was fantastic. He was fantastic! It has been so long since I have been to 1.)see a foreign film 2.) a movie by myself.

I confess I enjoy going to see a movie by myself now and then because 1.) You get to choose the movie and no one argues with you. 2.) You get to choose where in the theatre you get to sit - I like the front couple of rows 3.) No one talks to you so you can completely and utterly get lost in the film you are watching. (This is especially important when the film is subtitled like last night's movie was.) 4.) you get the popcorn all to yourself!

I confess I started back to yoga tonight after a long, long break and it felt so good to stretch and contort myself in unusual ways!!!

I confess we are going to see Bruce Cockburn on Sunday night and I am really looking forward to it.

I confess our wee boy is a funny little dude and makes us laugh daily!

I confess Blogger has been driving me crazy lately! It seems to have a mind of its own and it is pissing me off to no end!

I confess I am totally disillusioned by our political system right now and really am not sure voting for one particular party or another will make a difference. I will vote...don't get me wrong but the choices we have leave something to be desired. I also think the timing of this election is atrocious! Spring Election! Blech! I hate all those signs in people's yard...and for some reason the first ones to go up are always NDP. Why is that? (This statement does not allude to some kind of political bias.) And really aren't there more important things happening on the world stage right now and our government is basically at a stand still and can't participate or take action.

I confess you should read this post.

The T-Shirt Says It All

Channeling his inner Elvis maybe? Or Billy Idol?

Ya, Billy that's it!

Last summer my friend Laura came for a visit with her husband Chad and their daughter Sara.

She gave us these fabulous t-shirts for Ade.

The top t-shirt he wore when we walked thru the airport doors to greet our friends and family.

Laura and her family are waiting to bring home their wee son Seth who is a couple months younger than Ade. Their journey has been a long, tough process as well and I think of them everyday!

Please send some positive thoughs and prayers their way so Seth can come home to his family!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Nice, Cold Beer - Check!

Confession Friday

I confess today I am feeling sad and lonely.

I confess it has been a long week and while I was feeling the upside of things last week this week has been more of a slight slide downhill.

I confess I don't think it will ever be spring or summer here where I live. It is -16 this morning.

I confess there is a direct link between my mood and the weather. Because if I have nothing lined up for the week and I can't get outside for a walk at the very least it leaves me very sad indeed.

I confess this confession isn't as upbeat as last week. This leads me to believe the PPD support group leaders are right...there will be ups and there will be downs...

I confess I was happy to see MOWA issuing letters to families this we just need to get everyone their letters...there are people who have been waiting way to long to be united with their children.

I confess it is date night Friday. This is something to look forward to.

I confess I could use a trip somewhere hot and tropical. Preferably where they serve drinks with umbrellas in them.

I confess I went to Costco last night with my sis-in-law and only spent $45...uh, ya $45!!!! That is some kind of miracle!

I confess thanks to a my excellent friend Lori I now have one new CD in my car stereo!

I confess it has been a long time since I escaped into a good book and I need to get my read on!

I confess I could really use a nice cold beer tonight!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Manic Monday

'The first six weeks is all about survival.'

These are the words of wisdom I received from a friend in an email after we first got home...actually I think she said this to me right before we left too.

Words to remember!

I kept my eye on that number. When we arrived home I actually looked at the calendar and said to myself "Right, 6 weeks from today we will be much better!"

I started to worry at about 4 weeks....because I was right smack, dab in the middle of my crash and I thought....6 weeks! Crazy talk! There was no way this was ever going to feel better in 6 weeks or 6 years.

Slowly, ever so slowly, as I started talking to people and blogging about it I started to feel the haze lift. It's the best to describe how I was feeling...hazy! I think back to the first few weeks home and it is all foggy. I can't quite remember what happened or how we made it through each day. Nothing felt real like I was having an out of body experience. Just watching from a distance.

Today we were back at the peds doctor for a follow up appointment from when we were first got home and we both felt like we were clearer. Present. In the now.

I do know the weekend of being home 6 weeks we made plans to get out of the house more. We verbally said to ourselves "We need to get out more! We need to make plans, we need to not be afraid any longer!" We decided it was time to live life as we saw it.

We had always talked about how Ade would fit into our life and not the other way around. Of course, there is give and take. There needs to be routine for him as well so he feels comfort in knowing what will happen. But we also needed to live and get out and do the things we had enjoyed.

So we took him with us...on the Sunday of our 6 weeks home we skipped nap time at home. Put the wee lad in his stroller and headed out for a walk. We stopped and grabbed coffees for our walk-about and 10 minutes in the wee one was out like a light!

Napping! In his stroller! While we walked and talked and lived our life! Amazing!

Of course he did. He had done in Ethiopia. We were very rarely at the guest house. We were out discovering the country our boy came from and he was right there with us. Why should it be any different now that we are home in Canada?

It shouldn't be! And it won't be.

Of course we will give him structure and routine. Only the routine we give him will also give him adventure, discovery and fun along the way. As long as he gets his naps and snacks does it matter where he has them? Not to us.

He grows with each new encounter. He loves to go for car rides and in the stroller. How do I know? Because when we put our coat and shoes on he grabs his to make sure we are taking him too. He pats the stroller seat when we get ready to go for a walk.

I digress.

This is about the 6 week survival.

It was sitting in the park looking at the river, with our son napping in his stroller and holding my husband's hand as we chatted about what our future held with our kidlet, that I realized I was breathing again. The haze had lifted and I could see what was ahead without panic, without fear.

In its place was a new layer to our life which hadn't existed before.

It is true.

The first 6 weeks are about survival. Making sure everyone eats and sleeps. It is a time of strangers getting to know each other. Because essentially that is exactly what we were...and to a degree still are. We are doing the courtship dance...only this courtship is instant and you are living with the one you are courting from day one. Can you imagine if you had done this with your spouse? It wouldn't be easy. Not at all!

The first 6 weeks were a struggle. No two ways about it.

Once we established his sleeping schedule and what he liked to eat it made a huge difference. Thankfully we have a good sleeper and an amazing eater. Could this change? Yes, but now we are getting accustomed to one another so these changes or transitions will be easier. Still difficult but never as difficult as those first weeks home.

Now we have taken back control of our lives. We lost it to our own fear. We are going out to people's houses and we are having family and friends over to our house.

We know this isn't for everyone so early in the game. It highly depends on you and your child. Our boy loves it! We love it! We get closer from each adventure.

For now, we are breathing.

Deep breaths from the pit of our stomachs.

It feels good.

We are finding our breath, in unison, as a family of 3!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess I have been listening to the same 6 cds in my car for the last year and a half. I am really annoyed with those cds now but I am too lazy to change them to new ones.

I confess I had preconceived notions of what our family should look like. I don't know where they came from but I have let them go.

I confess I put all the adoption books on bonding and attachment away. In the basement...and I won't look at them for a while so that we can go back to parenting by instinct.

I confess this week has been a better because we did the above.

I confess I had a beer Sunday night at our family supper and it tasted GOOD!

I confess we went for Ethiopian food last Saturday night with the wee one and some very good friends. A good time was had by all! Wee one ate his face off...and he was so good in the restaurant. Yay!

I confess the wee one's tummy is getting better....all the parasites have left the building with the exception of Giardia and the meds have been started and it is already getting better! Double yay!

I confess spring seemed to be springing and then it snowed two nights ago! Sheesh! Enough already!

I confess feeding 8 toddlers icing sugar (on top of mini-muffins) for snack at playgroup is hilarious....insanity ensues! (it wasn't me but ha ha ha it was funny!)

I confess wee one and I are starting to become quite the team...and we are having fun!

I confess Yvan is the best husband in the universe!!!! I love him lots and so does the wee one!

I confess I am hosting a "Girls' Night In" tonight for a bunch of Mommas and Momma-to-bes and I am looking forward to a good gab session and some good eats!!!

I confess I am getting the itch to build a new house and THAT my friends made Yvan VERY happy!

I confess I am outta here to enjoy the weekend with my family!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Red Shoe Diaries (The G-rated Version)

Oooooh ya! I got new shoes!!

And they're Red!!! See!!!!!!!!!!!!

What about this angle? Can you see how stylin' they are?!

Here, you can probably get a better look if I do this!

Wait, I'll strut my stuff for you...then for sure you can see how cool they are!

That's right Mama, I'm the coolest kidlet around in my new red shoes!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tiny Toms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I simply couldn't resist these!!!!
Edited to add - if you live where I live you can get them here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Manic Monday

The Overwhelmingness of it all!

"Did you think it would be easy?" That is the question Yvan asked me?

Nope, I didn't! I really didn't think it would be easy at all.

But I certainly wasn't prepared for how hard parenting actually is.

O.k. I know...I should have been prepared somewhat....shouldn't I have?

But let me ask you this? How do you prepare?

We were encouraged to "borrow our friend's kids" for a day or a weekend. But that wouldn't do it justice. In the back of your mind you would always be thinking "This is hard and these kids are little hellions but they will be going home to their parents in a couple of hours".

The option is not there when you are faced with a wee one in your home who is yours. It's not really a realistic view of what parenting will be like because they aren't your kids. You can't set the rules and boundaries. You can't decided what time they will go to bed or have their lunch or take a nap. Those things are already in place.

We could have taken parenting classes and we looked into them. Unfortunately, in our small city all the parenting classes are geared towards birth families and newborns. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough but I think I was.

We also had a moving target age wise. Ade was 6 months at referral. A year when we found out the adoption might not go through. 18 months when our documents finally hit Nairobi for Visa and Immigration. All the time we were thinking "We will bring him home any day now"! I ordered books on raising a 1 year old, a 2 year old and 3 year old to cover the bases because we just didn't know when we would get him home.

And yes! I know! I asked for this. I moaned for it! I cried over it for hours, days, and weeks on end.

I still want it.

Adoption books were scattered all over the house from my reading frenzy prior to going to Ethiopia. I gathered them together when we got home in an attempt to read all of them at once because I needed the answers to so many questions and the most important question of all was "How are we going to do this without screwing him up?"

I honestly thought we were going to cause long-term, permanent damage to him if we didn't do everything perfectly and in every detail described in the many, many books on attachment and bonding I had been diligently collecting since we started our adoption.

I was so overwhelmed by it all! I was setting myself up for failure.

Where had the parents in Ethiopia gone? We were so free and unencumbered during our time there. We parented by instinct and it was working. We were happy and enjoyed each day with Ade as we set out on new adventures as a family of 3.

It was if we had just met Ade for the first time the moment we walked through our front door (actually the back door because we park in the garage). We froze! Well I did for sure. Yvan set about living life as normally as could be with our new addition.

It was me. I admit it. I froze. I got scared. Scared out of my wits. Who was I to be in charge of a 2 year old. How was I supposed to get him through each day alive? What was I suppose feed him? How do I keep him entertained? Should he nap for 1 hour, 2 hours...what time was the best bed time? All of these questions and more ran in a continuous loop in my brain.

I became obsessed with making sure he was attaching to us. Playing with him, sitting with him, sleeping with him....were we doing it all right? Did he want us? Was he happy? So much so, that what ended up happening was I became exhausted from thinking, planning and hoping it would all turn out so perfectly.

It won't turn out perfectly. We aren't perfect. Life isn't perfect. Why did I suddenly think parenting would be anything but imperfect?

I forgot to make sure I was o.k. I forgot to give myself breaks. Yvan would say to me "Go to the gym. I will watch the boy." I wouldn't go...for some reason I felt I shouldn't leave Ade or Yvan. I wouldn't be a good mom. He would resent me if I left him for even a minute. This what I had waited so long for and now I was going to go to the gym?

The overwhelmingness of it all took over.

Then the reality of having a child at home who we had been entrusted to raise entered in the ever-running loop of crazy thoughts in my head. At bed time, I would start thinking about the next day and what it would bring. Then I started thinking about all of the days ahead. At once!

The anxiety took over and panic set in as I imagined each day of BREAKFAST, SNACK, LUNCH, NAP, SNACK, SUPPER, BEDTIME...REPEAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

I couldn't sleep thinking this what my life had become. I would be 50 years old and raising a 2 year old....I couldn't see beyond this stage. Yvan was kind to remind "He won't be 2 forever you know." And all I could think was "HE WILL BE 2! FOREVER!!!!!"

I became paralzyed...didn't want to leave the house because I HAVE A 2 YEAR OLD! How do you leave and do anything normal ever again with a toddler who is 2!

I felt like I couldn't breathe...I was suffocating...trapped....doomed.

This is how my brain worked. No matter what I told myself or others told me.

It was awful! As my one friend said to me "It is so gross!"

It wasn't isn't what life will really be like..but at that moment, in my head...that was it...all that life would hold...the raising of a 2 year old and never, ever leaving my house again.

The fact it was -35 for the first 3 weeks we were home didn't help because we weren't actually leaving the house because it was so cold. This only compounded my fear.

Thankfully, I knew enough to ask for help. I asked Yvan. We asked his parent, my parents, our friends...I talked.

To anyone who would listen. I talked. And talked and talked.

I am still talking. It is doing me some is doing us some good.

We also remembered how much Ade loves to be out and about. So we are going out. And about.

It is getting better.

I have my hard days.

Ade has his hard days.

Yvan has his hard days.

Then we have our good days...and they are really good.

We are figuring it out together.

Instanbul (Not Constantinople)

They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople) from They Might Be Giants on Vimeo.

Because Shauna and family are going there (Istanbul) and it reminded me of this song by "They Might be Giants"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess this week has been a hard one...and it is not just because of struggles I have been has been because of this and this and this.

I confess we will donate here and here to help Japan and you should too..even if it is a little bit $5, $10, $20...because really, truly every little bit helps.

I confess I have some reading to do and I have been putting it off because once I read it everything may change and it scares me.

I confess you should read this because it is once again written far better than I ever could.

I confess it wasn't all bad this week - I did get to go out with my most excellent friend Lori and have Schmoo torte...and if you don't know what that is well I'm sorry because you are missing out!

I confess I took the wee one to Flip today - it is a gymnastics facility and today was drop-in day and he loved to run up and down the trampoline.

I confess wee one is possibly deciding he doesn't want to nap anymore which makes him (and me) very grumpy come the end of the day.

I confess yesterday it warmed up to -2 so we went for a stroller walk which we both enjoyed and now today it is!

I confess I feel like someone, somewhere is trying to tell us something and we aren't listening.

I confess it is Friday...TGIF!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Because I Couldn't Say it Half as Well

I read this post today.

She says it very well...better then I ever could.

For my waiting friends with court dates, referrals and waiting to be matched with their future children, know we are thinking of you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Breaking News!!!!!!

Ade eats a cracker!!!!
It is the one thing he has not wanted since we got him (that and Cheerios, won't eat a single one!)
Had I known all it would take was some hummus.....
that and Vinta Crackers - he has good taste like his Mama!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Manic Mondays

Sleep Deprivation

This last week had its up and downs for sure.

The biggest thing for me has been overcoming the sleep deprivation.

I like to sleep!

Need at least 8 hours of the stuff. (With no interruptions please and thank you)

I probably haven't had a good amount of restful, uninterrupted sleep since...hmmmmm..honestly I don't know when. There was so much happening in the last few months before we brought Ade home (not to mention the entire past year) that sleep was a precious commodity for me.

The days before we left for Ethiopia were busy getting last minute preparations ready. Honestly you would think after all the time we spent waiting we would be ready. But you would be wrong.

By the time we got into the car to go to the airport I was exhausted and emotional....cried all the way to the airport and through the security line-up. When we got to Toronto we thought we had lots of time between connections but soon found out in order to get our Visa for Dubai we had much running around and question asking to do. We weren't even sure until about 10 minutes before we boarded our flights we would be able to enter this left me in a restless state for the next 13 hours on the flight.

Then we landed in Ethiopia and the adrenaline took are finally there. In the country where your son lives...hours from meeting the little boy whose photo you have been looking at for the last 18 months.

Right, without getting into Ethiopia (because that is a different post) sleep was not something that was going to come now for sure.

Every night going to sleep you think, what do I do if something happens to him in the night? I better check to make sure he is breathing? Was that noise he just made him choking? And so the sleep deprivation sets in deeper.

Coming home the jet lag is a killer. I know this of jet lag. Have experienced it many times but until you experience it with a kidlet it is something else. I mean if I have to sit up all night because I am on a different time zone so be it. Doing that whilst chasing a toddler is not so fun. We turned our time around fairly quickly...he did not.

So sleep deprivation had its hooks into me like Freddy Kruger's claws in someone in one of those horror flicks.

The first couple of weeks home I fought through the sleep deprivation because "This is what a mom does!" I was always on edge about putting him down for his nap because "Will he go down o.k.? Will he sleep for 2 hours?" "Will I be able to get the much needed house work done?"

The nights were even worse because he was still going down with a bottle at the time because of his schedule from the foster home and getting up 2 or 3 times a night to look for the bottle or to have a diaper change.

Then it was trying to plan a day full of activities to keep a toddler busy. This is not easy because he has quadruple the energy I do and in actual fact the one getting played out was me.

Then I got a cold....a bad cold that kept me up all night coughing.

Add this to the ever-growing debt in my sleep bank.

Finally, my body just said enough!

I can't take have been redlining for too long. I will stop you. I will shut you down.

I can do it...just watch me.

My getting was the tip of the the first hit the Titanic was just the beginning of the sinking.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess it is snowing here! Enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I confess my favourite drink is a Chai latte but ordered in a specific way - 1/2 sweet with soy :)

I confess I am claustrophobic.....I really notice it in a vehicle where I am sitting in the back or between people and all the doors and windows are shut. For happened in Africa. We had gone out to by some mattresses for an orphanage we were making donations to....I was sitting in the back seat of the van and they loaded all the mattresses between me and the door....suddenly I got all panicky, started to sweat and thought "how the hell am I going to get out of here?" Yvan knows this about me from an experience in Thailand and opened the window. Fresh air and an escape route can do wonders for the mind.

I confess I am watching American Idol this year...mainly because the wee one really seems to dig music and he dances all the time so this is good entertainment for him and I have to say Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez aren't driving me crazy.

I confess we booked our first family holiday for the May long weekend to go see my momma and family and we are really looking forward to it. (Family wedding on the Island!)

I confess I have been to the gym twice this week and will be going again today and it feels really good to get a good sweat on!

I confess I have been going to a post partum support group and they have been fantastic. I thought they might not understand a gal who has adopted having PPD but they opened their arms up and welcomed me in.

I confess tonight is date night! I am looking forward to it! Any movie recommendations? (and don't judge peeps that is too soon for us to have date is not!)

I confess we saw "The King's Speech" last week and it was amazing!

I confess Colin Firth is uber sexy! I love him a lot!

I confess my claustrophobia also kicks in on long international flights -seriously it takes all my energy not to be the crazy person running up and down the plane yelling "Let me off of here! I have to get off this flying, metal tube of death" It usually happens midway on a 13 or 14 hour flight...then I get up, go to the bathroom, splash water on my face, calm down and watch ANOTHER movie.

I confess I have been craving chocolate cake...must fill that craving soon.

I confess I will post about trip to Ethiopia. I really will because it was amazing and I want to share it.