"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exltation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived...this is to have succeeded." _Ralph Waldo Emerson_

Friday, June 5, 2009

One of the Wildest Weeks of Our Life

I've been wanting to publish right along with the experience of meeting Hannah for the first time and what this past week has been like, but between the emotional highs/lows of our first 2 days with Hannah, Isaiah's 2nd birthday party, the 48 hour flu (more like 5 days for Isaiah), ER visit doctors visits, and my brother-in-laws energy level has hit a new low.
Thurs. - Meeting Hannah (we've added an 'h' to her name).
I thought I was prepared until the moment came. Then I was completely overwhelmed. The house was dark and cluttered and the t.v. was blaring, we were offered a seat on the couch while foster mom went to get her. Meanwhile we are sitting with our social worker and Hannah's social worker. Hannah walked into the room totally oblivious to us or anyone there, and it was clear that she saw this as her moment to explore a new unseen area of the house. Rob and I tried sitting on the floor and talking to her, but how much can you say to an 18 month old that doesn't talk yet? All the while, we were being watch (felt like scrutinized) by 2 social workers and a foster mom. No one else said anything, they just stared at us trying to interact with her in this crowed un-kid friendly environment. I pulled out some bubbles, and hit the jackpot. She loved them, but the crazy fans in the house made it near impossible for her to chase or follow them. This was so much more difficult than I had imagined, but for different reasons. Rob was much better at connecting with her, he was more physical with her and threw her around a bit (which she loved). I just couldn't love on this little girl the way I would have imagined I would have at the first meeting, when everyone was sitting there observing us and observing Hannah. I will never forget the intense awkwardness of that day, and was looking forward to the next day when Rob and I could take her to the park by ourselves.
Friday - Hannah to Ourselves
We picked up Hannah in the morning, and said we would only be a couple hours (to the disappointment of the foster mom)...we didn't know we could do longer than that or we certainly would have. But none the less, with lunches packed we headed for the nearest park. She didn't make a peep in the car, we talked and talked, but she just sat there and stared at us, then out the window and back and forth. She didn't seem scared, and she never shed a tear the entire day. In fact, I am certain she had lots of fun. She has some challenges walking in shoes (she doesn't need them, cause she mostly inside all day), and doesn't grasp the concept of going up stairs, I'm not even sure she's been on a swing before. But we all had a great time. Hannah is very loving and affectionate, right from the get go. She let me hold her and even put her arms up to me a couple times. We did more bubbles and had our lunch on a picnic blanket with some music, to which Hannah showed us how she can get her groove on. Bringing her back was tough, especially after foster mom just put her behind the fenced in play room and kept talking while she walked away leaving Hannah crying and reaching for someone to pick her back up again. As foster mom kept walking us outside and talking, I could hear Hannah continuing to cry softly. Then after a few minutes of treacherously listening to foster mom talk while Hannah cried, she stopped, to which foster mom said, 'see she stops after a little while.'

How are we going to do this? How, for the next couple weeks (YES YOU READ CORRECTLY), maybe MORE are we going to leave her back there every day?
9 of our oak trees were trimmed and pruned creating a brush pile at least 30 yards long, 5 feet wide, and 6 feet high. Imagine a large tube shape of brush that obstructed the view of our entire house and our neighbors from the street . And after all that was cleared, the chipper chipped that big pile in like 40minutes, it was amazing. Well, we spent the day getting our yard ready for Isaiah's birthday party and gawking at the amazing pile of tree cuttings out of our yard. You would have thought we owned a forest or something.
Sunday - Isaiah Turns 2!
What a fun day for Isaiah. He spotted his cupcakes on the counter in the morning, and from then on he refused to eat anything throughout the day cause he was just waiting to get his hands on that cupcake. He was so excited! He had been asking for several days when his friends were coming over. Then he would proceed to ask me about each one by name, including all 4 cousins, and all the moms names as well. I.e., his buddy Eli....."Is Eli coming over?" "Yes Eli's coming," "And Jamie coming too?" "Yes Jamie's coming too." And on it would go.......
I had vowed never to do "character" themed birthday parties for a variety of reasons. However, for reasons out of my control, over the past year my son has began an obsession of sorts with the cars from the cars movie. Now, I admit it started to become rather endearing the way he knows like all 30 character names and pretends with them and keeps occupied with them for dozens of minutes on end. So I caved and I gave him a "Cars" themed birthday, to which he was totally thrilled about.
It was a blast of a day, and he couldn't have been more excited about having his friends over, and all of the commotion.
Until that night when both Rob and I came down with the most awful flu bug.....
after a trip to the ER, my mom and dad picking up Isaiah for us,...
That took us out of the picture until Wednesday
Wednesday - Our first full day with Hannah
We all went early Wednesday to pick up Hannah. Isaiah was very excited in the car, and kept asking about her. This was going to be his first time meeting her and we were very excited about that. He took to her right away, and when we showed up, Hannah was a bit apprehensive at first but she quickly took to us again and to him and his energy. The 2 ran around the playroom a bit at the foster home, while we let them warm up to each other. But we didn't want to spend any more time in that house than we needed to, so we made our way out. Hannah does great in the car, she doesn't fuss or make a peep. It's a nice balance from Isaiah who talks nonstop, but which will also prove good for Hannah as she learns to talk.
We made our way to the zoo as a first outing as a family. This didn't turn out to be the best thing for us because for some reason all the children in town decided to show up at the zoo that day....what was it bring 5 kids for free day??? Anyway, the zoo and adjacent park were oozing kids everywhere and it turned out to be quite overwhelming (more so for mommy than for the kids...I'm not used to keeping tabs on 2!). After some lunch at the park we made our way home for our first attempt at nap time with the 2 of the same room....
It was a bit rough, but man, when I think of all the possible ways it could have been worse, in light of that, it went great! We read books, then mommy laid Hannah in her crib and Daddy took laid Isaiah down in his bed. She cried for a brief minute during which we overheard Isaiah say, "It's okay Hannah, it's okay." Talk about tugging on a mommy's heart. Wow!
They slept for 2 hours! Then we played the remainder of the day, had dinner together and made the long trek back to the foster home to bring Hannah back.
All in all Hannah's first day in our house went really well. She wandered around a lot checking everything out. She wasn't interested in the toys so much...but what I have since discovered is that no one has shown her how to play with toys. I talk more about that later.
Today we called Toddler Boot Camp!

More to come...with pics.