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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Better late than never, I’m linking up with Amber Strocel’s monthly review:

Last month, I learned that:

  • Halloween really is about the kids from the sparklers, fireworks, teeny parties and thrilling treats to the endless costume changes and the parade of cuties at the front door.
  • we didn’t actually need 500 pieces of Halloween chocolate and candy to hand out.

First sparkler experience!

  • Theo’s extraversion is holding strong. A request for a volunteer at the Gazillion Bubbles preview saw him racing towards the stage yelling “ME!”
  • sometimes autumn leaves look better in the rain.

Wet leaves.

  • if you ask a three-year-old a question, be ready for a random, unrelated answer. When asked where he was from, Theo replied: “I want to ride an elephant” completely baffling the asker.
  • the bigger Theo gets, the more questions he gets about us but his understanding of adoption is still limited.
  • Nothing beats an evening run-around at the playground with a like-minded boy – just stay out of the way!
  • Netflix is a lifesaver on a rainy Sunday afternoon. So far, we’ve watched Rango, Hugo, Karate Kid, Daddy Daycare and The Spy Next Door. We’re waiting on loaners of Princess Bride and The Incredibles.
  • Adoption Awareness Month is technically about finding families for children in foster care but I think it should also be about sharing and listening to all people connected to adoption.

What have you learned lately?

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Here are some of my October learnings as inspired by www.strocel.com

I can go away for a week, and the world will continue to rotate. My first vacation sans enfant to Ontario went smoothly for me and on the home front thanks to several sleep-overs at Lolo’s. Apparently, Theo asked for me several times a day. When I got home, he kind of shoulder shrugged, and we went about our day.

Took my mom to a fancy spa for her 75th with my sister-in-law.

It pays to have another Halloween costume in the tickle trunk. Theo rejected his Buzz Lightyear costume at the last minute: “No Buzz! No Buzz!” Mark’s sister pulled out a cozy dragon costume and he was ready to yell “TRICK OR TREAT!” randomly in the street.

No Buzz!

Toddlers want to be involved in everything. Theo participated in prepping the pumpkin for Halloween, and made his own cappuccino this morning (ok – sort of).

"Making" coffee

Naps have their upsides and downsides. We’ve entered the random nap stage. Some days Theo “fails to nap,” which means the 5 to 7 pm portion of the day spirals quickly into disaster but he’s flat out by 7 and down for 11 to 12 hours. If he naps two hours during the day, he wakes up in a fantastic mood but goes to bed after 9 pm.

Apres nap euphoria.

I can run a 10K but won’t attempt a half marathon anytime soon. I completed my 10K Diva Run in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and found it extremely taxing. I feel no compunction to do it again although I can run for 45 minutes pretty easily now.

The Eastside Fitness team: I'm the one with my eyes closed at the back.

Staying away from adoption politics and controversies is best for my family: There are some deep and complex issues surrounding local and international adoption. In the interests of my family, I’m focussing on our own relationships, which means I’m not commenting on adoption themes in TV dramas, signing petitions or engaging with bloggers or tweeters looking for a tussle. I feel better already.

What did you learn last month? Any stunning revelations?

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Canada Adopts post daily questions on facebook. Yesterday, they asked how our children are different from us as parents. Today, they focussed on similarities: “Adoptive parents often marvel at the uncommon things they have in common with their kids. Some will even go so far as to say that their children look like them! What are some of the uncanny similarities (traits, quirks, mannerisms, interests) that you share with your child?”

I thought both questions were interesting (How are you different? How are you the same?). Because Theo and I do not look alike, we will never live in that little private adoption bubble where I can “pass” or get away with people thinking that he was born to me. Because of this, I am often struck by the notion of “difference.” We look different. It’s noticeable in public, in photos, in our family. There is no escaping it. I can’t sit at a café and pretend that he was born to me. People stare, they ask questions, and sometimes they just look knowingly.

Photo taken by Darlene Oakey-Tandon

I know his biological family, and they are not like mine. I come from an orderly family of bookish, culturally minded nature-lovers who are not overtly emotional. Theo’s birthmother’s family is chaotic, warm, loving and full of madcap energy.

I have no idea whether Theo will share my love of books, foreign films, and nature walks but temperamentally, we are like two peas in a pod. It shocks me, at this early stage, how much we have in common.

Like me, he’s high energy, slightly hyper, enthusiastic, physically agile (ok me – not so much anymore!) and active, loves the outdoors, and babbles non-stop. I played soccer as a child and Ultimate Frisbee as an adult, ran track in high school and was a competitive swimmer for years, and look forward to standing on a drizzly sideline watching him play soccer or T-ball, cheering him at track and field meets or sitting in the stands as dribbles the ball down the court.  He loves people, and wants to interact with every stranger who smiles his way at the supermarket, on the playground, in the wading pool or café. Like me, he gets cranky when he’s hungry and tired, and while he loves people, when he’s over-stimulated, he needs to get out fast.

It’s heartening to know that despite the randomness of adoption that we could fit together so well.

Are you temperamentally like your child (by birth or adoption)?

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Seven month update

Theo is seven-months-old tomorrow and changing at lightening speed.

Food

He loves to eat but is now more interested in what we’re eating so we always feed him little bits off our plates. If we’re having chicken pasta, I’ll pick a piece of chicken out mash it up and feed it to him. If I’m at a café eating a muffin, I’ll pluck out the blueberries and feed them to him. There’s always a little something in our meal that can be shared. He’s had kidney beans, ground beef, tomato soup, and a tiny bit of scrambled egg. I also give him pieces of apple, pear and carrot under supervision or in a little mesh bag so he doesn’t choke. I’ve introduced teething biscuits for long stroller walks, which he loves but they sure are messy!  We also feed him the usual – barley cereal and banana, apple sauce, mushy peas, avocado and potato, sweet potato, and carrots. When we go out, I bring jarred baby food and he loves turkey casserole and beans and brown rice. I’ve been trying to get him to drink water out of a sippy cup but he is more interested in banging it against his tray and draining the water out of it. He prefers instead to drink out a glass (held by me).

Sleep

We had a pretty terrible two-weeks of sleep, and we suspect it was due to combination of digestion issues related to feeding him too late in the day, him adjusting to solids and being out of town for 10 days. Almost every night that we were away, he’d wake up at least twice during the night screaming even though we all slept in the same room together. It took everything we had to coax him back to sleep, and one night, it took over 90 minutes to get him back to sleep. Here we were in this stunning state-of-the-art home overlooking Porpoise Bay, and we were exhausted.  Once we got home, he readjusted quickly and within 3 days, he was sleeping 10 to 11 hours a night with little cries every so often that subsided within few minutes.

Developments

His crawling gets progressively faster, and he is obsessed with cords. The number on speed-crawling incentive is the vacuum cleaner, which he goes after like an ambulance chaser. Just last week, he started kneeling and pulling himself up on chairs, stools and tables. He also enjoys chewing on our floor length white curtains.

It’s getting harder to take him to busy restaurants as we learned when we brought him to the local watering hole for the women’s gold medal hockey game. He wanted to grab everything on the table, bang on table, crawl onto and across the table. This was followed by plaintive sobbing as the noise level rose to fandom levels. We barely made it out in one piece. There was just too much stimulation and noise in there.

He still smiles like crazy and fixes his gaze on strangers and friends smiling at them relentlessly sometimes to a point of discomfort for the recipient.

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