Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3 Months Home

Today marks 3 months since we arrived back at home with the littles!

In a lot of ways it seems like much longer than that, but then again... like it was yesterday.

Don't read into that more than what it means... it just seems like some things are progressing rapidly, others aren't! That's just the way it is with children, not just adopted kiddos!

So, our daily routine from 10-weeks home hasn't really deviated too much... there are some minor changes.

One thing I had HOPED would change... our 6am wake-up call... has not changed.
It's pitch-dark in that bedroom when the girls wake up right at 6am like clockwork.
I don't need room-darkening curtains,
I use music in the background all night,
they go to bed at 7 - but we have tried all times between 7 and 9 to get them to sleep later... nothing has worked.
They don't have enough words yet to understand the clock situation and I have convinced them at 7pm that it's dark outside (see? dark! No outside light on!) and that we all sleep when it's dark.
We don't wake up or get out of bed until the "outside light" comes on.
No dice.
I even go in there some mornings and say "still sleep time" and get them to lay back down.
That doesn't work either.
I think Jesus must think this is funny because you have never met a more anti-morning-person than me.
I function on auto-pilot pretty well getting the big kids off to middle school Monday thru Friday, but until I have two cups of coffee in me,
I don't want to hear the Barney song,
I don't want to wipe hineys,
 I don't want to put sippy cups together,
 I don't want to hear screaming or fighting over a toy and
I CERTAINLY don't want to hear the chorus of electronic toys playing different songs.
Give me till 7am and the whole world is a more sunshiney, happy place to be.
The littles don't care about that.
I am SERIOUSLY WORRIED about what will happen the day we "fall back".
Oh my word. I think I will just cry if they begin waking up at 5am.
Enough about that...

Previously, I had a routine of leaving the house by 9am if we were running any errands. Now...
I just try really hard not to run any errands. The shock-and-awe factor we were previously exploiting which caused everyone to behave super well at any new location has now worn off and they are all about going to the "cookie store" (any one of several local grocery stores which offer free cookies to kids).
If I DO need to go anywhere, this is still the best time, however - if I can make it out the door right after the middle two get on the bus at 8am - its a much better arrangement.

Lunch - we do lunch earlier now. 10:45-11 seems to work well. Why so early? Well... the sooner they eat lunch, the sooner we can start getting ready for naps, which - since they have been up since the butt-crack of dawn wake up kinda early, seems to need to take place around 11:15-11:30am.

Nap - Baby Boy is getting a bottle at nap and bedtime.  And, NO... I don't want to hear about bottles and kids and teeth and whatnot. You come get three kids to bed at the same time, one with serious fear of being abandoned, and we will talk. He finishes the bottle before he falls asleep, usually in about 5 minutes, which gives me time to get the girls into bed, tucked in, prayered up, and back into his room. I then take the aforementioned bottle away, say "night night!" and leave. This works 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time I wind up sitting on the end of his bed waiting for him to fall asleep because he is scared of me leaving. That makes me sad.

Nap time gives me a chance to catch up on whatever. Some days I bake, start dinner, read blogs, return emails, call a friend, clean the kitchen, or a rare treat - watch some movie I want to watch without interruption!

Around 2pm they start waking up. Around 3pm the bigger kids get off of the bus and at 4, everyone is home.
Most days we play outside after naps and once 4:30 or 5 rolls around I try to sneak inside leaving the bigger kids out with the littles for a few minutes so I can throw dinner together (if I have not already started it during nap time).

Dinner is normally at 6, but we are moving this a bit earlier so they can get up to bed around 6:30 instead of 7.
From several weeks ago, this still stands: dinner time. 800 reminders to sit on your bottom, 300 reminders to "eat", 290 reminders to chew with your mouth closed, and 287 reminders to use your fork

Bed time. Me and the three go upstairs, potty, brush teeth, do lotion, wipe some kind of hydrating cream through their hair, get pajamas on, tuck the girls in, put baby boy in bed as previously described, and hope everyone stays put. 

All in all... things appear mostly the same as they did right around a month ago. 
I think we may be progressing slowly towards being able to communicate more effectively.

How am I? 
Well, I think my biggest downfall is always second guessing myself.
The difference between parenting birth children and parenting adopted children is HUGE.
Not just in the lack of time you have had with them, but in the understanding of their past experiences and how that plays into their daily lives and your daily life with respect to how you respond to them - in positive situations AND in negative ones. 
We have had several snafu's in our parenting strides with these three. 
We can all be having fun when suddenly some "trigger" pops up and one of the three dissolves in a puddle of tears. I have had well-meaning friends and family members tell me how they would parent them if they were in our situation... but you know what? You didn't read a bunch of books on attachment parenting with internationally adopted children. You don't know all the facts about their past. You don't see the wheels turning when some "trigger" pops up and threatens to ruin the moment. I know what I would have done with my first four in any given situation. But take EVERY SINGLE PARENTING TRICK you THOUGHT you knew about raising your birth children... and throw it out the window... and THEN you have an inkling of how it is to deal with 3 children who have had immense trauma in their little lives and need discipline for some infraction. 

Then there's the whole "is this an adoption issue or a pre-schooler issue?" thing that I weigh 40 kazillion times a day. That's a whole other post.

So... to review...
basically no changes except for fine-tuning our daily routines, and it seems everyone is getting more comfortable in their surroundings!

So... if you made it this far...
Here's a funny-of-the-day from #5 this morning as your reading reward!
I went in the bathroom to assist in the post-potty clean up and she says:
"Mommy...No eat caca."
Me: "VERY true. We don't eat caca."

I believe this may become our new motto.
(Clarification point in case my social worker is reading this... No one has EVER EATEN caca around here.)


  1. I feel you on the early wake-up times. We JUST locked into a strategy that works for our boys (ages 2 and 3). We had tried the later bedtime, shorter nap, fuller belly, wait until daylight, etc. etc. etc. and nothing worked – they were always up by 5:15ish. I found a toddler wake-up clock online, but it sells for ~ $40, so I thought I’d do the same concept on my own (although I was extremely skeptical it would work). I picked up a cheap table lamp at Target – the boys participated by picking out the color of the shade they wanted for their new “wake-up light” – and plugged it into one of those electrical outlet timers. We hyped it up big time about staying in bed until the wake-up light comes on; Mommy and Daddy will come in then, but not before; you might wake up before the light is on, but you need to stay in bed quietly so your brother can sleep until the light comes on; when the light comes on, you can get out of bed and play, sing, dance, whatever! The first week was a bust. I think it was partly due to their stubbornness and partly due to our lack of follow-through. Something clicked though heading into week 2 and we’re now going strong for 3 weeks. I watch our 2 year old on the video monitor and he’s almost always awake before the light comes on (6:45 weekdays, 7:15 weekends), but he just rolls around on his bed until the light comes on. At that point, both children cheer from their beds and my husband or I come excitedly into their room and wish them good morning (I think this is key to its success – we are literally in there within 30 seconds of the light coming on). Waiting for it to be light outside was a bit too ambiguous a cue for them, I think. This is cut-and-dry – the light is either on or off. They will now lecture us if we come in before the light is on that it is not wake-up time (as lecturing as that can be coming from a 2 and 3 year old!). Anyway, no guarantees, but I have been there DESPERATELY wanting them to sleep until a reasonable hour.

    I’ve enjoyed following your family’s journey. Your older children seem so good with the little ones!

    All the best.

  2. Chrissy - Love reading the updates, and love the pics! Speaking of errands, did you see my FB post about Sam's Click 'n Pull? Seriously, this has totally made my life/grocery shopping so much better!

  3. We do bottles at bedtime too...but we were doing them in the morning for the first 5 or 6 weeks. I'm like hey, whatever I can do to get some calories on this kid, get her to bond and get her relaxed I'm going to do it. I even put the Hershey's syrup in a bottle with the Flagyl a few times.Yes, dental sin. I know!! But since I am an RDH and all, I think I should be able to do whatever I want. ;)

  4. Thank your for the great laugh at the end!! We still do a bottle at bedtime, judgement here. Check out the "Empowered to Connect" website, they have a great study guide about raising adopted kiddos- tons of great info. Enjoy your week- and best wishes as time change approaches!!

  5. I am so with ya on the "parenting adopted children vs bio kids" thing. You CAN'T know what you will do until you are right in the thick of it! We brought our daughter home from Korea a year ago and still struggle with most of these things! What an amazing thing your family is doing with these three!! Love your blog! :)

  6. I love your distinguishing between bio vs adopted child parenting. In some ways - just alike and in other ways TOTALLY different. I just don't think folks get it unless they are in it and truly start to look through their children's eyes.

  7. I have been following you for a while ( a newbie in the adoption journey here!) and just wanted to say both my kiddos got bottles to bed(my non adopted ones!) And they are fine.. even their pedi knew! My best advice (I realize no adopted kids... so not quite the same) I have received on our short journey was from their ped, Kids with special needs( attachment, sensory,, or more extensive) have a different set of rules, you just do what you do to help them through the day!

    Sounds like you are doing that amazingly!



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