Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
When explaining that she had to pee in a cup, "Alright, but I'm gonna make a mess."
While watching a nurse in the ER, Jameson asked me, "Is this what you do? Doesn't look that hard to me."
To the lady in CT who told her that the CT contrast tasted like lemonade, "I don't know what kind of lemonade you drink, but this doesn't taste like lemonade at all."
Thursday, September 25, 2008
When I took the kids to our wonderful pediatrician the first time and started asking if they needed to be checked for this and that, I was told, "No, they look great." And so our kids were never checked for ova and parasites, no lab work was done other than the very expensive and not necessary immunization titers.
When I called back and told them that their poop smelled bad, I was told, "Yes, poop smells bad." DUH! So although I love our pediatrician and he has been great with our "born in the US" kids, I'm pretty sure our African kids were the first he had seen.
I found a new doctor for Josh and Jameson who has an adopted son from Ethiopia and is in the process of adopting two more children from Ethiopia. They went to see him today. We are now in the process of collecting poop samples. Gross I know, but I'm pretty sure Jameson has got something because her samples are nasty! She also has this lingering halitosis (bad breath) which is not from her teeth and can be caused by parasite infection. So I say bring on the stool samples. Anything is better than having to evacuate our home after those two have evacuated their bowels.
I know: too much information. Hey, I'm in a sharing mood.
So the kids got 5 tubes of blood drawn today for:
a CBC which will show if they are anemic, if their white blood cell count is high and if their eosinophils are high (which is indicative of a parasite infection).
They are also getting checked for hepatitis A and B, rickets (which is a softening of the bones caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphate), a thyroid screen (children can have an enlarged thyroid from malnutrition and iodine deficiency) BTW, Josh has an enlarged thyroid.
HIV screening again, lead levels and a repeat TB test. (All of these things I requested before but received none) Jameson has these weird little scabs that form on her head with a pus like center. He cultured one of those to find out what it is. Josh was 97% for height and 80% for weight. He has grown 3.75 inches and gained nearly 20 pounds, and Jameson was 10% for height and 10% for weight. Her gains are much less than his, but still gaining and growing.
They also had hearing and vision screens. Josh failed his hearing test 3 times today. I believe he failed not because he can't hear, but because he couldn't pay attention long enough to raise his hand when he heard the noise. We will recheck his hearing in 6 months.
Hopefully we will prepare him better for this. My plan is to show him a hearing aid and tell him he will be wearing one of those if he doesn't pay attention long enough to pass the test. That should do it.
So all in all, we had a very productive visit to the doctor and I feel have someone who really understands adopted kids. The new doctor was very sweet to the kids, asked about their backgrounds, asked them how they like it here, and asked how things were going.
When I said, we have our challenges, but things are better. He sighed and said, "Don't I know." As if that wasn't enough, I knew I would like Dr. Stinson when he asked me if we thought the kids really were their stated ages... no one other than an adoptive parent would understand that question now would they?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
What is it you dream of that makes you wake up so mean? What causes that foul mood where your voice is not heard for 4 hours straight? What thoughts run through your head that make you choose to walk 100 feet behind me in WalMart? What is it about being happy that just seems out of reach on days like these? As you sit, solemn and straight faced, looking off into nowhere... what is it you think of? I know you're a million miles away... but where is that? Who are you remembering? What are you thinking? When will we know? When will you be able to share? Precious Lord, please bless Josh with some pleasant dreams because another morning like this one and I'm going to run away from home.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Justine came running over to us with a big fat bloody lip and of course lots of tears!
Jameson immediately said, "Who do dat to my sister? I K-I-L-L her."
So wrong... yet so right... I can't stop laughing. If you could hear the accent... and the emphasis on the word do... the slow methodical seething anger making the word kill two syllables... it was just perfect.
Lesson learned... don't mess with Jameson's sisters.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I HAVE THINGS TO DO PEOPLE.
DO NOT MAKE ME SIT HERE AND WAIT ON SOMETHING SO SIMPLE AS A LAB DRAW.
I COULD DO THIS MYSELF!!!!
I picked up a focus on the family magazine in the waiting room and the page opened up to this article: "Busy, busy, busy. Five simple rules for reclaiming your schedule."
How ironic is that? God cracks me up.
So I stole the magazine... (oh come on people, I work there... I can always take it back later) (Like none of you have ever picked up a magazine from a doctor's office)
Anyway, here's what it said:
1) Learn to say no.
2) Promise little, if anything at all.
3) Set boundaries on your time.
4) Don't feel pressured to respond immediately.
5) Give yourself permission to complete tasks imperfectly.
What I gained from this day (other than the magazine):
"Too often, people live by accident, following whatever opportunities or requests cross their paths." Wow, what a pearl! I am definitely going to try to incorporate some if not all of these tips!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Josh has been asking for a friend. He tells me all the time, "Mom, get me a friend."
So far his request has been countered with our request that he actually speak to people and attempt to make friends at soccer. Well... finally the boys have made a friend in the neighborhood. Josh, Jack and the "new boy" rode bikes all afternoon, played soccer and in general pretty much acted like pre adolescent boy dorks. It was awesome!
Bike riding has become an absolute obsession around here. It's all they want to do!
I wasn't prepared for anyone else to be learning to ride their bike without training wheels just yet... boy that process is hard on a parent... the continual bent over running behind the bike position, the scrapes, the screams, the drama. Justine has been riding her bike so much lately, she actually rode the training wheels right off her bike. They fell off in the driveway. And so the process began again. Me running behind her, her riding into the brick mailbox, the skinned knees and the of course in typical Ellerbee style, the drama.
What I didn't bargain for was the drama Jameson experienced due to the fact that she would now be the only one with training wheels. We can barely get her to even ride with the training wheels on. She just now learned to do that. She is not ready to ride without training wheels as she absolutely freaks out riding WITH the training wheels, but I suppose she saw it as a rite of passage or something. So Justine is screaming at me to run behind her some more while Jameson is crying because I didn't take her training wheels off.
Jameson decided in usual Jameson style, that sitting in the garage pouting would be a better use of her time than practicing riding her bike WITH the training wheels. And so that's what she did. I did try to get her to ride Jaiden's bike without training wheels, but she freaked out and kept jumping off the bike. I'm hoping that she will understand when I say it just takes more time to learn. She never did come around. She never did interact with the rest of the kids in our front yard... (yes there were about ten.) She stayed off to herself... glaring at everyone else.
The funny part about it is that Josh had made a friend. Josh was busy. Josh was not giving her any attention. Josh was having fun. The kids were all playing, and she could have played with them, but she chose to sit in the garage, away from everyone else and pout. She finally came to me and said she needed to tell me something... but she would only tell me inside... knowing that this is the usual method to tattle on someone, I told her she could tell me in the garage or not at all. Then she couldn't remember what she was going to say... "Oh, I forget, ummm...Oh nevermind..." I knew full well she wanted to tell me something, but she was afraid to. I finally told her she could share with me what was on her mind or she could go inside. Eventually she whispered to me that Josh was being mean to her. Josh had been no where near her in the last 2 hours. Josh was having fun and being a kid. Josh had made a friend. She was mad because he was having fun and she wasn't. This was the first time she has ever complained about Josh... usually it's the other kids who are being mean to her. It really made me think about a lot of the aspects of their relationship. It has always been them against the world. She cannot answer a question without looking to him for his approval. She really depends on him. For the first time, he was really doing his own thing without a care in the world and she didn't like that one bit.
I am so happy Josh is making friends and having fun. He's finally getting to be a kid and learning to interact with others. I couldn't be happier for him. I'm hoping that as he sees how easy it is to make a friend here in front of our house with all of us around, he will be able to branch out at soccer and make some more friends.
And for Jameson... I guess I hope for her to learn to be happy for Josh as he grows and matures and learns to make friends and that she learns to make some herself.
And for me... I guess I hope for all of the kids to learn to ride their bikes so that I no longer have to run behind the wretched little things (the bikes, not the kids).
Monday, September 15, 2008
Vocab lessons are my favorite...
The usual sequence is the kids must read the word, use the word in a sentence and also spell it. Some of them they know; some of them they have absolutely no idea. (I love it that they always make an effort.)
I will share with you some of today's gems.
Josh, "I like to sprain in my room."
Jameson, "I like to eat a sob sandwich."
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I say when God gives you lemons, make lemonade... (there are days when I say mix the lemonade you must make with vodka, but thats an entirely different post). So anyway, Jeff and I found a way to get at least one girl to be quiet during dinner... by letting them jinx themselves and then refusing to say their name!
Justine just walked in holding the gender challenged dog who is sporting a beautiful pink leisure suit and told me, "Look, I can carry her with one hand... oops no I can't." I'll leave that to your imagination.
I seriously wonder if he's going to go on a search for anti-freeze in the garage just to get this over with...
You can read about the emasculation of my dog here and here.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
- I am more comfortable in my role as their mother. You would think I would have had this down pat by now, but things were so shaky for so long and I was so afraid to rock the boat, I found myself swallowing back comments and discipline on minor issues because I wanted to have peace. I have learned HOW to mother them without making it a huge fight. This has helped in my "I'm not your waitress" campaign, as well as my "don't be lazy" campaign. This doesn't mean that Josh doesn't still expect to be waited on much of the time, or that he doesn't still suffer from lack of motivation related to school, but I am doing much better with how to deal with it in a healthy way.
- Communication. I think I personally am doing better with communicating with them. And I do not mean with their English skills, but communication in general. Positive feedback, criticism, how to improve things around here. We have had a lot of discussions about feelings and how to deal with these feelings. Conflict resolution in a healthy manner has been a huge thing. We have gone over rules again.
- I'm remembering why I wanted to do this. I have been remembering our waiting time, remembering my adoption angst, remembering how I would have done absolutely anything to get these kids here, remembering our time in Ethiopia. I have been working on a video of pics for National Gymnastics Day at my friends gym. All of the money is being donated to Hope. Working on putting these pictures in a video and reviewing the statistics of what would have been my kids future in Ethiopia makes it much easier to deal with the episodes of pouting or the times they wear me out.
- Reality. I'm facing the reality that there may never be an end to the anniversary blogging. There is not going to be a magical day where everything is perfect. And that is any family. We may face challenges, but they are just different challenges, but are not any less than any other family. I'm living in the reality that there are always going to be issues... adoption issues and other issues. And I can deal with that.
- I'm getting to know them and read them. I'm learning to love them for who they are. When Jameson is bouncing around and on me all the time... I'm learning to enjoy it. When Josh is quiet and ignores me... I'm learning to enjoy it... nah just kidding. I'm learning to deal with it. I'm learning to read their cues as to what they need at the time. When Jameson gets quiet... she has either fallen asleep (ha) or is upset about something. If she rubs her eye, she's going to cry. When Josh sits by himself away from everyone else, he's sad and needs to be left alone (just awhile) to muddle through his feelings. I am feeling more confident in my ability to care for them because they are becoming less and less of a mystery to me. When you have a bio kid, you have their infancy and toddlerhood to figure out what makes them tick. When you adopt a child, suddenly you feel you should know everything about their personality right off the bat. Mix that up with the fact that they aren't really who they really are for awhile, and you feel utterly lost.
- We are beginning to be able to look back. Josh and Jameson are beginning to look back and remember when they first got home. They are learning to share what they were thinking and feeling at the time. I hope this will help us to deal with future behavior. It's amazing the tiny details that they remember, versus the big things that are a complete blur to them.
- The kids have got it going on. The kids play together so well. Josh and Jack are always up to some sort of trouble. Their latest adventure is a trick bike riding club that has different tricks for different levels where they are teaching all the kids of the neighborhood to stand up on their bikes, ride with no hands or ride with their eyes closed. I bet my neighbors really love me now. The girls have always done well playing together. Josh and Jameson have found their imaginations and are really learning to play.
- I'm a dread queen. I re-locked Josh's dreads last night and I was really good at it. His hair is so curly, it's going to take some extra effort to get them good and locked. Jeff worked on one side and I worked on one side. Mine actually looked really good. I'm pretty sure Jeff did it on purpose. Josh thinks I can't really do anything as well as Jeff. But even if it was on purpose, I appreciated it. Jeff told him he'd have to let me do it because mine looked better. And Josh agreed. Wow.
And so we come to the end of another month. Month 6 seemed to be the hardest one of all. I think this may have been because there was a lot of activity and a lot of change in month 6. I was gone for a week. We were on vacation. The kids started school. I started working more. I can see now that month 6 was just a difficult month. I can see that the kids definitely need routine and schedule, and anything you do to throw that off... will in turn throw off the kids. I hope and pray month 6 was the final hurdle, but I'm not going to be naive enough to say it or write it. Oops. I just did.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I have never considered myself to be an ultra feminist or anything like that. I believe that women can do anything men can do, and can often do it better. I believe in equal pay for equal work. I want my girls to know that they can do anything they want. I want my boys to know that women deserve the same respect as men. The media has been addressing the question of whether a woman can have it all and still do it well... and I'm here to say that woman can absolutely have it all and do it all, and do it well. In fact, I believe we are meant to. Whether that means you are a stay at home mom or a mom who works outside of the home, we are called to make a difference. I really don't have to work... I mean I do if I want to feed these children, but in all reality, I choose to work. If we were to change our lifestyle, I would not have to work. I get to work. I have been blessed with a job where I can work two 12 hour shifts on the weekend and make full time wages. I've had people say that I miss out on so much because I work Friday and Saturday nights, which is only partly true. My kids haven't been in daycare since I was pregnant with Justine 6 years ago. I get to be there to teach them, play with them, take field trips with them, and stay home when they are sick. I work nights while everyone else sleeps. Am I sleep deprived? Absolutely! But I am blessed. I have been blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my children Monday through Friday, and still be able to go to most soccer games on Saturday and church on Sunday afternoon. I have been blessed that I can homeschool my children, be a soccer mom, and be home during the week. I have been blessed that I made a really good choice 16 years ago when I became a registered nurse.
So where was I going with this? Oh yeah... a day in the life of a critical care nurse.
The life of a critical care nurse is one of adrenaline rushes, OCD tendencies and intense emotions. I have seen things that turn my stomach, tear at my heart and make me laugh until I cry. I have seen things that scare the crap out of me, but I push on. I jump in and do what needs to be done and freak out later. I have experienced people in all stages of life, all socio economic classes, and educational levels. I have been able to stand in the corner of a room praying for a patient and their family while my patient took their last breath. I have often been the link between life and death.
I look forward to Friday nights when I get to go back to work. I need to get out of here every once in a while. I need to use the brain God gave me. I need to think about something other than spelling tests and peanut butter sandwiches. There is nothing more exciting and challenging to me than a really, really critically ill, unstable patient on every medication known to man, who is like a puzzle that I have 12 hours to put together. Awesome! I have been in my current location of the surgical intensive care unit for almost 12 years and despite the frustrations and exhaustion, I wouldn't change what I do for anything... (except maybe a jackpot lottery winning.)
How many times can one child get gum in her hair? Justine averages about once a week. Yes, I've taken the gum away on multiple occasions, but somehow she just keeps finding it. (Probably from all the candy Jameson has hidden under her bed) For all of you who have yet to experience this... peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter. It works wonders and gets it out every time. It doe not, however, make it any less of an UGH moment!
Friday, September 05, 2008
Secondly, I would like to apologize for not adequately teaching, observing and assisting the children with a) the size of their... um.... BM's and b) the amount of toilet paper they use (waste) each and every day.
Last of all, I would like to request that you please, please, please STOP getting clogged up with the massive poopy toilet paper wad. When you did this occasionally, I was OK with it. I wasn't happy, but I tolerated it and even learned how to unstop it quite handedly. But now, with you refusing to do your job multiple times a day... well I just can't tolerate it.
If you continue in your poor performance, I'm afraid I'm going to have to replace you.
As we were explaining the term "garage sale" to Josh and Jameson, they looked somewhat confused. Then as they came out into the garage this morning, you could see the explanation wasn't enough. Jameson would ask how much something cost and then what we were selling it for. She said, as if trying to understand the concept, "You buy and then sell it for less?" EXACTLY. By george she's got it. Josh wanted to know just for how long were we going to do this? TWO days thank goodness. I've been up since 4am. I'm ready to take it to Goodwill right now!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
God grant me the courage to keep doing this day after day after day even when it's not fun or pleasant or even tolerable.
And God grant me the wisdom to know when sending them to their rooms and forgoing the rest of their schoolwork for the day is the right thing for all of us.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tonight, unsolicited, Josh crawled under the table with me to clean up an entire bowl of Spaghettios that he didn't even spill. WOW.
If I had known getting his hair done would make him so cooperative, I would have done it a long time ago.
Yeah for progress.
Today Josh got locked in, locked out and locked down.
What do you think of his new dreadlocks? Or baby dreads as I've learned they are called.
The one time we made him get his hair cut, he was quite unhappy. So his hair has basically been growing unkept for 7 months and was this huge mess! It looked similar to a big black Q tip all fuzzy and furry. By the end of the day it would start sticking straight up on top. And like Bozo the clown on the sides. He was flat out refusing to do anything with it. His hair is so thick and curly, there could be a whole tribe of people living in there. Legos. Star War figurines. Field Mice. God only knows!
But it was so worth it! I'm so glad he ended up getting them. He looks great. Jeff has a good friend who has dreads down past his shoulders. Sean and his wife have agreed to help us take care of them. And what a great opportunity to be a part of the African American community here in Caucasianville. YEAH!