Monday, July 30, 2012

63 DAYS

We are 63 days into our baby bed to big boy bed transition.
63 naps.  63 bedtimes.

Yes, we are counting.

Miles is smart, determined, fearless, and has the strongest will I ever seen in a child.  He is pretty amazing!  And there is a reason we call him 'The Destroyer'.

Naptime usually looks something like this...
Or this...
video

Which is why there has been a lot of this...

Remember when I first told you about the transition?  Here are a few things that we had to do the first couple of days to help make Miles' environment safe for him...
"I removed toys and books within reach, tied down baskets to prevent climbing up the bookshelf, made sure all plugs were covered & blind cords were up out of reach, and put knob covers on closet & bedroom doors. Within 5 minutes of leaving him in his room the first night, I was able to add tape down light switches to the list.  By the second and third day, I had to take out his rocking chair & turn his dresser around backwards to keep him from using the drawers as stairs.  As of tonight, curtains are being removed and we are exploring our options on what to do with his blinds to discourage him from swinging from them (which is currently what he is using them for)." 
In the last two months, besides all the adjustments we made the first three days, the light switches have been duct taped (packing tape was no match for the destroyer), the lamp was removed due to broken shade and light bulb, the mattress pad was removed from the twin mattress so he wouldn't suffocate, the bookshelf was taken out, all pictures were taken off the walls, the twin mattress was taken out.

Miles room now consists of a toddler bed, a dresser turned around backwards and a floating shelf that holds his noise maker, his CD player and his monitor.

That's it!
No pictures.  No curtains.  No toys.
Nothing remotely cute or interesting.
All because we are desperately trying to keep Miles safe.  Safe from himself!

My first thought was, there, it's basically an empty shell of a room, what more could he do?

Well, this is the destroyer we're talking about.

We are now four days into our empty room.
Bedtime hasn't been too bad.
But nap time, well, it's officially my least favorite part of the day!

Nap #1:  Miles slept under the toddler bed.

Nap #2:  Miles removed the mattress from the toddler bed and proceeded to take the bed apart, one slat at a time.  I gave him a stern no and put the bed back together.  He took it apart again.  I removed the bed.

Nap #3:  After realizing that all the slats had been secured and the mattress was, in fact, tied down to the bed, Miles spent his nap climbing the dresser and sitting on top of it with his blankets in hand.  The dresser that is over three and a half feet tall with slick sides and back and only an abnormally strong three year old could climb as long the outlet cover is in place.  Again, thank you Physical Therapy :)  Outlet cover has been removed and plugs have been rerouted.

Nap #4:  Two hours of running around and Miles finally fell asleep... under the bed.

It's easy to get discouraged when you are parenting toddlers.  It's tough.  But it's just for a season.  

God wants to use both Alex and Miles to change the world.  He has created them both for a specific purpose- a purpose that no one else can fulfill.  Whether they want to be our not, they are called to be mighty warriors.

I don't know about you, but I parent much different when I think about the fact that I am parenting a future world changer, a mighty warrior, a future husband, a future daddy.

But for now, my littlest warrior sleeps in an empty room while wearing a sleep sack.  He may not look scary, but believe me, you should be a little afraid.  I may or may not have the bite marks to prove it.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MISS YOU ALREADY

Today is a special day.
It is day of celebration for our family.

June 12th is not only the day we celebrate Miles' life on this earth, but as of this morning, June 12th is the day we celebrate the beginning of my Papa's life in Heaven.
I have been blessed with the most amazing grandparents and have been able to enjoy them, learn from them, be loved by for all of my 38 years.

If you didn't know my Papa, in just a matter of minutes you would have known the loves of his life: his Jesus, his wife of 66 years, his family, his church and his Razorbacks.

His mashed potatoes are still my favorite.
His car always had a dent in it somewhere.
He once had a garden that took over his whole backyard.
And if you were a single granddaughter, he felt like it was his job to tease you about it.

He ate at Susan's everyday for lunch.
He always hung up the phone without saying goodbye.
I can't eat popcorn without thinking of him.
And Alex's first 7 years of life, he referred to Papa as 'my grandpa that has the basketball that won't bounce.'

Some of my favorite childhood memories took place at their house.

My grandmother is a beautician and my Papa never complained when we would spend hours hanging out at their house getting our hair highlighted or permed.  He never got aggravated when we would take over the kitchen table to play games or when we would sit in the floor blocking his view of the TV to play checkers with Meme, who happens to be the most AMAZING checker player in the whole wide world... no joke!

Watching my grandparents interact with each other is one of the things I'm going to miss the most.

They never talked to me about a Biblical marriage, but instead they lived it out right in front of us every single day.  I never once heard them argue or speak to each other in anger.  He was the leader of his family and took his role as provider very serious.  And my Meme, well, I've never seen a woman love and respect her husband more that she did.

Some may view my grandmother's submission to her husband as weakness, but I would beg to differ.

It takes a strong woman to serve her man.
It takes a strong woman put someone else's needs/wants above her own.
It takes a strong woman to choose to only speak loving kind words about her husband when he's not around and to choose to keep quiet if the words don't come so easy.

We celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary a couple of years ago and after everyone had left and we were cleaning up, I looked over at them and she was sitting on his lap giving him a kiss.  I don't think she realized they weren't alone.  And I love that!
Papa, I miss you already.
I think the toughest thing will be having to watch Meme learn to do life without you.

He told my grandmother a few weeks ago that he was ready to meet Jesus.
He knew without a doubt that he would spend eternity in Heaven when he died.

If you don't know Jesus, I would love to introduce you to Him.
No one will ever love you or satisfy you like He can.
Nothing will ever fill the empty place in your heart like Him.
After all, He made you, He died for you, and He has a purpose for your life.
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.  Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it.  And why?  Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
 {John 3:16-18, The Message}

{THIRD} BIRTHDAY


Today we have the privilege and honor of celebrating Miles' 3rd Birthday!


Three years ago today, we were at youth camp with our students from FBC Orlando.  We prayed daily for the little boy that God would place in our family.  We didn't know who he was, but we knew our family wouldn't be complete without him.

It would be four months before we would see Miles' face and hear Miles' story for the first time.  And it would be another four LONG months before we would see him face to face and hold him in our arms.

We were given a few pieces of the early months of Miles' life.
The months that we missed.
And days like this always make me wish I had more.


I wish I was at the Mekelle Hospital where he was when he was 7 days old.
I wish I had more pictures of the first 2 weeks of Miles' life.
I wish I could have been the one to clean the ink off his little one month old feet.

But more than anything,
I wish I would have had the privilege of meeting Miles' birthmother, Fikirte.
To thank the woman who gave Miles Misikir life.
Her sacrifice is one of our greatest blessings and she will always be one of my heroes.

So, a thousand Thank You's, Fikirte and Happy 3rd Birthday, Miles Misikir!

Monday, May 28, 2012

TRANSITIONS

Transitions are so hard.
I knew this day would come, but I was really hoping we could put it off a little longer.  We were forced to take down Miles' baby bed and make the transition to a big boy bed.  Actually, a twin mattress on the floor.

Falling asleep for Miles is tough.
Until recently, he would spend about an hour or so at the beginning of every nap/bedtime upside down.  It's weird, I know, but anyone who knows Miles knows the boy likes to be inverted.
February 2011              March 2011              October 2011
At the beginning of the year, Miles realized he was strong enough to pull his body up and fling himself head first out of his crib.

We blame physical therapy :)

I happen to be in the room the first time he did it and I caught him right before he hit the floor.  Very scary!  Miles has no sense of personal safety and no sense of cause/effect.  None!

So, we had to add this to his bed in January...
I hated the crib tent, but at the time, it was the only way to keep him safe.

I received an email a week and a half ago telling me that the crib tent has been responsible for several serious injuries, has been recalled and the company is no longer in business.  I received a full refund and was told to destroy it immediately.

So, I did as I was told and got rid of the crib tent, but doing so forced me to figure out what our options were to help Miles make this transition.  I decided that taking his twin bed apart and just putting the top mattress on the floor was the best and safest option for him. 
Miles' receptive language delay is what makes this transition so tough.  We explain what is going on and what is expected, knowing full well that he has no idea what we are saying.  Which is why we have to constantly parent ahead of him and make his environment safe for him.  It's an exhausting way to parent, but necessary right now.

While I spent a couple of hours getting his room ready for the dreaded first night, he played with some toys in the floor and seemed to not be bothered by the changes.  I removed toys & books within reach, tied down baskets to prevent climbing up the bookshelf, made sure all plugs were covered & blind cords were up out of reach, and put knob covers on closet & bedroom doors.

Within 5 minutes of leaving him in his room the first night, I was able to add tape down light switches to the list.  By the second and third day, I had to take out his rocking chair & turn his dresser around backwards to keep him from using the drawers as stairs.  As of tonight, curtains are being removed and we are exploring our options on what to do with his blinds to discourage him from swinging from them (which is currently what he is using them for).

So far, it takes him about 2 hours to fall asleep at night and nap times are hit and miss. Usually a miss :(  Which is why our evenings usually end up looking like this...
After we put him to bed, he spends his time running around the room like a crazy person, jumping on the mattress like it's a trampoline, standing on his head, and he usually takes the sheets off the bed at least once.  I guess I shouldn't bother making it back because he has yet to sleep on the bed.

We pick him up off the floor and put him on his mattress before we go to bed, but within an hour he's back on the floor.
I know all of this has to be confusing to him and I hate that for him.  The first couple of days I think he liked his new found freedom, but I don't think it's the case anymore.  I started making picture cards last week to see if it would help him understand a little better.  It hasn't helped yet, but we are committed to finding a way to get through to Miles.  After all, our next big transition will be potty training.  Lord help us!  Try explaining that to someone who can't express himself and can't understand simple instructions.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

HE IS SO WORTH IT

It's no secret.
The last 2 years have been a tough transition for our family.
Real tough.

Not only did we add a child to our family 10 years after our first,
but Miles came to us with a whole lot of developmental issues.

Most days, I am overwhelmed.
We have to laugh just to keep from crying, which only works part of the time.

Not only is Miles two, but he has this super crazy strong-will. His communication skills are that of an infant, which results in him living in a constant state of frustration. He has no sense of personal safety and a very high pain tolerance (not a good combination). He has no social skills and so many sensory issues, it's impossible to know if he's acting out or seeking sensory input. And somehow, we are suppose to parent him while being conscience of building a healthy attachment/bond, building trust, and give him a sense of felt safety. (Help me Dr. Purvis!)

There were some days in the last year that, if you asked how Miles was doing, I would immediately start crying. Everything in me wants to just answer... 'great!' But 'good', 'ok' or 'same' seems like the nicest thing I can say.

Miles has this gift of making even the simple things difficult.




It's not that he hates his car seat, this is what it looks like when we change a diaper, get dressed, get into a shopping cart/stroller/highchair, etc. And to top it off, it's usually accompanied with pinching, hitting, slapping, biting, scratching, kicking, and whatever else he can manage. He is abnormally strong, which makes it nearly impossible for me to look like I have an ounce of control of my toddler when I am in public. Talk about tearing away at your pride! I can say that, thanks to Miles, I genuinely could care less what people in Target think of me, my parenting skills, and/or my screaming two year old.

Look at this picture that was taken at Keith's parents over Christmas...

Cute right?!
Now look again, but this time, look at the sweet little guy in my arms.
He's biting me.
Keith, from in the garage, heard me 'talking' rather loudly from inside the house one day telling Miles, IN CASE YOU DIDN"T KNOW, NO ONE LIKES TO BE BIT! Not my best parenting moment, but it's true. I hate being bit!

I have to constantly remind myself what my job is.
Everyday, I am given countless opportunities to be Jesus to a broken two year old.

To love him unconditionally.
To intercede on his behalf.
To support him and help him be all he was designed to be.
To teach him to look to me for comfort when he is hurt or sad.
To respond to him in a way that shows him that nothing he can do will make me love him less.

Miles is my son.
He is chosen.
He is wanted.
He is special.
He is dearly loved.

The last 2 years haven't been easy.
If I knew then what I know now, I would do it all over again.
He is so worth it!

We are claiming Jeremiah 1:5 for Miles this year, which says "Before I formed you in your mother's body I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart." We believe that God not only made Miles, and chose Miles, but He has very special plans for his life and we feel very honored to be part of His plan.

A good day for me may mean I didn't get the breath knocked out of me while changing a diaper, or I didn't have to pry Miles' hands open to get the hair he pulled out of my head, or maybe it was a good day because my reflexes were quick and the toy that he tried to whack me up side the face with today didn't make contact, or I didn't get bit while trying to comfort him.

I wish I were kidding.
I'm not.
Not even a little.

But, I am very happy to tell you we have had twelve, count them, TWELVE straight 'really, really, good' days. I would even be willing to say that a couple of them may have actually been 'great!'