Twin differences

One comment that I find particularly interesting is how different are Grant and Maria’s personalities. There is an assumption that because they are twins they are exactly alike. This Christmas season highlighted many of their differences.

First, we went to Santa Safari at the zoo. It was an opportunity for the kids to meet Santa as well as some other characters and get to pet some animals as they gathered stamps at various safari stations. Grant was super excited about the large penguin and snowman characters walking around while Maria glued herself to me and wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. Grant was game to meet with Santa and Maria again glued to me. When it came to collecting stamps and petting animals Maria was much more determined. She was sure to hand over her “passport” to gather stamps while Grant was more ready to move on to the next thing and didn’t seemed concerned over collecting stamps. When we had an opportunity to watch a 20 minute 4D show of Polar Express, Maria and I had to leave the theatre once the sound and movement effects began. She crawled into my lap and buried her head into as she shuddered. My mom said that Grant said perfectly still in amazement the entire show.

On Christmas morning, I asked them to stay in their room until I told them to come out so I could try to capture their reactions on video. Grant happily came out asking over and over again “what is that?” Maria whimpered and wasn’t quite awake. She is not a morning person and requires a little time to come to and is happy to watch a cartoon while she comes to consciousness. However, she’s more apt to have trouble going to bed at night that Grant. In fact, while writing this I was interrupted by her talking and when I went in to see what was going on she loudly declared “HI MOMMY!” as Grant snoozed away. She’s still in there talking to her baby doll.

She is extremely intense and has some obsessive tendencies when it comes to her stuff. Grant is more laid back and is easier to get to go along with what we need. Both are extremely bright, but in different ways. She’s a studier and is good at figuring out how things work. He’s more imaginative with his toys and also quite a bit more destructive. She likes to read more than him and if watching TV will sit mesmerized the entire episode, while he needs to get up and play and wonder around to see what is going on.

When it comes to each other, they are both best friends and arch enemies. They play well together especially when they are with other kids. However, they know how to push each other’s buttons, especially Grant. He knows exactly how to tick her off and will grin and giggle as she freaks out over whatever he’s done. Recently, he woke up very early one morning and I gave drinks and covered them up. They were quiet as I left for the gym, but when I got home at 8:00, I could hear Grant talking loudly. When I went in their room she declared that he woke her up. When I asked him if it was true, he smiled and nodded.

I love that they so different, but it definitely keeps us on our toes as we have to work to meet and understand their individual needs. Just because they shared at uterus for 7 months doesn’t mean they are anything alike.
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OBSERVATIONS FROM AN ALL NIGHTER

We pulled an all-nighter this week. It took 32 months, but we finally got hit with a stomach bug. The night started normally, but went to hell in a hand basket at 10:30 when I heard Grant crying and discovered he’d thrown up in his crib. The laundry brigade and disinfection efforts began as we entered the realm of the sleepless.
A few things I discovered during this trial:
• Grant didn’t seem fazed by his illness. Aside from the moments he was actually throwing up, he was up and running around as if nothing was wrong. At one point he was wearing only a diaper and his winter hat and throwing the football with Maria.
• My kids will not fall asleep while watching TV. Because I didn’t want to put him back in his crib until we went a reasonable time without throwing up I created a bed in the living room and tried to get both to settle down with an episode of Dora. I figured we’d all fall asleep in the living room and at least get a little rest. This was not the case. Even after an hour long episode, both were wide eyed and ready for more…at 3:00 in the morning.
• Monkey see, Monkey do. Maria wanted to be sick, so she declared she didn’t feel good either, although I was relatively certain she was fine. She even went so far as to try to throw up in the trashcan in the bathroom. By try I mean she stood over it for about 10 seconds, then asked for an M&M, which is what happens with they go to the bathroom on the potty, or in her case try to use the potty.
• Soiled security blankets and stuffed animals will be met with much questioning and concern while being washed. Jeremy actually took a phone call from Bear who stated he was at the store. Jeremy made a 2:00 a.m. trip to Meijer for more laundry detergent and Lysol and was met with “where’s Bear” when he walked through the front door. Jeremy replied that Bear was now at the spa. Bear finally made it through the wash and Grant could finally rest.
• Going to be at 3:30 in the morning does not mean sleeping late. In fact they woke at 8:00 and didn’t take a nap until a painful 2:00 in the afternoon. Jeremy says this is evidence that kids are defective.
I prayerfully hope that this thing is really behind us and we’ll remain healthy through the rest of the Holidays.

First came the letter, and then came the call

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A couple weeks ago, we received the letter from the State of Oregon, Department of Human Services, stating that our paperwork was complete and we were now assigned a case worker.

Finally. Ok, so it hasn’t really been that long (maybe a few months), but after the State initially losing all of our paperwork, it’s a relief to just have it done with.

I was so excited, I immediately called the name and number listed on the letter. After a few voicemail exchanges, I finally connected with our case worker. She said there are 2 families ahead of us in the homestudy process, and another family that may/may not make it all the way through.

Our goal has long been that we be “on the wait list” by the time Sienna turns 2 in June. Our case worker said that seemed reasonable.

I know the journey to #3 will likely feel like the longest, and most winding road so far. Adopting through the state is not for the faint of heart. It’s a brutal, agonizing process. It’s long. It’s a bureaucracy. These children are waiting for a forever family, and yet there are so many hoops for a forever family to jump through.

But, we do trust God’s timing, and will wait patiently (or, at times, maybe not that patiently) for the next child to come.

Although I still long for (and pray for) a spontaneous miracle pregnancy (and probably always will), I am really excited about this process, and hopeful for the child(ren!) God has for us.

As Tygh and I were driving to his company’s Christmas party this last weekend, I mentioned, with some sadness, that we wouldn’t be able to name our next child. Our next child will already come with a name. I remarked that I hoped we at least liked the name.

Tygh quickly put me in my place with this, “We will love their name. Whatever it is. It will be the most beautiful name we’ve ever heard.”

And, he’s right.

And with that, some levity following a heavy-hearted week:
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LOBBYING

I recently did something that I didn’t think I would do. I lobbied Jeremy for another child. Not sure what brought this on…other than the fact that Grant and Maria are almost three, I’m turning 33 soon and the ole biological clock is perhaps ticking, but it was a surprise to me. It started with finding out that maybe Grant and Maria’s genetic siblings had not been adopted as mentioned in a previous post. I later confirmed with an email to the NEDC that their profile (shameless plug for profile #1200) is still available with 10 embryos – the same amount we relinquished.

Once finding out that they were still in waiting, I asked Jeremy if we could go back for their siblings. He said no. Actually, he said “well, that would end the mini-van debate” followed quickly by “you just miss your nursing boobs.” Well, while he’s right on both accounts, those wouldn’t be my reasoning for trying again. It’s more about knowing they are out there and knowing that we could give them a chance. However, I’m conflicted about the idea of the shots and cost and everything else associated with embryo transfer and pregnancy.

A couple days later we saw a story on 60 Minutes about children born into prison camps in North Korea. Jeremy was visibly mad at the circumstances surrounding the birth and lives of these children. I thought perhaps I had an opening to get him to think about international adoption – something we discussed doing before we even knew infertility and embryo adoption were in our future. After all, there are so many children born into terrible circumstances that could benefit from being brought into a loving home. Jeremy’s reply “I’m parented out. Sometimes it’s all I can do to manage the two we have, plus don’t you consider us bless with what we already have?” Yes, I consider us remarkably blessed and I feel that God honored our decision to select that “Special Consideration” profile, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be blessed again.

For right now, the conversation has stopped. I won’t push him and trust that if we are meant for more children, the door will be opened and Jeremy will have no option to say no. He is a sucker for a hard luck story. That’s how we ended up with two cats.

Sienna: 18 month stats

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Little Miss continues to enjoy the larger side of life (I say that with the utmost affection). I’m starting to think basketball, volleyball, modeling (!) may be in her future. I’ve long since known I would be the shortest of the bunch. However, now it seems that Brae may be joining me there (sorry, buddy).

There is an old wives’ tale that for boys, you double their height at age 2.5 to see how tall they will be as an adult. Brae is “supposed” to be 5’10”. Not super tall, but not short, either. Right smack at average.

For girls, you are supposed to double it at age 2, because they grow faster than boys. Little Miss just needs a little over an inch to grow in the next six months before she will be 3 feet tall, and thus, 6 feet tall as an adult. Seeing as how she grew more than an inch just in the last three months, I think it could be a safe bet she will be at least 3 feet tall by her second birthday. (She has always been at least 2 inches taller than Brae at his same milestone).

Here’s her stats:

1) Height: 34 5/8 inches. Off the charts. Again.

2) Weight: 27.2 lbs. Scaled down to the 80th percentile.

Doctor reported that her 18 month checkup showed no signs of autism. She is generally growing and functioning at a typical age/rate. She is feisty and fearless.

And I love her.
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Christmas Simplicity

A common question that I hear right now is “do you have your Christmas shopping done?” It’s a question to which I emphatically answer “No.” Actually, this question bugs me because it takes the focus off the reason for the season. We’ve always been very reasonable with gifts and not gone overboard, but this year, we’re implementing a three gift rule for Grant and Maria.

Baby Jesus was given three gifts, so it seems fitting that they should get the same from Santa/Mom and Dad. Last year they were very deliberate with opening each gift and savored the newness and because they don’t get new things all the time they really enjoy getting something new. I’m looking forward to their expressions when they get their new toys in a couple of weeks.

Christmas through their eyes has already been fun this year. They are really into looking at lights and their comments and expressions are great as we’ve walked the neighborhood. Grant wants to pet all the animal decorations and get in the larger pieces. He excitedly exclaims “OH WOWWW” when we see something new.

Simplicity is our goal and I hope that we can keep things into perspective when it comes to purchasing for Grant and Maria. I can honestly say that I see how easy it is to go overboard and I’ve been tempted on several occasions to buy more for them, but at the end of the day, it’s not in their best interests. Hopefully, our strategy to have a more simplistic Christmas will help them to have reasonable expectations later in life.

They both like to look at the calendar and point to different birthdays and when we get to December 25th we talk about Jesus and sing happy birthday to Him. Teaching them the reason for the season has been a great reminder and way to refocus my own priorities.

Brae’s 4 year stats, and some -isms

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Brae’s 4 year stats:

1) He weights 37 lbs; 8 oz. 60th percentile.

2) He is 3 feet, 4 3/4 inches tall. 50th percentile.

Both of these are shifts for him. He’s always, up to this point, been below 50% for weight, and above 70% for height. Guess he’s evening out!

3) Doctor said that he is physically developing on track. He did give me some pointers on getting him to eat better at home. We tried one last night, which included he has to eat what the family eats for dinner, and has to sit at the table with us. When he cried and refused, we just put the dinner on the table, and he eventually came over and ate it.

4) Doctor said he was very impresed at how smart he is, and that he is intellectually ahead of the curve. (Warmed the cockles of my heart).

And with that, here are some frequently confounding, but always amusing, Brae-isms:

In the car, after just picking Brae up from preschool, he announced: “Mommy, my friend Captain bonked his head on a chair today at escuela (school).”

“Ouch,” I said. “Is Captain okay? Was he hurt?”

“No,” Brae said, matter-of-factly. “But the chair sure was hurt.”
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A couple weeks ago, I stayed home from work with Brae because he was sick. He’d been throwing up frequently. Finally, at the end of the 2-day stint, I put him in the stroller and we went for a nice brisk walk. It was a beautiful fall afternoon, and I was feeling particularly affectionate toward my little boy, so sickened by this little bug.

“Brae,” I said, “I love you,” as I pushed him in the stroller.

Silence.

“Brae, did you hear me? I said I love you.”

More silence.

Different tact. “Brae, do you love Mommy? Can you say, ‘I love you, too’?”

At that, he spoke. “No, Mommy. I can’t say that. If I said that, it would make me sick again.”

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While watching football on TV the other night, Brae asked, “Mommy, why do all the football players line up to scratch the grass?”

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Brae’s preschool was closed a couple weeks ago in observance of Veteran’s Day. So, he and Sienna were with my parents. Apparently, during a conversation with Brae’s grandma about why Mommy and Daddy have to work, Brae commented: “I know that both Mommy and Daddy work. But only Daddy makes money. Mommy just rides a bus.”

Love you, Brae. Thanks for always keeping me laughing.

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