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!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Look, no hands...almost

Just a quick post to let everyone know we are trucking along.  Andrew is just moving so much more every day.  He really wants to stand alone, and will probably get there before too long.  He is still trying to learn the art of feeding himself Cheerios, and again, I think he will get there soon.  He enjoys going outdoors and getting sunshine, and we are trying to do that a couple of times a day.  He is really learning so much about his voice.  When we first met him, his verbal skill were estimated at about a 4-5 month old, and I think this is his biggest advance so far.  He just babbles and loves to experiment with different vocal ranges.  He laughs at himself a lot, and at his goofy parents that love to tickle and amuse him.  He actually seems to be so happy.  We are still working on the sleep issues, but they seem to be improving in small steps.  At least last night when he woke up, he didn't want to play for an hour plus.  He went back to sleep rather easily.  Who knows what tonight will bring.  I am prepared for sleep to be a bit of a journey, but remain hopeful that as he continues to acclimate, he will sleep a little more soundly.  I will post again soon.  Have a nice day!


Friday, August 8, 2008

From Sebastian the Cat

P.S.  Picture of Andrew below...

This is me, Sebastian.  I haven't posted yet, so I feel it is time.  It has been one week since the little human has arrived home.  He is a curious fellow, showing a proclivity to move about on all fours.  His verbal skills are somewhat lacking, as he is restricted to the word "bah" quite a bit.  And when my less refined younger sister Gracie sat next to him, this young human tried to use her as a prop to stand up with.  Sigh.  I suppose I must train him.  He must learn the purpose of the human.  Which is, of course, to feed us, provide us a rather large bed with a suitable duvet cover, and of course pet us when we request such interaction.  Doing this will interrupt my already rather full schedule, consisting of waking up, eating, going outside, rolling around in the dirt (a habit reserved for lesser cats, but a weakness I must admit), eating some more, calling on the neighbors, eating some of the neighbor's food, oh, and sleeping every 2 to 3 hours.  Training isn't always easy, but it reaps dividends, as evidenced by the 2 adult humans that do a suitable job catering to my needs.  I must depart to devise my action plan for training the little human.  Farewell.


Sebastian the Cat

Okay it is me again (Christa).  We are doing well.  Andrew seems to be getting so much stronger every day.  His balance is improving as well, and I believe it won't be too much longer before he is walking.  Sleep continues to be the major issue.  We are learning a lot about Andrew and ourselves as we continue to try to get Andrew enough rest.  He loves waking up at 3 or 4, and he is ready to rumble - for an hour and a half.  I feel like his internal clock is still not set on East coast time.  He really resists going back to sleep, so I am trying a lot of soothing techniques and am trying not to stimulate him too much when he does get up.  I hope that he does begin sleeping better.  I can tell he gets tired a bit easier during the day, and I feel once we get the sleep thing worked out, he will be much more energetic.  Thanks for your prayers in the sleep department.
Andrew continues to amaze me with his curiosity, his playfulness, and his adaptiveness.  Bath time is now a favorite, and it is amazing how much splashing a 13 month old can do.  I will post more later, just thought I'd do a quick update as Andrew is taking a needed nap and I am not taking one with him, which I should be doing...


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Getting to know each other...

Just a quick note to let everyone know we are doing well.  Andrew is adjusting well, but he is having trouble sleeping at night.  It is quite hard for a baby to get on schedule, especially with an 8 hour time difference, and we are having some challenges, but I count my blessings as this is quite minor all things considered.  Although living without sleep is...well, an adjustment, too.   Please keep us in your prayers and Andrew in your prayers that he finds peace and rest, so that he can grow and continue to learn new things everyday.  Thank you!

I did want to let everyone know what our lives are like right now.  We are trying to keep Andrew rather insulated at this point.  We have been educated by our social worker, agency director, and other adoptive parents that staying put is the best thing for Andrew right now.  He needs to learn his home and immediate surroundings, which in and of itself is a lot to take in for a 13 month old who has never been outside a hospital and baby home.

Another thing we have been educated about is attachment.  Andrew has never had a parent care for him, only a variety of caregivers.  At 13 months old, he is having to learn what most babies at birth get to learn - that he has a daddy and a mommy that can meet his needs.  It can take months to get this established, although Andrew seems to be doing well with attachment.  What this means, though, is that his daddy and mommy will have to do all the things to care for him for a while - changing diapers, feeding, soothing, and most playtime.  Without proper attachment, children can have a lot of difficulty later in their lives, and we want to make sure Andrew had a good foundation.  Babies who come from orphanages often resort to soothing themselves, as they rarely can get that comfort from another.  We have noticed of couple of these behaviors in Andrew, and the more he gets to know his daddy and mommy are there for him, the easier it will be for him to refrain from self-soothing.  Believe me, we wish we could delegate a little more - especially with sleepless nights - but it is in Andrew's best interest for things to be this way right now.  The good news is, Andrew seems to be adapting well, and the more intensely we stick to this routine, the sooner we can go to a more 'normal' routine, if there is such a thing :).  Now that doesn't mean we can't have visitors - we just have to keep it at a slower pace than normal.  

We have been so blessed with so many friends and family who are so caring.  Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.  I promise to post more pictures soon.  Andrew's all to brief napping schedule prevents me from doing too much at this point!  Have a nice day, everyone!


Monday, August 4, 2008

A day of firsts...

Today Andrew had his first Cheerio.  He liked them.  We will try more tomorrow.  He also had his first real bath, where he sat in his baby bathtub and splashed and played in the water.  It was really fun to see him play.  Of course, his parents were exhausted after returning from his doctors appointment.  Andrew cried more than we had ever seen him cry before.  But he was tired and it is never fun getting blood drawn.  Overall, we had a good doctors appointment.  There are a few follow ups, but nothing serious in nature.  
I just thought I'd do a quick post, as we hit the Cheerio and bathtub milestone today.   I hope to post more pictures of our Russia trip later this week.  

Well we are home and trying to get settled into a new routine.  Andrew is having a rough time getting on a sleeping schedule.  Last night was his best night yet, but he still gets up for an hour to an hour and a half every night and manages to wake up rather early.  I hope in a couple of weeks we are able to get more of a routine going, but we'll see.
Andrew continues to make good strides in development.  He seems to be getting a lot stronger, as he pulls himself up much more quickly and assertively.
Andrew has his first doctors appointment today.  This will be his first outing since returning home.  As a newly adopted child, we have been educated to keep Andrew's world real small right now, and let him slowly get used to us and his new home.  It can be quite a bit for an adopted child to absorb all of this new information.  Of course, I am hoping that I can also learn to keep my world smaller :).  We are adjusting well, all things considered.  It is quite a change - I forgot how much of a change this can all be.  Thanks for all of your prayers, and I promise to post pictures once I manage to take some :).