Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday, Cookie

Dear Cookie,
What a beautiful little girl you have become. Today you are two years old, but it seems like only a short while ago you were our little baby. Now you are a big sister, and capable of doing so much on your own.

So that one day you will know what you were like, I wanted to write about what you are doing these days.

You run and jump and climb like a great athlete on a mission. You have good coordination, and you are FAST. Mommy and daddy are out of shape. You love running away from us and making us chase you. Even if we scold you or punish you for running away - in the store, or airport, or church, or in a parking lot - you think it is great fun. It is a good thing you are so cute - watching your eyes light up as you get the idea in your head to run and seeing the smile you flash as you turn to run, then seeing silky blonde hair flying in the wind and hearing your laughter...well, it makes it all worthwhile.

You love to be with us, and with friends and family, but you are fiercely independent. You want to do everything yourself. You often refuse help and try and try to do something yourself, even if it means you get frustrated. I'll ask "Want mommy to help you?" repeatedly, and you will give a firm "No!" and struggle with something on your own until you figure it out.

You are loving and cuddly. You still love "woobies" like mommy's jammies and soft blankies. I recently bought your baby sister her first "woobie" with a silky side and a plush side with all kinds of soft tabs to feel, and you stole it. You do, however, let her "borrow" it.

We are struggling to get you out of our bed. If we put you to sleep in your toddler bed (which is only a few feet away from our bed), the moment you realize you are in it and not in bed with us, you holler and demand to be in between us. If we oblige, you are asleep in minutes. If we don't, you let us know how unhappy you are for hours, and nobody gets any sleep. You have yet to sleep through the night. Every night you wake up and demand a drink. We tried switching to water, but you still demand it just as much. Needless to say, none of us sleep very well. But I do like cuddling with you at night. Sometimes we watch a video, or just read or sing songs until you fall asleep lying right up against me. You still have to put a hand down the front of my jammies so you can have "boobie time". My boobies are your favorite woobie.

We think you are so, so smart. You can count to 10 with little assistance. You can sing some of your ABCs, and some parts of your favorite songs. You are working on learning your shapes, colors, and numbers. You like to use your crayons and tell us you are drawing circles (which you do quite well). You read books with us and will fill in where we stop - like if we say "One fish", you'll say "Two fish!" and we'll say "red fish" and you'll say "Blue fish!" That is one of my favorite books to read with you right now.

You still love Elmo, Sesame Street, old Gerbert videos, and Charlie Brown holiday specials. You've begged to watch "Noopy Bown" every night since Thanksgiving, and we were forced to buy the 3 DVD set so we could delete things from the DVR.

You love nature - birds, squirrels, and frogs are your absolute favorites. You love feeding the birds and squirrels and watching them come eat the food you put out for them.

In spite of your birth mom's problems, you are in excellent health. You weigh 29 pounds and are in the 70th percentile for height. Your ear infection problems from your first year of life have disappeared since getting ear tubes. You still have a runny nose and cough/congestion a lot, but that seems to be something that comes with you being in daycare.

You are loving to your baby sister, and have settled in well to her being a demanding part of our lives. You love going into her room at daycare to go get her at the end of the day. If you bump into her on accident, you pat her on the head and say "Sorry sissy." You really care about other people's feelings. When you see me upset, you will ask, "What's the matter, mommy?"

It's difficult to say what words you know and use, since you seem to use them all now. There's very little that you are unable to communicate with words. Sometimes you are downright chatty, and we find those times to be intoxicatingly beautiful.

We can't imagine loving you more than we do right now, though we know that love will surely grow stronger by the day. We thank God every day for the blessing of you and your sister. We can't imagine what our lives would be like without you. We are so proud of you and we can't wait to see what your 3rd year of life has in store. Surely it will be an adventure.

We love you, Mia Cookie.

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On Turning Two

Me: "Cookie, next week will be your birthday. You'll be two years old." I hold up my index and middle finger to indicate "two".

Cookie: holds up her two fingers and says... "Two! Peace!"

Peace. Indeed.

Honey Bun Progress

At 4 1/2 months old, Honey Bun weighs 13 lbs., 8 oz. and is 23.5 inches long - that's 50th percentile for weight, and about 25 percentile for length - so she's thriving. And her 2nd tooth on the bottom has popped through. Her shots did a real number on her, though, so she feels miserable and is letting us know.

We met our permanency worker yesterday, and she's amazing. We are waiting for HB's birth certificate and one other document before the 161 TPR paperwork can go to legal counsel and then on to the court. It could be a little while longer than we wanted, but we're on track. Our worker processed her first TPR in 1997, and proudly told us she had never lost an argument for one with a judge because she does her homework. Thank you, Lord!

They are absolutely not going to look for a biological father since there is a legal father. Even though his incarceration guarantees he is not her biological father, birthmom had her chance to prove who was the father and she failed that chance.

We're in a pretty progressive state...which sounds like an odd thing to say about Kentucky. When I asked the social worker about not having to go back to birthmom for another guess at the biological father, so said, "Oh, we don't do that anymore. That approach fell by the wayside long ago. When there's a legal father in a termination case, we'll go with the legal father and our judges agree." Wow. Nice.

I'm writing my own presentation summary based on Cookie's but just changing the information to fit Honey Bun.

Michael and I are knee-deep in final grading for the semester, and grades are due on Monday. I hope the Lord understands when we skip church tomorrow to finish grading. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

As Ma*ury Pov*ich Would Say...

"In the case of baby Honey Bun...Alleged Biodad, you are NOT the father."

Yup - DNA results are back. Big fat negative.

The case will now default back to Biomom's husband (who is incarcerated as well) as the state recognizes the legal spouse as the father of the child unless proven otherwise. Because in this case it wasn't proven otherwise, the state isn't going to go through the hassle of looking for anyone else. Biomom likely prostitutes herself for drugs, so finding a biological father is unlikely anyway.

Social worker is coming to the house on Friday to put together the paperwork for TPR - this will be on the same birthparents as Cookie, so it will be a slam dunk. She wants it over quickly. She called yesterday with the news and says she is going to finish the paperwork this weekend after we meet and turn it into court next week to get a date for TPR. This means we could have a court date for TPR in January 08, and adopt in the spring.

I was also told to go ahead and work on the medical paperwork and putting together things for the presentation summary myself (since I have all the documents anyway). That will make life easier for everyone involved since presenting any summary to me written by anyone else is a joke anyway - we've had both of these girls from birth and we already have Cookie's presentation summary on the birth parents. History doesn't change.

I'll be scrambling until Friday to pull things together.

So happy to report progress!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cookie's Discovery

Last night while sitting on her potty, Cookie decided to entertain herself while I worked on putting away laundry in the bedroom. After a few minutes she emerged with a Kotex pad and exclaimed "mommy diaper" and then attempted to put it on herself.

The entertainment factor is extraordinary.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Honey Bun's Progress

At a little over 4 months old now, Honey Bun has one tooth fully erupted and it's neighbor tooth is about to push through. The drool is incredible!

In addition, we finally have roll-over. She started rolling over last week - about the same time the first tooth came through. Now she rolls over like a champ, and it seems like every time we check on her in the night she is asleep on her tummy (though we always put her down on her back). We don't bother to put her back now that she's so strong.

She's reaching out and grabbing things like toys on a toy bar now, and struggling to get things just out of reach.

She "talks" like crazy and smiles constantly with her whole face. She's just beautiful.

We don't have to wrap her into a baby burrito as much anymore. She seems to be quite peaceful.

Bath time is still a lot of work. Her last bath was the first one in her short little life that she didn't scream until she was beet red. She stared cautiously, but was still not happy about the whole thing. I've never seen a baby not love a bath, so I'm at a loss for how to make it better for her. I'm just assuming she'll outgrow the fear.

She's still pretty tiny - just now getting into the 3-6 month gear. She goes for her 4-month checkup and shots later this week, so we'll see how she's doing size-wise then.

Other than that, we're still praying for a speedy case.

Cookie will turn 2 on December 20th. Amazing how time has flown.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm Now Thinking About...

what steps we will take next to PREVENT pregnancy (the chances would be a million to one, but anything is possible that isn't actively prevented). That sounds so odd considering where I was last year. But two is plenty for us. We are busting out of our 3 br/2.5 bath house of 1850sq. feet as it is (and that isn't considered a "small" house by some standards). We are done. Besides, when biomom gets out of jail one day she will still need a way to get her cocaine. She does produce lovely babies. But we are fairly convinced that if she produces more, those children will have to become part of yet another family. It's OK, it's someone else's turn to be blessed. Preventing that's a hoot.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hanging in There

I'm constantly on the go anymore, and no real time to write or reflect. It's typical for this point in the semester and the upcoming holidays.

Update on abused student: she won't go to police or get a restraining order because she has bench warrants out on HER. Lovely. She dropped the class today. She's with her mom. I didn't ask her anything because I could be subpoenaed should any case ever got to court. It's in the hands of college counselors and social services now, and from what I gathered today, she's relatively safe.

The girls are doing great. Honey Bun has cut her first tooth on the bottom, and it looks like its neighbor will break the surface any day now as well. She's handling it like a champ. She, unlike her big sister, sleeps in the crib and isn't nearly as clingy. She still enjoys being held, but it isn't as all-consuming as it was (and still is) with Cookie.

I've learned some good lessons this semester of teaching - many of which will propel me to be less of a push-over next semester. I'm learning why so many of my older professors were just downright mean. They'd had their fill. Honestly, if I only had this semester of teaching to base my opinions of college students on (as opposed to every semester since 1994), I'd be convinced the world was going to end any day now. I'm still scared for the future, and perhaps I shall share some horror stories later.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go crank out a final exam review guide that few will even use. *sigh*