Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Graeme

Playing with my new kitchen. Notice the pajama knickers. They are the bottoms to Ian's set of the exact same pajamas. I couldn't find Graeme's bottoms so he insisted on wearing Ian's.
Graeme entertaining his friends at our homemade water park.
Graeme's dinosaur birthday cake.

We celebrated Graeme's 3rd birthday on July 13 (his actual birthday) with a dinosaur-themed birthday party. The party ran smoothly, despite having 14 kids in attendance! The kids played in our homemade water park, dug for dinosaurs in the sandbox and enjoyed cake and other goodies. It was a great day and I found myself overjoyed and overwhelmed that we are parenting a three-year old.
Posted by Picasa

More fun at the beach

Ian being entertained by Chandler and Elena.
Watching movies in the morning. A wonderful treat! Graeme, Chandler, Ian, Morgan, Hayden and Elena.
Learning to play Uno. The older kids were fabulously patient while Graeme drew and discarded cards at will and gleefully announced the colors of the cards in his hand. Steve, Graeme, Morgan, Chandler, Elena, and Darby.
Riding four-wheelers with Chandler. A high-light, for sure.

We did go to the beach multiple times a day, but I kept forgetting to bring my camera. I'll upload a few more pictures later.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ian's Baptism

We baptized Ian on July 12 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic, which is sort of as far as the connection goes. Steve and I had hopes of finding a religion that suited us both, but have never really found the time or motivation to do some proper research. When Graeme was born I had a strong desire to introduce religion and after some contemplation I decided to go with my default...Catholic. Blessed Sacrament is within walking distance of our house and has a very contemporary feel, which appeals to me. I attend sporadically. I used to try to take Graeme, but he ends up running around in the hallways and I miss most of the service, so now I just (rarely) go myself. At any rate, the ceremony was nice, all the grandparents were in town, and Graeme restrained himself (with my mother's help) from swimming in the baptismal font.Posted by Picasa

Life at the Beach

We are here in Hatteras, NC on what is becoming an annual tradition when we meet up with our friends, Darby and Raymond and their two girls and usually Victoria and Dan and their kids. Victoria and I met at the University of Rochester when I was a sophomore and she was the residence director in my dorm. She hired me to be an RA (residence advisor) my junior year. Shortly after that we ended up dating best friends and Vic, Michael, Gary and I spent lots of time together. My friendship with Victoria has long-outlasted the college boyfriends. Darby and Victoria worked together at Vanderbilt a few years later. And then a few years after that (so now we're up to 1994 or so) Darby spent a year teaching at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, which happened to be the same year that I spent working there coordinating some student housing. Darby, Raymond and I became fast friends...I was known as "one-friend" because I was their only friend (and vice versa). So, here we are 20 years later and our families are all friends. We started vacationing together a few years ago when it became apparent that we would never see each other otherwise.

Victoria and Dan bought this beach house last year. Unfortunately, they aren't with us this year. Victoria and their two boys, Henry and George, are in Vietnam waiting to finalize the adoption of their two girls, Ellinor and Caroline. The girls were born in April 2007. Vic and Dan received a referral for them in August 2007 and the U.S. still has not approved their visas to return to the U.S. When the girls turned 1 (they are not biologically related, but were born a few days apart), Victoria decided she'd waited long enough and she moved herself to Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnamese government had "released" the girls for adoption, but the U.S. is dragging its feet and won't issue visas for reasons that are hard to understand. Actually, they aren't really hard to understand. According to Victoria, the American who handles Vietnamese adoptions hates her job, the country, and people in general and indiscriminately and occasionally will finalize an adoption. It's maddening. I can't imagine what it's like to be separated from your spouse and living in a foreign country, uncertain when you might be able to return to your own digs and country. So, we are all here at the beach, enjoying Victoria and Dan's generosity, but very much missing them and the chance to get to know their new children.

Graeme is having a great time playing in the sand, swimming in the pool, catching blue crabs and ghost crabs, running around after the older kids and doing the kinds of things that warm my heart.

I had plans to catch up some blogging...Graeme's birthday, Ian's baptism, and other cute kid stuff...but I'm too busy building castles, digging holes, and doing nothing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What Stings?

What is the first response that comes to mind? My guess is "a bee" was what most of you thought of first. This question was posed to Graeme at his 3 year doctor's appointment as part of the battery of tests to determine if he is developing properly. Other questions included, "what runs?" "what flies?" "what sleeps?" "what hops?" He answered in a predictable way for all the questions until we got to "what stings?" "A jellyfish" he shouted gleefully. Steve and I looked at each other with a "where did he get that?" look. He's correct and Graeme "passed." I try not to read too much into it, but I can't help but wonder if it also suggests that my child might be a bit outside of the norm. Nut doesn't fall very far from the tree, I suppose.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Ears for Ian

We went ahead and had ear tube surgery for Ian. There's a formal name, but I'm too lazy to look it up. The surgery is to place "rice-sized" tubes in each of Ian's ears through a small slit in the ear drum. The tubes are supposed to equalize the pressure in his ears. I can't really wrap my brain around what that means so I just imagine that they serve to drain the fluid that collects in his horizontal Eustachian tubes (they become more vertical as we get older). After 9 rounds of antibiotics we decided to avail ourselves of the wonders of modern medicine. I wasn't really nervous about the surgery because it was so clear that Ian needed help. We arrived at the Fairfax Surgical Center at 6:45AM this past Monday morning and were in downtown DC, through rush-hour traffic, at Steve's office by 9:30. In fact, the surgery took as long as a quick pee in the rest room. Seriously. I dropped Ian off in the operating room, waited while they knocked him out, stripped out of my surgical attire, went to the rest room, and the doctor came in the report on the results. It was very factory-like, but efficient, which I like. I didn't really have a need for touchy-feely in this situation, for some odd-reason.

Ian was instantly better. He has not pulled on his ears, yelled in pain, or shook his head as if he's trying to rid himself of the water lodged in his brain. I'm thrilled. I wouldn't say that sleep is anything to brag about yet, but we are definitely in better shape than we were a week ago.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Why there will be no third child

I have long wanted three kids. I'm really not sure why. I've always loved kids and wanted lots of them. Four years of infertility revised my expectations downward to the point where I was overwhelmed with gratitude to mother earth for giving me one. The second was an ultimate bonus. And then I guess I got greedy and started thinking that maybe I could revisit those old notions of lots of kids. Well, this is the official notice that there will be no third child. Along with my idealized notion of three kids being fun was the idealized notion that kids would somehow sleep, or at least conform to sleep patterns that vaguely represented my own or that of any other normal human being. I'm here to tell you that either I have the world's crappiest sleepers or all those people out there with kids are big fat liars and walking around pretending to be well rested. Here's a run-down of the last 24 hours in our house.

Around 7PM, Sunday, July 6: Begin the bedtime routine - bath, stories, songs, bed. It took two years to get to this point, but it usually works well with Graeme. It takes an hour and there's no short-cutting the routine, but it usually works. I've been sleep-training Ian for about 2 weeks and he's a tough-case. I usually begin his cry-fest before Graeme goes down with the hopes that Ian's 30 minutes of screaming is winding down by the time Graeme hits the pillow. It went sort of as planned last night, except that Graeme was wired because of a long nap so Steve laid down with him and somewhere around 9:30 Steve emerged and Graeme was asleep.

Around 9PM: I took a long, hot bath. I get frequent headaches and the bath helps.

Around 10PM: I was out cold in bed.

Around midnight: I vaguely hear Ian screaming (he's 12 inches from my bed, so I must have been in a deep sleep). For the past 2 weeks or so I've ignored his nighttime wakings and he usually goes back to sleep, though it takes up to 2 hours. I just didn't want to listen to him last night. My sleep was so good that I wanted it back quickly. The quickest way to get Ian to sleep is to give him some boob juice. Gave it to him and I must have been making the caffeinated version because next thing I know he is just talking, talking, talking....wide awake and practicing all his consonants. I gave him a bottle in hopes that would help. Nope.

Somewhere around 2AM: I'm still listening to him babble and feeling him kick, kick, kick. I dose him with both tylenol and mylecon and give him another bottle. The babbling continues. Steve and I start arguing about whether or not I can leave him in the basement to work on these babbling skills alone. Steve prefers that I take my own babbling to the basement. I do, but can't settle down either. I return to bed at 4:54AM and everyone is finally asleep.

5:04AM: 8 minutes after climbing back into bed Graeme wakes up. I kid you not. I take him back to bed and lie (or lay) down with him where he proceeds to play with my hair until about 6 when he announces that he wants breakfast. We all get up and start the day.

Amazingly, I can survive like this in the adult world. I can't do kids when I sleep-deprived. Takes too much patience. Thinking like an economist I can do in my sleep. Obviously.

Fast forward to 6PM on Monday, July 7: I return home. Everyone is in a good mood. We eat, quickly, because Graeme wants to go to the pool. Ian is falling asleep in his dinner, which he proceeds to regurgitate as I'm giving him the last bite, so Steve takes G to the pool and I stay back to put Ian to sleep. Ian screams for about 2 hours, which keeps Graeme from falling asleep. So, about 9PM I give up and bring them all downstairs where Steve takes over because I have the "I'm losing it look" on my face (and in my words). I took a break to help Steve and it's now almost 10PM and the kids are still awake. The adults are running on the fumes of fumes.

Were we to add a 3rd child to the mix I am fairly certain that our sleep opportunities would consist of the null set. Ergo, we are done with kids.