Child #1 - Blew us away. We thought we knew exactly what we would do with a baby, we ignored the "your life is going to change forever" comments, because we knew we had it under control. Then, he arrived. All 7 lbs of him. And he taught us a few things. Like, all babies DON'T sleep through the night at 6 weeks. Nope. C, our beloved firstborn, was the child that when we read a parenting book that stated, "Most children do......," we knew that he wasn't under that "most" umbrella. Instead, he was under the "but some children do......" Always.
Child #2 - Relaxed us. He slept the entire time I was pregnant. And while he slept, I pondered how in the world I was going to go grocery shopping with a baby and a two year old. Seems very silly yet I was very concerned with how that was all going to play out. That, and the fact that I knew sleep was not going to be had for at least another two years. He arrived and though his birth was a bit breathtaking (literally), he was/is the child who calmed us. He slept the first night home. He ate whenever he wanted. He was happy and just plain easy. Of course we thought this was because he was the second child and we had this parenting thing down:)
Child #3 - Taught us that girls will be girls, and boys will be boys. Only, this was tough because I didn't "get" girls for about the first year she was home. The spice. The whine. The maintenance. Ah, yes, our MK has taught us a lot about patience, determination and good, down to earth belly laughter! We stared into her eyes for three months during our wait - three months staring at a picture and dreaming of who she was and who she would become. And then we met and she is so much more than our dreams allowed us to dream!
Child #4 - We really thought that by child #4 our parenting intuition and skills would be complete. We thought we knew it all - on sleep, on separation, on discipline, on germ control. Alas, child #4 has taught us that we, in fact, do NOT know it all. She has taught us that one can sleep through anything and one can sleep anywhere on anything, hence the many, many photos we have of her sleeping in her high chair or in the backyard swing. She has taught us that if a child were to drop a raisin on the floor of the pediatrician's office, one can eat it and remain somewhat healthy. Sigh. She has taught us that there really are children who a parent can just give "the look" to and they will do as they are told. She has taught us that a child really will eat whenever they are hungry and a child really can thrive on what seems like the diet of a bird. And, she is teaching us about a broken heart. Maddox's eyes have always been so full of seriousness. In every picture we were given during our wait, her eyes were bright with wonder. When we met for the first time, her eyes were wide open with worry. When we walked into our house for the first time with her, her eyes were full of awe. You can tell a lot about her by just looking into her beautiful brown eyes. Today, I saw big crocodile tears in those eyes. Her speech therapist was using reference cards to get Maddox to say words. The first card she pulled up was a picture of a mother. The therapist said, "Maddox, say 'mommy.' This is Mommy, say 'Mommy'." Maddox immediately jolted her head around to meet me eye to eye, she made a sound of desperation, her hands flew up and her body bent over - she wanted me to hold her, comfort her. Maddox was scared. And she shut down. That lady on the card was not her mommy, it was a stranger and this clearly bothered Maddox. Six months home - almost. And though we have had a somewhat seamless transition, today reminded me that Maddox's little mind is still far away at times - I think she has memories and I think she is sad at times and today confirmed that she continues to process her adoption and her forever home.
Happy Labor Day 2011. Labor Day will be one of my family's memories of growing up for two reasons. One, our nephew and cousin celebrates his birthday every year on this holiday. Two, part of the birthday celebration is going to the annual Chapin Labor Day parade in my hometown. MK said it best when she announced, "Mommy, that parade we went to was the funnest one ever in my life!"
The children are just about all old enough now to know the "Ready, Set, Go!" routine of the parade. Once the floats begin to appear on the route, all children must get their candy bags prepped for loading up on the gobs of candy they acquire during the one hour long display. It truly is amazing the amount of candy each child leaves with each year!
C is getting a bit older. In fact, today he celebrated his "half birthday," much to my dismay :( He is now 11 AND 1/2. I know, right?! Great for him, going by too fast for me. Alas, in this stage of his life, he has chosen to take a liking for coffee. And who better to share a cup of joe with but his Gran.
With the parade in full swing, the kiddos took their spots.....
and waved to the passers by.....
and clapped for a job well done!
(I love this pic. I could publish a story on this pic alone - it tells so much. Look at the faces. The anticipation. The conversations. Just makes me smile to see it and imagine the thoughts that were taking place at the moment this shot was snapped.)
And this special day occurs every year because of this special little guy. Happy 4 years Jay-man!
***One more MK comment. I asked her what her favorite part of the parade was and she said, "I LOVED those girls what was pretty!" AKA, the pageant/beauty queens. I love that she is sooo very girly!