Hello blog world! I am so sorry for being such a dud with my blogging lately! It's taken me a while to feel up to answering the phone and returning emails during the days, let alone getting the blog updated. At this point though, I think I can safely say we're really getting into the swing of things and I'm starting to return (at least somewhat) to the world of COMMUNICATING! I know, it's terribly exciting! I've missed it!
On that note, let me point out some exciting things. First, we met Olivia & Ezra more than a month ago now! Our first meeting was on April 7th, and while the memory is still vivid and fresh, it feels like a lifetime ago. I really feel like it's been so much longer, as they have become such a part of our lives and I can barely remember what life was like without them. We arrived home the evening of April 18th, so we've been home ALMOST a month now! While it seems amazing it's been that long, it really feels like it's been so much longer. Every day we see changes in Olivia and Ezra - at least developmentally. I think I'm too close to them to see how much they are physically changing, as they still seem like precious little babes to me! I know they're growing though, and Joe and I see Ezra's face filling out at least!
Soon, we'll be starting them on vegetables and we've already gotten through all the different types of cereal. I now have some recipes to make my own baby food, so I'm excited to start that adventure soon. It's funny how much I get excited about starting them on new food... I'm not too sure they care yet about having more variety in their diets. :-D
Health-wise both our angels are doing great. Ezra still has some congestion sounds, and his cough is occurring more frequently than before, but apparently it's nothing to be concerned about. This week we'll be taking them in for a slew of blood & urine tests as well as stool cultures, and then next week we have a well-baby exam with our regular pediatrician. At that point we should have a good idea of where we're going to go with their vaccinations, since some of the blood tests are to check the titres (level of antibodies in their blood) for various vaccines they were given in Ethiopia to see if we need to start the vaccination schedule from scratch or move forward from where they are already at. I am NOT looking forward to the blood tests or vaccines, but it's all a part of life so I guess I'll have to get over it. :-S
As for their daily changes... here's a little of what they're doing these days:
Olivia is such a strong, tiny peanut. She weighs in at about 12 pounds now (at just shy of 5 months - not TOO tiny, but still little). Her strength is really impressive. She's already rolling over (not consistently quite yet), and can pull her knees up under her during tummy time. She's also a tummy time champ and will hang out and move around on her tummy for a long time. She's still a quiet little thing, and a bit behind in her "language development" since she's not doing too much cooing and chatting just yet. BUT, I will say that in the last week she seems to be doing a lot more of the tongue "Thhhbbbbbbttttt" type stuff and getting a bit more vocal - so I think she's on her way! The lag in her language isn't too much of a concern yet, but obviously "could" indicate hearing issues. We aren't going to test her for that until a bit later if there's still concern, as the international adoption pediatrician wants to give her 6 months to settle in at home and get comfortable before worrying. Plus, hearing tests in infants under 6 months are apparently not too accurate. Olivia is also grabbing objects and sticking them in her mouth like crazy now. When we met them they could barely grab an object intentionally (you know, where they see something and reach out to touch or feel it), and now she's definitely getting that down. HOORAY! Some days, she even holds her own bottle for a short bit of time... ok, it's more like she balances it and it falls when she turns her head... but she's starting to get it!
Ezra is also doing phenomenally. He is SUCH a talker! He really chats up a storm... and his version of cooing can be super cute little coo type noises, all the way up to a LOVELY scream he loves to do - and OFTEN! I swear the first week or two he was making the noise I'd run to him to be sure it wasn't caused by pain or make sure he wasn't crying! He's just really excited to try out the full range of his vocal cords I guess! The bummer is, he's NOT a fan of tummy time and is a HUGE fan of being held over your shoulder and conforming to your body like an amoeba. Therefore, his upper body strength is a bit on the weak side and compared to Olivia he feels fairly floppy. When he's sitting he often lets his head just droop down and his back hunches over... so we're working hard on that. He also is ADORABLE when he soothes himself as he gets tired.... from the time we met him it's been the same exact action. He lifts his right arm straight up over his head and turns his head to the right and pushes his face into his arm. At the same time he takes his left hand and puts it on his chest and grabs his clothes. Then he starts suckling against his arm. It's REALLY cute... but has also contributed to a slightly flattened right side of the head. He also would barely look to the left at all... no matter how hard we'd try to get him to look that way. So, we bought a sleep positioner and now have to lay him down on his left side. I think I'm already noticing the right side of his head curving back out AND he now looks left fairly often! YIPPEEEEEE!!! We're so proud of him! :-D
They are both also sleeping pretty well now, and the schedule is getting pretty routine. Ezra is the one that most often wakes up at some point during the night and it doesn't take too much to get him back to sleep usually. Yes... this is the BIGGEST help of all I'm sure and probably the biggest reason our transition into parenthood has been so smooth! We're still tired a lot... but I think it's more from how exhausting it can be "entertaining" them and playing than it is from lack of sleep at night.
We LOVE taking them out for adventures too. We went to the pool a couple of weeks ago for a short swim and they both did great. They didn't seem too sure WHAT they thought of it... but there were no tears and they looked adorable in their swim suits! They do have some growing to do before their suits fit thought... the 3-6 month size is still swimming on them (no pun intended!).
The biggest adjustment to our trips out though is the attention we draw. Don't get me wrong... we EXPECTED to get a lot of stares, comments, etc. But, it's still an adjustment. How I respond to it depends on a few factors, including what is said or done. We've had some comments/questions that were so beyond rude I could barely contain my disgust, as well as some genuine, sweet remarks. The part that really irks me is when someone interrupts Joe or myself mid-sentence when were talking to each other to ask us something incredibly personal... and I must admit the "Are they adopted?" question is getting pretty old. Some times I want to tell the person asking that question... Um, let me think... I can't remember! Joe and I are thinking the next person to ask this may get a response from us like "No. Sometimes when you swing accidents happen... and that's exactly what happened." We're thrilled to talk about our adoption when people are polite and/or we're having a conversation, but the way people go about asking their questions is just downright stupid sometimes. And seriously people, don't step in front of our big ole' double stroller and stop when we're plowing along on an outing. We DO have places we're trying to go to and don't need to be stopped every 10 feet for the barrage of questions!
Sorry for the rant... we really do love to share the miracle of adoption with people and are thrilled to educate the public about it. It's just hard in the moment to answer in a polite or friendly manner when someone asks something that's just out of line. We ARE getting used to it though, and finding ways to respond that we *hope* Olivia and Ezra will one day be able to be proud of. Baby steps... we'll get there! In the mean time, if you walk up to me and ask me how much I paid their birth mother to be able to adopt them (or if we got them 2 for the price of 1)... you may get a pretty gruff response!
So, as you can see we have two incredibly, amazing blessings. I cannot possibly imagine life without them. We've settled into being a family more quickly than I could ever have hoped, and parenting twins really hasn't been nearly as hard as I'd prepared myself for. I really can't imagine how boring things would be with just one! No offense to the parents of singletons... I'm sure they're great!!! I just love how we have two incredible personalities to keep us entertained, watching them interact with each other, dressing up a boy AND a girl... that sort of thing! Why in the world do parents of twins or singletons make it sound like multiples are so awful or challenging?! Seriously? It's definitely got it's additional complications, but it is SOOOO worth it, trust me. If ANYONE wants to hear more about parenting twins, feel free to ask. I'm no expert yet and definitely still expect plenty of tough days ahead, but I'd be happy to share more about what we've learned and how we make it work.
I'll try to add a few pictures today too... I just have to find my memory card reader so I can download them! Sorry I've been so bad about pictures TOO! I know what fun it is to see them growing and changing!
Hugs to all... and a late Happy Mother's Day!