Tag Archives: Little Man

Happy 5th Birthday Austin!

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Happy 5th Birthday Austin!

Each year I write a birthday letter to my sweet boy.  This year’s letter is a bit late in coming, but it has finally arrived!

To my favorite boy in the whole wide world,

I am so in love with you, and I am so proud of you!  You are such a compassionate, helpful, funny boy and I’m so glad you are my son.  I have watched you take such care of those who are smaller than you—helping out babies and toddlers, being an amazing friend and trying to care for them.  I have watched you show concern and care for others—stoping to pray for people we see who need help, kissing my “boo boos,” and offering hugs to everyone.  I have watched you blossom into a funny and fun loving boy—telling jokes, laughing with others, and including others.  I have watched you stick up for yourself—asking for help when needed and talking out conflicts that arise.  I have watched as you have learned to talk about your feelings and how  to cope with them—even when doing so exasperates you.  (“I don’t have any more deep breaths!” you’ve been known to say on more than one occasion.)  I have watched you learn empathy and compassion for others.  I have watched you face tough transitions this year and handle them like a champ.  I am so thankful that I get to be your mommy!

This year was a year of so many changes and big events in our lives.  Only a few months into your fourth year we celebrated your adoption!  We had been together for over 2 years, but I am so happy that we are “officially” a forever family.  You are truly a gift from God, and I am so thankful he brought us together.  It is not lost on me that the joy of your adoption also comes with a significant loss.  My heart breaks for that loss, for the pain that it brings with it, both now and in the future.  I want you to know that it’s ok to feel that pain and grief, that it doesn’t threaten the bonds of our family.  It’s ok to be sad and angry about that loss, know that those feelings are normal and natural.  Know also that I will always love you.  There is nothing that could ever change that.  Nothing.  I will love you when you are sweet and adorable and hilarious.  I will love you when you are tired and overwhelmed and confused.  I will love you when you are angry and raging and lashing out at the world.  I will love you when you are silly and wild and scaring me to death with your latest dare-devil stunt.  I will love you when you are scared and confused and frustrated.  I will love you when you have soaked me with water or shaving cream or food.  I will love you forever.

Less than a week after your adoption we headed out of New York and moved to Illinois!  A whole  avalanche of changes was headed your way.  You went to a new school and a new daycare.  You moved into a new home with new neighbors.  You discovered the joy of living in a house instead of an apartment and began exploring the backyard and the neighborhood.  You spent time with family you had barely met before and learned about the joys of aunts and uncles and cousins and grandma.  You learned of new parks and lakes and discovered the joys of Dairy Queen ice cream cones.  Throughout all these changes you were a champ.  You showed such resilience and grew so much closer as you began to trust in our relationship in a brand new way.

It has been so incredible to see your personality emerge even more this year as you became more confident, comfortable, and verbal.  I have loved watching you pretend and be creative.  One of my favorite times is when you decided to put on a show for us—you pushed back an imaginary curtain while you said “curtain open, curtain open,” then you picked up your microphone and Bible and pretended to read us a story, then you sang a few songs, pushed the imaginary curtain closed, and said “curtain closed, curtain closed.”  You love playing with blocks and have developed a talent for building car washes and gas stations for your toy cars.  You LOVE stuffed animals and have a collection of probably a hundred different bears, dogs, cats, bunnies, and various other creatures.  You try to take as many of them to daycare with you as possible, much to the chagrin of the daycare staff.  Two of your stuffed animals are as big as you —Big Doggy and Big Teddy.  I joke that Big Doggy is your therapy dog because you always want him when you are upset.  You are an amazing helper and love to clean.  You have made good friends and begun to interact with other kids in new, exciting ways.  You have a great memory and often want to talk through things that happened months ago.  You have been doing so well in swim lessons—after we moved they had your class go to the diving board and jump off.  Most kids were scared and needed someone to pick them up and drop them in.  Not you.  You are fearless.  You just leaped off that diving board and ran back for more!  You love reading books and riding your bike or pulling a wagon.  You love cooking—you can bake cupcakes all by yourself (apart from using the oven) and love to help cook whatever is for dinner. And iPad—you love watching iPad a little too much.  You are the cutest boy ever—you’re so adorable with your sparkling eyes and one dimple.  When you laugh your joy is infectious.  Unless of course you’re laughing because you just soaked me with the garden hose.  Then your joy is not so infectious.  But I still love you.

I am so amazed at how far you have come—you are learning and growing and impressing me with new skills all the time.  I know it’s hard sometimes.  Being a little kid is hard sometimes.  Being a little kid who struggles with the weight of trauma, special needs, and delays is incredibly hard.  I know we grown ups don’t get it all the time.  But you have so many people who love you and are cheering for you!  And you have a mommy who will fight for you like a crazy, scary momma-bear every day.  Because you matter.  You are important and valuable.  You are brave and strong.  You are helpful and caring.  You are loving and smart.  You are funny and sweet.  And I love you.  I pray that God will give you the confidence to know these things about yourself, to be confident in who you are, to be confident in my love for you, and especially in his love and care for you.

Here are a few pictures of our amazing year together.

Each year I interview you for your birthday and celebrate all the special, unique things about you.  Here is your time capsule from 2016!

Mommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Austin:  A school bus driver or a school bus.

Mommy:  Do you want to get married when you grow up?

Austin: Yes, I like married.

Mommy:  Do you want to have kids one day?

Austin: (Puts his hand on his face) No!

Mommy:  What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Austin:  I’m a boy.

Mommy: What is your favorite thing to do at school?

Austin: Play.

Mommy: What do you like to play with?

Austin: A train.

Mommy:  What do you like to do for fun?

Austin:  Watch iPad. Play with Play Doh.

Mommy:  What is your favorite thing about mommy?

Austin:  I love you.

Mommy:  I love you too.

Austin:  I like to eat with you.

Mommy:  Who are your best friends?

Austin: Donald Duck

Mommy: What is your favorite holiday?

Austin:  Family night

Mommy: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Austin:  To get that racetrack (a toy he’s been asking for)

Mommy:  Anywhere you want to visit?

Austin: Church, but I’ll be too big for it.

Mommy:  You won’t be too big for church.

Austin: Yeah, because I’ll get too big for my class one day.

Mommy: Oh, ok.  Is there anywhere you’d like to go on vacation?

Austin: To visit Nana.

Mommy: What is your favorite memory of last year?

Austin:  Going to the airport to get Nana.  Moving to our new house.

Mommy: What is one thing you really want to do this year?

Austin: Get that race track.

Mommy:  What is something else you want to do?

Austin: (proceeds with a 15 minute conversation about the race track, the number of cars included with the race track, the elevator on the race track, the potential for someone stealing the race track, the amount of money he has saved up to buy the race track, etc.)

Mommy: What is something you want to do, not a toy you want to have?

Austin: Go to a pool party.

 

What is your favorite . . .

Toy:  Cars, my airplane

Drink: Root beer floats

Food: Cheeseburger and french fries and apple sauce

Activity: Going to the water park

Song: “Tooty Ta” and “Wheels on the Bus”

TV Show: Paw Patrol

Movie: Despicable Me

Book: Paw Patrol books

Sport: Swimming

Ice Cream: Twist

Color: White and Brown

Candy: Peanut M-n-M’s and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Stuffed Animal: Skye

Game: “The Elsa Game” aka Frozen Slides

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Happy 4th Birthday, Little Man!

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Happy 4th Birthday, Little Man!

It’s been a crazy seven months.  Unfortunately that has led to not much blogging lately.  So, I’m a bit behind.  I promise lots more updates to come, but today I want to rewind about a month, and celebrate Little Man’s birthday!  Here is my annual letter, interview, and some adorable photos!  Enjoy!!

Dear Sweet Boy,

I can’t believe you are four!  You are growing by leaps and bounds, in so many ways.  In the past few months you have grown two inches and gone from being able to wear 24 month clothes to wearing a 4T.  You are growing in so many other ways as well!  A year ago you had only been speaking for a few months.  Now you are talking up a storm.  You say the most adorable and funny things.  You make up songs, tell stories, and love to “read” all your books out loud.  It’s so adorable— you insist on always reading it yourself, and you open the book and retell the story for us.  You have learned to count, identify colors, and match.  I recently received your last school report and you had met several goals that you’ve been working on all year.  I am so proud of you!!

You are such a sweet boy.  I love seeing your heart and compassion.  Saying goodbye for you is always a big hug fest.  Every morning when you get on the bus we spend several minutes giving lots of hugs, kisses, and high fives.  When I pick you up from daycare, you always have a hug for your teachers, and all of your classmates won’t let you go until they’ve gotten their “Little Man hug.”  I love seeing how you cared for “Baby Sarah” when she visited.  You gave her your favorite toys when she would cry, hug her, hold her hand when she needed to go somewhere, and genuinely loved on her.  I pray one day I get to see you take care of your own baby sister.  We’ve been working on apologizing when you hurt someone and you’ve taken to initiating your own apologies when you make a mistake.  If you’re mad and intentionally hurt me, you hate to apologize, but when you’ve made a mistake or had an accident—even the smallest of things — you break out into this huge smile, run and hug my legs, and yell “I’m sorry, Mommy.”  It is the most adorable thing ever.

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This year you have tried so many new things.  You started your new school and have absolutely loved it.  You have such an amazing team of teachers, and you are absolutely in love with “Miss Carrie.”  She is so fantastic with you and I wish she could stay with you as your grow and change classes.  You tried soccer, and spent more time laying on the ground than playing, but you enjoyed being outside.  And you showed me you’re more of a football kind of kid— every time the ball (or a player with the ball) came near you, you felt the need to tackle them to the ground.  You took swim classes and have loved being in the water.  You took a dance class and loved it.  The week after it ended, you ran to the empty classroom because you didn’t want it to be over.  You got glasses for the first time, and we’ve gone through what feels like a million pairs, but you’re getting better with them all the time!  We have gone on some fantastic adventures together — apple picking, visiting Sesame Place, blueberry picking, exploring the Strong Museum of Play, meeting your new extended family for the first time, feeding animals at The Wild Animal Park, running around at Billy Beez, and so many other fun experiences.  I have loved watching you experience new things and places—you are always full of so much joy and excitement.

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You love music—when you love a song you always sing it at the top of your lungs, dancing around, and smiling with such joy.  You love to sing “Let it Go,” and whenever “Happy” comes out, you scream “That’s my song!” and start dancing.  It’s the cutest thing ever.  You have discovered imaginative play and I love watching you interact with your trains, Little People, Daniel the Tiger toys, and Elmo figures.  You have about a million stuffed animals which you absolutely love.  Over the past year I have watched as you’ve moved from reenacting violent scenes with them, to caring for them, patting their backs, taking care of them when they’re sick, and putting them in time out when they make bad choices.  Not only is it completely adorable, it is so beautiful watching you transform into a loving caregiver of all your toys.  It speaks so much about how far you’ve come, and how you are beginning to understand the role of family.  This makes me so happy for you, and so proud of your growth.

I am so proud of how far you’ve come this year.  During this year you received seven different diagnoses of special needs.  On top of all that, you were struggling to understand what was going on in your world and your family, and process the trauma you had experienced.  It’s hard to imaging have deal with just one of things—most kids with special needs only have one or two things they’re dealing with.  I’ve never met anyone who is struggling to overcome so much.  But you, my love, you are a warrior.  You are beating the odds, you are fighting to overcome the challenges you are faced with, and I am so proud of you.  So much of the time you are doing so well at fighting this fight that the people around you don’t even realize how my challenges you are facing.  And we forget sometimes how hard this is for you.  But you are amazing, and I pray that you keep up the fight and that you realize what an amazing, sweet, and lovable boy you are!

I am so very blessed that you are in my life and that I get to be your mommy.  You make everything worth it.  Over the past year we have faced some big challenges and tough times.  But you, my love, make everything worthwhile.  I can’t wait to experience the journey of your fourth year!  I can’t wait till next year when we’re celebrating that you are forever a family.  I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be!

Happy 4th Birthday!!

Each year I interview you on your birthday and celebrate all the special, unique things about you.  Last year I had share what my thoughts were, because you couldn’t yet communicate them.  This year we’re celebrating because you have come so far and can speak for yourself!!  ;o)

Mommy:  Do you want to get married when you grow up?

Little Man:  No.

Mommy:  Why not?

Little Man:  ‘Cause I don’t like it.

Mommy:  Like what?

Little Man:  Married.  I like Santa Clause.

Mommy:  Do you want to have kids one day?

LIttle Man:  Yeah!

Mommy:  How many?

LIttle Man:  Five!

Mommy:  What is your favorite thing about yourself?

LIttle Man:  I’m smart.

Mommy: What is your favorite thing to do at school?

Little Man:  Read books.

Mommy:  What do you like to do in your free time?

Little Man:  Play with choo choo trains.

Mommy:  What is your favorite thing about mommy?

Little Man:  That you play with me.

Mommy:  Who are your best friends?

Little Man: You’re my best friend.

Mommy: What is your favorite holiday?

Little Man:  Santa Clause

Mommy: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Little Man:  On a boat.

Mommy:  Where on a boat?

Little Man: All around the world.

Mommy: What is your favorite memory of last year?

Little Man:  Going to Sesame Street.

Mommy: What is one thing you really want to do this year?

Little Man: Go on vacation.

What is your favorite . . .

Toy:  My kitchen

Drink: Milk and Root beer floats

Food: Cheeseburger and McDonalds

Activity: Painting

Song: “Let It Go”

TV Show: Daniel Tiger

Movie: Frozen

Book: Pete the Cat, Rockin’ My School Shoes

Sport: Swimming

Ice Cream: Vanilla

Color: Red

Candy: M-n-M’s

Stuffed Animal: Minion

Game: Candy Land

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Your job, Mommy.

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I am working with Little Man to help him understand the proper role of a parent. This is an important job in foster care. So I have been teaching him that “mommy’s job is to take care of you.” Tonight at dinner I asked him to take something to the sink. “No,” he said, “Mommy’s job.” Well played Little Man, well played.

In other news, Little Man got glasses. He started wearing them about two months ago. His prescription is stronger than mine. A lot stronger. He is now on pair 6 or 7. Medicare won’t pay for flexible glasses, because they’re too expensive, but apparently replacing them about once a week is fiscally responsible. He’s been without glasses more than he’s been with them.

On one of our recent trips to get new glasses, the optometrist asked if he was an only child. When I said yes, he said “I can tell, only children always have such advanced speech.” Look at that, ladies and gents! That’s my non-verbal baby!!! Needless to say, I’m super proud!

My baby is sick.

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I got my first sick call from Little Man’s school today. They told me he had a fever which had quickly climbed to 101.5. I picked him up, gave him some Tylenol, and he’s been sleeping for close to three hours now. Poor baby.

By the way, he got glasses last week, and he is even more adorable than ever.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Little Man!

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So, this is a few months late in coming.  But I wanted to share.  I am totally ripping off an idea from Megan at http://www.millionsofmiles.com.  It’s a great blog that you should totally read.

Anyway, the idea I’m ripping off is a birthday letter which I plan to do every year for Little Man.  It also has a list of his favorites.  Hopefully next year he’ll be talking enough that I can actually ask him the questions, but for this year you’re just getting the mommy perspective.

 

My dear sweet boy,

Although I’ve only known you a few months, you’ve already stolen my heart. I remember the first day you came to me. I found out you were coming just a few days before, and had a chance to meet you twice. When you were dropped off at my home, you ran around the house playing with the few toys and books I had and then trying to stuff them in your tiny backpack. I’m sure you thought you were going to leave soon, and you wanted to take everything with you.   And that was when I fell in love with you.

You are a big three years old now, and you are so fiercely independent. Maybe because you’ve had to be in your short life, but my, are you so willing and insistent on doing things yourself. And you’re very good at it too. You want to cook the food, pour the milk, turn on the bath, open the packages, and turn on the car. You’re even trying to change your own diaper.

You are so smart! Sometimes, I swear, you’re too smart for your own good. In the short months you’ve lived with me, you have come to learn where we live and how to navigate there from any direction. You remember when bridges are coming up, and when we’re going to go underneath roadways. You have such an engineer’s mind—always taking things apart to see how they work, and then putting them back together. You can figure out every child latch invented (or break it open with brute force). And man, are you strong. You love to push around heavy things and haul gallons of water to the porch to water the flowers. Although, sometimes your strength gets you in big trouble when you get mad.

Ooo, and how you get mad sometimes. You go at it with everything in you, and you can have such a hard time calming down. I think you might hold the world record for the longest temper tantrums. But you are learning and growing every day. And you get mad props from me, baby. You have to fight every day to overcome so much. You fight to push past special needs and developmental delays. And you fight to overcome the chaos and confusion of growing up in the foster care system. And you fight to communicate and learn language. I am so proud of you for fighting to overcome these things. I know you can do it. I’m here for you, and I’m cheering you on!

When you first came to me you only spoke a few words, but you have come so far baby! You are talking up a storm! And though we’re still working on being able to understand all your words, you have come so far in just a few short months. Every day you’re learning new words and sentences. And everyone is in love with your voice. Seriously. You’ve got this raspy, jazz singer voice. It’s a voice that sounds a little out of place coming from your adorable little three year old body. But it’s entirely endearing. I’m so proud of you and all your hard work, buddy!

You can be so thoughtful—you get concerned when other kids are sad or crying. You’re always saying “Oh no!!” and running to me to help them out. Or running to them and trying to give them a hug—even if they don’t want one. And oh, how you love to hug! Everyone—even strangers you just met, is likely to get a Little Man hug!   Everyone loves how affectionate you are. And you’re always trying to help out—whether it’s welcoming a new kid, trying to serve me food at dinner time and make sure my plate is never empty, or cleaning the house (and I seriously love that you love cleaning so much, please always stay this way!!!)

I love you and I am praying for you every day.   And I’m not alone. There is an army of people who are madly in love with you and praying for you. People who are always demanding to know where you’re at and when they’ll get to play with you again. You make people fall in love with you so easily! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you! I believe in you, and I know we’re in for a great adventure together. I’m so glad God brought us together—I’m so lucky to be your mommy, and you’re teaching me so much. Your third year is going to be so amazing! I can’t wait for the journey!

Love,
Mommy

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Favorite Toy: Elmo doll

Favorite Drink: MILK!!

Favorite Food: Waffles. Oh. My. Word. You would eat waffles for every meal if I would let you. And you are always wanting food—even if you’re not really hungry. You wake up (about six times a night) and the first thing you always say is “Eat. Eat now.” Sometimes you will wake up from a deep sleep, start drinking milk or going to the kitchen to scavenger for food which you will eat, and then fall back asleep.

Favorite Activity: Driving mommy’s car and playing at the park

Favorite Song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Whenever it comes on in the car you gasp, scream “My song!” and then start dancing. Most adorable thing ever!

Favorite Cartoon: Little Einsteins, or as you call it “Rocketship!”

Favorite Books: I’ll Love You Forever, Pat the Bunny, Go Dog, Go

Favorite Lullabies: The song from I’ll Love You Forever, “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins

Favorite Sport: Swimming, although I’m sure you’d be in love with tackle football if you could play it.

Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate

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Sleepy Adventures

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Another thing you may have read on Facebook:

In the past two days I have watched Little Man wake from a deep sleep and

A) pick up his milk, drink it, and set it back down;

B) join in right on cue with the applause at a concert; and

C) walk to the kitchen, open a bag of muffins, grab two and head back to bead where he proceeded to eat them.

All of this was followed by him falling immediately back to sleep. I’m wondering if this could tell me something about why he wakes up so often every night. Any ideas? Does this sound like sleep walking type stuff?

Proudest Mommy Moment Yet

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If you are my Facebook friend, you’ve already read this, but . . .

Proudest mommy moment yet: whenever we see someone hurt or upset, or someone tells us they are sick or in pain, I have Little Man stop and pray with me for them. We always hold hands and end with “amen.” Tonight he was being stubborn about brushing his teeth and I told him to please brush his teeth because mommy’s back hurt. He held out one hand to mine and tried to touch my back with the other, before saying “amen.” I didn’t understand him at first and then he kept asking me to take his hand and saying “amen, mommy’s back.” Needless to say we stopped and prayed right then.

Getting teary eyed just typing it. When you think it’s not working, when you think they’re not paying attention, just wait! As one of my favorite musical theatre songs says, “Careful the things you say, children will listen. Children may not obey, but children will see, and learn, and know.”