Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Children's Library

I spent an hour reading to Petra tonight. We read 11 books, a couple of them several times each. This doesn't count the books she read this morning or afternoon.

Its amazing how many books we go through each day. She loves to read. It is easily the one activity we do most with her each day.

and because of this we need lots of books. I've spent the last month or two working diligently to make sure we have some of the most popular and favorite children's books in our home. I have read hundreds of reviews, searched blogs, and priced them each on Amazon and added them to my Amazon wish list (which you can access online if you want to see)

Tonight Thomas surprised me with one of my favorite activities - we went shopping at the Goodwill Bookstore after dinner. This is actually one of my favorite things to do ... if only Petra would behave while we were there. But I digress.

I'm sure none of you can imagine, unless you have been there, the extensive collection of children's books that this store has. There is an entire room of just used children's books. We went 3 weeks ago, with a list in hand of the ones I was looking for, and came home with a stack. Most weren't on the list, but I still got some classics - like Goldilocks and the three bears, the three little pigs, and the poky little puppy - most of these are still a too advanced for her.

When we went in tonight we were told they just restocked the children's room with 1200 more books! yeah! So I started searching again. This time I found two that I wanted: Goodnight Gorilla and a Spot flap book!

There are still several more I am looking for. I really want to get "I took the Moon for a walk" by Carolyn Curtis. Petra loves this one, and I enjoy reading it. We checked it out from the library to try it out. Our local Barnes and Nobles doesn't have it in stock - so I think I will probably have to end up ordering it.

I've seen a couple blogs that posted regarding their child's favorite books at different ages. I found it very useful and plan to write a similar post soon.

Parenting: the joys of discipline and instruction

The past couple days, and some days in the last month, I have found myself daydreaming of the day when my children are 2 and 3 and can be entertained through coloring, educational activities, nature walks, etc. Not all the time, but definitely once a day. I’m not real pleased with myself because I want to be enjoying the present. I know that I should be enjoying what God has given me now, and not thinking of the future. But I keep thinking how much easier it will be to do things with them when they are both walking, a little more mature, and can understand better what I am saying.

And just to throw a kink in my daydream, I’ve had two people say to me this last week – oh these are the best days, enjoy them! I wonder, is this really true? Could this really be the best days, and here I am thinking about the future? This can’t be a good sign.

I’ve had some people comment that having young children 10.5 months apart is worse than having twins, because they are still both babies, but yet at different levels of development. I’m not sure I agree with this, I have nothing to compare it to.
But I do know that I have no friends with children this close in age that can give me ready available advice.

So; I’m putting it out to the world. Here are some examples; maybe all of you experienced mothers or child experts can send me some advice.

Issue 1: Potty Training
After some indication from Petra that she is ready to go potty (mainly her asking to go potty and doing so successfully), we have proceeded forward with some potty training. After 2 days of potty training I decided this was not a good time for it. Reasons being:
1. Petra is tired of me asking her if she needs to go potty and now says “no” every time I ask
2. Every time Petra pees on the floor, Jasper is right there ready to crawl through it – it’s all I can do to keep Petra and Jasper from walking/crawling right through it and get it cleaned up as well
3. When I help Petra use the potty, Jasper wants to cling to me as well, and he’s is not yet stable enough for me to move quickly to help her if needed – inevitably he ends up falling over at some point and bumping his head
4. Jasper wants to climb on the potty while Petra is using it – if I leave Petra alone she will not stay seated, and if I stay with her I can’t get Jasper away

So I decided we will just proceed with taking her when she asks to go for the time being.

Issue 2: The whining, pestering, and repitition
Petra consistently asks for things over and over. My best way of dealing with this is to answer her, then distract her with a different activity. However, I also want her to learn to accept an answer without me having to redirect. So here is a very basic example of her asking repeatedly for the same thing. Imagine, we are in the car, driving home from the grocery store. It is a 4 minute drive.

Petra: juice, juice, juice (Be sure to add the whine to Petra's voice when you read it.)
Mommy: I'm sorry, I don't have any juice, we will be home soon and you can have something to drink then
Petra: juice, juice, juice,
Mommy: Sorry, no juice. You will have to wait a minute. We will be home soon.
Petra: juice, juice, juice.
Mommy: No juice
Petra: juice, juice (pause) milk, milk?
Mommy: No milk. You will need to wait another minute until we get home.
Petra: milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, milk .... water?
Mommy: (just wondering how long she will keep asking) Would you like to sing a song?
Petra: milk? juice?
Song starts...

Issue 3: Attachment issues
When you read Issue 1 above, you probably noticed that Jasper is slightly attached to my side at the moment. I know this is completely normal. Petra was the same way. And in fact, Jasper plays better than she ever did on her own, and still does. Jasper is quite content for a couple minutes playing with toys… but most of the time you must be within 5 feet of him to meet his approval. If I walk to another side of a room, he will cry hysterically, drop his toy, and follow me.

Issue 4: Jealousy Issues
Again, to be expected, there is some jealousy. Now please don’t get me wrong, our children love each other. Petra insists on giving Jasper a hug and kiss every morning when they wake up. And throughout the day they each enjoy each other’s company, hug on each other, and play together. When Petra is in time-out, Jasper will crawl over to be with her. When Jasper falls and cries, Petra often goes to him and pats his back and tells him it’s OK. But when it comes to me; things are a little different.
For instance, they both always want to be in my lap at the same time. I can’t hold Jasper without Petra also wanting to be held. The reverse is often true as well. Although, it’s not as bad with Jasper. Often times he will get off my lap after a few minutes when I am holding both of them.

Or then there is Petra kicking/pushing Jasper with her foot when he tries to get on my lap and I’m holding her.

Or there are the times when Jasper falls and cries. And I go to help him. And then Petra proceeds to copy him by lying herself down on the floor and crying to see if she will also get some attention.

And then there is the general taking toys from each other issue; except Petra is stronger still so it’s always her taking toys/cups/pacifiers from him.

And then there is the biting. which luckily is a fairly rare occurance.

So, generally speaking, I think these are all very common behaviors. And I do think we are working through them. And honestly I think parenting them at the moment is easier and less tiring than it was several months ago when I had an infant that had to be fed every few hours. But just imagine hours upon hours of the same thing, repeating itself in various ways. And then be sure to add the screaming that takes place when one of them falls, when I walk into another room without them, or when a toy gets snatched.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jasper's Adoption Day

After the computer crashing about three times, I am finally getting a chance to load these photos. Unfortunately I was hoping to be done and off to bed by now.

Today was great. We officially expanded our family by one more member. Once again, nothing really feels different. We were completely devoted to Jasper before today, so it really didn't change anything in our minds and hearts. But legally, the paperwork and everything else associated with it is done.


Jasper Hadley Croom was officially named today with us as is parents.

The court proceedings went smoothly. Our dear friend Leigh, who was nice enough to recommend us for both our children when the state called her first, came with us and took the photos you will see below. We are so blessed to have such a great friend that is willing to take off work and do this for us. It is just plain awesome to have photographs from the days that both of our children were adopted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Petra is 20 months

Once again I have no idea what to title this blog post. I get so tired of having to come up with them. So you get a simple age update.

Life is zooming by and is wonderful. The children are spending time playing together each day, Thomas is teaching 2 classes everyday and I come and go from work as needed.

Petra turned 20 months this past week! I can not believe it! I took this photo early last week and was amazed at how much older she looks. Its obvious she has grown. Her feet have grown. She can reach the counter tops in the kitchen now ... so I'm having to be careful about leaving knives and other things on top of the counter. She just seems so much bigger. Its been a little over a month since we last measured her height on her growth chart in her room; despite this, I pushed her up against the wall to see if there has been a change. She has grown an inch in one month!! Good gracious.

The other big news with her (although Thomas thinks I should not talk about it) ... is that she went #2 at a public restroom this weekend! I was thrilled that she told us she needed to go, was more thrilled that she said "yes mam" when I asked her if she needed to potty; and even more thrilled when it happened. All in all I bet I had several women rolling at the songs I was making up in order to distract her and get her to sit longer than 10 seconds on the toilet. I'm honestly surprised I didn't hear any chuckles from outside the stall.

Speaking of "yes mam" - I think it is nearly a conditioned response for her now. She knows to say it when we say "Do you understand," which she usually hears after a minute in time out. But other times she says it as well, and it makes me happy that she has learned it already.

Jasper's big news is that he got his two top teeth last week! So he has a total of 4 teeth and is pretty good at using them. He eats mostly table food now, he prefers to pick up his food rather than us feed him. And he said "da-da" this morning. In total he can say 4 words - baba, bye bye, dada and mama.

So these are our big changes this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I love this photo!

Recently, Petra was posing for a photo that was needed for my latest quilt project ... more to come on this.
Thomas of course volunteered his services to help me get the exact pose I wanted ... which I never really did. However, this photo was worth it all.

In case you are wondering, they were talking about the airplane flying overhead.

Say Cheese ... and adoption

I taught Petra to say cheese and smile as big as possible. We love doing it together, its really a challenge between the two of us to see who can smile the biggest. I thought you may want a peek.

Say "Cheese" - I'm starting to think I may regret this when I want a serious photo...

And I need to mention that Jasper's adoption is nearly done. We signed the paperwork with the department last week. So, as far as the department is concerned he is adopted. The judge will finalize everything on the 23rd at 9am.

Teaching for Thomas

I've never really thought long and hard about my husband's teaching. He is an excellent teacher. I say this because repetition comes naturally to him ... =). And the fact that he teaches at a major university has got to say something about his skills. But seriously, I had the great opportunity to sub for him today. It was a wonderful experience talking to a class full of college students about public policy and some of legislation I have worked on in the past few years.

On the bad side, he is out of town for 3 long days. This is my first time alone with the children for that long. We are all going to miss him.

So it was a busy morning. I had to get to his class (I took the day off work), he had to show me how to get to class; plus he had to leave for his flight that is leaving from Jacksonville right after lunch. And it all started by finding Jasper in a pile of poop in his crib. I would easily say this was the worst so far of our poop experiences. It was all over him, his arms, his feet and toes, all over his bed, bumper, etc. I'm hoping he didn't ingest any and we don't have a sick child.

I'll try to post some photos later today. I got a few yesterday of the children that need to be downloaded.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More of Learning and Growing

Each day we are completely amazed at everything new that happens.
And while, I don't have much time to post because I working on a quilt challenge for our next quilt show (opens the end of August in Tallahassee if you would like to visit) ... I wanted to express very quickly what is happening around here so that you could better understand what it is like to have two children so young and so close together.

First, Jasper has learned to climb the steps in the house. Except he didn't just start with one, he started with all of them. He happily climbs all the way to the top if you aren't watching him. Petra somehow realizes this is not the best thing for him to be doing. So if she sees him, she will yank him down and exclaim No. Of course, he doesn't exactly land on his feet. So we have taken to blocking off the second step so he can only climb up the bottom step, and then we have put a mat at the bottom to help protect him from the fall.
I am seriously hoping that allowing him this one step to climb up will also help him learn how to climb back down.

Petra is fantastic ... and fantastically learning new things. Today, she learned how to lock herself in her room. This is when Thomas learned he didn't have a key for her bedroom. I would say considering the amount of time she ended up being in her room alone, and locked in, that she managed through without any issues.

So we are continuing to learn and grow, and I expect things to continue in the same manner.