Saturday, November 17, 2007

What a week (and a half)!

There is no way that I can fully describe everything that has been happening at our house since Noah arrived, so I'm not even going to try. That may be a good thing, considering how carried away I tend to get with insignificant details. I know there are quite a few people who have been patiently waiting for an update though, so I'm going to do my best to cover the important stuff.

Noah is doing great! He's a very happy boy, and he's settled into things pretty well. He seems to be adjusting to his new life and he appears to like being in our family. There are, however, a couple of issues that we will probably be working on for awhile: First, he definitely has some food issues. Except for olives and broccoli, the kid eats pretty much everything. So much for me being worried about what I was going to feed him. The bigger worry now is how to keep him from freaking out when we don't give him an unlimited supply of food. He clearly has no mechanism in place to regulate his own food intake, so we kind of have to do that for him. It was kind of funny at first, but it's gotten to the point that when Phil shows up at the end of the day I have to step outside to avoid hearing "Mama, ou vle manje encore" (Mama, . . . eat again) for the 800th time. It really is remarkable how much food he can put away - he easily outpaces Adam by more than double at each meal. We've also realized that unless you want to share your food with Noah, you better finish eating before he does. Today we went to Costco and it was like paradise for him with all of the samples that they were giving out. He dropped a couple of pieces of food on the floor and it did not go over well at all when I threw it in the garbage rather than give it back to him. I feel terrible when we have to tell him "all done" but I can only imagine how sick he would make himself if we just let him keep going. I'm hopeful that he will realize at some point that there will always be enough food to eat, but I have a feeling that we may be waiting a long time for that realization to set in. Phil is more convinced everyday that he has a parasite which would explain why he is so tiny even though he eats like a truck driver.

His other issue is sleep. He needs lots of it, but he hates to do it. Actually, I'm not so sure that he hates to sleep, but he hates to be in a room by himself which makes bedtime kind of difficult. We've figured out that he's fine in his bed as long as one of us is in the room with him. He'll lay there for a very long time and when we think he's finally fallen asleep we try to sneak out. Sometimes we don't make it to the door before he reminds us that he doesn't want us to leave. I don't mind sitting with him until he falls asleep, but laying next to his bed all night isn't really a good option for any of us. He wakes up two or three times in the middle of the night and if he thinks we aren't there, he loses it. I have started sleeping in Adam's bed pretty much every night so that Adam can get some rest. Also, if I am in the room when Noah wakes up and starts to fuss all I have to do is gently say "sshhhhhhh" and he settles back down. I'm not sure how we are going to get through the sleeping issue, but we all need more sleep than we have been getting.

We still haven't put Noah in his bunk bed, but I think that will probably be happening very soon. a few days ago I tried to wake him up so that he could walk with us to drop Adam off at school The school is next door to our house so when Noah didn't want to wake up I just left him in his bed and walked Adam out to the sidewalk. I wasn't outside for more than five minutes and when I came back in, Noah greeted me at the front door. Whuuuuut? Even though the rails on the travel bed go up to his armpits, he has figured out how to climb out. Yesterday afternoon I looked up to see him walking down the stairs after a very short nap. I have no idea how he's doing it, but since the whole point of the travel bed was to keep him contained, I guess it's pointless to keep him there. I'm glad we didn't bother with setting up the crib.

I think the nannies at the orphanage pretty much just sat in the room with the kids while they slept, so I understand why Noah might be used to that. Our job is going to be to simply be patient with him until he gets a little more secure in our house. I have started rocking him to sleep at night which makes bedtime much less painful for everybody, but he still wakes up looking for us in the middle of the night. Last night after I rocked him for about thirty minutes and he was still awake I decided to lay him in his bed. He laid down without a peep, but as soon as I made a move for the door, he started to yell. I simply poked my head back in and gave him a somewhat emphatic "shhh!" and he didn't make another sound, so maybe we are making some progress.

We took him to the doctor on Tuesday. He weighs 23.5 pounds. I didn't get his height, but they told us that he is in the 2nd percentile in height and weight on the American growth chart. The doctor's not at all worried about his size though, since Haitian kids tends to be smaller anyway. He gave us some paraphernalia to take a stool sample so that we can get the parasite question answered, but I need to gear up to actually do it.

That reminds me . . . Noah shows his displeasure for bedtime (and nap time) by pooping within five minutes of being laid in his bed. Every single time. Nice. And it stinks like nothing else! When I put him in bed, he will almost immediately start grunting and it's amazing how much stuff comes out of such a small body. I guess all that he takes in has to go somewhere.

Anyway, back to the doctor's appointment. The doctor thinks he looks good and isn't concerned about his size just yet. He said that a parasite would explain why he's not bigger than he is considering how much he eats so I'm hoping that we can get that figured out quickly. I'll most likely be digging for through his diaper first thing Monday morning so that we can get it to the lab before everybody closes up for Thanksgiving. When he put the stethoscope on Noah's tummy his eyes got big and he laughed. He said that there was definitely something going on in there. I didn't need a stethoscope to tell me that though since I have been changing all of the diapers. Ick!

It's certainly hasn't all been about the sleeping and eating issues though. We have been having a great time with this kid. He is really, really funny and quite happy almost always. He is very playful and loves to chase with Adam. He loves to throw balls around and has lost several to dark corners of the house - like behind the entertainment center. He drop kicks everything he can find, and after one particularly well-placed kick one of his balls landed in a pot of beans that Phil was cooking on the stove. I managed to get the training wheels put on the mini two-wheeler, but his legs were still wayyyy too short for him to ride it. After tearful entries into the house which would lead to a meltdown every time we would pass the little bike, I finally gave it to Sue to store in her basement until spring when he will hopefully be able to use it. Forgetting that the bike was there, I stopped by her house to pick up something else that I had stored in her basement. I ran into the house and left Noah standing at the top of the stairs. While I was getting what I needed, he came down the stairs and immediately ran for the bike. Doh! I had to do some fast talking to get him out of there. With the little bike safely stored out of his sight, he has decided that the little green big-wheel type bike will do. His legs barely reach the pedals and he's figured out how to make it go, but the steering thing has him perplexed. He moves down the sidewalk about three feet at a time until he runs onto the grass; then he gets off the bike, corrects the course and goes another three feet before he has to stop again. He is definitely persistent and I'm sure he'll get it figured out soon.

We are learning to communicate with him more. He's not really using English words yet, but he will repeat anything we say and he does seem to understand us better each day. Phil's French has come in handy because so many of the words are similar to Creole. My niece, Britney, brought a creole speaking friend of hers over the other day to meet Noah. It was interesting to see Noah react to this stranger - he clearly enjoyed the interaction and the language familiarity. It was also nice for us to get a few more clues into Noah's thinking when Christian was able to translate a few things for us. He didn't know a lot of what Noah was saying because he's two and in any language a two-year-old doesn't always speak clearly, but he did clear up a couple of things for us. Noah loves cars and anytime he sees one on t.v. or as we are driving down the road he sings a little song "Machine vini tay-ba-toe" and then he clicks his tongue. We know that machine is car and vini is come, but that last part is killing us.

Adam is doing okay with Noah, but he's pretty much over all the excitement. He is very easily aggravated by Noah and we are trying to be patient with him as he learns how to be a big brother. Right now Noah is just this little kid who has taken over his room, stinks up the house, steals his food, plays with his toys, and commands mom's and dad's attention. Adam's teacher is sending us email reports each day and he actually seems to be doing okay. One of the reports this weeks was that Adam had the best day ever! He listened all day and did his work and didn't touch any other kids. That was certainly nice to hear. Of course, the next day the report said that Adam hit Grant because Grant kept saying that he was going to kill himself (in first grade????) and Adam didn't like that idea. We didn't come down on him too hard on that one.

Noah still likes his dad a lot, but after spending most of the last week with me, he's realizing that I'm not so bad either. In fact, today as I was leaving the house to come to my office for some computer time, Noah started crying and reaching for me even though Phil was holding him. Yea!!!! Not that I want him to cry, but at least he is starting to care when I leave the room. Phil is still mama, but I'm mama now too.

Thanksgiving is this week and I'm going to do my best to spend a lot of money on Black Friday. A new computer is at the top of my list. Phil is done with not having one at home, and now that I am spending so much less time at the office, I'm kind of done with it too. Lets hope for some good deals that I can feel happy about.