The other day I caught Kai happily sitting in Dan's briefcase, playing with some cords. You can see how delighted he is that Bei has come to join him.
For the first 2 months of Bei's preschool, Bei would either cry and/or the teacher would have to physically take him off of me...break my heart! The teacher kept reassuring me that he was making progress and she guided me to create a dropoff routine...she has been such a saint! Well anyway, several weeks ago, I dropped Bei off and expected the same drama and instead he said 'bye mom'. And there has been no more drama. I am so very proud of that little boy! Recently I asked him why he doesn't cry anymore and he said 'because I know you are going to come back'. I am amazed that he is that in touch with his feelings and can articulate it. However, it makes me so sad that he really worried that I wasn't coming back...that has been his reality already in his short life. I can't change Bei's past, but I can build a future for him and Kai where they can trust me no matter what the circumstances are, I will be there for them.
Another big change for Bei is that he now LOVES Kai Kai Sweetie Pie! If you would have asked Bei several weeks ago if he liked his brother, he would give you a straight-up 'No'. We have not been overly pushy about 'forcing' him to like his brother. We believed it would come when Kai could interact and engage more with Bei. About a week ago, Bei announced out of the blue that 'I love Kai'. He ran up and gave Kai a hug. I was skeptical, but I have to admit, he has pretty much changed his tune. Everyday, he is loving on Kai and plays and interacts with him. I haven't put the pieces of the puzzle together that created the change in Bei, but at this point, it doesn't matter. I like it!
Remember mid-November, I wrote that Kai is walking? Right after that he had the febrile seizure, he regressed in his developmental growth significantly. He became all wobbly and shaky again. The best way to describe how Kai looked when he moved or tried to walk is to compare him with those dolls that have those round joints at the elbows and knee's and their legs and arms twist and turn in places that are not humanely possible. Sometimes he would be trying to walk and his legs would be going in directions that I thought would not only be impossible, but it should hurt most people. He is like a gumby doll, the Neurologist said he would make a great yoga instructor some day. Anyway, that has all changed this past week. It is like a switch was turned on and he is standing up all by himself in the middle of a room, he is walking along walls, standing for long periods of time and attempting to walk again. He is my miracle baby! Is it wrong to admire your child? Everyday I am blown away by the feats and accomplishments of this child. And then on top of his strong little work ethic, is the sweetest, most loving personality. I fall deeper in love with Kai Kai Sweetie Pie everyday!
When I looked at my calendar tonight for the month of December, it wasn't full of doctor appointments like the past two months. Some of the doctor appointments were scheduled, but many of our doctor visits have been unplanned visits. Kai has had chronic ear infection that appears to be resistant to the normal amoxicillin. He was treated with 3 different antibiotics each one stronger than the next with the last being an IV. Hmmm...are you thinking what I am thinking? That the reason why Kai (and me) can't get a good nights rest is because of this chronic ear infection? So, I scheduled an appointment with an ENT doc and Praise the Lord, they are going to put tubes in his ears! I am so excited for him! I'm just thinking that the fluid in his ear is affecting so much of who he is, balance? sleep deprivation? babbling/talking? They also told us he has a mild hearing loss and that they can only test his good ear. The doctor said they won't know if he has true hearing loss until the tubes are in. To be quite honest, I was really impressed with how well he did during the hearing test because he was hearing alot better than I thought previously. The other concern with Kai has been his teeth. He has what is commonly called bottle mouth. It is where they leave the bottle in the mouth of a baby whose teeth are developing and the teeth don't form correctly. We were at the cabin the other weekend and all of a sudden I noticed that Kai now has a big gap between his two front teeth. Dang! His teeth are disingrating in front of my eyes. Kai is missing the enamal on his two front teeth and then the next two on either side didn't develop properly. As he is put under for his ear tubes, a pediatric dentist will come in and cap his 4 teeth and check for cavaties. Hurray! I know it is crazy to be excited that your child is going under anesthesia but I think these are such important things that will change his life. So please pray for our little Kai Kai Sweetie Pie that his surgery that is planned for mid December goes well.
It is that time of year to give thanks for all that you appreciate. I wanted to give thanks to those people who have touched our lives and have influenced it in the positive. I really appreciate the people that have been there to offer their help and also those who have just been there with a kind word or phone call or some advice when needed. All of it has help me keep my sanity these past 6 months.
I am so very grateful to my husband that he works, so I can stay home with the kids. Dan not only has a strong work ethic at work, but he is a work horse at home too. He can never sit still. He always says he should be skinny because he is alway moving and it is true. But those who know Dan, also know where the extra pounds come from...it rhymes with Deer. The thing I appreciate the most about Dan though is the fact that he is present with the kids when he is home. He isn't on his blackberry or hiding out in the garage, he is engaged with the kids and you can tell it energizes him. As a husband, I love Dan's personality, he makes me laugh alot. He see's the funny in about anything and everything, which makes going through life with him light and fun.
Both Dan and I have been blessed with the most wonderful families. It also was one of the reasons that I was attracted to him back 20 odd years ago. His parents are the most loving and giving people that you could possibly meet. I am so grateful that Bei and Kai have such wonderful grandparents. I am extremely grateful also to Dan's brother Mark and his family, Gina, Blake and Morgan. They have been so supportive of both children, but were able to give Bei his first taste of independence by having him down to their cabin all summer long. It built up alot of self-confidence for him. I'm so thankful for those positive experiences of indepence for Bei prior to going to pre-school.
I am so very grateful for my mom, because she is a one of a kind type of person. Funny, self-deprecating, sharp-tongued, witty and gives the best advice that a person ever needs. As you have read in the blog, she will give me the swift kick in the arse that I need at times. I listen to her advice because I know that she loves me unconditionally and wants the best for me and my children.
Both Dan and I come from close sibling groups, we are close to our brothers and sisters. My brother, Nick and sisters, Nanette and Jeannine have always been my support system my entire life and even though we live in three separate states, we continue to turn to each other for support, but most of all friendship.
The thought of moving from my neighborhood sends a shiver down my spine. Yes, the house is on the market, but it hasn't sold yet. I think it is because God knows that I need my wonderful neighbors who have been so supportive and helpful to me. Georgia, Maria, Sheila, Sue and Jocelyn have all helped me at different times when I have been in need. Never once did I feel that they felt put out. Whenever one of them helps me out, I always think of the phrase 'It takes a village.' And with family not living close by like the old days, my neighborhood has become my village and I'm fortunate to have such caring neighbors and friends.
I have to do a special shout out to my dear friend Becky. That girl did more to keep my sanity in line than anyone. She always has a smile on her face and in her voice. She never sat still for two minutes and even though she knew that I couldn't do much because of Kai, she always called to include me. Whenever we were together, she never hesitated in helping with Kai or Bei, even though she had her hands full with Nick Nick. She was just a very fun person to be around and I am so happy that we became friends.
I can't even express to you how grateful I am to the International Adoption Clinic, specifically Dr. Kang and her contact Beth Andrews. Those two people have changed the course of Kai's life because they have been responsive, compassionate and advocated for this little boy in need of medical attention. When we have been throw into the fire by other medical centers, I have called them and sought their help. They have embraced us every single time we have called. Most recently they met me at the ER after Kai ran a 105 temp and had a grand mal seizure. The called the ER for me to tell them that we were coming and we were able to walk right in. As true as their word, they both came to check on us and make sure that Kai was going to be okay. They have gotten Kai his seizure medication when Kai's neurologist kept forgetting to call in a refill. They have gotten me doctor appointments with doctors that had waiting list. I consider them a big part of my support team and I am so thankful that they are a part of our lives.
|Boys getting pulled around on a rug by cousin Elly|
Our beloved playmate, Nick Nick moved this week to South Carolina! I can't express how much we are going to miss them. Becky is one of the most happy and genuine, salt of the earth people that you could meet. I feel fortunate to have met her. There is a reason God chose her to be Nick's mom, they both are very special people.
This is a conversation that we have daily and every angle I take at it won't seem to put it to rest. So this weekend all of us are driving in the car and Bei starts his daily dying conversation "Mom, I don't want to die." "Okay, Bei, you won't". "Mom, I want you and me to die together" Dan interrupts him and sternly says, "Bei that is enough, we don't want to talk about dying every day. I don't want to hear another word of it". I am grateful to Dan for stepping in and ending this exhausting conversation, but I start feeling guilty. I'm thinking poor kid just wants to understand dying and I don't know how to answer the question. I am going to have to think of a way to bring it back up to him so he doesn't end up in therapy over the fact that his parents wouldn't let him talk about dying, morning, noon and night. But I should not have feared...after about 5 minutes of total silence in the car, I hear Bei say "Mom?" "Yes honey?" "I don't want to die..." I guess the kid won't be in therapy after all...he is a persistent kid!
Perhaps this blog should be titled "Preschool Melodrama." I took Bei to his first day of preschool on Tuesday of this week and it was all going well until it was time for me to leave. Bei started crying and didn't want me to go. Somehow I dug down really deep and was able to walk out of that school and leave my crying son in the hands of his teacher. I have to admit that I didn't cry...I SOBBED all the way home! It was the most awful thing that I had to do. As I drove home I decided that I was going to form an organization with the Acryonym MAP and it stands for Mothers Against Preschools! It was going to be a revolution that will sweep the country, rallies would be held everywhere! This whole concept of children being taken from their mothers by these villianous preschool teachers at the age of 4 was just ridiculous in my mind! However, I got home and I spent the next 2 hours cleaning the house and having one on one time with Kai Kai Sweetie Pie..hmmm...maybe, just maybe, this 2.5 hours, twice a week thing where those really NICE ladies watch your kid is a good thing??? Well Bei did not like school at all and spent the night in near tears telling me how he did not want to go back. It broke my heart and I told him not to worry about it that we would figure out something. In the meantime I receive an email from Bei's teacher that says Bei settled down within 10 minutes, enjoyed painting with marbles, made a new friend named Easton and was very verbal asking lots of questions throughout the 2.5 hours that he was there. I question Bei and he told me all the things that he liked about school...so there is hope! We went back today and there were tears by him, not me, and lots of smiles when I picked him up! So you may wonder what made a wimpy mom like me able to walk out the door when my baby was crying??? I am trying to avoid the scenario of Bei attending his prom when he is 17 years old and someone saying; "So who is that old lady with Bei and his date?" "Oh her?" "That's just his mom, she goes everywhere with him". As much as I would like to attend Bei's prom, I think I owe him a normal childhood. Therefore, I will do my part of starting to tear at the apron strings a tiny bit.
Yep, that is what we call our little guy "Kai Kai Sweetie Pie." The first 1,000 times I said it he would giggle and do his Irish dance for us, but now he looks at me like "come on lady come up with a new one." Well our little Kai Kai Sweetie Pie is always keeping us on our toes. Most recently he was diagnosed with Epilespy or now they call it Seizure Disorder. We are in the midst of many doctors appointment, EKG's EEG's, and therapy. I actually have a funny blog written in my head about all that we have gone through with Kai from the very beginning, however I won't be writing that one because I'm feeling much more reflective and sentimental today. I feel so incredibly grateful to God that I was chosen to be Kai's mother and that He has that much faith in me to take care of this very precious and special child. This little gift from God that was abandoned at birth, left for 14 months with apparently very little physical contact, who could not hold his head up, lift his arms, grasp my finger, babble, passed out at the drop of a hat and had epileptic seizures. I feel very honored and blessed to be his mother. I just LOVE him sooooooooooooooooooooooo incredibly much!!! His special needs seemed to have bonded us even closer together. I wanted to share with you a writing by Erma Bombeck that my friend Becky gave to me and I think it pretty much covers every mother regardless if the special need is a learning disability or cancer. We have all been chosen to parent the children that we are given, give your little one or big ones an extra tight hug today!
THE CHOSEN MOTHERS
By Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by choice, some by accident, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit.
"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint Cecilia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint Gerard."
Finally, He passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a child with cancer."
The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."
"Exactly" smiles God, "Could I give a child with cancer a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But, does she have patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she will handle it."
"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has it's own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think she believes in you."
"No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps -"Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take anything her child does for granted. She will never consider a single step ordinary.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side."
"And what about her patron Saint?" asks the angel.
His pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."
So onto the second kick to the head. Recently we were at our cabin and Bei went to visit Dan's brothers kids who have a cabin 2 miles down the road from us. Now, Bei hasn't spent much time away from me. We have never had a babysitter even, but he has gone down to Mark's cabin for an hour or two at the most. Anyway, he was down there for several hours when I asked Dan if he would go down and pick him up. To be honest, I was missing him! Dan came back and there was no Bei. Uh oh...where is Bei? He had gone to Shell Lake with Mark's wife...big uh oh...panic set in for me! I knew he was tired and would fall asleep in the car. I worried that when he woke up he would be scared and cry and scream for me. And to top it off, he didn't have his blankee with him. I started calling Gina, then Mark, then Gina and then Mark and then Gina and finally got a hold of Mark a while later to find out that indeed Bei had fallen asleep, but woke up from his nap with a smile on his face. Hmmm...interesting...why does he cry when he wakes up with me??? Anyway, I got into the truck and drove down and as I pulled up to their cabin, I see Bei and Morgan in the yard. I started waving furiously at Bei, I just missed him so much! He gets this mischievous grin on his face, grabs Morgan's hand and runs the other way around the house. I think I just got a 4 year olds version of the finger. He comes around from the corner and I go to him and kiss him and hug him and tell him I miss him and he says. "Mom, I'm having fun, I want you to go home." What?? I ignore his statement and say "Did you miss me?" "Nope!" Huh? Maybe he didn't hear me. "Did you miss me Bei?" Nope! I decide to let him stay a little longer and I end up talking to Mark and Gina for a while. Bei needs me in the bathroom and sadly I start badgering him. "How much did you miss me?" And I show different measures with my hands. And he says "Nuthin" I'm crushed! But the idea starts creeping into my mind that this is a good thing. This has been my goal all along, I just needed a kick in the head to realize that Bei's self-confidence and independence are a good thing for the both of us. Nobody said I have to like him growing independent, but I promise I will stop badgering him every time we are separated and will support his independence in the future...I admit, I stumbled the first two rounds but will come back in full support in the future. Nobody said raising kids was easy, it is actually very very hard! But I am loving it!
Now where are the keys Uncle Kevin to start this machine??
Bei loves diggers and loaders and all types of machinery...thanks for the ride Uncle Kevin!
Matt and Bei check out the Koi fish in their newly created pond
Kai on his first train ride out of Spooner, Wisconsin with Grandpa Bob and Grandma Dene.