Wednesday Night Rant :)

I think being a new mom is lonely no matter what the circumstances. You can go days with out talking to another adult, wearing anything but sweats or pajamas, or getting out of the house. Your kids drain any energy or sanity that you might be clinging too. I think this is mostly normal. It is a huge adjustment period, even if you couldn’t wait for your child! Whether your child is your first, second or fifth, birth or adopted, there is still an adjustment period and it is hard.

I grew up in a very busy and loud home. As the oldest of four chaotic kids, there was always some one to hang out with or talk to. Our door was always open too. We were quirky, authentic, flawed and a whole lot of fun. Friends would come over just to watch TV or even hang out with my mom if us kids weren’t home. I don’t miss the chaos but I do wish there were more people around to talk to. I have Jon right now but we have very different communication styles and like our space from each other some times 🙂 Having him home is an adjustment in itself. Thankfully, we’ve been too busy to really get at each other much!

It is hard to find a remedy for Mommy-loneliness right now. I think it is just a stage in my life. Once my kids are all in school I can get a regular job again! Most of my friends are either child less, so don’t have patience to hang out with a mom and two rambunctious kids, or they are in the same situation as me. They have to be home for nap times, cleaning and cooking the same as me. They don’t get out much, just the same as me 🙂

I think I’m feeling extra alone because of the different parenting situation I’m in. At least, I’m feeling like I’m in a different situation. Maybe all new moms feel like that. We are still figuring out how to parent Sofie properly. She needs a lot of parenting right now. I find myself questioning which parenting issues are just adoption issues, which are normal 3 year old issues and what are down syndrome issues.

As much experience as Jon and I have with people with different abilities, we don’t really know anyone or have a lot of experience with kids. We have friends who have adopted babies (typical and different abilities) and older kids but know no one with toddlers. I don’t get nearly as much advice from strangers or even family as I did, or even still do, with Livi. I’m mostly thankful for random people not butting in, but right now the silence is just echoing to me how unique our family is. No one knows what advice to give or what to say when I complain about Sofie hitting and pulling hair CONSTANTLY! Or the fact that she still rarely naps, but when she doesn’t nap she is ridiculous from 3pm until bed time.

In my annoyed, easily disappointed state of mind, I get mad that our family is so unique. We shouldn’t be. Why don’t more people choose adoption? Why are people so scared of people with different abilities and quirks? Why, when strangers find out I have adopted a child with DS, feel the need to either question why I would choose to do that and some how get some understanding or clarity from the fact that I have a sister with DS or tell me some awkward anecdote about how they know some one with DS and would love to adopt “one” because of how cute and simple they are? One lady even told me she thought DS people would be easier to parent because they are easily manipulated. Wow. This lady was cutting my hair at the time and I was really at a loss for words. Having a sister with DS does NOT explain why we have adopted Sofie and please DO NOT talk about my kid like she is a puppy you want to take home.

Haha… this blog post did not turn out like I thought it would 🙂 It sounds like I’m judging anyone for getting pregnant. I’m not. Pregnancy and birth are some of the most amazing things I have ever experienced but people get so attached to their ideals and what they think the perfect life should look like. People want what they want and they don’t want to mess with anything by adding unknowns to the mix. News flash: There are a lot more unknowns with pregnancy than with adoption! My birth child is no more or less a miracle and no more or less my child than my adopted child is.

Anyways, I am going to go to a signing playgroup for families with kids with DS 0-5 years old next month. I’m really excited and I really hope I can connect with some other families with toddlers with DS. I think it will be good for all of us! I’m also going to make a real effort to go to the DS parent group once a month. I only went once when we were just starting the adoption process and haven’t been since. Basically I just need to get out of the house and have some adult conversations!

I leave you with some amazing family photos that my friend took for us a few weeks ago! Enjoy…

The Results Are In – UPDATE

Since we’ve been home from Bulgaria Livi has been complaining of stomach aches. It did not alarm us at first since everything was such a huge adjustment for her. She did not have Mommy or Daddy for 16 days and we brought back a sister who takes up a lot of attention away from her. We figured that all the added stress was most likely the cause of her tummy aches or possibly just a way to get some extra attention from us.

Her complaints did not seem to be subsiding though so at the one month mark we took her to doctor. Our doctor is wonderful. He normalizes everything while at the same time checking everything out very thoroughly. He suggested it most likely was stress or attention seeking or that she possibly wasn’t emptying herself thoroughly when she went to the bathroom. Apparently this is common in toddlers and I have noticed that Livi will clench, literally hold it in until she has to let out a little turd and get off the toilet as quickly as she can.
The doctor ordered a batch of blood work, urine and an x-ray. Livi did so good with all of them. It broke my heart when she just lay her head on my shoulder crying while the needle was in her arm drawing blood. Friday the doctor’s secretary called us and told us Livi’s results were in and he wanted to see us. 
My husband thinks I’m over reacting but I’m kind of freaking out about the results a bit. In my mind there are two possibilities. She could have a simple bladder infection or UTI which I am praying for! But, the more likely result is Celiac. If she has a UTI the doctor should have just ordered meds for her, right? Not made her wait the entire weekend. Celiac is known to sometimes need a trigger to become symptomatic. The stress of Mommy and Daddy being gone for so long could easily be the trigger. 
Celiac is in my family. 3 out of 4 women in my immediate family have it. I have it, maybe I haven’t had my trigger yet because I have no symptoms. Livi has a very high probability of having it too. The doctor said she is likely to be to young to have anything show up in her blood work but with what he all tested her for I don’t know what else it could be. 
I’m not on the Celiac diet because I have no symptoms but if Livi has it I will, of course, do it with her. I think that is part of why this is so devastating for me. I haven’t accepted this for me, how am I going to accept this for her. It seems like such a difficult lifestyle change and especially so hard for a kid! 
Okay, I hope I’m over reacting. I just needed to get my thoughts out and this is where I do it. I will update this post tomorrow after the doctors appointment and hopefully let you all know that I worked myself up for nothing! Please pray that it really is nothing and she doesn’t have Celiac. A friend, who has Celiac, reminded me that there are much worse diseases one could have. She is right. I’m so blessed to have two healthy girls. Even with Celiac, Livi will still be a very healthy little girl. I just want the best for my girls and hope that Livi does not have to be deprived of paska, cake, yummy bread and all that comes with the deliciousness of gluten. I’m hoping this for myself too! I don’t want to give it up yet!
UPDATE – Livi’s Celiac results were inconclusive due to her age. Her body does not make enough antibodies to measure yet. The doctor is not saying she doesn’t have Celiac for sure but she isn’t deficient in anything now and seems to be healthy otherwise. We can test her again when she is older if we’d like.

Livi’s problem is that she is seriously backed up. She has clenched so much that her intestines are stretching, causing the stomach pain. This could easily have been caused by the stress of us being gone. I didn’t notice anything because she was still having a bowel movements each day. Apparently, she wasn’t having enough of a bm. She’s also had a history of being constipated when she was a newborn. I had to give her suppositories. This time we are doing lactulose. Just a bit until she is all cleaned out, and seriously upping her fiber intake. She is going to HATE this post when she is older 🙂

I’m so thankful we don’t have to go gluten free, yet anyway. Thank you for all your prayers and support and I’m so glad this is an easy fix! If she ever does get diagnosed or I go on the diet, I’ll be calling on you gluten free friends!

Belated One Month

I missed blogging about Sofie’s one month, so here it is!

Sofie has been home in Canada for over a month now and out of the orphanage for 6 weeks. I’m celebrating the one month from being in Canada because that is when we really felt like our adoption journey had ended and when we started seeing Sofie begin to develop. It has been such an eventful month. My entire life has completely changed! Some things are much more difficult than I had hoped they would be, but most of it is easier. Things are starting to calm down though. Sofie definitely has her fussy, grumpy days but for the most part we are on a schedule and things are getting a little more predictable.

Sofie has exceeded our expectations. She is now 22lbs, which is over 2 lbs up! Most of that has been in the last two weeks since she has begun to eat “real” adult food. On September 3rd she was still 20.6 lbs and was refusing to eat the baby food for her dinner so I decided to try and see if she’d eat what I was eating. She couldn’t get enough and hasn’t stopped since! She still doesn’t chew probably so we have to be careful about the size but the textures don’t seem to bother her too much! She is rather particular though. She will usually only eat off our plate. We’ve tried to trick her a few times in to eating the baby food I still have, so she has some trust issues 🙂 She thinks if it is in her bowl then we are giving her baby food. Oops. Her development in the food area is amazing. I can still not get over how fast this transition was, especially with how big of an issue it was for her in Bulgaria!

She still has a bit of a hard time getting to sleep but this is slowly getting better. We have her on a strict schedule of up at 8am, nap 1-3pm and bed 8pm. We generally have to wake her up in the morning and at nap but if we let her sleep until she wakes up she will not nap at a decent time or go to sleep really late. She generally takes about an hour to relax enough to get to sleep. During this time we lay beside her crib, reassuring her, singing lullabies and modelling sleep 🙂 The time to get to sleep is lengthened if she has been overstimulated during the day but in recent days we have had her asleep in 45 min! There have even been a few 30 minute down times and one 15 min! One particularly bad day we did give her a few drops of melatonin. It works really well for her. She goes straight to sleep with it. I think I’m okay with using it sporadically for her on rough days. She needs her sleep! Once she is asleep she generally sleeps the night through. There has only been a handful of nights where she has woken up crying. I love being able to teach her that I will always be there and come to her!

Sofie smiles every time we come in to the room. It is priceless. She is smiling and responding to us a lot more now too. It is quite awesome to see. She is a little moody though and can give the most deadly glares. When she is upset, mad, or frustrated, everyone knows it! She hits what ever or who ever is closest to her when she is mad and she can hurt! We are slowly figuring it out though. We remove her a few feet from what ever she is hitting or put her down. She usually yells at us then, but once she signs to us that she will be gentle she can come back up or get close again. Not sure if that is in any of the parenting books but it is working. I don’t think she is ready for time outs or anything like that yet. Once she starts using her voice to talk, things should get a lot easier! Not sure if that is coming any time soon though.

She did say Mama though! On September 11 she was starting to cry in the hallway and called for me! Yay! She only says it when she is upset but she is saying it. It is the beginning! She understands a lot of English now, particularly when we are telling her not to do something 🙂 Her thin hair patch is almost gone. It is filling in nicely. She rocks far less. We only see her rocking now when she is listening to music alone or when she is winding down to get to sleep in her crib. This is also a huge advancement. She rocked ALL the time in Bulgaria. She also clicks her jaw way less too!

Livi has been adjusting really well too. I think these last two weeks have really been great for her. She has realized Sofie is here to stay and her classes have started. She is in gymnastics on Wednesday nights and gets to go with one parent and no Sofie. She LOVES gymnastics and has been talking about it all summer. She is in the kindergym class now and doesn’t have parent involvement. She is such a big girl! Her dance class has also started which she also really enjoys. We’ve pushed that these are things only big girls get too do and she takes a lot of pride in that. I think it helps her to have something that only she gets to do.

Livi is a very doting sister, most of the time. She helps out a lot in getting things for me to help with Sofie and  likes playing with Sofie, even if Sofie doesn’t usually like Livi in her personal space. They are both learning each other’s boundaries though. Livi does get easily frustrated with Sofie but doesn’t like it if any one else does, even Jon and I. If we use our “stern” voice, Livi is the first one to remind us that Sofie is just a baby and doesn’t understand. Just the other day I was telling Sofie not to touch the TV and she was not listening. Livi could hear I was getting frustrated. She turned too me and put her hand up saying “I can handle it. I can handle it.” I wasn’t sure if it was a smart parenting move to let her handle it but she was so sure of herself and I thought it was too funny to step in.

Another precious sister moment was last week. Livi had woken up first, like she usually does, gone to look in Sofie’s crib. When she came over to our room I asked her what she was doing.
“Just looking at Sofie.”
I asked, “What were you thinking?”
Livi said, “Just thinking that Sofie is so beautiful.”
My heart melted a little bit.

All in all, this first month has been really great. We are getting a routine figured out. Sofie is attaching really well and Livi is feeling loved and cared for too! Now if Jon and I could only figure out how to have energy to spend some quality time together we’d be set! I can’t wait to see how well the next month goes!