Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter And The Peampt Past

Happy Easter 2011

Even with mother nature being uncooperative, spring is on it's way. On a chilly sprinkling day, the girls took part in the Ruston annual Egg Hunt. Although drawing a sizable crowd, there were, once again, far more eggs than were needed. As per usual, the organizers were yelling for parents to fill their pockets, bring two baskets, please take more. Our shivering girls filled their baskets to over flowing, but when Devi couldn't take a step without losing two eggs over the brim, we decided to head to the coffee shop to look over the loot. Devi cashed in with a pile of penny candy and 67 cents. Treya scored a pile of penny candy and a whopping 79 cents! Both girls were delighted and asked if they could wish everyone in the coffee shop a Happy Easter and hand out their candy. The patron's were most kind as Devi (our leader) interrupted conversations to dole out the sweets. This was the perfect segway for us to sit together and tell the Easter story.

Our now familiar traditions, such as dying eggs, have taken on new life with another child experiencing them for the first time. This year, we had our first two cups of vinegar and dye overturned in the excitement. Can you guess who the culprit was? Thank goodness for garbage bag smocks! I love to stand back and watch as Treya studies Devi for signs of how to react to these new experiences - should she laugh, act scared, act confident, say something in particular. She mimics Devi like a clone in her body language as well; sitting just like her big sister, folding her hands, crossing her feet, wearing or not wearing shoes. She is intent on getting everything just right...just like Devi.

Devi is finally at an age where she has experienced holidays enough times to know how they play out and with that comes an air of confidence. She came running into our bedroom on Easter morning whimpering and exclaiming that the Easter bunny did not stop at our house - the hearth was empty. That is when I had to open one eye and remind her that Peter Cottontail can be sneaky and likes to trick little girls and boys; perhaps she should look in other places to see if he had left something in an unexpected place. Thank goodness he did, because Devi's confidence was quite rattled...meanwhile Treya toddled along behind her showing an equal amount of concern.

Treya uses her new fingered hand to gather eggs!

Devi is the old pro, showing how it is done.

Nothing slows Treya down when egg hunting!

Later in the day, we headed to Oma's house for the Easter feast. Daddy and Oma set up another egg hunt, just for fun, inside the house because by now it was down pouring. The girls delighted in flitting through Oma's living room discovering the great egg hiding places there. All of us experiencing a bit of a sugar high, it was wonderful to fill our belly's with ham and potatoes and show Treya how to do an Easter egg war. Pat has been doing egg wars at the table for as long as he can remember...testing with a tap, the strength of the end of your egg against an opponent's egg. This year, daddy was proclaimed the winner, with Treya a close second. Although the children were begging for more candy, we had all had enough with several bowls full still wafting in our pantry.

This week - a Peampt Past!

Today, we headed back for a cast change. Treya chose a Peampt Past, or pink cast. She cried huge wet tears while the old purple cast was being cut off, but was quite talkative and received praise from the doctor and technician who applied the new one. Normally, the children have to be held down, but Treya gladly sat still and eyed them with amazement as her wiggly toes were cemented in place for another week. The doctor was thrilled with the progress of her foot shape and position in just one week, saying that she had gained about 10 percent more movement when pulling your toes toward your knee. They are hoping for a 30 percent overall range of motion when the casting is complete. This week we hope to pull the heel to a straight position, forming a stable base to stand on, as currently it is turned in and up. We managed to pull off another 4 hour stint of applying no body weight fairly easily this time, but she made up for the confinement when we booted her up and turned her loose tonight. Geez. I'm exhausted!

Whoopsie Daisy - Home Repair

Devi had her first sheet rock mishap this week. On the first sunny day we've had in months, she decided the girls should sit outside in the sun. Attempting to move two children's chairs down a flight of stairs and outside was the plan. What can I say? The girl is a mulit-tasker. Thankfully, it was only a chair that came crashing down the flight of stairs and not my pumpkin pie! While all this commotion was going on, we were all outside. Devi very calmly set both chairs out for she and Treya to enjoy the sun. A few minutes later Devi said, "Momma, I have something to tell you." She went on to explain that "...I made a small hole in the wall...actually, it wasn't me, it was the chair, but the chair had an accident." Sure enough, there was a perfect leg sized puncture clean through the sheet rock. Pat and I talked about the dangers of moving furniture alone, but praised Devi for telling us the truth about what had happened, because you could see how hard it was for her to tell us. You know she wished there were some way she could just take it all back. You could see the relief in her face as soon as she realized we were not going to get mad. She was a bit irresponsible, however, so her punishment was to fix the wall herself, with the help of daddy, of course.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Momma Musings

My Little Bride!

Probably the single most fascinating thing about being a mother is watching the way your children perceive the world.

Devi is consumed with fairies, princesses and all thing pink and purple, which is pretty typical. Lately, however, she has found a new obsession. Becoming a bride. I don’t recall ever even thinking about weddings as a girl, but she loves the idea of finding her one love at age 4, most likely a romantic seed planted by Disney. You know? Living happily ever after.

The wedding cake

The other night, her pretend world brought this dream to life. Zipped and tied into our dress up closet’s version of a wedding dress, she added a hoop skirt for twirl ability and veil - complete with crown, adorned with jewels and boa feathers for detail. For an unbelievable long period of time, she stood and admired herself in the full length mirror, all the while muttering under her breath the details of her dress, her wedding, her special day; posing this way and that, taking in her full beauty from all sides. Not typically drawn toward “sappy” I have to admit, I got a little choked up for a second. Squinting my eyes a little, I couldn’t help but envision her many years from now, actually facing the wonder of her real wedding day. Jerking me back to the present, I watched as she packed the play suitcase bound for the honeymoon!

Feet with a partial club foot repair.

Purple cast - week 1

The next step in club foot repair has begun for Treya. She will wear a cast on her left leg for the next 6 weeks. Each new cast, changed weekly, will slightly alter the position of her foot. The resilience of this child is amazing. This girl is a survivor who will let nothing stand in her way in life.

Treya chose purple as the color of this first cast. I don’t know that she is overly fond of the color, but she knows her sister is, and if Devi likes it so does little sis. The procedure is done fairly quickly, but because the walking cast cures from the outside in, we have to be certain that it is good and solid before bearing any of her weight. If the position of the foot inside the cast is altered, that week does not count and we have to start over. Specifically, no weight on that leg for 4 hours! Yes, you heard me right...4 hours and yes, she is wildly busy and a used-to-being-mobile 2 year old. Pat and I did the only thing we could think of...strapped her into a stroller and “strolled” the local mall, all the while trying to entertain her with boxes of raisins, yogurt bites and flipping wheelies! Honestly, does anyone know how hard it is to “waste” 4 hours with a toddler who isn’t suppose to stand up?

With a boot attached for stability, she now is able to walk on it, or run - as the case may be. Although incredibly heavy, the cast does not seem to be slowing her down one bit. The weight of it does take over at times sending her tumbling, flying and even left scrape marks on her forehead during an over zealous diaper change. While laying on her back, the wide-eyed look of surprise on her face, as her club-like uncontrollable leg came full force toward her face, had me chuckling only for a moment at her expense. Nothing that a bit of ointment and a kiss couldn’t soothe. Night night involves removing the boot, but adding the arm splint. Some how she manages to find a comfortable position wearing a cast on the left leg and the splint on her right arm. What a trooper!

Spring is coming....

...put away the hats and mittens!

Language continues to be our biggest stumbling block with Treya, sometimes rather than frustration, bringing the best comic relief. She has made vast improvements, but still only has limited sounds. All of her words begin with the B, D, T, or N sounds. The other night I made home-made Chicken Noodle Soup. It was delicious if I do say so myself. Trey thought so too, saying, “Mmmm....dum dum, poop!” To the trained ear that was “Mmmm....yum yum, soup!”

Love these girls beyond belief!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blossoming This Spring

The Jr. Daffodil Parade - Treya's first parade ever.

In spite of our unseasonably cold weather, spring continues it’s attempt to arrive. With a glimpse here and there of new growth, comes the promise that the sunshine will grace us with it’s presence at some point. Until then, we remain focused on the small changes we see from day to day, much the same way we focus on the small changes we see in our ever settling family.

I have this identical photo of Devi at her first parade too!

Nothing like licking the beaters!

While changing into our pjs one night, I noticed that the grafted skin on Treya’s had had turned unnaturally dark...the color of my brown leather slip-ons, to be precise. Why these small states of panic only happen at bed time or on the weekends, I’ll never know, but such was the case yet again. After turning our den upside down, I finally found the phone number for the surgical resident on call at Children’s hospital. For what seemed like the next hour, we tried our best to describe over the phone what the skin looked like, while simultaneously photographing Treya’s fingers attached to one small arm that never seems to hold still. In the end, the surgical resident calmed our nerves by ruling out rejection of the skin and infection - the two big evils. Further concluding the following day, that it appears that there was too much moisture under the new skin and that a few “dry” days should help the grafted skin “pink up”. So far, that has not happened, but the confident doctors are not concerned and we are following their lead as we watch in amazement, as her new finger continues to heal and become more viable in it’s function.

March 7th - the day before surgery. Our hands how they used to look.

After surgery Treya wears a cast for 3 weeks from armpit to fingertips.

March 29th, the cast is removed and a new pinkie finger is born! Note the line draw between her middle fingers is still there showing where the doctors contemplated the separation before deciding to wait.

No cast, but 6 weeks of wearing this brace.

Now healed, but the grafted skin on the inside of the 4th and 5th fingers remains dark in color. The middle two fingers will be separated in about 1 more month to give her 5 fingers on each hand.

At Coffee time and story time.

Just as spring blossoms bring an explosion of color, so has Treya experienced an explosion of vocabulary, mimicking everything that we say. Introducing our newest family member to our silly car games has us once again yelling out “forsythia” whenever we see a bright yellow bush, one of the first plants to come alive after a cold winter. To this Treya yells “ti-ti-ta!” and manages to yell it at appropriate times, actually recognizing the plant in question.

The small single width tunnel we drive through near our home requires the driver to sound the horn to alert oncoming traffic that someone is coming. Naturally, one horn blast is never enough for us, so the driver will sound the horn every time a child yells a little encouragement. It took us a long time to realize that what Treya was yelling, which sounded like “apple core” was really her proclamation “Honk the horn!” screamed repeatedly at least a full city block in advance.

Translation of other common Treya words are boop (book), pea-pudge (garbage), babewy (strawberry), daughter (water), ah-wa-vew (I love you), tuit-tea (cookie). When ever we are talking about shoes or coats we are getting ready to go somewhere so Treya's word for what we put on our feet is "twos-on" and our outer wear is, you guessed it, "tote-on". There is a bit of confusion over daddy and Devi. Daddy is “daddy” and Devi is “deddy”, with just a slight change in pronunciation. This has both of them confused as to whom she is speaking, making conversations at times, very difficult to follow.

With the most sincere and serious expression, she loves to sing. Instead of singing lyrics, however, she swoons heartfelt sounds for the words, similar to the popular Sing-A-Ma-Jig dolls, where depressing their tummies moves their lips and a sound comes out. It is hilarious and have to bite my cheeks to keep from laughing at her. Eyes, Burp and Amen are about the only words that are recognizable to everyone and to that I say...Amen!

Dev and daddy moved her groove things at the Grand Floral Parade while Treya and I, under the weather stayed home.

Devi brings a refreshing perspective to our adult world of logic, with questions like, “Momma, can a girl be a monk?” or “India is so crowded, why have so many people decided to live there?” As an adult, I can honestly say, I’ve never pondered either of those thoughts. She also noticed as Pat bent down one day that he had gray hair. "Daddy, you have gray hair. Are you old?" Daddy corrected, "It makes me look distinguished." Devi retorted, "No daddy, you're old because you have wrinkles too." "I don't have wrinkles!" daddy said defensively. "Yes you do...on your knees and elbows!"

We all ready get the answer, “I don’t remember” when I ask about preschool activities or what she had for lunch, but occasionally she’ll share a bit about her complicated day. For instance, one day she and another girl had to collect leaves - that were really paper bills - to give to another girl so that she would be nice to them. I kid you not! At 4 years of age this stuff is all ready popping up and sparked a lengthy conversation about the meaning of friendship. Thankfully, those occasions are rare and we are more likely to her hear that she and a little boy friend were pretending to be horses. Devi was “Crystal” and he was “Spider” and they were making wood chip birthday cakes for their foals. (Thank goodness the questions of how those foals magically appeared have not come into play!)

Purse strap slung over one shoulder and with a sophisticated look upon her face, she approached Pat and I one day saying, “Bye, I’m going to go visit my boyfriend!” Playing along we said, “Bye, don’t stay out too late.” “Late?” she questioned, never considering that one would visit a friend at any time other than the day time. I inquired, “Where are you going on your date?” She replied, “Date? What’s a date?” After an explanation she said, “Come on Treya, let’s go” I asked, “Is Trey your chaperon?” She asked, “What is a chaperon?” I told her, a chaperon is the person that you always bring on a date to keep you company. That way you always have someone around to talk with."Yep, I'm never gonna leave Treya home when I have a date." To this I say....good girl!

As she walked away satisfied, I have to admit I was shocked. Normally so focused on the bigger picture, I sometimes miss the small changes...the buds forming - our buds - beginning to blossom. The signs that our baby girls are growing up are everywhere.

Stickers from a pirate...nothing says "parade" like a pirate!

Monday, April 04, 2011

A Little Mother's Love

Work...it really is a 4 letter word and although it puts food on the table, and allows for a few of life's luxuries, it also means that I have to entrust the welfare of my girls to others. Gosh, I hate this part of the deal. Naturally, it is harder on me than them.

Devi is VIP at her preschool this week. She has been waiting for HER turn all year and this week the extra special duties have been bestowed upon her. Not only does she get to hold the flag for the morning pledge, but she also gets to look out the window to forecast the weather, set the table for snack time and bring in a new show and share item every day of the week that helps describe something about her. We also made a poster of photos showing her as a baby, her family, and some of the things she likes to do. She was beaming with pride over the finished product and couldn't wait to take it to school this morning.

Treya had her first full day of daycare today, following two days last week where we had a trial run for a couple of hours each day. And yes, I bawled my eyes out when she and daddy drove out of the driveway that first day. I just felt so empty. Home for only two months, I felt as though we had just started to connect - truly making that mother/daughter eye contact - needing just a couple more weeks to solidify that bond of trust.

A kind older woman cares for our Treya in her home. Grandma Nancy is experienced, soft spoken, fun and has an unbelievable home of collected toys including a pet turtle in an aquarium that even makes this grown up envious. She cares for 3 other young children and it seems to be the perfect fit for Trey. When I arrive, she asks me to come "sit" and play, not wanting to leave. On today's arrival, Treya ran to Devi, leading her by the finger to show Devi her very own cubbie that holds all of her supplies. Treya insisted that Nancy put her coat of for her, giving huge hugs and kisses as we departed.

Finding Nancy couldn't have been a nicer blessing. With splints, casts and possible surgery still in Treya's future, the flexibility of an in-home daycare, was essential. And with only a few kids, Treya is more apt to socialize; a bigger group giving her every opportunity to go play alone in a corner, much like she did in the orphanage where where she lived.

March 29th, Treya's cast was removed from her hand, revealing the birth of her new pinky finger.
It was amazing to see the transformation that had taken place beneath the casting material that encased her precious digits, holding them still for healing, ensuring good blood flow to the newly grafted skin. At first sight it was swollen and a bit crusty - "icky" according to Trey, but to the rest of us, the extension of her grasp nearly doubled in capacity and the new independent finger moved so naturally from the moment it became free.

Currently, she wears a fiberglass splint with a walled partition between her new pinky and the rest of the fingers, to avoid the tendency for those fingers to grow back together. Six weeks of wearing the splint should have things healed enough to perform the second surgery to separate the two middle fingers. This is huge, as it will not only provide a full set of five fingers, although not full length, on each hand, but also will give her a ring finger, which I hope will hold the promise of a young man's love through the bond of marriage someday.

I've mentioned before that Devi's transition through this magnificent journey has been the hardest adjustment. This week, revealed yet another piece to the difficult puzzle of her intense feelings. Turns out, she is the one who wants to be the mother figure to her little sister. You should have seen her face light up the night I asked her to give Treya her bath! Devi immediately went into action, "Momma, I'll get her jammies, and night time diaper so they are ready...and I can run the water and get the lotion and have a towel ready. I can soap her hair and I'll be careful not to get soap in her eyes...I can pick out the tub toys and brush her teeth and comb her wet hair!" Who knew? I took a stab in the dark - a new approach. Here I thought she wanted to have everything fair - even Steven - between them (which when we are talking about sweets is true). Instead she was craving responsibility and the need to be trusted where her sister's well being was concerned. With my guidance, she did it. The whole evening ritual and was so incredibly loving that I had a hard time not cracking up at my little momma in action. Yes, right down to the comments, she was a mini me!

To watch the girls' evolving relationship is fascinating. Although it is not rosy all of the time, they do play together so well, having developed their own language as a means of communicating. Together, Treya is learning to appreciate Devi's love of books, music and dancing. I guess it is of no surprise that on this day, my first day back to work spent pining for my youngest daughter, she came running and screaming for none other than DeeDee, the little mother, who received the first welcome home hug with kisses.