Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Six Months Later - My Girls!

Baby girl 1 is better known as around here as Miss Sunshine. Nothing fazes her – she gets an ouchie and smiles in between the tears! She is all tom-boy while at the same time very girly! She is a fearless girl and wants to climb up on couches, beds or any high surfaces and it is not unheard of for her to try to jump down. This girl will take on the world! She has never met someone who is not a friend! She smiles and giggles, tells us long, long stories (if only we understood baby babble) and loves to read! She is just as happy playing with Big brother’s trains and tumbling with him as she is playing with her dolls or playing dress up. She does not have much time to sit and cuddle – there is just too much to explore out there! She does let mommy enjoy some special mommy/daughter time when she very patiently lets me fix her hair. We worried if she was really attached because she just loved anyone who smiled at her – she could as happily have walked away with the milkman - if we had one :) - but I think that is just her personality. She has now started crying if mommy and daddy leave her with someone else and that makes this mommy happy! She is a social butterfly and I think she will be a politician! She is skipping saying single words and is speaking in two word sentences and her favorite right now is “what’s that?” as she points to everything. She is very curious and nothing passes her by! She loves her baby sister, loves making her laugh and is oh so gentle with her. She loves helping with her bottle. She likes to make everyone laugh and always has a goofy expression to make you laugh and a permanent smile. She loves her food and can eat anything with her eight teeth! But, she will let you know if something does not meet her expectations – she will hold food in her mouth for ages and will not spit it out or swallow it if she does not like it! She is potty training and if only mommy and daddy were more consistent, she would already be a pro. She is so proud of herself! She is a smart little cookie and copies everything someone does! She can operate the remote, radio and just about everything else we would let her! She is such a wonderful child and such a joy to parent.

Baby Girl 2 – Oh my baby girl. At seven months, she has been home three months and is just the world’s best and happiest baby. She personifies an easy baby – her needs are very predictable and sleep time is a breeze – all she asks is to be put in her bed during her nap and bedtime and for one to then leave the room. She coos to herself and falls asleep within minutes. She sleeps through the night, eats like a champ and will get early wrinkles from smiling so much! She loves showing off her adorable dimples! She is very curious and could spend hours sitting on her bouncy chair watching her siblings play or looking outside. She had wanted to eat food for so long and the expression on her face when she had her first bite? Priceless! She quickly figured baby food is not all its cracked up to be! She still smacks her lips when she sees us eat – I think she knows it has to be better than her baby food! She loves watching her siblings play and is totally fascinated by her big brother – I think she likes goof balls – she follows him with her gaze and laughs and laughs whenever he makes eye contact! She is babbling like crazy, imitating some sounds and trying oh so hard to crawl. She does get from place to place by squirming and it is quite funny! She loves playing with people’s faces and looking at herself in the mirror! If she is not sleepy, she likes cuddling with mommy and lets me tickle her and inhale her sweet baby smell! She like the twins, has adorable rolls of baby fat and is a chunky hunk of love at 20 lbs. She totally personifies joy and in retrospect, we should have picked this name!

Six Months Later - My Boys!

Big brother continues to just love on his new siblings – he must be really attached because he no longer treats them like delicate porcelain! Now he tumbles and rolls with them like he does with his five year old friends and I have to remind him they are only 19 months old. Baby girl does not care – she tumbles with the best of them, picks herself up, laughs and goes back for more! Baby boy is more fragile and runs off and keeps his distance from the tornado! Big brother loves kindergarten, is a good helper at school, a kind friend and a teacher’s dream student (per his teacher who gives him “Super Bee” to take home with him on many occasions). He also introduces me to the wonderful world of super competitive parents. On back to school night, after only 1 ½ weeks of school, parents complaining that their children had not yet had Super Bee (a stuffed toy lent to kids caught being kind, careful and helpful) come visit. Twenty students in the class and 10 days into the school year, parents were already vying for first digs at the stuffed toy? He loves soccer and is a natural though he is quite clueless that he is actually pretty good! He scores goals every game, but like all his other friends on his team, he is more interested in the mud puddles and trying to catch crab in a creek with 2 inches of water! Too funny watching six boys fashioning fishing rods with sticks and string and convincing themselves that today is the day they will catch crab (all while they are supposed to be practicing for a soccer game the following day). As much as I love to watch him play, I get just as much amusement watching the dads (and some moms) on coaching from the sidelines during their matches (and all using their outside voices). Boys being boys are only interested in catching grasshoppers or figuring out which mom brought snacks for the team and what the snack is! They just want to have fun and couldn't care much about which team won - unlike their parents! Big brother currently loves all things science and is particularly fascinated by Astronomy. I am having to read up on things I learnt so long ago! He also loves nature and is gentle with all creatures, loves learning names of different birds and loves the church's garden. We are currently reading some books from Institute of Creation Research and he is in heaven! He begs for a pet rat and a dog or cat is a very poor substitute. Mommy is terrified of rats - so he will have to settle for gold fish. He also continues to be a good helper at home and constantly tries to give me a heart attack! He keeps us on our toes – he will not let his 7 month old baby sister cry and has carried her downstairs on several occasions when she woke up and mommy was not fast enough in picking her up! He has also gotten a step stool and fixed her a bottle as well as made waffles for the twins because daddy was not fast enough in getting their lunch! He is impish, cheeky, playful, loving, helpful and kind! All boy mixed in with a very gentle heart – he will be a good husband.

At 19 months old - Baby boy is still my cuddle bug! He has a million dollar smile that melts everyone’s heart and lets me cuddle him all the time! He is very attached and has a hard time when he does not have us in his line of vision during the day or when we leave him for a short time with family. He is playful, joyful, loving and gives the best wet slobbery kisses. He has finally found his voice and does not let his twin sister walk all over him by taking his toys. He loves playing peek-a-boo, cars, and is gentle, compassionate (hates seeing anyone’s tears), laughs easily and we can tickle him all day just to hear his incredible laugh! He has such a sweet disposition and even when cutting eight new teeth to add to his eight, he still smiles. He loves his big brother and likes sharing a room with him. Too cute hearing them "talk" in the dark. He knows a lot of sign language, though he does not initiate it – he just does the sign when you say the word! This past week, he added three more words to his previous one word vocabulary. Progress! And he has not yet even started speech therapy. I was thinking that it was cute that baby girl was mothering him by stepping in the gap to help him with things that we were aksing him to do – like picking up a ball or a cup. I felt like my world stopped when I realized that there might be some processing issues. He understands the different words in a sentence, but cannot put them together for a full command. He only responds to one word commands. Nothing worse than wishing you are wrong, but getting confirmation from the early intervention specialist that I am not overacting or losing my mind. So, we soldier on as we advocate for him and fight to get him to see a developmental pediatrician. There is a 6 month waiting list at the Children’s hospital – though everyone is trying to pass the buck re: whose responsibility it is to pay for the care – the Regional Center, the insurance or his pediatrician’s medical group! My head spins trying to untangle it all! Boy, do I love this child!

Boy are boys fun to parent! I wish more people would be open to adopting boys.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My kids have it in for me!

A couple of months ago, we had an assessment with a pediatric physical therapist to see if our little guy qualified for physical therapy. He had just started walking and his gait was odd and his torticollis (twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other side) which comes and goes had been evident for a week and was more pronounced. Nothing sadder than seeing a little one wobbling as he tries to walk and his neck permanently bent at an almost 90 degree angle. But would you not know it- he decided to show off for the pediatric physical therapist and straightened his neck and became more stable walking the very morning she was coming! Talk about feeling like a mother crying wolf! Thank goodness the early interventionist he sees had noted the same issues! His motor delays were at 30% and they needed a 33% delay before he could qualify for services. And true to form, as soon as the therapist left, his neck immediately went back to 90 degree angle! My children have it in for me – they will be very ill and lethargic at home forcing me to make frantic calls so that they can be seen by their pediatricians asap. And on several occasions, once we get there, they perk up and play with the doctor like they have just had a shot of pure cane juice in their veins! I am left wondering if the smile on the doctor's face as we leave means they are trying to figure out if I have Munchausen by Proxy!

So needless to say, I was a bit nervous when we had an assessment for speech therapy for the twins about a month ago. On the one hand, I am like every mother wanting to show off all that her children can do, but on the other hand, assessment time is not the time for my kids to show off to the specialists all the skills they will not show me when I am with them at home! It would be perfect if they would do a repeat performance once the specialists leave so that I am not left knowing that they need some intervention services, but I have no way to prove it! This time, Baby girl duplicated her brother’s earlier award winning performance during his physical therapy assessment and for her speech therapy assesement, said one word too many showing only a 30% delay in speech! So, no speech therapy services for her (that pesky 33% number)! But baby boy more than made up for his last performance and for his sister showing off and redeemed mommy’s reputation (can’t go around having people thinking I am crying wolf). He winked at me, merrily babbled during the speech therapy assessment and said not a single word! He did show off a little sign language, but that was about it. Way to go, my boy! Yippee, we qualify for speech therapy services for him! Now, if only we can figure out how to navigate our County’s public health insurance maze! Once I gather my thoughts, I will expound on the inner workings of a government run health insurance plan!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A dog or a Child?

Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma! You want to enjoy the hospitality offered by our penal institutions for a longer time and you are wondering what to do to ensure a longer stay. Before you is the choice to harm a child or a dog. To ensure a longer stay, choose the dog! Because that my friends is the value American society places on her children. Get convicted of extreme cruelty and torture of a child and you get a year’s sentence. But wait, you already spent 247 days in jail pending your hearing since you could not post bail and with a lot of apologies, you are released because you get credit for time served. Because a year according to the wonderful mathematicians working for our criminal justice system is really only 180 days (they count a day and night as two days)! The “hardworking” prosecutor takes works "real hard” to ensure justice is served by giving you a plea bargain even though the evidence against you is compelling and any jury could have convicted you on more counts ensuring you serve more jail time. I mean, who wants to clog our courts' calendar with pesky matters like child abuse and torture? But wait, maybe the prosecutor knows something you and I don’t – perhaps the jury would have been anxious to get over with the trial to attend to more serious matters than to seek justice for a child without a face or a voice. And boo hoo, you don’t even get a notable mention in the local papers or get your fifteen minutes of fame from your local T.V stations even though the story could have been sensational based on the degree of abuse and torture. And outrage from anyone hearing your story? Are you kidding? In between talking about the heart warming news story of the cat that was rescued by a fire fighter from a tree, the deep ponderings of who will win America’s Got Talent and outrage over Kanye West’s conduct on an awards show, your story is only but a small distraction to what is really important. If on the other hand you get involved in a dog fighting ring, you get more than your fifteen minutes of fame as your story gets covered ad nauseam and generates unprecedented hatred and public outrage. You get severely admonished by the judge as you are sentenced to two years in jail and serve 18 months of your time. You get to spend the rest of your life under the public microscope apologizing and trying to make amends and become PETA’s rallying call. Still trying to contact Pamela Anderson to organize a match to protest cruelty against children and the injustice of the criminal system as the child’s case in point happened in her neighborhood.