FLOWERING FEBRUARY

Can this be the month of February? The temperature is in the 70’s and it is so beautiful even the flowers are confused as to what month this is. The twins are so excited to have a warm day; they are always asking if summer is here yet. We have had a very mild winter, so it just makes us yearn for the warm days of summer even more. Winter may not be over yet, so we will just soak up all the sunny warm days while we can.

I remember what it was like to be yearning to have a baby and trying not to let it consume me. When you want something so badly it is often hard not to let it overtake all your thoughts and energy. It can be hard to try and enjoy the moment you are in and not yearn for more. Now I am trying to enjoy every moment with them before they start school, knowing that will change our lives. Our schedules will be dictated by the school system and homework. So for the next few years I want to just love on them and play with them before life gets more complicated.

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THE UNGLAMOROUS LIFE

I’ve come to realize that life is almost always going to be hectic. I thought I was busy before I had kids. The sad part is that I didn’t realize how much free time I had until it was gone. We’re gearing up to get our house on the market this year and we have lots of little projects that need to get done and as I’m working on one, I discover three other things I need to do. The little people in our life don’t exactly make it easy to get anything done and when I do get something accomplished, it feels much more victorious. Yesterday was no different.

Before noon, I managed to get laundry folded, ingredients for my soup cup up, the dishes done, and the kitchen floor cleaned. In my past life, this would have only taken an hour. In this life, it took four. Jeremy was sleeping late, so between getting the kids dressed, changing diapers, giving them breakfast, reading books, intervening in territory wars, putting kids in time out for completely emptying out all Grant’s clothes on the floor (I knew they were being too quiet), refolding and putting all Grant’s clothes away, and playing with Legos among other things, I was quite pleased with myself.
The afternoon proved to be productive as well. I got in a hot yoga class while the kids napped and then proceeded to get Jeremy’s den cleaned up. This included the removal of Charlie’s cage, which we no longer use, and a small dog worth of hair. Grant and Maria found this entertaining for a little while and Jeremy allowed me to throw away some of his junk. It was extremely exciting for this non-packrat. Once the kids were restless, we went outside where they ran for nearly an hour while Jeremy finished the cleaning job.

By the end of the day, we were all adequately tired out and we ended up having to force the kids to stay awake past 6:30, even though Maria had retrieved her blanket and doll from her crib and was rolling around on the floor. Unfortunately, her fatigue didn’t keep her from crying all through bath time, but she was too tired to shriek, so that was a good thing. By 7:45, the Wilson house was quiet and I reflected on the ordinary, but good day we had. It is not a glamorous life, but it’s our life and I wouldn’t trade it.

RUNNER UP

Last night my family and I met some friends, Bill and Karen, at Chick-fil-A for the Pirate & Princess night! The twins got to get tattoos, meet Pirates, get prizes and Natalie got to make a crown! They had a great time. At the end, they had a contest for the best Pirate & Princess. Natalie got an honorable mention, second place, with a trophy, but Julian did not get one at all. Natalie was thrilled to get runner up, but Julian was sad he did not get anything. It is hard to explain to a child why they did not get chosen as the best, especially when the sibling got a trophy. This may just be the beginning of such challenges. I told Julian that it may have been because the winner had a sword, but no matter what the reason, he would always be my best pirate!

There are so many different challenges in life and this is just the start of many. It can be hard as a parent to just comfort and not take the pain away, but most of the time it is just not possible to take all the hurts away. This is what I think about when I see people I love in such despair. I try to be a comfort to them, but remind them our great comforter is God. When we do not know how things are going to work out, but know that God is holding His children in His hands at all times, no matter what the outcome of the circumstances, God will still be holding you.

This is what I had to remember every time I went through an IVF cycle, fresh or frozen or adopted. When you are in the middle of your challenge it is easy to feel defeated and very difficult to find joy, but I found this is possible with Christ. I often wonder what would have happened to Brian and I if embryo adoption never worked for us. Would we been able to have a successful traditional adoption or would the traditional process have drained us emotionally as well as financially, yet not have a child to show for it. I know many people who have had successful traditional adoptions, but I also know people who have had their hopes and dreams taken away at the eleventh hour only to leave them with crushed dreams and empty wallets. Even though we went through infertility for eight years, I still consider us quite blessed not only because we were doubly blessed, but because we are able to share what God has done and where He has taken us. I would like to think that no matter what our outcome I would be singing God’s praises. I am very thankful no matter what my life circumstances are I am never runner up with God.

TYPICAL TODDLERS

 

 

 

 

 

Grant and Maria are 22 months old today and I guess I will soon stop counting their age in months.  They are changing every day and definitely like their improved ability to communicate.  Some of our daily conversations go like this:

“Maria, do you want to wear these pants?”    – “No”

“What about these?”  – “No”

“These?” – “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”  Gray skinny jeans it is.

“Grant, are you hungry?”   – “Yeah”

“Let’s get in your seat so you can eat.”   – “No”

“If you are hungry you have to be in your seat to eat.  Are you hungry?”  – “No”

In addition to having her preferences on clothes, Maria has opinions about her hair.  Those conversations are something like this:

“Pretty?” Maria asks pointing to her hair.

“Do you want to fix your hair?”  – “Yeah”

“Do you want pig tails?”  – “No”

“Do you want one tail on top?”  – “Yeah”  Top knot it is.

All in all, they are very typical toddlers.

    • Some days they eat like pigs and some days they don’t eat enough to sustain a bird.
    • The word “no” is frequently used by all parties.
    • Can you say battle of wills?  Grant tried to throw his bowl on the floor the other day, so I took it from him.  He started screaming.  I told him he couldn’t get his bowl back unless he stopped screaming.  He screamed for several minutes until he realized I was serious.  He stopped crying and got his bowl back.  Score one for Mommy!
    • Maria is good at stall tactics at bedtime.  Read, nurse, say good night to Daddy (again), ask for NoNo (my mom) and repeat. Thankfully, the last four nights have not included tears.  She seems to have gotten over her nighttime anxiety over me being out of town.
    • They love to read, dance, jump, run, climb, etc.  We’ll do whatever it takes to wear them out!

FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! It was a special day for us, not only because it was Valentine’s Day, but because it was also the twins’ first day of preschool. They made Valentines for each of their new friends and we made cookies for the teachers. What a wonderful day this was for them! They did not cry nor were they sad at all for Brian and I to leave them. I know this will be a great experience for them both. Below are some pictures of their first day of preschool!

A GOOD QUESTION

 

 

 

 

 

Blog follower Michelle writes: “I always enjoy reading your posts and everyone else’s that is involved in the blog. I wanted to get your opinion … I am a mom who donated our embryos. We are very close to the family and we have seen our “embryo” that we donated when she was 3 months old and again just a few months ago. (She is now 4 years old and our twins are 6 years old). I ordered the Training Wheels book in hopes that this could be a good book to help our twins understand what we did and why we did it and who this special friend and special family really is to them. Unfortunately I was disappointed in the ending of the book when the boy asks his mom “is Mike my brother” and the mom says “no, more like a special friend.” To me this is not truthful and more confusing to the children and they should know the truth and I was really hoping to get a book that could help explain all of this to our twins instead, I am back to how do we explain this to our twins like I was before I got the book. What are your thoughts on this and did you go any further in telling your twins about who the Cassidy’s are besides the books way of saying ‘special friend?‘”

In response to this question, I thought lots of people would like to hear the answer as well.

I tell the twins, which I do not think they are old enough to fully understand, that the Cassidy boys are genetically their brothers; however, they do not live with them and therefore, do not have a relationship that is like a sibling, but more like a cousin or “special friend.” We call them by their first name, such as Ryan, Joel or Chad. I do sometimes call Patty’s sister “Aunt Cathy,” I have never asked her how she felt about that, but Patty’s kids call her that so we have joined in as well. My kids also have called a few people Grandma and Grandpa who are not in that role, but since other people called them that they joined in. I think the best thing to come up with how you want to call that person and ask them if that is ok by them. Some adopted children call the genetic mother, “my birth Mom.” In our situation that is not the case and I do not think “genetic Mom,” works for me. Patty and I talked about this and we felt just calling each other by name worked for us. No matter what you call the “other” family, I feel that it is very important to be as truthful as you can be related to what they are able to understand. I think if you make things “lighter” than they are the children at one point may see that as a lie, then trust is broken.

Just the other day, we were on our way to Julian’s Karate class and he said that Natalie did not look like anyone in the family, because she has brown eyes and he has green eyes like Daddy and Mommy. Natalie let him know that I, “Mommy” has blue eyes! I did take that time to tell them that neither one of them had eyes like Mommy nor Daddy since they were genetically from Patty and Jim and that is who’s eyes they have. But then I went on to tell them that my eyes change from blue to green, so some times Julian and I do have the same color eyes and that Natalie has beautiful brown eyes like cousin Julianna and cousin Brooke. That even though they may not look like us it does not change our love for them. I asked them if they still loved Dad even though he has blonde hair and we all have dark hair. Natalie was first to pipe in that she loves Daddy so much! Love is not dependent on what we look like nor who’s genes we have, but how we treat each other.

Julian is only three years old and is figuring out genetics. I do not understand those who try and keep “adoption” a secret from their children. If a three year old can figure it out, then I am sure it could come to light at some point in the child’s life. Once you tell an untruth, it is very hard to go back. So that is why I am straightforward and do not sugar coat anything. If I felt uncomfortable answering something, I would just say, I think that will be better discussed when you are a bit older, than trying to make things sound the way I may want them to be.

When I have questions about things such as these, I look to the Bible for my answers. I am also reminded of the little saying my Mom would say, such as “O, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.” For me, not telling the whole truth is the same as telling a lie. If I want my kids to tell me the whole truth then I will also have to tell them the whole truth as well, regardless of the consequences. It is my prayer that I can live up to this.

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians, 3:9-10)

WEANING

My little man has weaned. I knew it was coming, just wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. He started showing less interest in nursing before I left town. He would go a day or two without any at all, then take a quick nip and be satisfied. I figured my extended absence would probably be the end of nursing for him. When I got home, the first thing Maria wanted to do was nurse. Grant looked at me like he might be interested and I asked if he wanted to, but he said no. Fair enough. These days, his nighttime routine consists of several books then quiet cuddle time with me. I’m glad he’s still interested in that. He will sometimes look longingly when Maria nurses and I always ask or offer, but he always turns it down. I think he likes the option even if he’s not going to take it. Twenty-one months was a pretty good run.

Maria, on the other hand, is not interested in giving up totally. The only thing she has given up is the right side. When I was gone, I would still pump once a day and figured out why the right side was boycotted…it took a LONG time to get anything, then its production was minimal. I’ve declared that well closed and remarkably, I’m not lopsided. My production is a couple of ounces at best, which pales in comparison to the upwards of 16 ounces I once regularly produced.

For Maria, nursing is a comfort thing more than a hunger thing. When nursing she spends a lot of time talking to me rather than actually getting any milk, but she does not want me to close the buffet and if she wakes in the middle of the night it’s her number one request and the quickest way for us to go back to bed. She has struggled with going to sleep since I’ve been home and last night Jeremy asked her if she was scared that I wasn’t going to be home if she went to bed…she replied yes. He tried to reassure her, but I think it’s just going to take time. So, while my extended absence was the end for Grant, it seems to be encouraging Maria to nurse more than she did before I left.

I’m thankful we’ve had this long in our nursing relationship. Those early days of nursing two were so difficult, especially with our start in the NICU, and I honestly couldn’t imagine we would have made it this long. However, after we overcame the early challenges, it was much easier and hugely beneficial for all three of us. I’m glad they didn’t wean at the exact same time. I know Maria’s day will come, but I won’t rush her.