Tuesday, February 28, 2012

920 Weekends

The Jelly Bean & Pumpkin Pie

Routine is one of those things that I love because it is regular and brings with it a sense of control. At times that same sense of control bogs me down and fills me with an overwhelming desire for adventure. I know you are scratching your head thinking this woman is as wishy washy as the day is long. Make up your mind. Well, I am a woman after all and it therefore is my prerogative to change my mind, which I do often.

The crib was made by Pat's sister and husband for Pat's brother's two girls...
then loaned to us in 2007 when Devi came home & used again for Trey

This occasional adventurous spirit is why I recently shook things up by taking down the crib in the girls’ room, replacing it with a big girl bed for Treya. In truth, she now sleeps on a twin sized mattress and box spring, with protective metal rails that run up both sides, all of which is pushed up against the wall....a glorified crib really, but to her she is a big girl doing yet another grown up thing like her big sister. As much as the crib contained her restless sleeping habits, and protected her from falls during the night, fumbling to maneuver her wide and rigid bottom half still restrained in corrective boots connected by a metal bar, the crib also had begun to get rather cramped as she has grown so much in the last few months, leaving only a tiny margin around her on all sides. She had begun to look like she was squeezed into a shoebox. It was time for the crib to go...sniff.

Into our second week of the new arrangement, the girls now see eye to eye across the small spanse created by the night stand that separates their beds. They quietly chat until they drift off to sleep every night, though Treya has a hard time understanding the concept of “whispering”! I love to stand just outside of their cracked door and listen to their adventures, their incessant giggles as they exchange stuffed animals, their nonsense songs, their consoling comments, and the shifting of their bodies as they slowly relax, finding comfort wrapped in their matching bedding until finally giving up the day. It was just that easy of a transition for Treya right from the start.

The next adventure came this past weekend as I had accepted an invitation to attend a weekend conference with friends in a city several hours away, requiring overnight hotel stay. The first time I would be apart from either girl for more than just a few hours...gulp. Honestly, my daily routine had gotten the better of me - the cold wet weather, my work, the girls’ schedules, preparing meals, the house chores - and I was really looking forward to getting away for two nights with no spouse, no children, just me.

As my departure date grew closer; however, I was filled with an overwhelming feeling of dread. I didn’t want to go. Surely, Pat was more than capable of caring for the girls, but when you think that once born you only have something like 920 weekends with your children before they go off to college, Devi all ready using up 260 of those weekends by the time she turned 5...I just didn’t want to miss even one! Suddenly, I just wanted routine and not adventure.

Somewhere along my travels, I came across Indian scrolls. Nothing more than hand made paper wrapped around two wooden dowels, rolled and tied with tasseled string and adorned with bells. The attached card mentioned that in ancient times, this is how Princes talked to Princesses in India. Love notes if you will. Okay, I am a sap for stuff like this and I knew the girls would be too. So I wrote each of them a love note to find in the morning after I had left to east the sadness of my departure. A keepsake that they could pull out whenever they were missing me, letting them know that no matter where we are, my love would always be with them.

Yep, bawled like a baby the whole time I wrote them. Like a baby! Just imagining how it feels to be hugged by Devi, where every inch of her tiny body molds to yours and you can feel the incredible warmth of her body warm yours, as she smothers you in tender kisses, had me missing her immensely. She fits into my arms perfectly. And the thought of missing even one morning or nap time of Treya attempting to shake off the last bits of sleep, rubbing her squinty tired eyes back and forth across my shoulder while clinging to my waist with the tight hold of her legs or quietly sitting in my lap, holding my big hands with her tiny ones, occasionally pulling my hand up to stroke the rose petal softness of her cheek and then mimic the gesture with her scarred hand on my aged skin. These thoughts make me weak. So that is what I wrote about, more therapeutic to me than them, I am certain.

Miss them? Oh yes. Now home, with the “first time away” box successfully checked, I am once again rejuvenated, filled up by their hugs and caresses, received when I arrived home. Devi leapt into my lap for snuggles and Treya looked up from her nap to find me standing over her bed. She demanded in a sleepy voice "Hug me!" in her own bossy way. It appears that they missed me a little too. Normally one who would throw my hands up in the air on that roller coaster of life, dismissing the thought of holding the security bar, so as to fully feel the thrill of the ride, I am quite content to return to the mundane routine of my daily life for a while.

Writing out and reviewing our
family rules!

And what will be my next adventure, you ask? I hoped none would come for a while, but glancing through the pile of mail upon my return, I found a letter. A letter announcing elementary school Open Houses are this week. It is time to choose and enroll Devi for kindergarten! Tissues please.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


First Braids

No doubt, love is still in the air as reminders of the recent Valentine holiday are everywhere in our house. But the love that I am feeling today is combined with an almost equal part of disbelief. Today marks the second anniversary of first laying eyes on a photo of our Treya and being shocked into the reality that our dream of a second child was coming true. Can it be only two years? Honestly, it seems like she has been with us forever. It is almost as if I need to consult a calendar to see that these facts are true. Reviewing the blog, I am astonished at the physical changes in her and the leaps and bounds she has accomplished in that time as well.

Our first glimpse

Most days I am consumed with thoughts like where does one buy a twin mattress set; when does one enroll their child for kindergarten; what can I make for dinner that will use up that half of an avocado before it turns brown or I must get to the grocery store before this really great coupon expires. Beyond that are the tasks of trying to return phone calls and emails, and accommodating my husbands crazy work schedule into our days that have extra curricular activities for the girls. Lastly, I can’t forget the never ending piles of laundry or trying to remember when the girls last took a bath. Sound familiar?

Amidst all that stuff I sometimes find myself pausing, stepping outside of my own driven body, (usually while observing the kids and Pat laying all over each other laughing over something ridiculous) to stare at my beautiful children. To say we beat the odds, scaled a hurdle or two, or simply willed this to happen are all true statements. At the end of that adoption battle a family was made and though we may be different in our appearance, we are united at our cores. With Treya in particular, I am awestruck by the series of events that occurred, allowing our paths to cross, eventually leading us to be matched forever. It is like looking at her through a strangers’ eyes seeing the most precious of children, and then realizing that I am her momma forever. That is the grace of God at work.

Showing off her bollywood moves

We are blessed everyday by the presence of our Pune princess; the jelly bean; our baby girl. Now if she were to hear me say this she would sternly correct me. “Momma, I NO baby - I Taya!” A feisty one, indeed. This little bull dozer has a strong opinion about everything, and is a kind hearted nurturing soul with a drive to conquer all obstacles.

Lately, she has decided that she is a big girl who can dress herself. Changing into her pajamas all by herself has become part of her night time routine. Long before the bedtime hour, she will ask, “jahmah tine?” in anticipation of accomplishing this task. When we finally head upstairs to disrobe, she will tell me, “close eye, momma” indicating that I will soon be astonished by the change in her appearance once the job is complete - a surprise! With one eye open I spy on her, watching as she collects a pull-up and selects the perfect outfit for the night. Most nights, in lightning speed I hear, “ta-duh” followed by her proud giggle as she strikes a pose and waits for my approval.

Our determined girl

Then there are the nights she chooses the princess pjs that button up the front. It is then that I witness a determination like no other. With her tiny half formed fingers, she becomes transfixed on nudging that button through it’s eyelet. It may slip through her fingers over and over as she loses her grip, but Treya never gives up focus on the task at hand, eyes glued on willing her fingers to grasp, push and maneuver, that tiny plastic button into place. At times it may take her more than ten minutes to manage one hole, jerking away if you so much as attempt to assist. Agonizing to watch sometimes, I find myself swearing under my breath for that damn button to just go through, allowing for my reward for her success of unwavering perseverance. “I do it, I do it!” she yells with her chin raised towards the sky displaying her signature bright smile.

Now that I think about it, Treya does everything with her own style and grace. When coloring, for instance, she covers the whole page with color, no paper is left showing through. Black is one of her favorite colors, I think because it is strong in it’s intensity, just like the jelly bean herself. When it is time to do anything, she always holds up two stubby fingers declaring “two mo minutes!” making every task’s completion arrive in her own good time. Driven by routine, nothing can bring a secret smile to my lips quicker, than watching her little pony tailed head bob along, staccato style, anticipating what may be coming next - running to the coats, running to get napkins, running to get the scissors. Yes, scissors! She is so driven by the order of things, that she will attempt things that are not safe or allowed, just to be right.

Silliness iluminates through her soul most of the time, with her quick wit and ease with which she laughs. She loves to call me a koo-ah-mer (cucumber) and will fall on the floor, weak in the knees with a serious case of the giggles over this proclamation every time. Singing nonsense songs, searching for her bee-bo (belly button), or making faces in the mirror never get old, for this child who even keeps Devi in stitches

Deep in thought, her often distant stare leaves me wondering at times what goes on in that busy mind of hers. As of late, she has begun to stutter “um, umum, um”s in an effort to search for the words to describe her amazing thoughts during our daily ritual conversation about the best part or least favorite parts of our day. No doubt, there is a fair amount of nervous urgency too, in trying to get out a thought before Devi finishes it for her. And if I have not mentioned it, the girl LOVES to sing, albeit with correct melodies but complete gibberish for lyrics, to a layman’s ears, Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle, the ABC’s and Rainbow song being her favorites.

Not a cuddle bug, Treya climbs into one’s lap only on her terms, which thankfully to this momma is happening more and more often. With full chubby cheeks and rosebud lips like hers, they are hard to resist, but she will turn away to avoid a kiss and even will whip them off if you lay one on her anyway. You know; however, that when she is doling them out she really means it and will often linger and look lovingly into your eyes for emphasis. Melt!

Yes, disbelief describes my feelings completely. I fell in love the moment I saw her picture, but had no idea that behind that flat piece of paper, I would meet and share the joys of parenting this amazing child. She is complex, dear, frustrating and bright, with all the makings of a budding successful woman inside. Out sweet Trey we love you so much!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Three Box Month

Our angel.

I know that years from now when my oldest reads this she most likely will be mortified, but if a mother does not embarrass their children at least once in their lives, are we really living up to our title of mom?

I think I’ve done Devi a horrible disservice by holding her back from kindergarten this year. With a November birthday, technically she was not old enough to start school, though from an intellectual standpoint, she was more than ready. Petite in stature, perhaps slightly behind in social skills and experiencing the newness of adding a toddler to our family, I felt that another year of preschool was the best solution, ultimately having both my girls under the same daycare/preschool roof for that first year together. With a schedule full of other activities and extra scholastic things we do at home, I thought we could keep Devi engaged until September. Sealing my decision were thoughts of the issues that arise in preteen years in middle school and high school where the maturity of being older for your grade would hopefully help her in a world where it seems children are growing up at an accelerated pace anyhow.

Picking Devi up from school last Friday, I could see THAT look written all over her face. Staring up at me, those wide deep eyes alone, told an entire story of disaster without even uttering a single word. Further examination revealed, no stamps on her arms earned at dance class...not even one! When pressed for the story, a mish-mash of facts started to surface, but trying to put them in chronological order was not happening. About this time, the familiar tone of daddy’s cell phone announced a message had just been left from the principal of Devi's preschool. Heavy sigh. That could not be good. When in doubt, go to the source, I always say, so we called the dance teacher at home for the low down.

Fortunately, the dance teacher still had a very vivid recollection of the day. Apparently, Devi decided she was going to be the dance teacher and began giving instruction to the other children. Darned if they didn’t start following what Devi was telling them to do rather than teacher C. The instructor took Devi aside and explained that if she wanted to grow up to become a dance teacher that would be great, but today, in this class, she was not the teacher. That is when Devi made the poor choice to start talking potty talk. For the life of me, I will never understand why the word “butt” or “poop” uttered outside the confines of the room where those words are appropriate is so hilarious, but to everyone in the dance class of 3-5 year olds they were. No one falls down on the floor in hysteria saying “skillet” or “spatula” outside the kitchen, right?

Okay, so her second sentencing took place and she was told if you are going to use potty talk, you must stand in the bathroom (a time out spot), rather than on the dance floor. One upping them again, Devi had clear view of the kids’ faces from the bathroom’s door jam and began making funny faces at them, causing yet another disruption of laughter amongst the class. This infraction landed her in the baby room to sit in the corner alone.

With the full story disclosed, we had Devi take the phone receiver and apologize to the dance teacher for each distraction. In the end, she promised to try harder during her next Friday dance class, having good listening ears to earn one stamp and good class participation to earn a second stamp. We also followed up with a parent/child meeting with the principal on Monday morning to review expectations, acceptable behavior and consequences so that everyone was on the same page.

The next three days were like heaven. Devi was well behaved, therefore doted over, and profusely praised for all of her good choices, good behavior, and good listening ears. She was even rewarded, becoming the teacher’s helper during snack times, acting as a good role model for the younger children in her class. Eureka! I thought we had that one nipped in the bud.

Then came Thursday. Not new at dealing with our class clown, I am surprised at how short sighted it was of me to think that the problem was solved. Lets just say poor choices were made leading to issues sharing toys - "the banker took all the money so how could I play", helping to clean up - "I did not touch or hold those specific items", and eventually spitting. Yes spitting....because it made the kids laugh. This is not to say that she just hacked up a loogie and let fly, oh no, no, she is much more imaginative then that. The story was much more calculated, involving her giving a lecture to friends on the proper, or rather, improper ways one holds one’s mouth when playing the recorder or other musical instruments. Touche.

In truth, I think she is bored out of her mind. This is her second year in the same preschool program...my fault, I was so excited about having both kids under the same roof, I did not take into consideration that Devi is being taught the same curriculum as last year, but with kids that are a year or more younger than her. She can read, but they the class is learning letters...again. I was just recently told that they have to ask her not to blurt out the answers before the teacher has a chance to finish asking the question, so that others can have the opportunity to answer. I had really hoped that the extra school activities and all the extras we do at home would fill this void. Sigh. I think that getting into trouble gets her attention, though negative, she is eating it up. The girl loves the drama of it all.

Poor choices and bad behavior for whatever reason are not acceptable; however, and it makes me be more of the kind of momma I don’t like to be. The mean momma. The momma who has to enforce consequences and take things away, though we try to use the reward system as much as possible.

So today is Friday again. Please, Lord, help her make some good decisions today, so we can have a nice Friday evening, minus family movie night, which she has all ready had taken away. Tonight, I've called a family meeting to write our Ross rules on poster board to be prominently displayed in our home, hoping it will help guide us in the right direction. Meanwhile, her homemade Valentine’s are on the line today...teetering on the rim of the garbage can if she can’t hold it together at school, while I precariously teeter on the edge of the big decision of whether to switch preschools in order to keep her love of learning alive or at least give her a change of scenery.

Because all of life's challenges teach life lessons, one might wonder what I’ve learned. First of all, I love the tenacity of my child with all my heart and she knows it, reciting, “You may not like my behavior mom, but you’ll always love me, right?” Yep, pumpkin pie, you got me hook, line and stinker! I’ve also come to realize that gray hairs don’t just pop out of the surface of one's scalp, but rather sprout, develop and grow deep in one’s soul after weeks like this AND that wearing dreads does not keep those wiry strands of DNA concealed, because just like horsetails, they are as persistent as my child, able to pop right through concrete in the dead of winter. Open to suggestion on both counts - behavior issues and hair color, I will close with...

Miss Clairol, good thing we are friends, because for 100% coverage, it is going to be a three box month.