Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Sideways Video

I'm assuming that only truly devoted grandparents and family friends will actually want to spend a minute of their lives watching Atticus demonstrate his walking and climbing ability...sideways. Apparently I'm not a fast learner when it comes to videography.

Atticus has had a busy week! In addition to beginning to walk across rooms on his own he also learned to climb stairs and push the baby gate off the recycling bin. At the start of the week he couldn't climb stairs at all. This morning he climbed all 18 of our slippery hardwood stairs without any assistance.

We started putting an old gate over our recycling bins a couple of months ago when Atticus figured out how to remove items from them. Frankly, he's a little obsessed and his first target is always any bottle that happens to be in there. As you can see from the bottom picture, we may need to start keeping the bins outside.

Oh, he also managed to climb into the bathtub on his own last night. One minute he was standing next to it and putting his hands in the water while I undressed Norah. The next second he had pulled himself up and over the edge of the tub. He seemed pleased with himself. I was scared.

Norah continues to be one of the sunniest morning babies I've ever met. I wish she understood the merit of sleeping in on the weekends, but at least she's delightful and thrilled when she gets up at 5:45 a.m.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Seven More Days

I returned to work yesterday. Granted, there are only seven days left of the school year, but going back now allows me to stay on my school's health insurance through August.

The kids seemed to have handled the transition better than I. Atticus is in love with his Grandma Bebe's humongous playroom and Norah enjoys babbling back and forth with the other two babies her age. She also has taken a shine to Piccolo, the patient black cat who will sit next to her as she methodically tries to pull out his fur and eat it. She is becoming more mobile and can scoot backward quite well. I remember having Backwards Bill Day one summer with childhood friends. In honor of the Shel Silverstein poem, our parents let us walk backward, put our clothes on in reverse, and eat dessert in the morning. Every day is Backward Day to Norah.

Atticus started imitating me sneezing tonight complete with a hand motion. He is one funny little toddler.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Orleans Wedding

The View from Our Hotel Room

We ate some beignets at Cafe du Monde.
Dress Rehearsal Dinner: A Crawfish Boil!

The Wedding Site: The Edgar Degas House where Degas Once Lived

Note the awesome Mardi Gras beads that were handed out to guests!

We had a fabulous time at our friends' wedding! I love New Orleans and it's now on my list of places that I would happily move to if given the chance. Andy and Elyse set out to make sure their friends and family had a fantastic time and the entire weekend was wonderfully low-key and enjoyable. Many of our friends were in town and it was great to kick back, relax, and enjoy exploring an awesome city. Best of all was seeing how happy our two friends were to be together. I don't usually cry at weddings, but the grins on their faces had all the women in my aisle in tears.

Atticus and Norah seemed to thrive under their grandparents' care and didn't seem to be phased by our absence. We couldn't wait to get home to them today, but it was fantastic to have a weekend to ourselves to reconnect and relax.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I spoke too soon about the laptop - yesterday it started having some rather severe problems and I'm pretty sure it needs to go see a computer doctor.

Paul is attending a work-thing. He left yesterday morning and won't be back until tomorrow night. Consequently, he missed experiencing A.'s most recent accomplishment - sleeping through the night in his own crib last night! The teacher in me is dying to assemble some sort of color-coded positive reinforcement chart with star stickers. I'm pretty sure that he's a little too young yet to understand anything about that other than wanting to eat the pretty stars.

Tomorrow night we are embarking on a whole new adventure. We're leaving the kids with my parents (at our house) for a long weekend while we go to New Orleans for a wedding. I'm simultaneously excited and scared out of my mind. The adoption experts we saw assured us our kids are well-attached and will be just fine, they are very familiar with and fond of their grandparents, it would be a total goat rodeo trying to take the kids to the wedding, I really want to encourage a close relationship between them and their grandparents...but I don't want to leave them. It may feel like a very loooooong four days, but I'm sure we'll have a great time.

This morning the kids stayed with their Bebe so I could run some errands. It occurred to me that leaving your child(ren) when you're new parent feels a lot like being a teenager with a brand new driver's license. Remember how exhilarating but scary it was at sixteen to run to the grocery store for milk all by yourself? That's exactly what this feels like.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Someday I Will Probably Laugh about This

DISCLAIMER: I am well-aware that the following story makes me sound as though I should join a parenting group with Britney Spears. We could leave our kids in the car with the windows rolled up while we went into a bar and discussed whether Cheetos or Funions make better finger food for babies. I have learned an important lesson and I will share that lesson with you now.

Yesterday evening Paul was napping and I was playing downstairs with the kids. Suddenly Norah had A Really Bad Diaper - the type that needs to be taken care of immediately before it leaks and contaminates the entire planet. I quickly scooped her up and headed for the stairs. When I left, Atticus was sitting contentedly on the floor playing with blocks. I know I shouldn't have left him unattended. In my defense: A.) I wasn't thinking straight because of the poopy diaper situation B.) the living room is pretty child-proofed normally C.) Whenever I've run upstairs in the past, Atticus has always crawled over to the base of the stairs and yelled for me as soon as he realizes I'm gone.

About a minute after going upstairs I realized there were two things I'd left out in the living room. My laptop was open on the coffee table and there was a bottle with about 2 ounces of soda on our entertainment center. Within two minutes of going upstairs I returned at a run to find that my one-year-old had transported the soda bottle over to the laptop and was banging it upside down on the keyboard. He has never carried anything like that before. I said some bad words that I don't particularly want my kids to learn. Luckily, I have a husband who knows stuff about computers, so when I ran upstairs screaming with the computer in-hand he knew to turn it off and tent it upside down to dry out. It turns out, there are pages upon pages of discussion on one of his techie websites about experiences with spilling beer or soda on laptops.

We'll probably have to buy a new keyboard for the laptop, but the rest of the computer seems to be functioning just fine. My ego was hurt far more by repetitive thoughts about my bonehead move. I am not ready to laugh about this yet.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nothing New...

Atticus can play peekaboo for hours. He loves to pick up burp cloths, dishtowels, and bibs, pull them over his head, and then bring them down to big applause. He also likes to peek at Norah over the coffee table. He's a very funny little boy.
When Norah first came home she was so quiet. She would have been content to lie on her back watching the world by for most of the day. I was a little worried. These days though she never lets us forget her presence. She's starting to scootch around and she's not quiet unless she's asleep.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


In the past, one of the most common arguments brought up about transracial adoption was that white parents wouldn't know how to take care of their black children's hair. I'm a big believer in "figuring things out", but I still find that I'm a little neurotic about our kids' hair. I don't want anyone judging me to be a bad mother because my kids' hair looks damaged. We went to an awesome picnic this weekend with all the families in our area who have adopted from Ethiopia and when I brought up this topic there was a lot of interest. Therefore, I figured I would type out what we've done so far in the hope that it will help someone else out. Obviously, every person has different hair, so the routine I've developed might not work for someone else.

I stopped by a local barbershop last weekend and asked the barber and his wife to make sure Atticus and Norah's hair wasn't damaged. They assured me that their hair looks fine and is uneven because of how it's growing in rather than any mistakes on my part. They said to bring Atticus back in a year or so for his first haircut. They recommended using a Black & Beautiful Tea Tree products in the future.

Here are some pictures of the kids' hair. Norah is on top; Atticus is below. You have no idea how hard it was to get pictures of the backs of their heads.

Norah's hair is finer and has looser curls than Atticus's. The barber's wife tried to tell me that Norah must be biracial given her hair texture. Atticus's hair is tighter and soft.

Currently we are using Carol's Daughter products (I know, it's such a cliche for adoptive parents to use this) and the same routine seems to be working well for both kids. This is what we're doing these days:

The Carol's Daughter products have strong scents, but I like the way they smell and have always been a sucker for hair products that smell good. I like Aveda products for my own hair and I think the CD products have a similar family of scents. I recently learned that CD products are available at Sephora, so it would probably be well worth it to try them out at the store before purchasing any. They aren't cheap!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dinnertime Video

Norah and Atticus have recently begun to amuse each other a lot. Sometimes after we've put them to bed we can hear them giggling at each other across the room. It's one of my favorite sounds and I love seeing their relationship develop. Last night they were cracking each other up while Paul fed them. By the time I had the camera running they'd calmed down a little and weren't laughing uncontrollably, but I figured the video was worth posting anyway. I wish I could have captured it last night when they were both in our bed in the middle of the night. Atticus fell asleep again as soon as we moved him to our bed. Once Norah calmed down I put her in between me and her brother and she reached out and soothed herself to sleep by pulling repeatedly on his hair while he slept.

Happy Mother's Day!

I am so lucky to be the mother of these two wonderful children.

A couple of editor's notes about the photos: Don't they look adorable peering into the toy drawer together? You'd never know that about a second later they both leaned against it and shut the drawer on all 20 of their fingers at the same time.

In the second picture, Atticus had been crawling around using his dad as a jungle gym when he suddenly turned his head and fell sound asleep. Paul isn't one to pass up the excuse stay very still and nap, so by the time I returned with the camera he was asleep too. They stayed in the same position for about an hour before Paul woke Atticus up.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We Need a Bigger Bedroom!

Back in college I used to volunteer twice a week at Head Start reading books to preschoolers. One of my favorite stories was called Is There Room on the Feather Bed? In it, a whole menagerie of animals appears one at a time to ask a couple if there's room in their bed for one more. Eventually, the hot-pink feather bed has a dog, a cat, a goat, a cow, a pig, a duck... until finally a skunk joins the party. I haven't been able to obtain a copy of that book for our kids, but recently I've been thinking about it a lot while I'm supposed to be sleeping.

Both of our children have been waking up in the middle of the night and settling down only when brought into bed with us. While it's a huge relief that Atticus hasn't been screaming for hours at a time (knock on wood, cross fingers, say a prayer to the patron saint of baby sleep), our bed really isn't big enough for two adults and two babies. Atticus changes position in his sleep a lot and seems to be especially prone towards gas when his bottom is up next to our faces. Poor Paul has spent a lot of nights sleeping down on the futon in our living room because there's no room in the bed and I miss him!

So...we're trying something new tonight. We set up our queen-sized air mattress next to our bed in hopes that we can at least sleep in the same room. Atticus fell off our bed (onto pillows on the floor) twice last night, so having a cushy mattress on the floor will be beneficial for that reason as well.

Please note the picture of Norah where her arms are a complete blur and the other photo of Atticus discovering the electrical socket next to the mattress. I just Googled the book title I mentioned and found it on Amazon. Oh internet, what would we do without you?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clearly I Should Have Been Paying More Attention

In my defense, 90% of the time I was in the shower he was peeking in at me and trying to catch the falling water. The other 10% of the time I could hear him banging on the lid of the toilet seat, so I knew he wasn't in danger. I much prefer to shower alone but it wasn't possible this morning.

Norah occupied herself with a vibrating toothbrush. It's her favorite toy these days and if we'd let her use it unsupervised, I think she would sleep with it. The poor baby is evidently cutting some more teeth and the entire process seems really painful and frustrating for her.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Babies' First Primary

We took a lovely walk this morning to vote. Our polling station was busier than it was at the last election. There is another station two doors down from our house (yet the one where we're assigned to vote is about a mile away) and it appears to have a steady stream of voters today. It's encouraging!

I tried to take a picture of the kids holding my ballot, but Norah kept trying to eat it. As you can see, voting exhausted them. I thought the T-shirt below from The Onion's website was appropriate. I wonder how I'd feel if my parents had a picture of me next to a Reagan sign (EDITED TO ADD: My mom wants to make sure everyone knows they didn't vote for Reagan).

When we returned home, they tried feeding themselves cottage cheese for the first time. It was a hit!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Apparently, Our One-Year-Old Doesn't Sleep

We're still here, we're still loving parenthood, the kids are still thriving, and Atticus still isn't sleeping well. Eventually, that last item has to get better, right?

The cough that I had earlier this week was so severe that I ended up pulling some muscles in my rib cage. This made picking up the kids extremely difficult, so Paul ended up taking some time off work. It's been really nice having him home and the kids have loved going outside to use the backyard swing with him.

Norah has always had a good disposition, but recently it's like she's been drinking Happy Juice. She smiles all the time and it's so sweet. Last night, she woke up to Atticus crying at about 1 a.m. (she usually sleeps through it). I picked her up and her expression clearly said, "Wow!!! Those last five hours of sleep were so refreshing!!! I can't wait to see what there is to slap and bounce on today!!! Look Mama, you're wearing glasses!!!"

Last night was Paul's night for Atticus-duty. They ended up downstairs on our futon and this is the scene that greeted me this morning when I snuck down there:
Don't they look adorable? Norah and I have been hiding out upstairs trying not to disturb them.