Way Back Wednesday

Lord willin' and the Creek don't rise, this will be the last Way Back Wednesday post on this version of A Southern Ruckus. Check back in the next few days for a jazzy new upgrade!What's Way Back Wednesday?

*Originally posted March 6, 2009 on Mommy Diaries. 

The Silver Lining 

Sass hit the "Terrible Twos" earlier than most kids, about when she was 17 months old. She does a little better each day, but for the most part her personality right now consists mainly of tantrums over very trivial things, including HOW I PEEL HER BANANA! (Ridiculous, but the only "fit-proof" way to do it is to give her the banana, let her look at it, she gives it back and ASKS for it to be peeled, and you peel it. If you do any of these steps out of order you are asking for trouble and that is a fact.)

Matt and I have talked a few times about how much easier life was with Sassafras when she was a baby. She was less mobile (as in, she stayed where we put her rather than risking her life and mobility by jumping off tables and standing in chairs), less verbal (no screaming loud enough to set off the alarm or whining NONONONO when she isn't getting her way), and less needy (she wants to color and do puzzles and play outside by herself, but really that means she wants you. Right there. The whole time. Doing nothing else but watching her.). Parenting a toddler is tiring, and parenting this toddler is pure exhausting!

However, I've been thinking lately that while this is by no stretch one of my favorite ages of hers, Sassy's "Terrible Twos" are pretty terrific. Yes, she whines and screams and pitches tantrums, BUT I do remember how she was such a late talker and how I yearned to hear her say "Mama." It still feels so great to hear her say my name, even if it is Mamamamamamamamamamamamama. I also love talking WITH her. Sure, a baby can't talk back or tell you no, but you can't have a conversation with a baby, either. The stuff she comes up with on her own amazes me, and I  really enjoy seeing her grow and develop mentally. I love our little exchanges, and it's great hearing her copy Matt's or my own mannerisms with her own little Sassafras-twist. Adorable!

I had Spring Book Fair this week at school, so one afternoon I took Sass up there to check it all out and look around. A baby wouldn't appreciate a book fair, but my oh my, my big girl did! She oohed and aahed over everything, and even picked out a book and light-up bouncy ball for me to buy. I love sharing this part of my life with her!

Another cool thing about her current age is the food element. It's true that Sass's eating habits vary wildly with her moods, but she's generally a very low-maintenance eater. We don't have to carry bottles or water or formula or jars of food around anywhere! Everywhere we go, she eats what we eat. Very convenient!

It was wonderful to hold Sassafras when she was a baby and look at her for hours, but even though she won't sit still for very long now, I like to observe her as she figures things out and I marvel at how smart she is and how quickly she catches on to things.

One of our favorite aspects of Big Girl Sass is that she will go and fetch things for us around the house. It's awesome to have her bring me a blanket when I'm cold or turn the lights off if it is too bright. She's pretty handy!

Hands down, the absolute best thing about Sassafras not being a baby anymore is.....sleeping all night!

So, when I think about all these great aspects of her current age, it's easy to see that the Big Girl benefits of Big Girl definitely outweigh the Baby. There's something great to life with an almost 2-year-old after all!

*By the way, life with my big girls has proven that the twos really weren't all that bad. It's the threes that have nearly put me in the grave.

Way Back Wednesday

Adoption blog, star date March 2009

What's Way Back Wednesday?

The Wilsons are going where?

Yep, that's right. We're going to Africa. Before you start start flipping out, let me clarify by saying that we are going to Africa only temporarily, and we are going to adopt a beautiful little baby girl.

Why beautiful? Because God made (will make) her.

Why a little baby? Because we feel like maintaining natural birth order is important to both Sassafras and Pearl. We wouldn't have a problem with bringing home a big beautiful girl, but Sassafras would and that's enough for us.

Why a girl? Because kids in almost any country in Africa are suffering, but girls are REALLY suffering because there is such little respect for women. The US Representative in Pearl's country has even spoken out to the African people about violence against women.

Now the big question that's on most of your minds...WHY AFRICA? Because God said so, that's why.

We have talked casually about adoption for a long time, even before we got married. Only two people knew this before I posted it here, but it took us so long to get pregnant with Sassafras that we had actually already received and partially completed an application for adoption right before we finally saw a positive sign on a preg test!

Once (years ago), there was a little kindergartener at my school whose foster family was mistreating him and DHR was involved. It broke my heart and I wanted to bring him home. We even tried, but because at that time we were only 24, we were ineligible to act as foster parents.

Again (about a year before Sassafras), we were talking with a family about the possibility of adopting a very unexpected baby they were struggling to care for. All that to say this...adopting is not a big deal to us.

Some people say they couldn't do it and treat the child exactly as though they were biological. Don't get me wrong, we know this is going to be no walk in the park, but we also know that this is clearly something the Lord has for us in His plan for our lives, therefore, we are going to be obedient!

At this point, we are trying to gather our plan of attack, so to say. We've talked with the international social worker at our agency several times, and have been to at least one informational meeting. Don't even ask me how much time we have put into our own independent research for this thing.

However, it does seem to be that with every question we get answered, there come about 3 more in its place, so this (from the get-go) is going to be both an educational process and a faith journey for our family.

You may be wondering what we need. I'll tell you. We need you to pray for us. Pray already for a smooth process, for Pearl's health and safety, for Sass to be the best big sister in the world, and for safe travels while we are in Africa.

Please continue to check back here for updates, and strap yourselves in...it's gonna be quite a ride!

*Oh my, was it ever. Worth it, though. Worth every single bit.


Way Back Wednesday

Mommy Diaries, star date March 2008
What's Way Back Wednesday?

It's official. I am an idiot. (Most of you are going, "What else is new?!") No, but seriously. I thought I had recovered nicely from pregnancy brain and was well on my way to my former all-together, organized self.

Lately it seems like I have taken 2 steps backward. This morning I got to the end of my normal shower routine and honestly could not remember whether or not I had bathed! (Have no fear, I re-washed, just in case!) Last week on my way home I was turning right at a green light and could not remember whether the person across from me trying to make their left turn in the same direction as me was supposed to go first or second. Basic traffic rules!

 Earlier this week I made 2 or 3 slip-ups with paperwork at school. Nothing life altering, but it bugged me nonetheless because I have always been on top of things.

I think ahead.
I plan and schedule and make lists!
I declared when Sassafras was born that I wanted to be The Mom Who Thinks of Everything.

Yeah, so much for that... How come I seem to be losing it?! Someone PLEASE tell me it gets better!

*Ha. Haha. Hahahahahaha. Yeah, no. It doesn't get better.

Way Back Wednesday

*Adoption blog, star date January 2011

What's Way Back Wednesday?

One of the many unknowns in adoption is your child's medical history. You don't know if his or her biological parents had cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, chromosomal disorders, genetic blood diseases, or diabetes.

I did not like this particular aspect of adoption, not one bit. I thought that not knowing what health problems Pearl might get in the future, and her lack of medical background would cripple our efforts at caring for her health. I thought it would be hard filling out papers for the pediatrician, dentist, therapist, whatever and not having a single thing to mark down for her medical history. I thought it would be hard on us and on her, not knowing if minor symptoms were indicative of major illnesses to which she is genetically predisposed.

I thought not knowing her biological inheritance would be really scary.

Hey, so it's really not. It's not scary at all.

I mean, when you think about it, so what if your grandmother had cancer. (I am NOT being flippant about people having cancer. Please know me better than that. I AM being flippant with medical histories.) That doesn't mean you will have it. So what if your father didn't have diabetes. It doesn't mean that you won't. What I'm trying to say is that in the grand scheme of life, a medical history just really isn't all that essential. It actually simplifies paperwork. Instead of checking or unchecking a zillion boxes on a form, I can just write "unknown" and go back to playing with my kid instead of filling out a sheet of paper that would just help a doctor make assumptions about her anyway.

Plus, it helps me to not worry about what she "might get" and instead focus rather intently on who she is and how she is right now. I like that Pearl's physicians have to think very carefully and specifically about every one of her symptoms. Her lack of medical history actually means that she gets some pretty individualized attention. I like that doctors can't make assumptions about her based on her biology, but rather are forced to look at her as a little person and treat her as uniquely as she deserves to be treated. 

Way Back Wednesday

*Adoption blog, star date November 2010

**We had been home for about 2 weeks when I wrote this post.
What's Way Back Wednesday?

I once read from an adoptive mom that as hard as the adoption process is, the real work begins after you get home with your new child.

Obviously our process could have been way worse, but it’s true that we had several difficulties along the way. It was a rough process. But even with all of those glitches, some days I have to agree with that mom. Some days are really hard work.

Today was a hard day for Pearl. She has been showing some signs of teething, and seemed to have a bit of trouble with her tummy as well. We are still waiting on results from the International Adoption Clinic, so she could have more going on in that wee widdle body than we realize. The girls and I had spent the morning out running errands, so her nap was pushed back by about an hour. That added to the, um, grumpiness.

She woke up about 45 minutes into her nap crying. I waited a few minutes to see if she would whimper herself back to sleep, but the crying only escalated. Finally I went in to get her, and my sweet baby girl went positively berserk. She wanted me to pick her up, but then she went all noodle-like, as if she wanted me to put her down. I readjusted the way I was holding her several times, and she just cried harder. Her diaper was fine, she’d had lunch plus 8 oz of milk, so hunger shouldn’t have been an issue. I tried again with a bottle, and she took an ounce or 2 but then went nuts again, screaming and thrashing around. I finally sat in the floor with her, which made her madder. I laid her down on the cute little daisy rug in her floor and patted her back. She grabbed my hand and flung it away. She scratched at me. She tried to bite me. All the while, she was getting madder and madder and madder. Eventually she would crawl back over to me and lay against me, but if I tried to put my hand on her she would scratch at me again.

I just kept telling her I was so sorry she was so sad, and that I loved her. I told her I loved her at least a hundred times sitting on the floor with her. I wanted her to know that I am her mommy, and even on the bad days, I’m not going anywhere. Even when she’s ill as a hornet and madder than a wet hen, I’m not going anywhere. Even when she scratches me and tries to bite me and thrashes around on the floor, I am not going anywhere.

 I tried one more time on the bottle, and this time she took it and settled down. She let out a burp just before I gave it to her, so maybe that was her trouble. Maybe it was the teething. Maybe she was overtired. Maybe she just wanted to pitch a good fit and see how I would react. Maybe this is an indication of deeper attachment issues. Maybe it was a combination of some or all of those troubles.

Only time will tell.

 As crazy as the moment was, I was actually quite calm. I remembered that Sassafras had some pretty good fits at this age, and there was always an explanation for it...we just had to figure out what it was. I remembered all the things we learned about in the adoptive parent seminars, and how adopted children experience so much grief during their period of transition to their new home. I remembered that from our perspective, Pearl is in a better place than she was, but that in her perspective, she has lost all that she knew and everyone she loved.

And maybe she holds me responsible for that.

I remembered that Pearl has every right to feel angry and hurt and sad and lost, and that my job is to help her feel through those emotions. Because, of course, I’m not going anywhere.

-Added a few weeks after the event:
Since this day, Pearl has been the sweetest, most pleasant little baby girl in the world. Even though at this moment I was worried that we were headed for more hard days, knowing what I know now, I believe this was a major turning point in how Pearl viewed and related to me as her mother. I honestly believe that in this messy, hard moment, Pearl tried and tested my commitment to her, and found me worthy of her trust. God used these tears to knit our hearts together even more tightly than before. And because of that, we have many, many more GOOD days ahead!