TIME TOGETHER

The twins have been to several weddings in their life and a few weeks ago we got to go to another one. My cousin, Matt got married a few hours from our home, so we just took a little trip. The children and I slept on the way down and were well rested. The wedding was just beautiful and my twins loved the pasta bar! We all got to dance for a bit and then it was time to see the groom and bride off. I asked Julian who he was going to marry when he got older and he said me and that he wanted to have five children, since five is his favorite number. Natalie wants four children and does not want to get married. She has settled on having only three cats in-lieu of one hundred. I am sure they will not want the same things ten to twenty years from now.

I am so thankful that I get to spend time at home with them at this age. Since I waited so long for them, I am trying to enjoy every second with them. We spend our days going swimming, at the library, on play dates and just doing things around the house. The twins love to make sugar cookies with me. They help to roll out the dough, cut the dough into shapes and then ice them after they are cooked. I am sure their favorite part is eating them. This is meaningful to me because my Mom and I use to make cookies together as well. Julian says his favorite thing to do with me is to snuggle with me! He is just as sweet as can be. Natalie says hers is to cook with me. I think this is the best age ever! They can go to the potty and tell me all sorts of things. This is the best time of my life!

ENGLISH TO TODDLER TRANSLATION

One of the challenges and sometimes fun part of having toddlers is figuring out what they are saying. Their language is progressing each day, but there are still times when I don’t have a clue on what is coming out of their mouths. Grant’s “yeah” has evolved to a Fargo “ya” and is now clearly “yes” with a bit of a smarmy French accent.
If you are around my kids and need help in interpreting their words, here’s a bit of a guide:
“I hummy” = I’m hungry
“Homey” (which is very close to “hummy”) = hold me
“Coley” = color
“Cowey” (not to be confused with “coley”= carry
“Baball” = basketball
“Peas” = please
“Dwank”(Maria) = drink
“Swank” (Grant) = drink
“Swee” = swing
“Sly” = slide
“I wan kick at Nono’s” = I want to kick (swim) at Nono’s
“Twee” = treat
“Pop pop” = popcorn
“Mo mo” = lawn mower
“Ca” = cart
“Twuck” = truck
“Ree” = rain
“Lellow” = yellow
“Powwy” = potty
“Me!” = Maria’s response when we ask her to tell us her name
“Bubble” = bubble or Bible
“Neigh!” = horse
“Awwy” = Ally or any other feline related animal
Things that you don’t need help understanding:
“Bye bye poo!” – Maria
“I can do it!” – Maria
“More!”
“Thank you”
“No!” – Both, sometimes in stereo
“I’m two!” – Grant, holding up either one or four fingers.
I’m sure they’ll come up with something new by the time I get home and always love hearing an enthusiastic “HI MOMMY!” when I come through the door.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Happy Father’s Day!

I am so blessed to be married to a man who is so happy to be a father. This father’s day, I wanted the twins to really participate in the gift. So this year we made him a special picture book with many quotes from them, so here is what they think about their dad.

Thoughts from Natalie:
My Dad is 60 years old.
His hair is blond.
He weights 40lb.
His favorite food is pancakes and cereal. His favorite place to eat is Pizza Inn.
He is smart because he reaches stuff up high that I cannot get.
He likes to smile.
I love my dad because he lets me hang on him like a monkey on a branch of a tree.
I am proud of my dad because he swims underwater.
Dad always says, dang it and hush to the dogs.
My dad and I are the same because we both go underwater.
My dad is really good at fixing things.
It makes my dad happy when I clean things up.
The pickle monster makes my daddy laugh.
My favorite thing to do with my dad is to swim.
My dad is a special dad!
He is good at playing basketball.
My dad makes me laugh when he tickles me!
I know my dad loves me because he is not afraid of storms and he holds me.
If my dad was a superhero he would be Superman because he is a super dad to the rescue!
He is the best Dad because he loves us! (My favorite!)

Thoughts from Julian:
My Dad is 84 years old.
His hair is black.
He weights 32lb.
His favorite food is waffles.
He is smart because he loves me. (My personal favorite!)
He likes to work.
I love you dad, and I am going to pick a flower for you!
I am proud of my dad because he makes yummy food.
Dad always says, I love you and he calls me Justin Keith instead of Julian Keene.
Dad and I are the same because we both like to wrestle and we are different because God made us different.
I love my dad because he loves me.
My dad is really good at swimming.
When I giggle it makes my daddy laugh.
My Dad makes me laugh when the birdies show tricks, such as Raphael.
My favorite thing to do with my dad is to play baseball.
My dad is a great dad!
He is good at showing tricks.
Swimming with me makes my daddy happy.
I know my dad loves me because he wrestles.
If my dad was a superhero he would be Supergoof because he is a super dad !
He is the best Dad because he plays sword fights with me!

QUESTIONS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Last night I was catching up with a friend and fellow embryo adoptive mom when we started discussing our adoptions and how to have the conversations with our children about their beginnings. My friend’s triplets are 4 ½ years old and one recently asked about his “other mommy”. Understandably the question was a bit unnerving; not because of the fact that he does have a different genetic mother, but because of the unanswered questions. She said that she wants to try a different term than “mommy” to describe his genetic mother, but is still working on the “right” term. They, like us, went through anonymous adoption and have limited information on the genetic family. Also, like us, embryo adoption is a part of their normal family conversations and we both understand that our adoptions are still not a “normal” part of the adoption landscape. We didn’t rescue a child from an orphanage or out of poverty or from an unwed teen mom. We rescued children from a freezer that were loved enough to be given a shot at life, but were also a consequence of the brave new world of fertility treatments. Why did their genetic parents decide they were finished having children? Where there medical reasons? Financial reasons? Just no desire to have more children?

Here are some of my questions and thoughts on raising the children that I both gave birth to and adopted:

When and how do you start the conversations about their origin? Our adoption home study taught us that adoption should not be a bad word or a secret; it should be celebrated and openly discussed. I agree. My children are special, but I also don’t want them to feel weird or out of place. I’m trying to find the right balance of talking about their start and letting them be the children born to Jeremy and me.

How do you refer to the donor family? Right now we call them the genetic mother and father. I try to steer away from the term biological, because I feel as though I’m their biological mother. Not biological in terms of DNA, but biological in terms of my body sustaining them through pregnancy and after through breastfeeding. I guess the way in which we talk about them will evolve throughout the years and as Grant and Maria mature. I just wonder what the right term is for when Grant and Maria are able to verbalize and understand that they were adopted.

Have your thoughts on open vs. anonymous adoption changed? I wouldn’t change our decision to go anonymous. I respect their genetic family’s choice to give them up without knowing or wanting to know the birth family. At the time of our adoption, having involvement with a genetic family felt extremely threatening and scary to me. Now, however, as Grant and Maria are older and clearly know Jeremy and me as their dad and mom, the thought of some sort of contact is much less threatening. I know they are both going to come to us for comfort. I’m the one Grant is calling for when I drop him off for childcare at church. His “MUMMY!” is sad, and precious, and comforting to me all at once. I know they will have questions that we can’t answer. I also feel that the fact that Jeremy doesn’t know his biological father and was raised by an adoptive father might be helpful as he might be able to relate to them and some of their questions.

What questions do you have and how do you/think you will respond?

STITCHES

Walking out of work on Friday afternoon I told a co-worker that I was looking forward to a quiet weekend with nothing other than yoga and church on the agenda. Famous last words. Upon my return home Maria was putting on her bike helmet and demanding we go play outside. I said okay and that I needed to get changed, and then we would go outside to play. I went into our bedroom to change my clothes and Grant followed behind. I inspected the drywall work being done in our closet and Grant climbed up on our bed. I turned and walked into the hall and at the same time told Grant to get off our bed before he fell. He started toward the edge of the bed and reached for my lamp. Sensing trouble, I moved toward him to take him off the bed. As I stepped toward him, he lost his footing and tumbled, took the lamp with him and landed on the floor with his head partially under the bed. I saw and heard the light bulb break and got to him within seconds and saw the gash near his eye. He’s crying; I’m shaking and calling for Jeremy for help. Blood starts flowing and I’m still trying to get a good look at him, while he’s trying to bury his bloody face into my shirt. We made it into the bathroom and I grabbed the saline and gauze from the closet. (Thankfully, we’re fully stocked on first aid supplies after Jeremy stabbed himself with a stick several years ago and ended up with a nickel sized hole in his leg.) Grant was bleeding from two spots and I managed to get them cleaned up and bandaged and was relieved that it seemed like nothing was actually in his eye. He had a gaping wound right next to his eye and I told Jeremy he was going to need stitches.

Grant calmed down, I got changed out of my bloody clothes and he and I left. Maria stood in the door crying and Jeremy worked to get the glass and blood cleaned up. Grant and I arrived at the ER closest to our house a few minutes later. I debated taking him to the immediate care center, but after telling me that I had a virus, only to have my appendix and hemorrhaging ovarian cyst removed later the same day, I didn’t really have a lot of faith in them. The triage desk saw us right away and we got registered. About 30 minutes later we saw the nurse who asked us the same questions as the triage desk and then the doctor came in and I recounted the story for a third time. The doctor examined Grant and agreed he’d need some stitches. Grant’s cut was numbed up and then the fun began. Up until this point, he was happily playing in the exam room; he had no idea that he was about to be restrained and sewn up. One nurse held his hands and draped herself on top of him and the other held his head. He started sobbing and looked at me with pleading eyes and tears rolled. He managed to get one of his hands out and reached out to me. I held his hand and tried to comfort him as best as I could.

The doctor gave his six stitches then gave Grant a break while he examined his work. He determined that Grant needed two more stitches so again Grant was restrained. This time his cries broke into screams. He was done! No more of this torture, please. Soon enough, we were done and got our discharge instructions. Grant got a sucker and some stickers and happily walked out holding my hand. We arrived home a little over two hours after we left. Maria was pumped to have me home; Grant got some dinner and we soon got everyone settled to bed. I checked on him several hours later and he was resting on the same side of his face as his injury; I guess it wasn’t bothering him. For that I was glad. He woke up Saturday morning like nothing ever happened.

I sincerely hope that we can go awhile without any more ER visits. I’ve had about all the excitement I can take.

THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS

Julian asked me the other day when he would start Kindergarten. Then he wanted to know when they would be going back to preschool. They are out for the summer, but miss it already. I hope they always love school and have great teachers as they did this year.

I was feeling pretty bad for him, but then we got in the mail a VBS that was going on this week. I am happy to say, that will keep them busy this week. We will also be going to Splash Country with friends and family, and will have swim lessons as well. I hope we can find enough to do this summer and the countdown to school will not be something Julian asks about too often. Who would have thought he would miss it already since we have only been out for about a week.

What a blessing he loves to learn and that they like the school they go to. Natalie did complain about a little boy who was mean to her in her class and she was not looking forward to see him. That too is unfortunately a part of the whole school learning experience. I wish I could protect them from everything, but since I can’t I will just rely on God.