Friday, February 25, 2011

Life As We Know It

Treya's first snowman!

Sipping an uncharacteristic chilled white wine, (not red), and with the kids soundly asleep on a Friday night, I attempt to collect my thoughts. In an effort to journal the details for prosperity, I can come up with no other title for this blog post. The whirlwind of events of the past week have our calendar full, our lives enriched and again find Pat and I hugging in the kitchen whispering to each other, "We are doing it!" translating to "this funky family of four is really gelling!"

Rising to the top of our priority list, we met with Dr.
Freidrick at Children's Hospital about Treya's hands. He strongly suggested that we not wait to separate her fingers on her right hand because she has not yet chosen a dominant side and because the bones at the tips of the three nubs are beginning to grow inward. Currently the pinkie and two fingers next to it are webbed like a wing and are about half the length of her index finger. We won't be lengthening them, but they said that the additional mobility by being able to spread one's fingers is a huge gain.

Dr. Freidrick is young, not pushy, confident in his suggestions and had sound reasoning and purpose in the detail of the surgery explanation. It was originally scheduled for April 19th, but he is on vacation then and so we got bumped up to March 8th, while I am still on maternity leave and can convalesce with Treya as she adjusts to her arm in a cast from finger tip to arm pit.

He also wanted to operate on her other hand to remove scar tissue, a cosmetic surgery really, but we declined that one. I just couldn't put our baby under a second time for cosmetic reasons at this time. Perhaps as she ages it may become important to her, but there would be absolutely no function gained,. With any surgery, there is always tremendous risk and so for now, declining this one was a no brainer.

Thanks to the recent snow fall our first post placement appointment was rescheduled for March, as is her foot appointment, OT and PT . She also has a psych evaluation to determine if she should continue with speech therapy too. While on the subject of speech, I have to mention how proud of her we are. In less than 2 months since first uttering her first word, she now has about 50 words and more than 20 signs. This is huge when you consider that we also changed languages on her too.
Treya is one bright girl.

Painting our toenails

Devi is learning about personal space and boundaries. If she had things her way, she would be holding Treya, kissing Treya, hugging Treya and having Treya sit on her lap 24/7. It has been hard to teach that at 2 years of age, Treya wants some time to do things all by herself and does not want her big sister to help all the time. We've finally got it down that sitting side by side, without touching too much still means you love your little sister.

I also have to apologize to Devi. Because she is so smart, we automatically expect so much from her. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that she is only 4 years old. In a months time, she has gone from being our baby to nearly becoming an adult, at least in the amount of responsibility that we have bestowed her. Although she loves her sister, and tries hard to think of reasons to stay home from school to play with her, she still loves our private cuddle time and I admit, it rejuvenates me too. She has always been such a happy, cuddly kiddo....something I hope stays with her for a long long time.

Making me dinner

Looking over the past week, I would say that we have had some not so good days and some good days. Three days ago I would have sworn that I had used every ounce of patience a mother could muster for these two girls and would not be getting any nominations for mom of the year any time soon! Then just two days ago, after I had cooked Indian food, Treya turned a corner and decided if I could cook Indian, perhaps my cooking was worth a try. She has eaten everything I have prepared since that day, even asking for more, including raw vegetables, all kinds of meat and on some days milk too. (Okay, maybe it is a growth spurt, but I'm taking it as a complement). In the end, the good days far out weigh the difficult ones, and for that I am smiling and loving our new developing family dynamic.

The girls together simply bring me smiles. We've had so many fun firsts. Painting toenails - Devi's 10 and Treya's 3, baking cookies, making dinner together, watching the snow fall and then playing in the accumulation. I observed a recent morning where Devi had decided to play animal wedding. Never at a loss for words, she was full of nonstop instruction, telling Treya where to put the chairs, who would attend, and in general being a bossy big sister. Before I knew it, the playroom had taken up new residence in the hallway with a menagerie of animals occupying the various seats lined up in rows, preparing for the nuptials about to take place. They played without interruption for about 2 hours. It was darling, but more than that, it was the bonding of two sisters whom I know are becoming the best of friends.


A simple cardboard box becomes a STAGE!
And the performances are LOUD

Luckily for me, there is positive reinforcement, even on the tough days. One of those days found me shopping with the two girls in tow, trying to beat the race against the falling snow.
Treya was upset because she was strapped into the cart, and Devi was upset because there are not two seats - side by side - in the cart. What is a mother to do? Refocus and redirect came to mind. Give each girl a job so they forget that they are both miffed about the seating arrangement. Evidently, we were being watched....have I mentioned that my girls are LOUD? Somewhere between the radishes and zucchini, the watchful woman (a teacher by trade) complimented me on how I was using the opportunity as a "teaching moment". One girl holds the bag and chooses the perfect cucumber, handing it to the the other who stores it in the cart. Her positive comments on that trying day were enough to make me want to take both her hands in mine, cry her a river and kiss her directly on the lips. Somehow the Lord knows what we need, when we need it.

The areas that one would assume would be difficult have been a breeze. Naps and night night go off daily without a hitch and being able to go out in public with a 2 and 4 year old - out for dinner for instance - been incredibly easy. Even all the potty training antics are moving right along, however, it seems we talk about the potty an awful lot. For this, we count our blessings. Now if we can just keep Treya from screaming "EAT" at me over and over while I prepare a meal, we will be making some head way. I can't tell you how that one word repeatably screamed can wear a person down. I mean way DOWN!

Tonight was our first official "Family Movie Night" since arriving home. Once in jammies the show started...."Wonder Pets, Save the Bengal Tiger". Flanked by Pat and I on the couch finishing our glasses of wine, Devi laid in the middle with her thumb in her mouth and Pokey blanket at her side. Treya? Well, the grass never grows beneath her feet so she happily "cooked" in the nearby kitchen trotting in and out to bring us various empty spice vials to OPEN and CLOSE, again, and again, and again. Breaking the silence in more ways than one, Devi said, "Dad, pull my finger!"

Shocked and appalled, I give Pat that - you taught her THAT?- glance. To which he mouths with no sound behind her back, "I only said it in front of her once!" Rolling my eyes, I can only smile as the recent education in our household abounds AND this is our life as we know it.

C'mon lil sis!


Anonymous said...

Julie: Again, I love reading your updates on your girls.Sounds like you and Pat are doing a wonderful job. Treya has come so far and I am sure it is because of the wonderful parenting going on.Way to go on the "learn as you shop" idea. Would love to meet you all sometime.Do you think you might make it to the Dillon India camp in June?

Peter and Nancy said...

I love the picture of your two black-haired girls from behind, holding hands! *sniff*

Treya seems like such a bright girl! She's catching on quickly in every way. As for Devi, we had the same "over attentiveness" from Nathan, who wanted to carry, kiss, hug, etc. 24/7. :o) Sounds like you're being very creative in your mothering . . . which is exhausting, but wonderful.

That surgery is coming up quickly -- what great timing that you'll still be on maternity leave for it. We will pray for a successful operation, and quick healing.
Hugs to you all,

ekgerber said...

Your girls are beautiful! My husband and I are thinking about adopting from India.
I was wondering which adoption agency you used.
I'm kind of nervous...don't know where to start. Any advice or info would be great. My email address is
Thanks so much

Emily said...

What a lovely, snowy, cozy life you have as a family of four. Treya is adjusting beautifully, she is a smart girl! And your patience and determination are no doubt a part of the equation making this all come together. I love picturing you and Pat in the kitchen, whispering, "We are doing it!" :) Emily

india to wisconsin said...

I just love reading your post and so happy that things for the most part are going well for all of you.
I will keep Treya in my prayers on the 8th.
Take care

Candice said...

So sweet. I am glad that the girls are getting along so well. You are a precious family! You are so right to try to thoroughly enjoy and document these days while the girls are young!