Way Back Wednesay

*Mommy Diaries, star date June 2007

What's Way Back Wednesday?

Being a Mommy

It has only been a few weeks since little Sassafras graced us with her presence, and our entire world has been turned upside down! We are seeing hours of the day that we haven't seen in years, and besides that we have absolutely no sense of day or time other than when the baby ate/peed/pooped last, and when she's due for another feeding or change. All during our pregnancy we heard about how life was about to change. We anticipated the odd hours and sheer exhaustion of caring for a newborn, but there have been some surprises.

I never knew that I would get so excited about Sassafras's burps.  I did not expect for my whole world to revolve around when and how much formula she takes. I did not know how happy her smiles (yeah-I know they aren't really smiles at a few weeks old...but they sure are cute) would thrill my soul the way they do.

Nothing could have prepared me for the irrational anxieties of motherhood. I worry incessantly about her feeding, pooping and peeing (too little? too much?), her breathing, her tummy, her sleep cycles (too much? not enough?), if she's too hot or too cold, and whether she's comfortable in her swing or in my lap or wherever she happens to be at the moment.  We did have a few scary choking episodes that make me worry about whether it will happen again and, if so, if I will be there to suction out the gook.  Still, my mind has no peace at night unless she is beside me (in her bed pulled up close to ours) with my hand on her chest feeling the rise and fall of her breathing.

Mostly, I could never have expected to have so much love for this tiny little baby...and the love of a mother is such a fierce love! There are so many loved ones in my life that I know I would die for, but I believe I would kill for Sassafras. Just sitting and holding her is so amazing. Sometimes when she looks at me and makes one of her silly faces, it absolutely takes my breath away.  I love looking into her eyes and thinking about what those eyes will see in her lifetime.  I do know that God has really big things in store for this little girl!

*5 years later...oh yeah, does He ever have great, big plans for her! 

Way Back Wednesday

Mommy Diaries, star date April 2008

What's Way Back Wednesday?


If I knew then what I know now....

In this month's issue of one of the parenting magazines we (I) read, there was an article about moms' favorite pieces of advice they were given before they had their kids. It got me to thinking back to the many, many, many words of wisdom that were passed on to me by friends and family.

Here is a list of what I remember most clearly, and has helped me along the way. I even added a few of my own epiphanies! Maybe they will be helpful to someone else. (Unfortunately, I do not recall who shared them! Feel free to claim these, or add your own comments!)

*Snap all metal snaps together before putting clothes in the dryer; it will avoid getting the snaps caught in the side of the dryer.

*Use a multipurpose pad over the cover on the changing table. When she inevitably pees or poops mid-change (or that Pamper is carrying an out of control load), you can just wash the pad and the changing table cover is still clean.

*Don't be afraid to make noise when she is napping; it will help her become a more sound sleeper.

*Ask for clothing gift cards for holidays/birthdays. Toys break, and clothes are expensive.

*Trust your mommy instincts. No one knows her better than you do.

*You are her protector, her voice, and her advocate. Do whatever it takes to keep her healthy, well, and safe...even if it doesn't make sense to the rest of the world!

*She'll only be little once. Cherish every single moment, and remember when she is screaming her head off at 2:00 am for no explainable reason!

*Every child is different. They all reach milestones at different stages and have their own unique personalities.

*Never, EVER be afraid to ask questions. No one thinks you're stupid, and if they act like they do, they obviously never had small children.

*Every mother is different. You have to figure out what is best for you and your child.

Sometimes that means following the rules; sometimes it means making up your own.

Way Back Wednesday

*Mommy Diaries, star date November 2010

What's Way Back Wednesday?

1+1=Chaos

The New and Improved version of the Wilson fam now includes TWO children. That makes me so happy for a multitude of reasons. And...it makes me crazy! How come none of you people told me how hard it is to transition from 1 kid to 2?!

The Captain is a super duper over the top helpful daddy. Yet, even with all his support, we are both still scrambling constantly to give our girls whatever it is they need. Bath time is chaos. Bedtime (well, not for Pearl, but for Sassafras it is) is chaos. Getting dressed to go somewhere is chaos. It takes hours. HOURS. Even with clothes laid out and the bag already packed, it takes HOURS to get these girls dressed and ready to go. I don't understand it. How can the addition of one teeny tiny little girl add so much to our routine? There is always, ALWAYS another mess to clean up. One is making a mess while you are cleaning up some disaster made by the other one. It is unending.

And I won't even tell you about the laundry.

For this I was completely unprepared.

I hear that just as every new mom is unprepared at the life change her first child brings about, every new mom of a 2nd is just as shell-shocked at the chaos of a younger sibling. Our situation is even more intense because our 2nd came to us as a very active, very curious, very mobile 14 month old. We didn't get to ease into having a second, with a tiny little infant who mostly lays still. We jumped full force into toddlerhood, which I've always said was the hardest period in Sass's development. Total, nonstop, mischievous action.

I feel like a total rookie again, trying to figure out the best way to get my kids dressed and out the door for an event (which, no matter how many hours of prepping, is ALWAYS disastrous and we are always even later than we were before, and I'm so sorry if this has affected you but the truth is, it isn't likely to improve anytime soon. Just eat without us, start without us, leave without us...we'll catch up!), the best way to get them both fed in a group setting, the best way to work their schedules around one another so that everyone has what she needs. Everything is a new adventure!

Africa was hard because we were in another world. Coming home has been even harder in some ways because we are trying to find our new normal in our old world. And our new normal is taking way more work than we anticipated! I read on another adoptive mom's blog once that the real work starts when we get them home, and it is oh so very true. Parenting is just hard work, no matter which way you slice it.

I am told by moms with several kids themselves that the hardest transition was going from one child to two, and after that, it's just icing on the cake. I suppose that makes sense. You go from the parents throwing everything they've got into a baby, giving the other breaks here and there, to learning the total absence of breaks in "man on man" combat. Merciful heavens, it makes me wonder what we'll do when they outnumber us?!

Lawdyhammercy.

Just when we'd finally felt that we had this parenting gig sort of figured out, we start all over again. It's true that every child is different, even biological siblings, but Pearl's needs as an adopted child are extremely unique. Pretty much everything we did with Sassafras we are doing differently with Pearl because of her emotional maturity. The basic principles of our parenting style are unchanged, but the steps in which we carry out those basic goals are looking much different with chica numero dos.

And now, since in the 10 minutes it has taken me to record these thoughts, there are now cheerios all over my kitchen floor.

I have some more chaos to attend to...

*Oh yes, it was a difficult transition. It most surely was. 1-2 was hard, and 2-3 was hard. But every time someone tells me how full my hands are, I tell them so is my heart. 

Way Back Wednesday

*Adoption blog, star date March 2011

What's Way Back Wednesday?

In the delivery room the first hour or so after Sassafras was born, I asked the nurses if they knew her blood type. That might seem as weird to you as it probably did to them, like maybe in an odd

is-she-sure-of-this-baby's-daddy

sort of way. Which is preposterous, of course. I know exactly who my baby daddy is. :) But the truth of it was, I was just so incredibly curious about my daughter. I simply wanted to know every last morsel, every single detail about my sweet baby girl! I just loved her so much and wanted to know everything there was to know about her.

In adoption, especially adopting an older baby, toddler, or older child, parents forfeit the ability to know everything there is to know about their child. When we accepted Pearl's referral at 6 months of age, we had to mourn the fact that there were 6 months (+ the 9 it took her birth parents to conceive and grow her) of her life we would never know anything about. And then as we were delayed and delayed and delayed from traveling to get her, we had to continuously grieve the loss of those months with her, of her outgrowing clothes I had bought especially for her, of knowing she was living a life totally apart from all of us and there was not one single thing we could to do about it. From month to month all we had were a few update pics that mostly showed very little in terms of her development. It made me so sad that t

here was no possible way I could ever know everything there was to know about her

.

What God taught me in all of this was that sometimes it isn't all the little details that matter. With Pearl, we lost access to the details. The big stuff, though, like knowing she was safe, somewhat content, and healthy...that was what mattered. And so I let go of the desire to know everything there was to know about my Pearl. I let it go before we left, let it go even more while we were there, and have really let it go since we've been home. It doesn't matter who she WAS, all that matters is who and where she IS. And that is ALL I need to know about her.

So imagine my shock when I was going through a drawer this weekend and found a disk her orphanage gave us after we were granted parental rights (I had stowed it away for safekeeping and promptly forgot about it, in the bustle of embassy trips and packing for day trips to the city and hot yogurt and malaria nets). It wasn't just a casual disk of images...it contained

hundreds of pictures of Pearl from a brand new infant all the way up to the week before we met her

.

{*In lieu of posting her entire pictures for the whole WWW to see, let me paint you a word picture instead. Use your imagination for the rest. :)}

Even from this point, with just a few weeks of life.

When she was little enough to feed and nap in 4 hour cycles.

When she had to be bundled to feel safe and couldn't hold her head up.

Though we had no idea who or where she was,

she was our baby girl.

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Even when she slept on her tummy (apparently Africans either don't know or don't care about this SIDS risk). This explains why she insists to this day upon sleeping on her belly. With her booty shoved in the air. :)

Even when there were so few babies in her orphanage that she could nap in the middle of the floor.

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Even when when her facial features finally started emerging from the mushy chubbiness of infancy.

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Even when the aunties shaved her heads, held her, bathed her, and lotioned her.

Even when someone else got to love her for a time.

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Even when she sat in the big high chair for the first time. Despite the fact that there were 22 other kids in her room, we knew Pearl was a favorite because she always got a high chair.

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Even when she first fell in love with water. To this day, she loves playing in the bathtub. And she doesn't mind if it's cold.

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Even when her hand-eye coordination was just developing.

Even when all she had to do was sit in a bouncy chair and soak in her world, we were crying and praying and waiting. For her.

Even when her real smile first began to blossom.

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Even when she was a little sad because there were too many babies for the workers to give one on one attention.

Even when she first began to walk.

And finally, when she turned a year old, some sweet missionaries not only threw her a birthday party (unheard of in orphanage culture), they Skyped us in to it.

They did that for us because even though she was half a world away, she was our baby girl.

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We had never seen any of these pictures, not in any update and not in any part of her file. We had absolutely no idea we would ever be able to know what she looked like in her early days or in all those months prior to getting her referral. 

And just like that, He has given me some more sweet pieces of the Pearl puzzle. 

I've long since stopped feeling that I had to know everything there was to know about her, but it sure was a sweet surprise to be able to know

just a little more

.

Way Back Wednesday

*Mommy Diaries, star date November 2010

What's Way Back Wednesday?

She saw me fall

 It took my body so long to hit the floor that I actually had time to consider a series of attempts to brace for impact. The living room area was kind of a wreck, and there were items scattered all over the floor. To my slick-bottomed Converse sneakers, it was a terrain of slippery land mines.

I was crossing the room, in a hurry to move something or pick something up or turn something on or turn something off (I don't even remember what I was doing), when my foot hit the bag of cherry pit warmers I had been using earlier for my aching back (one of the girls pulled them off the couch and had been playing with them).

Up in the air I went, feet, arms, legs, everything. Time literally stood still for a moment, and then my body slammed into the concrete floor with its paper thin layer of wood strips. My wrists and hip caught the brunt of the impact as I tried to catch myself from falling. As I caught my breath, and tried to gather my bearings, I looked over and saw that Sassafras had been watching the whole thing. Her tiny little jaw had dropped, and she stood there wide-eyed and stunned, just waiting to see if I was okay and what I would do next.

I examined my wrists, made sure everything moved alright, and slowly but surely regained my footing. Since I happen to bruise like a peach, all I could think was... THAT'S gonna leave a mark. And then I realized the significance of the moment.

Because my Sassafras was watching.

My Sass saw her mommy fall as hard as a mommy can fall. She saw me make a mistake, and she saw me get hurt because of that mistake. BUT, she also saw me get back up. I showed her my hands and explained to her that I was okay, but that Mommy should have been more careful. More importantly, that Mommy should have picked up the bag of cherry pits earlier and I wouldn't have slipped on them in the first place. Then we had a good laugh together, and she assured me that she would be informing The Captain about how Mommy fell down as soon as he got home from work.

I think one of the most powerful lessons our children can learn from us is how to recover from the big falls in life. From mistakes, from hurts, from disappointments. Forget putting our kids in a bubble or protecting them from everything that could ever go wrong, or even from cleaning up their messes and hiding their mistakes...they won't ever be able to function like a normal human being if they don't figure out how to handle failure. And most importantly, how to recover from it. My Sassafras saw me humiliate myself today when I hit that ground, but more importantly she saw me learning from my mistakes. I hope that we both remember this moment in our days to come when we both have blunders to learn and grow from...together!