Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thats right, I speak baby.

I had one of the most satisfying experiences this week.  It involved speaking baby.

I know that I can meet the needs of the kids but people are constantly still talking about the special bond that mothers have with their baby's, which is true don't get me wrong; but often its stated in a way that implies that dads just can't do this.  Not so.

I was cooking dinner and paying attention to the pots on the stove, Boo Boo was watching Jack-Jack for me.  She came into the room and said he was fussing and didn't know what was wrong with him.  I didn't even need to turn around to look at him to know that the whimpers he was making were his "my diaper is poopy" whimpers.  Sure enough, diaper at poo poo capacity.

Big deal, yeah it kind of was.  It was about love and connection, listening.  For me it was an actual manifestation of the bond between parent and child.  When you can communicate with your baby it just feels good.  It says I hear you, I will spend the time to understand you, and I will be there when you need me.  It reinforced that connection and made me love him even more, if that was possible

It made me think about the other kids, not just baby speak.  We have just moved and really not much can be more stressful for kids that all the adjustments that come with that.  Do I speak pre-schooler, grade school, middle school, and high school?  I pray that I will be able to recognize what they need as well as I can understand the difference between hungry, sleepy, poopy cries. 

So for all my kiddos I promise I will try to hear you , I will spend the time to understand you, and I will be there when you need me. 

However, if I get a poopy cry from one you older kids...your on your own.
Clean diapers are the best!

Dad, can I be done watching the kids now?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't waste anything!

We have a large family and have chosen to have a stay at home parent and a career in education..... so we make sure to economize were we can.  This means clipping coupons, standing in line for a half hour at the walmart getting them to match ads.  Buying in bulk, buying second hand, checking the free listings on craigslist regularly, wearing hand-me-downs and generally trying to get everything on sale.

This week one of my kids really drove home how much they are learning from our fiscal habits; that they are learning not to be wasteful and look for opportunities to economize.

Buggy was doing her homework on the computer when one of the twins walked by and asked why she was deleting the text out of an old word document of hers.  Her indignant response in that your so
dumb tone  "what? you don't need it anymore and I don't want to waste it by opening new file!"  I just about died laughing!

It did give me a good idea though, next week I am adding washing the paper plates to the list of family chores.  Oh, and do you think you can put paper towels in the dryer?

My beautiful, thrifty buggy.

Nine turns one!

Baby Jack-Jack turned a whole year old this week. We just had his birthday party and it has me thinking about how he came to our family, how much we love him and the journey it has been to be his daddy.
Tall boy is Jack-Jack's older brother, and was our foster child for almost a year. While he was in our home his mother was permanently a resident at a state mental institution. Sad. Late summer/ early fall of last year we found out that she was pregnant again. Needless to say this was shocking, how, why, who is in charge of this person who cannot care for herself?? They were not sure how far along she was and there were concerns because she was being medicated for several conditions.

Hot Mama and I talked about how sad it was that another child was being brought into this family that had struggled with every aspect of life for so long.... wondered what would happen to this new person coming from a lineage of such disfunction. It never occurred to us that we would be asked to care for him.

Oct. 4 2010 the caller ID says State of Utah, not unusual.... lots of foster kids in the house. Three about to complete adoption in just a couple of weeks. Meetings, parent visits, worker visits. This call was going to be some other date I would need to remember. I grabbed my calendar and sat down to take some notes.
The voice on the other end of the line was Tall Boys worker.

"Hi Brandon, Sad Mom had her baby last night, we were wondering if you would be able to pick him up this afternoon or in the morning"?

Shock. Goosebumps. I might have even laughed.

We had assumed that another family had already been selected, had not considered for even one minute that we would have this baby in our home.

I think I stammered asked some relevant questions about health and sex and said that yes, we would pick him up and take care of him for the next couple of days while they figured out where he would be going on a more permanent basis. My heart said, my baby was born and I wasn't there to hold him and my brain said we have 9 kids in the house already, the youngest just a year old in June, and a Tall Boy with such intense will this work?

Hot Mama was finishing her last semester at BYU, in class so I couldn't call her. When I picked her up from that school that night I said "mind if we go by the hospital on the way home?"

We got to the hospital, got checked in as the foster parents and they rolled in a tiny premature 5lb 3oz bald baby boy. Skinny arms and legs because he was in the world sooner than he should have been. The birth had been hard, not from a physical standpoint but Sad Mom was scared, not understanding that she was pregnant, yelling at the staff and then at the baby that she was sure could not have come from her. It hurts my heart that those were his first moments.

We held him close, changed him, talked softly to him and mourned what he had already lost. That first moment when the precious child so anxiously awaited is welcomed by his family the soft words and snuggles, a warm breast after the hard work of being born. He fell asleep and we put him back in his isolet without a name and headed home. He was having trouble feeding because of his size so would be spending a few days in the hospital.

On the ride home we tried to convince ourselves that we would be a good spot for this little baby for the next few days while they found him a more permanent placement, deep down I think we both knew that he was already ours.

Over then next couple of days I would go in and hold and feed him in the morning and at lunch and then we would go back with some of the other kids at night to put him to bed. Mooster and
Boo Boo were the first to go. It was one of the most special experiences of my life.

We go there and they wheeled out his little isolet, and I can only describe it as souls recognizing each other. Moo and Boo Boo both started to cry, and coo over the baby. We went into the nursing room and they were feeling such intense feelings. I asked them why they were crying and Boo Boo said, a baby should never come into the world like this, alone without a name. Moo said he felt the spirit really strongly that he was ours. He said , "I think that our family has enough love for 20 kids.... to bad there's not enough time for that many." If you could feel love as a palpable presence it was in that room.

The bonding had started, or who knows maybe their souls did recognize each other, but from that first moment they saw him, he was their little brother and they were ready to protect and care for him.

We got him home soon and within a couple of days called the worker and told her, don't look for another home, he is home. There were some trials, regulations about placement with our other adoption just 2 weeks away and questions about if our Jack-Jack should stay with us if Tall Boy went back home to their dad. But we had a great, loving worker who advocated for us and our baby and recognized that he was where he should be. We will always be grateful to her. Our adoption was complete 6 months later with the blessing of the biological family.

He has been a delight everyday of his life! Having him brought so much joy to the whole family. Every time I look at him, smiley faced, cover in food, sleeping with his bum in the air it almost hurts how much I love this boy and how surprised and blessed I feel to be his daddy. LOVE HIM!

Someone actually called my house and said, "I know you weren't planning on this but would you like to be a new dad today?" How lucky am I!

Having him makes me look at the path of my life, of our family and wonder at the twists and turns and the amazing surprises you sometimes find is sad places. We have been blessed to adopt four of the most amazing kids ever, its impossible to imagine our family without them....but for them to be with us means there was sadness and failure, pain and trauma. It's a strange combination, but we rise from the ashes, or maybe lift each other from the ashes, and all become stronger.....together.

Happy Birthday Baby Jack-Jack.

Just one day old.

Six months old, adoption day.

The whole family on adoption day, Jack-Jack slept through most of it.

After the adpotion when we told him it was official.

Seven months, the first time he noticed the leaves outside his window.

Eight months old, adorable!

One year old!  This is the sock monkey cake Hot Mama made him.  Sock monkeys were his are his favorite, he likes the big red smile.... its cute becuase he smiles back at the big red smile and the monkeys red bum.


What a big boy!

Happy birthday my boy.