Monday, February 27, 2012

The Airing of Grievances

The Nugget used the phrase, "Speaking of.." correctly this week, and it really threw me for a loop to hear such a grown-up sentence coming out of his sweet mouth.  I don't remember the exact conversation, but it went something like this.
Me (to Spork):  Doggie is so silly, she's going to woof-woof-woof at Miss L when she gets here.
Nugget:  Speaking of dogs, I like Clifford and I wonder how he got so big.

The Nugget talked Aunt A's ear off about airplanes for a good hour, then later turned to her and asked, "Did you know I like airplanes?"

While enjoying frozen yogurt at the Nugget's favorite dessert spot in town, he spotted a little girl who looked as if she were on her way home from a dance recital.  Hair up in a bun, full leotard, tutu, and tights, a dance bag slung over her chair.  He watched her reverently while he consumed his yogurt, then turned to me and whispered, "That girl has a beautiful dress.  I wonder what she sounds like."  He decided to give her the compliment out loud, but wanted me to come with him and hold his hand while he told her how beautiful her dress was.  She blushed furiously, gazed at her boots, and tried to hide the shy smile spreading across her chocolate-stained face while her mother prodded her to say thank you.  Oh boy, I have visions of his teenage years, and I will cling tight to this sweet memory of when he needed his Mommy to hold his hand to give him courage to talk to a girl.  We still don't know what she "sounded like" though.

Nugget:  The babies don't know anguish yet.
Me:  Anguish?!!
N:  No, English.

Pictured, the Nugget took Tater and me to his preschool open house.  Here he is touring his classroom for next year, the 4/5's.  We are officially red-shirting him and giving him an extra growth year in preschool, which will make him probably the oldest and definitely biggest kid in his Kindergarten instead of the youngest and biggest (a combination we thought would be sub-ideal).  Unfortunately, private school was the only avenue to do so, but the silver lining is that we love his school, and this will give us a bonus year to experience it.

At the end of each school day, the teachers gather the children for a final circle time.  The kids take turns going around the circle and sharing what each considered the best part of the day.  If there is time, they also go around and share the worst part of their day.  When the Nugget shares this, it is never something like, "I spilled my milk," or "The blue crayon broke."  No, it is a very pointed accusation like, "The worst part of the day was when Matthew made sad choices and grabbed the truck I was playing with even though it was my turn."  I haven't been present for the circle time, but I can only imagine if the Nugget's complaints are typical, circle time probably sounds like the Festivus Airing of Grievances.

This and That

Spork likes to use his head like a wrecking ball.  Yet he is so cuddly that I can't help but snuggle him close, coming within range for him to attempt shattering my collarbone with his cranium.  Spork's tired tell is pulling and tugging his beautiful curls.  Poor kiddo doesn't understand cause and effect yet of course, and sometimes he pulls so hard he hurts himself.  Daddy has perfected a "straitjacket hold" that keeps Spork calm(ish) and free from self-inflicted hair loss while he's falling asleep.

Spork starts bucking, twisting, and hollering when we go to put him in the highchair.  When we buckle him and fasten his bib, he looks like he is having a meltdown.  For awhile, we assumed he was protesting, but now we finally realize he is freaking out because he wants the food in his mouth 5 minutes ago.  As soon as the first spoonful hits his tongue, his screams subside into, "Mmmms."  Halfway through the bowl, he's got the giggles.

Spork has a special sneer-smile.  He wrinkles his nose, lifts his upper lip to show off his growing chompers, and raises his eyebrows.

Spork's favorite "toy" is his hairbrush.  As the proud mama/mima to 3 curly-headed children, we are a comb-only crew.  So the brush is for the Nugget to groom his lovies and now for Spork to gnaw on/drum with/sweep the floor.

Spork makes a lot of ambiguous noises; unless you are looking his expressive face, you can't tell whether he's happy or sad.  I have to rely on the Nugget in the car, because with Spork facing backwards, he's the only one who can get a visual.  So the Nugget gives me the play-by-play.  "Oh, he's sad, he lost his binky."  "He's just happy right now, he thinks I'm funny."  Spork snorts when he laughs or cries.

The Nugget likes to put on dance parties for the babies.  When he senses them getting fussy, he turns on his cd player and dances wildly.  "Watch this, babies!"  They are an eager audience.  Spork gives him the jazz hands and dolphin laughter and Tater blinks in wide-eyed amazement.  After watching a Nugget dance party, we commonly observe Tater trying to move her hands and feet in rhythm.

The Nugget likes to introduce the babies everywhere we go.  This is my sissy Tater.  And this is my brother Spork.  Did you know that Spork gets to stay at our house forever?

The Nugget sang a song to Tater the other day that went like this (to the Winnie-the-Pooh theme song, along with the baby mobile),
"I love you, Tater.  Even when you're crying.
I want you to stay forever,
but if you don't,
I'll draw you a picture
so you don't miss me too much."

Lest you think I am neglecting big brother in the photo quantity, let me assure you that it's all his doing.  When he sees me grab the camera, he immediately gets his LeapPad so he can play photographer too.  He's all about being behind the camera these days.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Tater is talkative, much as the Nugget was as a baby.  She makes eye contact, smiles wide, and coos.  She says, "Oh," "Hi!," "Ya!," and "Mmm-goo-ah!"

Tater is beginning to voice her opinions about the bottle being taken away for a burp, about being fastened into the car seat or swing at a time she deems inconvenient, and definitely about having a dirty diaper.  She holds up her head like a champ.  She is still sneezy and prone to baby hiccups.  She likes to practice straightening her legs and is definitely taking notice of her two big brothers and the amazing things they can do.  I found a new way of propping her up in the Boppy so that she is sitting practically upright, and she holds court.

Tater was 8 pounds at her last checkup, and I think now at nearly 3 months old, she is about the size the Nugget was at birth.  Her hair has gone from pin-straight to tight curls after a bath and a mix of curls and cute texture when dry.  I love sweeping it to the side with a tiny clip; it's so much fun to indulge in a little girliness. Her hands are tiny with long fingers, and although she has little creases at the wrists, her hands have not a hint of baby chub on them.  They are like perfect miniature adult hands.  Her feet are long and narrow, and her toes are like tiny pink and brown pearls.

A week or so ago, Tater started fussing herself down to sleep.  At first, I panicked, thinking she was having gas pains or something, but the Nugget calmly stated, "She's just trying to get comfy."  And indeed, after a few minutes of fussing and wiggling, she fell soundly asleep.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

 Breakfast with Aunt A.

Giggles with birthmom.

Spork's birthmom, aunt, and a family friend came to visit this weekend!  I will admit, the first visit with a birthfamily (post-placement) is the scariest.  Or I should really say, the anticipation of the first visit is the scariest.  Will we still feel like Spork's parents when birthmom is here or will we feel like we're the babysitters?  Will we walk the right line between being welcoming, accommodating, and inclusive yet be strong enough to set boundaries that will be best for our family?  Will they hate the way we dress him/bathe him/feed him?  Will they be horrified with the state of our house?

I'm relieved to say that all the worry was for naught.  Just as with the Nugget's birthfamily, anxiety only lurks when we're apart.  When we're together, we're just an ordinary family, even though we came together in an extraordinary way.

When you witness all the love in the room, it's plain to see how lucky our boys are.  More love is a glorious thing, and I am thankful every day for the opportunity and gift of open adoption.
On a similar note, the Nugget was using his Play-Doh conveyor belt to create "tootsie rolls and chocolate bars".  When I asked him if he was going to sell them in a candy shop, he replied, "No, Mommy.  I am making them for friends who do not have any treats and people who have never had candies before."  The Nugget gives me so many proud mama moments, but that might be the proudest so far.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Conversations with the Nugget

Nugget:  Mommy, you are cute!
M:  Oh, thank you!  (feeling flattered)
N:  And Daddy's cute.  And Tater is cute.  And Shamrock is cute.  And this bendy straw is cute.
M:  (feeling slightly less flattered now that I'm in the same category of cute as a bendy straw)

A common monologue the Nugget likes to have with random strangers we encounter.  This week, it was the good-natured admin assistant at the dentist office.
"I rode an airplane to Grandma and Papa's house!  Actually, I rode a CRJ200 to Chicago and then a Boeing 757.  And to go home, I had to ride an Airbus, and another CRJ200.  On the Airbus, we had to try to sleep, because it was night time.  And to get to the airport, we took the light rail, and it sounded like a propellor starting very fast (hand motions)!  And when it stopped, it sounded like a propellor was slowing down.  And I made a new friend on the light rail, and we sat together, and I was sad when she got off at her stop very fast."

The Nugget has discovered a new series of educational videos at the library:  Popular Mechanics for Kids.  So he's learning all about submarines, combustion engines, and space travel from a young Elisha Cuthbert and Jay Baruchel!

"This is so yummy, I can't even believe it."

(Sees me making PB&J for Hubby's 2nd dinner) "I would also like a delicious sandwich, Mommy." Reminded me of the "delicious Triscuit cracker" line in Billy Madison.

Adding to the list of things Hubby never thought he'd say to his son (and reasons why Hubby is an awesome dad):
"Do you want to be a unicorn again?" (The Nugget's unicorn get-up consists of a paper party hat worn tilted forward on his forehead, and on this occasion he wore it out to a restaurant, took it off to eat, and Hubby offered him his horn when putting his coat back on.)

And 500 points for the use of the word "disgruntled" in a sentence twice in a single week.
"I felt a little disgruntled at school today because Frederick wasn't helping."
"That bobcat looks disgruntled."

(I do realize that I use "the" before Nugget but not with any of the other children's monikers, but I'm not sure why.  I suppose it's like "The Ohio State University", something about his personality just demands a little extra 3-letter intro.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Sporkful of Sugar

Poor Spork had an ear infection last week, but the upside is that all that extra cuddling and comfort he needed and received seemed to cement him to us.   His flushed cheeks are back to their creamy caramel color, and the little scratches he inflicted on his own cheeks as he frantically tugged his ears are healing.  He is back to treating us to toothy grins and sweet baby laughter.

In other Spork news, he is almost mobile.  I think we have mere weeks before he will not be trusted to stay where we set him down.  He can do a push up, pivot, twist, roll, scoot.  Here he is making a break for the Nugget's Legos. We will have some serious babyproofing to do soon.

Spork is a generous little soul.  He constantly offers us his drooly teethers and his binky in case we want to take a nibble ourselves.  The other day, I saw him offer a teether to a stuffed animal too.

Spork's excited pose includes:
-Wide eyes
-Open-mouthed smile
-Raised eyebrows
-Outstretched arms
-Jazz hands
-Thrilled parents

Falling more and more in love with him every passing day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

Time for all things pink and red!  The Nugget had two parties to attend.  Here is what he passed out at school today.  School requested no food/treats due to allergy concerns.  I split 3-packs of sand utensils from the Target Dollar Spot (purchased ahead at the end of last summer), and bought a 24-pack of dinosaurs (Target Valentine's section) for under $4.  I bagged each dino in a tiny treat bag, added a tag and ribbon.  And check out the handle on the red plastic shovel - coincidentally, the hole used to zip-tie the pack together is heart-shaped!

And here is what he passed out last week at our annual (final?  *sniff*) Moms' Meetup party.  (It was the first time I took all 3 out solo, but I wasn't really alone, because the room was filled with friends jumping up to loan a hand.)  If you've never seen a fortune fish before, it's a thin red plastic fish that you lay in your palm, and it curls up from the heat of your hand.  The way the fish moves relates to your feelings/personality, like a mood ring.  Mine were purchased through the link above, but were actually leftover from Cabbage's baby shower, so it was an inexpensive <3 Day for me.  If you can't tell, I love corny puns for kids' valentines, I think it's a requirement!

For our at-home celebration tomorrow, each child will receive a book, purchased at Barnes and Noble with during a 50% off sale and free shipping with my membership.  And if I can muster the effort, I think I will take the crew out for ice cream, although the babies won't be indulging.

Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal for the Nugget
Peekaboo, I Love You by Sandra Magsamen for Spork
We Belong Together by Joyce Wan for Tater

Hope your Valentine's Day is special!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


We are learning more about Spork each day, and finding him both challenging and delightful!

Spork likes to throw his (considerable) weight around.  He lunges, twists, arches, wrestles, flips, rolls, scoots, and motors.  At the zoo, I handled a feisty beaver.  He was bottom-heavy in the way that Spork is top-heavy; you'd think you had a firm grasp on him, then he'd shift his weight just a tad, and you'd be struggling to keep him from splatting on the sidewalk.  Spork is exactly the same way, and every time I hold him, I think of Buckley the Beaver.

Spork loves to eat.  He chugs his bottles with gusto and gets bottle envy when he spies Tater having her more frequent, smaller beverages.  If in range, he will try to snatch her bottle out of her mouth, so I'm finding ways to feed her when he's not looking.  He makes a funny, "Mmm, mmm," sound after every bite of solids.  2 weeks ago, when I shook some puffs onto his tray, he looked at them quizzically.  Last week, he looked at them frantically, waving his arms around, because he wanted them but couldn't serve himself. This week, he doggedly chases them with his little ham-fists.  He seizes them in his right fist, then uses his left hand to steady his right fist up to his mouth.  Here's where he usually loses his prey right down the bib, but yesterday, he got one puff into his mouth with this technique, and we clapped and startled the heck out of him!  Today I saw a true pincher grasp on a puff or two before he went back to the fist-method.  It won't be long until he can self feed.

Spork adores the Nugget.  In the mornings while I dress Tater, I set Spork in his Exersaucer, hand him a teether, and he and the Nugget play a game of, "Drop it, pick it up," the game that you see all babies engaging their parents in at a restaurant.  Except the difference here is that the Nugget finds this just as thrilling as Spork does, so the game goes on quite awhile.  Today, the Nugget added a new twist - he picked up the dropped teether, backed across the room, then used the teether like a steering wheel to "drive" back to Spork.  All the while, Spork did his very excited pose (arms spread wide and slightly up, flapping a bit) and laughed.  When the Nugget returned his teether, Spork tried to move it as he'd seen the Nugget do.  I think they'll be ganging up on me in no time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Full Plate

We all survived our first week as a family of five, thanks in no small part to our incredibly supportive family and friends, who offered playdates for the Nugget, gifts for Spork, an extra pair of hands to cradle babies, and food to fill our fridge.

We did a photoshoot for the kids yesterday, with Emmy J Photography.  Emmy J is owned by a friend of mine, and she's just starting out in the business.  She was so patient with the kiddos, especially the challenging duo of Nugget and Spork together, and her talented eye captured some really great shots.  I can't wait to share them with you!  That was the first time all 5 of us loaded up in the minivan, with 2 backpacks, 2 diaper bags, and a bottle bag in tow for a 2 hour outing.

Spork is adjusting beautifully and has already established his routine.  Last night he watched Nugget and Daddy dancing from the Jumperoo, and added his own giggles and bounces.  I have come to peace with the fact that with 3, there will likely always be SOMEONE who is upset, but it makes me treasure the calm moments that much more.

Hubby has always been a hands-on, involved and caring Daddy, but now that we are outnumbered, he has really stepped up his game.  He is starting to notice things that need to be done and doing them without me having to ask.

The Nugget is doing fantastic.  His frustration usually takes the form of raising his volume at Doggie and stalling like a pro at bedtime, which although annoying, is very very minor on the scale of big sib adjustments.

Tater and Spork are learning to share me, especially on weekdays when I don't have Daddy backup.  Grammy miraculously taught Tater how to appreciate the swing, so that is a saving grace when Spork needs to be fed or cuddled with both hands.

Spork is coming closer to mobility every day.  He can scoot himself backwards, roll in either direction, and pull himself from tummy to crawling position.  I know that means he will be happier but it also means we will go from spending our days cuddling and entertaining him to grabbing choking hazards out of his chubby fists and soothing the Nugget whose property will inevitably be coated with baby drool.

As I sign off of this post, our sink is full of dirty dishes, our laundry seems to be running all day long, Hubby and I are exhausted while the children seem to be full of boundless energy/spit-up, but our house is full of love and laughter, and all the beds are full.  I have the big family I have always longed for, and it is so much better/harder/scarier/more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.