- Not eating soap (baby girl...power struggle at its peak)
- Using condiments like sour cream and ranch for dipping, not eating with your fingers (both)
- Brushing teeth willingly (baby boy)
- Establishing a bedtime routine (both)
- That there will always be food (but parents decide what we eat, and when) (both)
- Delayed gratification (eat this before you get that) (baby boy)
- Leaving milk at the table (no more walking around with sippy cups!) (baby boy)
- Potty training completed! (baby girl)
- Staying in bed at night (baby girl)
- Staying seating until done eating, asking to be excused (baby girl)
- No more violent fits (baby girl)
- Love of books! (both)
- Lessening anxiety with the comings and goings of family (especially mommy) (both)
- No longer gorging (baby boy)
- Loving church (both)
- Letting mommy have a few moments to herself for a shower (both)
- Helping clean up (both)
- Clicking carseat belts (baby girl)
- Keeping outside toys outside (baby boy)
Many of these do not seem important but when I think back to the intentionality of our interactions with the babies and how they are now living into these expectations, I am so excited to see evidence that our hard work is paying off. And the more battles we win, the less time we spend battling, which is so much better! Here are a few more milestones to celebrate:
He finally got the doctor's orders to be taken off liquid thickener, which means he can drink normal milk and water and saves us the step of adding a thickening agent to his drinks. He has grown!!! He is almost 2 inches taller now than when he first came to our house! He used to look (and function) like a 1 year old baby but now with his full head of hair, his thickened limbs, and his added height, he is looking more like a solid 2 year old. He is actually 3 years old so he has a ways to catch up, but the progress seems rapid. Just today we went to our last scheduled doctor's appointment for a month! (I just counted and between the two babies, I have taken them to over 20 doctors' appointments...yikes!...and so glad to have it slowed to just a few follow up appointments in the upcoming months). The appointment today was to look at his skin to see if he needs any treatment for the discolored patches, but the dermatologist said they are just healing scars and no treatment or follow up is needed. They have already faded so much that they are barely noticeable (especially since he has nice thick hair now!).
His language skills continue to improve (although I am still looked to by others to interpret much of the time). He has down his shapes, animals, animal sounds, and is now stringing together 3-4 word phrases. This boy loves walking up in the morning and snuggling with mommy (I love it too). His laugh is the best sound the world has ever heard and he uses it frequently. He loves to be mischievous, running away when called (laughing), tossing toys in the sink (laughing), sticking his fingers up my nose (laughing). He is always on the move and does not like to sit still (which is why the morning snuggles are so special). My favorite new thing with Baby Boy is checking on him after he has fallen asleep at night. He used to sleep on his knees in a fetal position but now when I check on him, he will be laying on his back, head on his pillow, and he has pulled his blanket up over his legs. He is looks and acts, waking or sleeping, like a normal, happy child and it is a joy to see. This Saturday we went to the zoo and as we watched him run around the splash pad (laughing), I said to Adel, "Five months ago, that baby boy was starving to death." The four months in our home plus one prior month in the hospital has altered the course of his life in a drastic way. He is an amazing little miracle and I am so very thankful for him.
Our next things to work on with him are:
- drinking out of a big kid cup
- sleeping in a big boy bed
- potty training (ugh)
She likewise is growing and looking a little closer her age. She is now in the 4 year old class at preschool because she has mastered potty training. No more accidents! She is a little behind in find motor skills and speech but is learning to draw simple figures and talks all day long (so I'm really not worried about speech). She truly loves books and could be read to all day long. She is very snuggly and could also be held all day long and never grow tired of it.
She is the most challenging child under our roof, very similar to the girl in the nursery rhyme:
Describing a child as horrid is pretty extreme, so let's just say she is fully committed to whatever emotion she is feeling! But, as we are battling about fewer and fewer things, we are having more and more enjoyable moments.
The Rest of Us
Adel is working extremely hard right now, taking 2 classes in his Master's program and then coming home from work and being a fantastic dad of 4. What a busy season we are in! We have had a few lunch dates since the babies arrived so we're doing our best to stay connected.
I am getting pretty worn out! For the first month or so of having the babies, I did not have time or wherewithal to spend in God's Word, but the last few months I have been waking up early to read a devotional during my bath time and I'm reading my bible while the babies sand I eat breakfast. It's not as quiet and peaceful as I'd like my "quiet time" to be, but God still speaks and His Word continues to encourage me. I am so thankful that I was able to sign up for the YMCA this week so that I can start working out and having time to read while the little ones are in the child watch playing their hearts out. It will be good for them and good for me!
The big kids are hanging in there. We have been taking as many opportunities as we can to have little one-on-one dates with the big kids. The grocery store, lunch at school, running errands...we just always bring a big kid along so that we can have special time with them.
Still no news. A few big dates coming up in May, although I'm really not expecting progress to be made for a long time to come. Please continue to pray with us that this can be a forever home for these babies!