Sunday, May 22, 2011

finding a groove

Sorry for my blogging gap--transitions have a way of messing with my blogging. In any event, we've been home a month and I wanted to give an update on where we're at in finding our groove as a family of four.

In short, we're still finding our groove. If you know where it is, let us know. We'd like to have it back. :) Seriously, one of my friends told me that when dealing with kids under 3 years old, in her experience, 1 + 1 = 3. Yeah, I can totally relate to that. I never feel like there is quite enough of me to do everything I want to for each of them. I guess that's where the guilt inherent to parenthood comes in. Though I am trying very hard to avoid the beast called guilt. I'm not perfect. My kids won't be perfect. I'm going to mess up. They're going to blame me for it down the road. It is what it is. Who am I to deny them the future opportunity to talk about the shortcomings of their (well-intended) Mom? :)

Our 14 hour flight home from Korea was smooth. Kamron had a rough night the night before and finally crashed for an extended period (9 hours) on the flight. I didn't sleep, though. I just kept looking at him, waiting for him to start wailing. Let me tell you, Kamron has a really loooouuuud cry when he's really upset. I had spent much of the night before listening to it and trying, without success, to calm him. My biggest fear was a repeat episode on the plane. Thankfully, it never happened. When he was awake, I put him in the Ergo and walked up and down the aisle with him while stuffing bread and cheese in him. Ahhhh, food, the international language of love. ;)

We got home at around 10pm that Friday and introduced Kamron to his new home. Let me just say that he liked the house a heck of a lot better than the car seat. ;) We stayed up playing until 4am or so and then crashed--Kam until 7am and Ned and Dan until 9am. Me? Yeah, not so much. East-to-west jet lag and I are mortal enemies. For real. Like, with swords and everything.

Kamron busted through jet lag within a couple days and was sleeping pretty well. Dan did the same. Ned did okay, with just a week or so of midnight wake-ups asking me, "Mama? Is it lunch time?" As a result, Ned and I spent several midnights sitting on the kitchen floor in our PJs eating ham and cheese. :) And me? No sleep for about 4 days followed by a week of a couple hours of sleep. And all of that was while using sleep meds. Mortal enemies, me and jet lag. Mortal enemies. :)

After a two week "honeymoon" period, Kamron's sleep patterns fell apart and he began waking every 45 minutes or so. I would get up right away and tend to him, which instantly resulted in a wide-awake, jabbering baby. This went on for a week or so, meaning he was netting just a few hours sleep in total at night and I was sleepless again, making for a crabby daytime baby and Mama. What to do? The adoption books all say, "meet the need!" and discourage sleep training, but my gut said a modified sleep training was needed here so that everyone could get some sleep. I mean, how is bonding to occur during waking hours if everyone is exhausted and irritable? So we did it. And it worked. (Knock on wood.) After a couple nights of him waking repeatedly, me tending to him saying, "it's time for night-nights, let's go to sleep" and some back patting followed by my exit and his crying response (lather, rinse, repeat, of course), Kam is now sleeping through the night. And we're all more joyful during the day. There are some very heated opinions about sleep training, but I do know this: sleep is important for coping with change. A child (and parent, for that matter) who is not sleeping well will be ill-equipped to effectively process a change of this magnitude.

Kamron has been "slow to warm up"--we went for weeks with very little in terms of response to our baby "goo goo" antics. That was HARD. I didn't realize how much we humans are "fed" by the responses of babies. It was hard to keep going with our "goo-goo/gaa-gaas" without so much as a smile or a bit of eye contact. But we kept it up. And kept it up. And kept it up some more. And then, about three weeks in, Kamron woke up one morning responding--smiling, laughing with a full toothy grin, and maintaining eye contact from distances of a foot or more. And that's where we are now. We have pretty joyful days overall. We are still working on close eye contact--he's hesitant to look at us in the eyes while we hold him, for instance--but we know how much trust it takes to do that and we're confident time and continued love and care will be the remedy as it was with Nedy. Day by day and step by step.

Kam's current sleeping schedule is morning nap from 9:30-12:30ish, afternoon nap from 3:00-4:30ish, and bedtime from 8:30 through about 6:30am.

As far as eating goes, some days are better than others, most likely related to his teething. Days he chews on his hand more are the days he eats less. Overall, he's not picky and tries new things all the time. His favorites are Cheerios by the spoonful (eaten as cereal rather than toddler finger food), kiwi, strawberries, cheese, bread, yogurt, and ginger snaps. He drinks about 3 - 8 ounce bottles a day. He transitioned seamlessly from Korean formula to Similac.

Nedy is doing great in her role as big sister. She is very protective, always guiding Kam to appropriate toys for him (he is unbelievably attracted to things he should not have--they should make baby toys that look more...well, not like baby toys...). I was needlessly worried about her adjustment to sharing our attention. She has been helpful, kind and overall very patient. I am really proud of her and very grateful, as growing from a family of 3 to a family of 4 is demanding enough without 3 year-old drama on top of it! :) Nedy has taken to calling Kamron "Kamrony"--a nod to her own nickname I suppose. It's cute.

Kamron is content to be carried around in the Ergo, so we spend a lot of time like that. We try to get to the park every other day at least so Ned can burn off some energy and Kam can watch the kids at play. He is interested in his environment; very watchful and curious. It's funny when he mimics the "caaaaawww" of a crow or the "woof woof" of a dog. He is a skilled mimic, especially of funny faces. He has caught on to several bits of language. When I ask him, "How big is Kamron?" he holds up both arms high in the air and smiles when I say, "Sooooo biiiiiiig." He can also wave "hi" and "bye" and uses slow, open-handed pets when I tell him, "Gentle, gentle." Hank is VERY thankful he caught on to the word gentle after losing a few tufts of fur to Kam's excited hands. He looooooves animals. He squeals with delight every time he sees Hank and works hard to crawl to him. Of course, Hank waits for Kam to get within inches and then darts off. He's such an old tease. :)

Kam is now crawling "baby book style" most of the time now and is able to pull himself up to standing. Dan said he saw him creep earlier today. His feet now stand firmly flat on the ground rather than on his tip-toes or heels. I wonder when he'll walk...and wonder how much more I'll have to move out of his reach! :) He is much, much more of an environment explorer than Nedy was as a baby. As our neighbor says, "He's a boy!" Not sure I buy the whole gender-ingrained differences idea, but I will say he is much more active/busy than Ned.

I think that's it for now! I want to get some photos up, but sadly I haven't had as much time to take photos the past few weeks. I need to remedy that--these kids are growing up before my eyes! Maybe tomorrow?? :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ooooh, those cheeks.

Cute, cute, cute. Just sayin'.

Happy Mama's Day

We spent 10 minutes yesterday at yet another random city wall. :) (Hey, at least we've moved from brick to concrete.) Lessons? I need a lot more practice photographing two kiddos and babies don't smile when you want them to. Nonetheless, here are a few. If I do say so myself, this Mama has some adorable sprouts.
For the record, Dan is perched behind Kamron holding him up on the wall shots. I'm not that crazy for a good shot. Close, but not quite. ;)