Wow, it’s been almost TWO years since my last post…not sure why I stopped because I was enjoying it. Once I fell out of the habit it quickly became easy not to blog so my goal here is just to restart and write when I feel like I have something to say. No promises on how often or what I’ll blog about-I’m sure most will be about my family and my thoughts on life with them, but there may be other topics from time to time too. If a topic is political or religious, I’ll let you know up front so you can pick and choose what you want to read.
A lot has changed in my life since the last post. Hannah is two years old (the time has really flown by), I have a new job with a great non-profit organization in Oklahoma City, we no longer have neighbors that make weekend nights difficult, and I feel like I have this being a dad thing down pretty well…….until today.
Like I said, Hannah is two years old and there is a reason the phrase “terrible twos” exists. She is constantly testing her boundaries and pushing the limits to learn what is acceptable and what is not going to fly with mom and dad. If she doesn’t get her way she cries, screams, throws things and/or hits us-all pretty normal behavior for her age and nothing to get worked up about but it is frustrating and requires a consistent approach to how we handle it. I think we do a reasonable job with it (Lea Ann is much better at that than I am) and we try to balance that in by having fun and saying “Yes” but there is a lot of “No” and “Hannah, stop” in our conversations right now.
Last night, I was trying to talk to Hannah about making good choices and at one point I told her to “Look at me” so we could talk-I’ll confess it was a one-way conversation with me doing all the talking. For some reason I have it in my head that trying to explain things to her actually helps. A few minutes later she was walking around the room mimicking me when she walked up, grabbed my cheeks and said “Look at me” while she continued babbling. You’d think that I would have got the message that my language probably sounded pretty similar from her perspective but no…..
Today was one of those days that I’m sure all parents can relate to. Hannah woke up earlier than normal this morning and she was constantly running around getting into things she wasn’t supposed to and testing the rules-basically doing what a toddler is supposed to do. Lea Ann and I even mentioned how we were looking forward to going back to work tomorrow to get a break from Hannah’s screaming, crying and temper tantrums. At dinner time, I lost my patience and yelled at her. I’m normally pretty good about not raising my voice at her but I failed today. I realize it’s not that big of a deal but still it’s something I try to avoid because I can see how it scares her when I yell. The rest of the evening was pretty much more of the same although we did end the night having a little fun standing and jumping on the bed for a while.
After her bath, I went to rock her and put her to sleep. We have a good routine-most nights we read a book but we always sing a couple of songs (“You Are My Sunshine” and “Jesus Loves Me”) before we pray. I started getting a little choked up during “Jesus Loves Me” and when it was time to pray, we started the usual:
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Thy love be with me through the night, and wake me in the morning light
God bless Mommy and Daddy and me…..
This is where we begin asking God to bless all of her family and friends and we always do it in her voice but something different happened tonight. All that came to my mind was this phrase:
Please help Daddy remember that I’m only two years old and trying the best I can
I paused to try and move on with the normal prayer but nothing would come out of my mouth. Tears were running down my face and Hannah looked up at me and asked “Hurt?” I smiled down at her and told her I was OK but I wasn’t really. I struggled for a couple of minutes to regain my composure and was finally able to squeak out the phrase above “Please help Daddy remember that I’m only two years old and trying the best I can.” It was tough to speak out loud then, it was tough to relate the story to my wife after Hannah had gone to bed and tears are still running down my face hours later as I type this. So my prayer for tonight and I hope for always is to remember those words.
I stole the title of this post from a CD my brother did a few years ago (shameless plug here) and thought that since my “baby duty” for tonight has ended, I’d take a little time to add some random things I’ve discovered in the past couple of months:
- Babies smell really good right after a bath-although giving them the bath is still so stressful, I can’t enjoy it for a couple of hours
- I’d pay a lot of money to know what Hannah dreams about at this stage. I like to think that it’s really nice things like angels but I’m completely puzzled by it
- I actually enjoy feeding my daughter. It’s fun and I enjoy the time with her BUT
- I don’t enjoy waking up to screams-I said it before and I’ll say it again, the one thing I’m ready for is for her to be able to just say “I’m hungry” and know that we’ll take care of it for her
- There is a definite pattern emerging with formula preparation-if I do it, the measuring scoop is snapped into the lid. If Lea Ann does it, it’s in the powder. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but it’s funny that neither of has has changed in the six weeks that we have been making powdered formula
- I found that there is nothing wrong with putting Hannah in her crib awake and letting her grunt and make little noises as she falls asleep. If she cries, we go help her, but learning to self-soothe is going to help her out I think (I may just be telling myself that)
- You think adoption is sort of a random thing until you do it. You quickly discover that EVERY family knows someone who adopted a baby or was adopted and the vast majority of them are positive experiences. I find that reassuring.
- Sometimes, the only thing that can help you feel better is about 10 hours of sleep…it’s good to have a spouse who will let you have that once in a while
- I posted this to Facebook recently but if either presidential candidate could somehow regulate all of the parenting “advice” that is in books and on the internet-I’d definitely vote for that person. You can read one thing somewhere, then something completely opposite right after that-just drives me crazy. I’ve finally learned that it’s really all just guessing and that nobody knows our baby better than us so we should generally trust our instincts
Anyway, that’s all for now….I’m working hard to get back into the swing of this….posts may be spotty for a while but I’ll keep plugging away.
Wow, it’s been three weeks since I last blogged and I’m sorry about that. My one reader may not care but I really have meant to write more often…..anyway, here’s the latest.
Hannah’s first adoption hearing went well as did our first post=placement interview with the agency….only two more of those to go and about six months then Hannah gets to take our name. We’ll have a special family celebration to mark the occasion I’m sure.
Hannah’s been going through a growth spurt lately where she is hungry all the time when she is awake. She’s sleeping pretty well at night (usually with one time to wake up for a feeding around 2:00 or 3:00) but the rest of the day has been all over the place….sometimes she doesn’t get hungry for three or four hours….other times it’s one and a half to two hours…..just very inconsistent and a tad frustrating to two parents who like a little more structure in our lives….oh well, babies are a little bit about changing our own paradigm right?
We’ve made trips to see both sets of grandparents over the last couple of weekends and I think we learned a valuable lesson in overstimulation. People came to visit and she was passed around to a lot of people which left her pretty worked up both weekends…dad may have to learn to politely tell people “Sorry, she’s had enough holding for today”. I suspect that rule probably won’t be enforced to grandmothers :-)
Had a couple of late night rides in the car and we’ve discovered some really good songs to play for her from a company called “RockABye Baby!”-lullaby versions of popular songs by all kids of artists-U2, Aerosmith, the Beatles, Elvis, Guns N Roses, etc…..it beats singing along to “Wheels On The Bus” I promise.
Upcoming stuff-I have my first long work trip soon-I’ll be out of state for an entire week. That will be tough on me but probably also on Lea Ann. I worry a lot that she gets stuck with the lion’s share of taking care of Hannah but I try to help as much as I can at night but when I’m gone for a week, it’s all on her….I’ll pray that it goes well and if you live in Norman, feel free to come by and help her out at night :-)
OK, that’s it for now-not a great post but I’m at least back up on the horse again.
Love you Hannah!
I realize that I haven’t posted anything in a while and that may happen from time to time. Life gets busy, I don’t feel inspired to write, we’re tired, etc…..so there may be times when I go a week or so without writing anything….deal with it :-)
This is a big week for us-Hannah is one month old on Wednesday and we have our first post-adoption meeting with the agency. They just want to see how we are doing and visit with us a little bit. There are a total of three of these meetings over the next 6 months before the adoption is finalized. Friday is the rescheduled court hearing for her birth mother and after that we are having lunch with her. I imagine that will be a very emotional meal and time for all of us but we really do appreciate her selflessness in all of this.
We also have a couple of baby showers this weekend-one done by my best friend and his wife and the other by our Sunday School class. People have been so generous to us during this and it’s humbling to realize how many friends you have and how much they care about you. Can’t thank them all enough.
Hannah seems to be settling into a decent sleep routine (I’m probably jinxing it by saying that) only waking a couple of times before morning….sometimes she goes right back to sleep and sometimes….well, not so much. We’ve moved her into her crib in her room and I usually take the first feeding because it’s easier for me to stay up late. One of the things about adopting a baby is that since she drinks formula exclusively, I can share in the feeding experience. Depending on her mood, feeding can be a calming time or pretty crazy…if she’s really hungry and starts to cry, she gets too worked up and starts sucking in air while feeding….which leads to gas….which leads to pain….which leads to more crying-not good. I’ll really be glad when she learns that we’ll be there to provide food for her and all she has to do is ask for it-I figure that will be when she’s about 21.
BUT, when you can start to feed her before she cries, it’s pretty cool…she’ll just lay there and stare at you while she quietly drinks the bottle. A quick side note here…..formula smells awful. Some company should invest in making it smell better-both going in and coming out if you get my drift. Back to my point….those quiet moments when she just looks at you are pretty cool. It’s almost like she’s letting me know that she knows I’ll be there for her when she needs me and is just quietly spending some time with me….those are usually the times that she falls asleep laying on my chest and that is still about the best feeling around.
We did have our first experience of going for a late-night ride recently…..put her in the car seat, had some nice quiet music…and maybe a quick stop at McDonalds for some french fries-hey, there has to be some benefit to driving her around at 1:30 AM right? And you know what, it really does work-there is something about the motion and vibration of the car that put her right to sleep….we drove across town to make sure she was sound asleep before coming back home. She spent the night in her car seat-let sleeping babies lie, right?
One thing I’ve learned not to take for granted is the rare moment where it is quiet….I used to not care for silence but now, I really do cherish it. If Hannah and Lea Ann are sleeping and the TV is off I can just think about the day or simply enjoy the silence-it also makes for a good time to blog :-) But as a wise woman once said “Sleep when baby sleeps” so I will wrap it up. Goodnight and Happy Birthday Hannah!