For my past few birthdays, I've been dreaming about being a mom. As we hit roadblock after roadblock during the adoption process, I often feared I'd be too old to be a cool mom. As I reflected on this during my 32nd birthday this week, I decided I'm still young enough to be a semi-cool mom!
Here are some of the pirks of me being a mom on my birthday this year: Even though I know these required a lot of help from daddy, they meant so much to me. Emma has come such a long way from only being able to draw circles and squiggles when she arrived home.
Birthdays are generally a time of celebration. I, unfortunately, have been dreading mine. Not because I'm another year older, but because this is my final week of parental leave. I'm sad that tomorrow will be the last day I get to pick Emma up after school. I don't want to turn this into a whiny-blog, it's just that on top of going back to work right now, there are alot of other things going on in life that are a little overwhelming. I hope that I can keep it together as I face this big adjustment next week and any prayers of support out there are greatly appreciated.
Tomorrow I will go shopping to beat the blues. Time to blow that last EI cheque!
That's right. Only two weeks left until I go back to work. Where does the time go? I attribute my lack of posting to this. For those of you who know me well, you'll understand when you hear me explain how things have to be "just right" before I go back to work. Earlier in the year, I talked about how 2009 was going to be the "Year of Clean House." Yes, I know, my house is always clean. But I wanted to get down to the nitty gritty and get those not-so-fun jobs out of the way and purge our closets, drawers and basement of any unnecessary clutter. Somehow I thought this task would be easy to accomplish in the four months of leave I had left, but I was a procrastinator, and now I'm paying for it. I've been doing not-so-fun jobs around the house for the last two weeks and I'm not close to being finished yet. By not-so- fun, I mean those things that don't get done very often....pulling out appliances to clean behind them (ew!), cleaning light fixtures, on top of cupboards, in cupboards, baseboards, etc, etc. The list seems never ending. Oh! One of my major accomplishments is being able to declare our back yard "poop free" after taking days to clean the mess that our little poop factories have been making all winter long. So that's where I've been and that's why I haven't been posting...Not-so-fun jobs during the day and family time at night. It's hard to make time for the not-so-fun jobs while working, so I need to get them out of the way now.
I will admit going back to work makes me a little nervous and sad. I've been away for so long, I feel like I'm starting a new job. I was able to change my hours to be a little bit more part time so I will be home to drop Emma off at school in the mornings. Terry gets off work early enought to pick Emma up from school. We are very thankful for this, because even though she is adjusting well to her new life, a change in her routine (especially a sitter) could cause regression in her behaviour and attachment. We're hoping the fact that I won't be home after school won't affect her too much (sounds weird, but it can) I don't think it will, but I know it will definitely affect me!!! I love picking Emma up after school and having our afterschool time together. I will miss this time so much and get sad even thinking about it. I think it will take awhile for me to get used to the adjustment.
Another sad person will be my hubby. He has not so much as lifted a finger in this house over the last nine months. I've made sure that the house is spotless, driveway is shovelled, supper is cooked, etc. I even clean his car and take it in for oil changes. This will all change after I go back to work. We'll be back to dividing household chores and supper will be his responsibility. He is not looking forward to it. I absolutely love taking care of Terry and Emma and wish it could be my full-time job. Terry agrees. Unfortunately, it just doesn't pay enough. :( In fact, the one thing I'm looking forward to is finally getting a decent paycheck. Employment insurance just isn't cutting it!
So, I know you all want to know how Emma's doing. One word: Fantastic. She is such a blessing in our lives and it's hard to imagine life without her. It's the little things that totally make my day....
Every day while I'm doing Emma's hair, she sings. Not any song in particular. She actually makes them up as she goes along and none of them really make sense. But the other day, this is what she sang:
"I love my mommy. My mommy so love me. I gonna stay forever n' ever!"
I love that kind of stuff. Or when I go to Emma's school to volunteer for hot lunches.... I alway make sure to get there early so I get to pick Emma's classroom to deliver hot lunch to. Emma is always so excited to see me. If she spots me in the hallway, no matter what's going on in the classroom, she bolts from her desk and races out to come give me a hug (don't think Teacher likes this disruption so much, but what can I do? ;) Then she races back to tell all this kids, "That's MY mommy!"
We recently found out that Emma needed glasses. One of her eyes is lazy, so we have to patch up her good eye for four to six hours during the day to try and correct her weak eye with the glasses. We found a patch that actually covers the frame of the glasses and blocks her peripheral vision. It's quite the contraption, and her reaction the first time we put it on was priceless. It reminded me of when our dog, Tifa, had some surgery and we had to put one of those cone things on her head. She kinda just sat there with her head hanging down not moving or knowing what to do. That was Emma the first time we put the patch on. I thought we might actually get a rise out of her, but once we explained what it was for, she was totally fine. Now she always brings it to me and asks me to put it on for her. Here's a shot of her new glasses...sorry I don't have a picture with her patch on.
Easter for us was quite interesting. We don't usually do a whole lot for Easter, just a nice supper with the family. A day before the long weekend approached, I remembered "Hey, we have a kid now!!! We need to do something fun for Easter!" I know that sounds terrible. We're still getting used to this parent thing. I raced out to the store to get some egg decorating kits, which of course were all gone because I had left it till the last minute. I ended up settling for an Easter basket and plastic candy filled eggs for an Easter egg hunt.
The night before, we told Emma the Easter bunny would be coming with eggs to hide all over the house which we would have to find in the morning. We weren't sure she understood until we caught her sneaking out of bed the next morning already gathering up her eggs! Little stinker! Luckily she had only found a few, so we got to watch her excitedly search for the rest. She was also much happier after I gave her the basket to put them in.
DURING You'll notice I only have pictures of Emma's back. Try as I might, I could not get her to stop and give me a nice shot of her putting an egg in her basket. She was not interested in stopping....only in finding those eggs! :)
We went out to two Easter dinners that both went very well. We used to find going out or having company over was a little overwhelming for Emma and would really affect her behaviour. She seems to be getting better, although we still try to space out these types of visits. I know eventually it won't be a problem.
So, as you can see, life is good. Our only real issue with Emma has been her delays. I know I haven't posted much about this, but as I mentioned before, it's easy to post about the good stuff, not so easy to post about the not-so-good stuff.
We knew when we adopted Emma, she knew virtually nothing for how old she was. She didn't know any colors, shapes, numbers, letters, etc. We knew she was quite behind for a seven year old, but were determined that some love and attention would put her back on track. Well, there has been progress in this area, but it has been far slower and a lot harder than we imagined. For awhile there I thought she may never learn anything! Her first few months of school were very discouraging. But I think at first all the changes for her were so overwhelming that she wasn't really able to process anything else. Now we see some things are starting to stick, yet they are very basic things. Basically things that a toddler is learning. I'm kicking myself for putting Emma in grade one, knowing full well that she was not prepared for it. If I had put her in kindergarten, at least it would only be halfdays and she could have spent the other half with me. We tried for kindergarten, but the school wouldn't have it. She has learned very little from school, as she only gets one-on-one help for two hours a week. Yes, you read that correctly. This has also been a big struggle...one which we hope will be resolved for next school year.
Any advice or stories out there from other APs who have been through this would be greatly appreciated.
I'd like to go into more detail regarding school issues, but this post is getting super long. I'm also sorry this post has been all over the place! It's just been so long and I had so much to say.
Prior to today's lovely snowstorm, our Alberta weather was looking pretty sweet. Our five foot snow drifts disappeared in a matter of days...it was wonderful.
This quick change in weather posed a problem to me..... What do I do? Send the kid to school in snowpants to keep her pants clean underneath, despite the extremely warm temperatures? Or send her with no snowpants, knowing that she will get soaking wet and dirty in the mudhole they call " the playground?"
Being a new mom and not knowing what to do, I took my query to Teacher. She informed me that the well-seasoned moms were not putting their kids in snowpants, but sending an extra pair of pants to school for the kids to change in to after recess. Ahhhh! Why didn't I think of that?
The next day I explained to Emma what the extra pair of pants in her backpack was for. I told her that if she is dirty after recess to come change into the clean pants provided. She understood completely....
Unfortunately, I forgot to mention the most important thing....change in the bathroom! I thought of this after I had dropped Emma off at school..... DOH!
Needless to say, when I picked up Emma after school and saw Teacher walking toward me, I knew what was coming. She informed me of a little "incident" that happened after recess. Emma ran straight for her locker (in the classroom), pulled out her clean pair of pants and proceeded to undress in front of all the kids. I wasn't surprised. Even though Emma and I frequently talk about what's "private," I had a feelng she would forget at school. Who can blame a kid who shared a room in an orphanage with seven other kids (all boys, no less) who all slept in just their underwear?
So, once again I had a talk with Emma in front of Teacher. (I'm getting quite used to this.) I wasn't upset with her, but just reminded her about what we talked about at home and to use a bathroom stall the next time she changes her clothes at school. I was a little upset with Teacher, who never seems to be around when "incidents" happen. Like, hello? My kid wasn't born and raised in Canada, she has suffered much grief and trauma in her life and has only had some stability for about eight months now (if you can call leaving everything you know and starting a brand new life in a new country with a new language stable!) Maybe keep an eye on her a little bit more!
Sorry, that's my rant for the day. I know teachers have difficult jobs and Emma's not the only student in her class. I apologize if I've offended anyone. My frustration is not over the incident itself. In fact, I didn't think it was a big deal. My frustration was hearing all the kids laughing and snickering about it as Teacher barked at them that it was none of their business. I am thankful that six year olds aren't as cruel as sixteen year olds, but the fact is they can still be cruel. I was also thankful this happened right before a four day weekend. Hopefully those little six year old minds will forget what happened last week and leave my little Emma alone.
Just a short post today. Sorry, I know I've been slacking in this area. I have lots to catch up on, just not the time to do it yet. I've even had someone call me and lodge a complaint regarding my lack of posts....it's coming.... soon! (I hope!)
Welcome to our family blog. It is a diary of our journey to Ukraine to adopt our precious daughter, Emma, and our learning experiences since arriving home in August of 2008. Our diary begins on June 8, 2008, nine days before we left for Ukraine. If you'd like to start at the beginning, just scroll down to the archives and click on 2008. You will have to scroll down to the bottom of each page and click on "older posts" until you reach the first post. Enjoy!