Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Settling In

Okay, so I'm not getting caught up on this nearly as quickly as I had hoped. Since this is my first real post in quite a long time, there's so much to say and I fear that I have already lost many of the details that have made the last month interesting. Needless to say, I can't fit everything in so I'm just going to jump in and see where this ends up.

First off, Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of four were both great! We spent Thanksgiving with Phil's sister and her family. Phil's dad joined us and they all had a great time getting to know Noah. He had a great time downing as much food as he possibly could. Since it was Thanksgiving we had a hard time limiting him too much - Phil kept saying "Awwww, let him eat. It's his first Thanksgiving." And I would give in thinking that he had to get his fill soon. Long after the rest of us had stopped eating, Noah was still going and loving every minute of it. I had to finally put a stop to the gluttony at about the time Noah started just letting the food fall back out of his mouth after he had chewed it up. He kept taking bites and then spitting it back out - I think because his little tummy had to be completely stuffed all the way up through his throat. This shot tells the story pretty well.
Out of everything that we had in front of us, the only thing he didn't seem to love was the turkey. Odd, but true. His eating habits continue to confound me. More on that later.

After dinner Adam went outside to play with the kids. Before too long, one of the cousins came in to let us know that Adam was crying because he had dropped a big rock on his foot. I wasn't too alarmed because my dear little Adam tends to not handle pain very well, and sure enough , when he came through the door to the house you would have thought that one of his limbs had been severed. He cried and cried and cried and wouldn't let anybody near his foot to even look at it. We finally managed to get his shoe and sock off and although it was looking a little bruised, I still wasn't too alarmed. Here's Adam not too long after he came inside, along with his cousin who just wanted to be in the picture.
We gave Adam some Tylenol and hoped that he would be able to settle down. He's never been very good at self-soothing and something like a crushed toe is practically terminal in Adam's mind. The two-hour ride home went okay, but he was clearly not feeling great. Phil's sister gave him some treats for the ride which ultimately just ended up being another source of misery for him because Noah wanted all of them and Adam had very little interest in sharing. Eventually Noah fell asleep and Adam was able to watch a movie, eat his treats, and try to get his mind off of his throbbing toe.

We stayed that night at my mom's house and then looked at the toe the next day. It was starting to look more bruised, and the toenail was turning black because of the blood underneath it. Phil and I wondered if we should take him in to have it looked at because he was still very upset and it wasn't looking so great. I even tried to call an instacare place, but had no luck really tracking a place down that would take our out-of town insurance and we didn't think an emergency room visit was warranted. So, we gave Adam some more Tylenol and just told him to try to relax a little bit about it. During the day he seemed okay, but at night he just cried and cried. Between Adam's toe pain and Noah's waking up yelling 5 times a night, Phil and I got very little sleep. We were all feeling quite grumpy, and finally after another sleepless night at home on Friday we decided to take Adam to the doctor on Saturday morning. The doctor melted a tiny hole in Adam's toenail to relieve some of the pressure and then sent us for x-ray's. Two days after it happened we found out that Adam had a pretty severely broken toe. Nice. I felt horrible for not being more concerned when it first happened. Here we are a month later and his toe is feeling much better, but it's still very ugly.

The bonus of the whole broken toe tragedy though is that the instacare doctor gave us a prescription for some parasite medicine for Noah! We still hadn't been able to get a stool sample and Phil mentioned the pooping nightmare so he gave us something that he said takes care of 80% of the parasites that these kids tend to come home with. He said if it didn't work, we could still get a sample and take some other medicine later. So, we gave Noah his first dose the following Monday and things started to look better. As of now I think we can safely say that Noah is parasite free. His eating has definitely calmed down - he's actually kind of picky now - and I'm not changing his poopy diaper 6 times a day!!! He's even gained three pounds since he's been home.

Speaking of the eating thing - the quantity of food that he demands has dropped dramatically. He's still a decent eater, but he's getting pickier about what he's willing to ingest. It's definitely an improvement from eating everything in sight, but I wish I could get a vegetable in him. We are starting to figure out what he likes and doesn't like a little more more now too. He likes any kind of sauce or dip - ketchup, Ranch dressing, soy sauce, sour cream, etc. He will dip anything in anything if he sees an opportunity, e.g. cookies in ketchup, and he doesn't even have to have something to dip to be happy. He will eat sour cream by the spoonful if we let him. If any of those types of things are on the table during dinner, he has to have it on his plate. Needless to say, we put the sour cream and ketchup away after we get what we need. He isn't a huge sugar eater like Adam is. He will definitely eat a cookie if it's given to him, but he doesn't freak out about it if he doesn't get one like he would if there was a bag of chips in front of him. We were at some friends house the other night and after dinner she put a plate of cookies on the coffee table. We knew for sure that we had turned a corner with his eating when he played next to that plate of cookies all night and didn't eat any of them.

Like the food issues, sleep has gotten so much better. After about 3 weeks we finally moved Noah and Adam into the bunk beds in their own room and I moved back into my bed. Whew!! Noah still wakes up once in awhile, but he generally puts himself back to sleep without too much commotion. Fortunately, Adam is a heavy sleeper so he doesn't seem to be bothered by it. Once in awhile Noah will wake up and it's clear that he's not going to go back to sleep without some sort of intervention from one of us. When he sounds particularly distressed in the middle of the night we will usually find him sitting up in his bed. All we really have to do is lay him back down. He'll mumble for a minute or two and then he's back asleep. We aren't completely sure that he's even awake at those times though. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Noah ends up being a sleep walker down the road.

We have noticed that he does much better in his own bed now that Adam is consistently in the room with him. At this point Noah is fine to go to bed on his own, either at night or for his nap. Sometimes he will put up a struggle and cry a bit, but for the most part bedtime and nap time is a breeze as long as we let him take some kind of toy with him. He still wakes up ridiculously early though, and the first thing he does when he wakes up is start calling Adam's name. This morning when I heard him wake up I ran in there and he was standing in the middle of the room yelling Adam's name and pointing up at the top bunk. I got him out of there hoping to let Adam sleep a bit longer.

This Christmas break has given Adam and Noah some extra bonding time and I think things are improving. Adam is starting to take to the big brother thing a little better, but they still torment each other more than I would like. Noah mimics everything and that drives Adam crazy. At least ten times a day Adam says something like "I wish he would stop copying me!!!" I try to explain that Noah is learning and he wants to be like Adam but that doesn't help him feel better about it.

Speaking of learning, I think we can safely say that Noah is an English speaker now. He really does understand everything we say to him and even though he still uses Creole words, he's getting really good at getting his point across to us. For the most part, the language thing is a non-issue. Everybody told me that he would learn quickly, but I didn't imagine that in less than two months he would be doing so well. He has picked up on a few of the common phrases around our house that have surprised us. One of Adam's favorite words is "stupid" and Noah is now using that in the correct context most of the time. I'm so proud. He also likes to say "Holy cow!" He knows when to use "please" and he's getting better at "thank-you" and he never misses an opportunity to say "bless you" after a sneeze or "excuse me", even when he's not the one needed to be excused. That's another thing that frustrates Adam - when Noah preempts him after a burp. My favorite phrase from Noah comes after he gives one of us a kiss - "I love you."

I still need to fill in the Christmas stuff, but this is getting awfully long and I have other things that I need to do. I'll try to get back to it tomorrow.