Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It has officially been over a month since I posted an update, so I will quickly try to catch everyone up!  Life has become much more interesting since I returned to work.  Andrew seems to be adapting to the change well.  The question is "Are his parents?" :).   For the most part, Andrew likes his child care - the only exception is when we leave - then he scrunches up his face and cries.  One of his teachers, Ms. Kenya, caught us before we even left one morning and told us Andrew had already stopped crying before we even made it to our cars.  So I am relieved that a) he misses us and b) that he isn't so upset that it impacts his day.  I am very observant though, and watch him carefully for signs of any kind of regression or attachment issues.  I have detected very little change.  The biggest change is that when we are home, Andrew no longer likes it when I am out of sight.  As Vernon puts it, Andrew loves his mommy.  Which makes me smile.  He is still his normal, happy, cute self, though.
Andrew begins his occupational therapy today.  I actually have to leave in just a couple of minutes for our first session.  Andrew still isn't walking, although he is getting closer every day.  The therapists we are working with feel like Andrew has so much potential and they are encouraged that they can get him in the right direction.  It does make me realize how important early intervention is, though.  The key for us is finding the balance with respect to what we do and how much do we do it.  We could probably do occupational, speech and physical therapy, but right now we are starting slowly with occupational, and will probably start some speech next year.  
Andrew is still a littler fellow - he is hovering around the 20 pound range.  We have his 18 month checkup Friday, though, and we will discuss his weight and a few other things.  Overall he is doing so well.  He loves to clap and wave bye-bye.  Vernon will make an "Andrew Sandwich" by using 2 pillows with Andrew in the middle.  Andrew loves this kind of play - especially in the mornings.  Andrew discovered our kitchen cabinets not too long ago, and is a master at pulling out the contents of the cabinets.  And yes, he has taken his first step or two, but that is about all he can manage at this point.  Oh, and he loves to play the drums.  Go figure :).  
Well, I have to run to the OT therapist for now, but will update more Christmas week!  We are so happy that Andrew turns 1 1/2 years old tomorrow (Thursday).  We will be celebrating this milestone, of course.  


Christa, Vernon and Andrew

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chasing Andrew

We have had a great couple of weeks!  Andrew is doing so well, and I really don't know where to start.  Well, I will start with this picture, which really is the story of my life.  Chasing Andrew.  

He is rather quick, but I like giving him free reign over the home right now, as all that activity helps him get stronger.  We have had early intervention evaluate Andrew, and we have also had a private occupational therapist do an evaluation.  There are just a few things they want to work on.  One is his right sided strength.  Andrew is really favors his left side, and we will work with him in strengthening his right side.  We are still doing testing, and will find out more later.  But the therapists are all encouraged that any issues should be resolved with some work.  One thing that made me happy was during his early intervention assessment, he was 'age appropriate' for his social-emotional development, which is really huge considering he has only been home with us for under 4 months. 

This past Veterans Day we had a play date with Niko, who was adopted from Russia just a few days before Andrew.  As a matter of fact, we met Niko's parents John and Lea while out to eat in the Novy Arbat district of Moscow.  Turns out that they live just a few minutes down the road from us in Charlotte.  We had a great time during our play date.  It was so nice talking to Lea and discussing all things adoption related.  Adoption can be quite a bewildering but amazing experience, and it was nice to chat about our experiences.  Here is a picture from our play date.  Niko is on the far left, his sister Emma in the middle, and Andrew on the right.

This past weekend we went down to Rock Hill to visit with family.  Of course a stop in Rock Hill means stopping at Lee's Chicken and PW's ice cream (we did both).  We had a nice visit.  Here is a picture of Andrew's cousin Claire giving Andrew his sippy cup. 

My return to work is right around the corner.  Much of this past month was spent looking at child care facilities and finding the right place for Andrew.  I think we have found such a place just a mile from our home.  We have been visiting Andrew's room this week, and plan to visit again next week.  The two ladies that will be caring for Andrew seem super interested and caring, and I am hoping this will be a good transition.  Andrew will actually be starting in the 6 to 12 month room.  I think he would be a little stressed if he was in the 12-18 month old room, as he cannot walk yet and although he feeds himself some food, he really still needs to be fed by an adult.  I was really pleased when we made the decision to put him in the 6-12 month room, because it put to rest my main concerns for him.  So I will keep you posted on how the transition to work goes.  

Other than that, we have just been hanging out at home, playing with anything that has wheels or anything that rolls.  I promise I'll post more regularly.  I will try to do once a week.  Here are some final pictures!

Andrew trying to get at Vernon's hat:
Andrew standing up during an event in our church fellowship hall:




Saturday, November 1, 2008

We have had a very busy week and a half.  It started this past weekend when we visited Asheville, NC.  It was Andrew's first road trip and he did pretty well.  Of course the crib provided in the hotel wasn't quite like the one at home, and Andrew wasn't quite as comfortable, but all in all it was a good trip.  The highlight was visiting our wonderful friends at our adoption agency.  We love our agency so much, and we had a delightful afternoon hanging out in the office, catching up, and letting Andrew play.  We also went to a farm - Hickory Nut Gap Farm - and tried going through a corn maze (failing miserably and quitting), and playing with the pumpkins (much more fun).  Andrew was a bit tired, and a bit unsure of his surroundings, but ultimately warmed up to the big orange gourds and had some fun.  Then we went to an apple orchard - Sky Top Orchard - on a rather chilly Sunday.  By this time, Andrew was maxed out on adventure.  Instead of playing with the hay, he would go straight to the stroller (not ours, of course) to play with the wheels.  He did enjoy playing with the leaves on the trees, and we got some more cute pumpkin pictures. But we didn't prolong the trip.  Some things are more for the parents at this age - like Halloween.
We had a nice Halloween.  Andrew was a frog and we went to one house  - our neighbors Mark and Joanna who love Andrew.  We got one Kit Kat bar and called it a night.  Again, some things are more for the parents at this age.

Today we helped out at our local adoption expo.  We got to meet a lot of families (some with our agency) and it was so nice introducing them to Andrew.  We spoke with many families interested in adoption and it was nice to be able to help out.  It is amazing what a year can do in knowledge and experience.  We ended our day eating at Mert's, a soul food restaurant, but Andrew was clearly ready to go home by that time.  Being on display, although fun for us and helpful to prospective adoptive parents, wasn't as rewarding for Andrew.  Plus missing a nap isn't too cool, either.
Earlier this week Andrew had his 'little boy' surgery.  It went as smoothly as could be expected, but Andrew is still in a bit of pain, and I tend to slack of the tylenol and motrin too much (I'm too reactive instead of proactive).  I add this because it was helpful to read other adoptive parent blogs about the process, and it helped me out a lot in asking the right questions to make sure the process went as smoothly as could be expected.  
And finally we had Andrew evaluated by the early intervention group.  We wanted to wait until we were home for a few months before being tested.  Andrew did well and actually impressed me with some of the things he could do.  Of course, he is still a bit behind in some categories, but I got the impression the only thing he might qualify for is speech.  We will find out more on Tuesday when we meet for their report and conclusions.  I do hope their recommendations will err on the side of recommending therapy, as I want to give Andrew opportunities to help him progress and learn.  I'll post more when we get the full report.
Andrew has done other new things this week.  On Monday the 27th he began clapping his hands.  On Tuesday he put the ring back on the stick.  He is really starting to mimic things we do and say with more regularity.  He will hold his bottle on his own for a small bit (this is one area we haven't really pushed, as we want to continue the attachment and bonding that goes along with bottle feeding).  He will walk now with only one hand on the couch.  He gaining weight and getting rather tall.  I looked at a growth chart and it looks like he is close to the 30% range for height, which floors me.  
We also hope to get our adoption announcements out this week, if we can ever get to the post office.  The picture is from early September, so Andrew has changed a lot, but it is a good reflection of Andrew soon after we brought him home. 
We will post more later.  Thanks for checking in on us. 



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Boy

First, for the pictures.  This is happy Andrew who is so inquisitive and wants to figure out everything:

This is athlete Andrew, whose favorite pastime is throwing a ball.  He likes to put it in my hands!
This is me and Andrew:
Andrew standing up by the piano bench:
Hungry Andrew, eating what I believe is a strategically placed cheerio.
We are doing very well.  Today we went in for a hearing test as a part of the early intervention program.  They saw some fluid in his ear so off we had to go to the pediatrician - turns out it was clear fluid and not gooky fluid, so no ear infection.  I did learn that Andrew is cutting his molars (did I say that right?).  I saw one coming in and one about to come in.  His gums are so puffy - he really has been agitated the past few days and now I see why.  She advised us to give him a bit of tylenol so I did that tonight.  I hope he will sleep well.  I'm glad Andrew checked out well because we will be traveling to Asheville this weekend and I am hoping we have a nice first weekend getaway with Andrew.  We hope to go to an apple orchard and maybe go on a hayride.  We'll see how things go!  I have to pack but have procrastinated by blogging, which I suppose is a good type of procrastination.  Andrew kept me going today so I didn't have much time to pack like I thought I might.  Anyway, I hope everyone is well!  We will report in after our trip.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Hurricane Andrew

Pictures are at the end of the post!

Having been reminded by Vernon's Granddaddy that I have not posted an update since September 20, I am at the computer on a Friday night typing away.  Actually, Vernon is out of town tonight and Andrew is happily asleep, so now is a good time to write.

Andrew has been home with us for just over 2 months!  I was looking at some of his pictures when we first met him June 4th, and he has certainly grown - physically and in personality.  When we left the baby home, one of his caregivers, I believe it was Oksana, told us Andrew loved to play with his food.  When he came home with us he displayed some playfulness with his food, but was really intent on eating.  Now he is becoming more playful.  We have so many Saltine and Cheerio casualties - food that goes straight to the floor.  I have learned to recycle some of the food.  He is also getting good at swatting the spoon.  Andrew's fun with food is a small part of a personality that is generally happy, inquisitive, and determined.  His smile is adorable and his babbling so cute.  He tends to reserve those moments for the home, though, but I'm sure as time goes by more and more of his personality will come out.

A couple of weeks ago I was very gently rear-ended as we were out running errands.  The person who ran into me was profusely apologetic, and as the policeman was doing his thing with our insurance cards, the man who gently rear-ended me asked me about Andrew.  I told him we recently adopted him from Russia.  The man mentioned he and his wife were just starting the adoption process, and it turns out we have the same adoption agency.  They are adopting through domestic adoption, and I assured him his family was in good hands.  I just thought that was a huge coincidence of sorts.  It was cute, because when I told him Andrew was doing very well, and was happy and easygoing, the man was all too ready to give me credit for that (which I declined to take credit for).  I think the guy was just thinking that my response to being gently rear-ended was a little unusual.  Once he mentioned they were adopting, I 
forgot all about being gently rear-ended and just asked him tons of questions and gave him tons of support.  

Andrew has also been introduced to college football over the past weeks.  I have some Miami Hurricane clothing for him, so he can dress like his daddy.  Unfortunately the Hurricane's have stunk the past couple of weeks, so Vernon has tried to explain to Andrew that the 'Canes are just having an 'off' year.  Maybe it is time for some Gamecock clothing for Andrew.

Anyway, Andrew has a few appointments scheduled in the next few weeks, and we are starting to look into the wonderful world of child care.  So far the place I always thought was ideal only has a 16 year wait list.  So maybe Andrew will get in soon after he gets his drivers license.  Okay, I exaggerated only slightly with the length of the wait list.  We haven't toured any places yet but will begin that process next week.  We are touring a couple of places that have availability and a couple of others with waiting lists.  I don't have to go back to work just yet, so we will have time to find the right place where Andrew will continue to thrive.

Well, that's it for now.  I am getting very sleepy.   I will post more later.  Thanks for continuing to follow our journey!  And now for the pictures...

Andrew when we first met him:

Andrew in his froggy jammies:
Hurricane Andrew walking with the lawnmower:

Andrew, Vernon and Lester the Cat:

Andrew and me:

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Also, please check my sister in law's blog - The  for great video of Andrew and Audrey...

This has been an eventful week!  We had a visit from Andrew's Aunt Kristen and Cousin Audrey.  Audrey is 10 days younger than Andrew, so the house was quite lively.  It was fun watching them play together.  Audrey likes to share, and she introduced Andrew to one of her favorite snack foods - Veggie Booty.  She would take a snack out of her cup and put it in Andrew's mouth.  She would also push Andrew around in the walker/rider toy.   Audrey watched Andrew and I play catch, and Audrey picked up the game before the week was out.  They also climbed the stairs together.  We had 'races' - sort of- up the stairs.  We even went to Baby Boot Camp - which is an exercise class for moms.  It was located in a park on a beautiful day, and it was nice to get out.  It was nice observing Andrew through all of this - he always knew who his mom was.  He is even in the habit of crawling to me and pulling himself up by my pants.  Audrey and Andrew had a good visit.  Andrew is actually a bit better of a sleeper than Audrey - admittedly Andrew is doing a lot better in that department lately.  So, here are some pictures of our week:

Andrew checking Audrey out...

Here is Audrey in her "I eat Tiger (Clemson), and my Veggies" T-Shirt (I had to post this one)!

Audrey pushing Andrew...

Andrew and Audrey watching Baby Einstein (the only way we could get a good picture of them together).

Kristen with Audrey and Andrew (we switched places so I could get my picture with them, too, but this one turned out the best - it is quite hard to get babies in sync with a camera)...

Audrey and Andrew playing with Tupperware.

As you can tell, we had an eventful visit!

On another note, we had to take Sebastian the Cat to the vet this week, and it turns out he has some form of skin cancer.  He had a bad looking spot above his eye removed, and we hope to learn more about this diagnosis next week.  Our cats are a part of our family, and have helped us through some really tough times.  We are praying that the removal of this lesion will resolve the problem (our vet seems to think so, but he is still researching things a bit).  I remain quite hopeful that Sebastian has many lives left.  He is such a smart kitty - the type that I am convinced understands everything we are saying and has a higher level of communication than most felines.  Here is our precious kitty - we hope he'll be okay
Andrew is doing well, and we feel so blessed to have him in our lives.  Thanks for checking in on us this week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Andrew's Helmet

Andrew, both an aspiring athlete and musician...

Here is Andrew, ready for college football:

As I mentioned in our last post, Andrew got his helmet 2 weeks ago.  He is adjusting to it well.  We still have to tweak the shape of the helmet a little, as it falls down too close to his left eye.  It's a bit difficult trying to make meaningful eye contact when the helmet is so close to the eye, so we will try to get the helmet corrected this week.  Andrew will probably have to wear the helmet until sometime in December, which all things considered isn't too long, although I will be glad when it comes off - snuggling with him can be a bit difficult with a helmet.  The goal is to correct his head shape a little.  He has quite a flat head in the back.  I didn't even realize it too much until I saw a picture of him recently.  So we are hopeful that the helmet will make things a bit better, although I completely love him regardless of the outcome.

This week saw Andrew's first cold and first injury.  He had the sniffles for the past few days and today he injured his upper gum while standing in his crib.  It was a bit of a difficult day for us both, but it ended well with a fun bath time and a fun Baby Einstein 'calm down' time.  I have to learn not to get too anxious about everything.  Sometimes I still get 'worst case scenario' in my mind.  I have to balance that out a bit.  But we have only been home 6 weeks.  Andrew certainly is gaining weight and getting bigger and stronger.  He loves to climb the stairs with increasing regularity.  He also is starting to enjoy my reading to him, although right now I am just trying to get him in the habit of sitting and letting him hear my voice.   He isn't exactly picking out books for me to read to him quite yet :).

This week we will have a visit from my sister in law Kristen and my niece Audrey.  We are certainly looking forward to this visit.  We also have to take Sebastian the Cat to the vet, as I think he will need minor surgery.  So, we should have a busy week!  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What a week!

Many more pictures below!!!!

This has been quite a week!  On Wednesday Andrew got his helmet for his head.  Because his head is flat in the back, he will be wearing a helmet for the next 3 to 4 months.  This should help reshape his head a bit.  I was really dreading Wednesday because I wasn't certain how Andrew would react to his helmet.  I guess his response was fairly typical - we kept distracting him with toys until he became a bit more comfortable with the helmet.  But Wednesday night was a disaster.  Andrew woke up 4 times in a 2 hour period - all before 9:30 at night.  I took the helmet off and decided to try again Thursday.  But Andrew wasn't finished with me yet.  It took 4 hours for us (me) to get him back asleep.  The boy was wired!  Then he started playing games with me.  My wrists were so sore (they still are) that I finally just put him in his crib, and he would spring back up, giggling.  It was like our first night home on steroids. The upside was that he slept until 8:30 the next morning, but I was so out of sorts my sleep wasn't quite as good.  Fortunately, the next night he did much better, and I think he has accepted his helmet and can sleep comfortably with it on.  Although every night I go to bed nervous that I will hear that little cry.  I have to relax a little more.  

Andrew is doing really well otherwise.  It is amazing.  I know this is hard to imagine, because we often think babies come by these habits naturally, but Andrew will now crawl to us when he is upset.  He pulls himself up by my pants and wants to be held.  He also does not like his pack n play.  He will cry until I pick him up, and he is magically happy again.  For adopted babies, it can take time to develop these types of behaviors, because they have never had consistent care where these types of attachments could be made.  Of course, I now have to figure out boundaries, meaning I have to get my shower in somehow, so he has to stay in his pack n play for a very short while (and it right outside the bathroom door, so I can see him and talk to him).

Saturday we had Andrew's first swim lesson.  He had a blast!  I was running a minute late, so I just plopped him in the pool with me without any transition time.  After a bit, he was splashing away.  We sang songs, chased rubber duckies, attempted bubbles (he was still in the splashing stage so we will try bubbles next week), and practiced getting out of the pool.  The 1/2 hour flew by.  It was fun to see him enjoy himself so much.  And we met Claudia, a 19 month old who was recently adopted from Guatemala.  It was nice to have another adoptive family in the group.  And it is so wild to see him so comfortable in water.  I think back to our first night in Moscow with him and when I tried to put him in water, he became as stiff as a board, hands clenched, and eyes as big as saucers.  He has come quite a long way since then.  Anyway, here are some pictures:

Andrew chasing the ducky (sort of):
Andrew practicing getting out of the pool:
Here we are posing after the lesson:
And then Saturday afternoon, Andrew met his Sumwalt cousins.  They have been so patiently waiting to meet him, and Saturday was quite special.  He still has many more Sumwalts to meet, but today was a good start.  It was so neat to see his cousins dote on him.  I am so happy that Andrew will get to experience the love his extended family has to offer.  The newest cousin is set to arrive in October, so he will have cousins of all ages to play with.  Now we need to get his cousin Audrey Cox down for a visit.  They are only 10 days apart, so they are super close in age.  Anyway, here are some pictures from our visit Saturday:

Caroline and Andrew by the window:

Here is Andrew with Caroline and Claire (if only Andrew had looked at the camera...):

So, that is it for the week.  We have to go back to the helmet therapist Monday so he can get his helmet adjusted a bit.  Right now it sort of crops his eyes too much.  Other than that, we hope to hang out at home.  Andrew is learning to climb stairs, so we might be in for another busy week!  I hope everyone has a great week!


Monday, September 1, 2008

One month home

It is hard to imagine that one month ago we boarded a 12 hour flight from Moscow to Atlanta with Andrew.  It is amazing what one month at home will do.  When we first met Andrew on June 4, he couldn't sit up without assistance, and at almost 1 year of age one physician put his verbal skills at 4-5 months.  Now, it is all we can do to keep up with him around the house.  He isn't walking yet, but he is quite the crawler, especially when he sees a cat he can grab.  And he is walking a lot more with assistance.  And as for his verbal skills, he is verbalizing the sounds mama and dada, although we aren't quite thinking he knows what he is saying yet.  

When we arrived in Atlanta a month ago, we had two memorable encounters.  One was with an American/Russian flight attendant.  As we neared Atlanta, she came up to us, kneeled down and stroked Andrew's hair while asking us questions about him.  At some point in our conversation I mentioned we looked forward to sharing Andrew's Russian heritage with him.  The flight attendant had a sad look on her face and related how difficult things can be in Russia and how he will have lots of opportunity with us.  Later on, at the airport customs area, another American/Russian lady who lived in Denver and was returning from a trip to Russia approached us and Andrew.  She asked us lots of questions as well.  She gazed into Andrew's eyes and kept saying 'God bless you' to us.  

I won't forget those encounters.  Russia has a special place in our hearts.  I don't mean to imply anything through these stories except that we encountered some very special people along the way, and were amazed at the support we had, even from strangers.  Although I know Andrew will have many opportunities with us as parents and in this country, I think Vernon and I are the truly blessed ones.  Although this month has been difficult on some level (introducing a 14 month old to a new life isn't simple), it really has been so easy on other levels.  Maybe that is our unique perspective given everything we have been through, but Andrew is adjusting well.  Going into adoption, we were prepared and educated to deal with almost any kind of situation.   And I don't want to say after 1 month that we are coasting, because that is not the case.  Andrew just seems to be doing well for right now.  We continue to take it one day at a time.

And as for today, I took Andrew with me on a 5k road race.  This was after I taught my 5:45 am weight training class at the Y, so I am a bit tired now as I type this update.  Andrew enjoyed the run, and I did, too.  I didn't overdo it, as I haven't run much lately.  When I run I try to target someone else running who I think I can beat (just a touch the competitor).  And believe me, I don't target those tall, lanky, power gel guzzling sort who look like they could be on the cover of Runner's World.  I identified another lady in a baby jogger just like mine (except hers was ugly orange - sorry, no offense to anyone - I'm just a Gamecock fan).  I catch up with her by mile 1, but by mile 2 she passed me.  As she passed me, I overheard someone running next to her talking to orange baby jogger lady about their last 1/2 marathon.  I decided maybe I wouldn't beat orange baby jogger lady after all.  I haven't done a 1/2 marathon in over 4 years.   I then target an elderly male runner (don't laugh, there are some great older runners).  I wind up passing elderly male jogger and right close to the finish line, wound up beating orange baby jogger lady, too.  Although my time was nothing to brag about.  I just enjoy running and finishing, with little competitions along the way to make things interesting.

I guess I'll leave it at that for now.  I have a Costco update that I will share later.  Thank you all for your support - especially this month as we have Andrew home.  We feel the attachment parenting style that we have been educated about as adoptive parents is really paying off.  This month has been nothing short of amazing.  We look forward to many more months and years ahead.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cheerio Boy...And Pictures!

Hello everyone!

Okay, I finally had a chance to take some pictures of Andrew.  He is doing quite well.  He is learning to hi-five me, which is fun.  He is also eating spaghetti and some sort of Gerber chicken stew.  He will get the most peculiar look when first tasting the food, but then eats it quite well.   He still likes to play with the food, and his bottle for that matter.  I have learned that mealtimes can take up to 40 minutes with him.

So, here are some pictures:

Here is happy Andrew:
The Cheerio is on the way in (notice the drool on the chin)...

The Cheerio is almost in...
Here is his "I must break you" glare (Rocky IV, anyone?).  (I am just kidding, here - Russia is our second home and we love our Russian friends, but this look in the picture was too much!)

Here is the yawn:
Here is Andrew, practicing his oratory and walking skills:
Here is Andrew looking cute...

Here is Andrew...You are getting sleepy...very sleepy:

Here is Andrew, gazing out of the window:

We are rolling right along.  Andrew certainly keeps us on our toes.  He is quite active, but in a very good 14 month old way.  And he lets me take him in the baby jogger, which is good, too.  But don't take the car keys away from him.  His mouth will turn into an oval and the wailing begins.  It is amazing how once the keys are back in his possession all is well.  He is clearly learning the pros of a family.  

Have a nice day, everyone!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

3 Weeks and counting...

It just dawned on me that we have been home 3 weeks.  Andrew continues to act like this home is all he knows.  He is happy when he isn't tired, and wants to explore everything.  He is eating Cheerios like an expert now, well almost.  

Earlier this week we were surprised by my Group Exercise friends at the Y with a baby shower.  We had a regularly scheduled meeting, and when I arrived, it turned into a surprise shower (and a meeting).  We are so very blessed.  I love teaching at the Y and my friends have been so wonderful to me through the years.  Thank you all for a wonderful shower!  I hope to post a picture later - I have to get it from my friend Michelle first.

Thursday Andrew got fitted for a helmet.  When Andrew was born, he spent the first 8 months in a hospital because all of the baby homes were full.  At 8 months he moved to a baby home.  His baby home was wonderful, but I can imagine the hospital wasn't as nice as the baby home.  He probably spent too much time laying in a crib, and his head is flat in back as a result.  Really, to me, it isn't a huge deal, but our pediatrician and the occupational therapist (OT) feel like there is still time to try to reshape the head just a bit.  So, Andrew will wear a helmet for about 2-4 months.  I understand that after a very short while babies who wear helmets get really used to the helmet, and they even get to the point where they prefer the helmet on.  Our OT works with many adopted children, so she understood the unique concerns I had with the helmet issue and addressed them all.  The medical aspect is that this can help prevent jaw and TMJ issues down the road.  Having jaw and TMJ issues myself, I suppose the helmet is worth trying.  I am thinking of how we can decorate the helmet once he starts wearing it.  We will make it something special.

We are trying to watch a few minutes of the Wiggles right now (it is still early in the morning).  The other day, Vernon came downstairs as we were watching the Wiggles, and Vernon just couldn't get into the whole Wiggles concept.  I told him kids love the show, so he better get used to it.   I can't wait until Andrew begs daddy to watch the Wiggles, and Vernon of course watches every moment with Andrew.  We really don't watch a lot of t.v.  Only 30 -45 minutes a day.  But Andrew was up at 6 a.m., and so we were having some quiet time early in the morning.

It is now 8 in the evening and I am finishing up this post.   Although Andrew was tired today, it was a good day.  This evening, during our 'calming down' time before bed, instead of watching Baby Einstein, Andrew would take his finger and pull at my lip.  I would make funny noises when he did that, and he laughed so much.  It was fun to see him respond like that.

We have Andrew signed up for swim lessons this September.  These are the mommy/daddy and baby swim lessons of course.  We are excited and look forward to seeing Andrew in the water.  I do think he will be a little fish before too long.  And of course the swim lessons can be a good bonding routine as well.

I am still thinking of running a 5k this Labor Day weekend.  It is a whole different story jogging alone and jogging with a baby jogger.  I am certainly not going to break any records.

I hope to post some pictures soon.  Vernon and I have been rather pitiful in the picture department.  Andrew just doesn't want to pose, go figure.  I guess at 14 months old, he has other things on his mind than making memories for his parents.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Baby talk

We had a very good but exhausting day.  The day started normal enough, but then we headed to the eye doctor.  Andrew is just a tiny bit cross-eyed and our pediatrician wanted us to get him evaluated.  The good news is that the doctor thought his visual responsiveness was great, and thought the cross-eye issue might resolve itself.  So, we will go back in 6 months to see how Andrew is doing.

Then, we went to the pediatrician for vaccinations.  Today Andrew got the MMR and Chicken Pox vaccination.  He did quite well, and cried afterwards of course, but only for a minute or two.  He is also gaining weight so the Pediasure that Andrew gulps down like chocolate milk must be working.  Our nurse who adopted from Guatemala made the observation that it looked like Andrew was bonding well with me.  I was grateful that she shared her observation with me.

After this adventurous day I thought Andrew would be ready for his nap, but he wasn't interested in the least.  As I'm getting to know Andrew better, I knew sleep wasn't going to be in the equation at all (meaning, he was doing backbends in my arms, grabbing the lamp near us, and making all sorts of funny noises and laughing at himself), so we went back out and I got a haircut.  I figured Andrew already had a very "off" kind of day, and I am much relieved to finally have those dead ends chopped off.  We will resume meaningful attachment time tomorrow.  It is nice because Andrew likes to crawl all over me, and in the evening when we have "Baby Einstein" time, he curls up in my lap to watch.  He still loves his bottle and we still have at least 3 bottle times a day as well.  The rest of the time I just follow him around as he crawls and stands up.  

This evening I tried to keep Andrew up as late as possible, but by 6:45 I gave up and he went to bed.  So, I am bracing for a possible real early wake up call.  Last night he was asleep from 7:30 to almost 6 a.m., so he is doing very, very well in that area.

Okay, enough baby talk.  I am going to get ready for bed myself as I have no idea how these vaccinations will impact Andrew tonight.  

Good night!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Settling in...

Here we are trying to get Andrew to laugh (by tickling him, of course)...

Here is the more formal picture of us...

Here is Andrew, ready to grab the camera...

Andrew is doing so much better with his sleeping!  I don't want to jinx it, and I know once I post this we will have one of those nights, but he did very well last night.  The biggest issues are his early morning wake ups (anywhere from 3 to 5 am).  Usually I can be up for an hour to an hour and a half when that happens.  But last night he didn't get up until 5, and I kept waiting for the "cry", but it never came.  I just heard him playing and babbling, with an occasional whimper, and then the thumb sucking and back to sleep.  I had the bottle and diaper all ready to go in, but he went back to sleep.  So, we are making some progress, which is nice.  I must say though that I have found the silver lining in our nighttime 'bonding'.  Although sleep is good, too.  I am a light sleeper and it can be hard getting back to sleep.

Andrew continues to make new discoveries.  He has learned how to shut doors, to take 2 stacking cups and clap them together, and when I pat his belly or mouth, he makes little 'Indian' noises (sorry to be politically incorrect there, I just didn't know how else to communicate the sound he makes).  He can even feed himself Cheerios now, although Vernon says sometimes he cheats.  He doesn't always feed himself with the 'proper' technique.  He is also taking steps with assistance, and he loves to try to stand with no hands.  Oh, and he loves to pull Gracie the Cat's tail.  The cats are quickly learning that elevation is their friend.  For a while, at least.

We are also making progress in the attachment area.  He loves bottle feeding time, and it is such a nice way to bond.   Andrew and Vernon love bath time as well, although Vernon refers to it as 'splash' time.  He absolutely loves my Ergo baby carrier, and starts to laugh when he sees me put it on (again another good way to attach).  We appreciate everyone's understanding with respect to our need to be the ones who do the caregiving and most of the daily interaction with him.  I wish we could 'share' him more, but that time will come.  We had our first post placement visit this week, and our social worker thought he was doing very well, and was pleased to see that he wasn't interested in her in the least (which sounds odd, but that means we are doing a good job with Andrew).  

It's funny, because I rarely leave the house with Andrew except for appointments, but Vernon and I had to make a Target run today.  As I passed by the ladies clothing, I started talking to the clothes, saying hello and that it is good to see them again.  Vernon thought I was a bit nuts.  Oh well.  That's what happens when one stays at home so much.

By staying at home, I have realized much about our neighborhood.  I have realized that our cul-de-sac road must be the route for the drivers ed students, as I see the student driver car drive by several times a day.  I have also confirmed that our cats really do nothing all day.  And I have realized Sesame Street has changed.  Andrew really doesn't watch it yet, but I have turned it on a couple of times only to realize that Elmo gets e-mail, and that Cookie Monster is "in the house".  I'm going to have to find some old school Sesame Street, full of bell-bottoms and wavy hair.  Or maybe I won't.  

Our days are fairly routine.  We are now on a good nap schedule, and we are sticking to it.  I hope to get the baby jogger out next week and see if Andrew will let me go for a run with him.  He loves the outdoors, so I hope he will let me train for a 5k coming up Labor Day.  We'll see.

I hope everyone is well.  I will post more early next week!