Baileys Adventures

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…-Proverbs 17:22

Our First Year March 25, 2013

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Baileys Adventures — andreabaileys @ 9:32 pm

The password for this video is B32012

As you may know by now, our adoption of B3 was finalized last week. We are so excited to be able to share B3 with you at last. We have been so blessed by everyone’s comments and support, both through our adoption and through our entire quest to start a family.

I think I’ll find it a bit easier to blog now that I can show you pictures of what we’ve been doing. For now, enjoy catching up on our year!

 

Hard Stuff October 1, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 8:00 am
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Last week Brian and I went back to the foster classes we took in February and March  to speak about receiving a placement of a child who is adoptable and the various  issues that come along.  It was a little nerve-wracking to openly tell people about our first three months.  Because it was hairy, folks.  B3 came to us only 6 months after losing his family of origin, and losing his second family (his foster family) so quickly left him with some serious abandonment issues.  This is on top of his existing behavior issues and the fact that he’s three.

But as we prepared to tell these foster parents to be what to expect (ha!), we realized again (and again and again)  just how far our little guy has come.  It’s been ages since either of us has been hit, kicked, or bitten.  The angry screaming and inconsolable crying has tapered to an occasional phenomenon, and running away in public seems to be a thing of the past.  As we talk more and more about feelings and strive to give them names B3 is starting to use that knowledge to say “I’m a little sad today” or “That makes me angry”.  We’ve learned that none of the plans we had for parenting are going to work, and that if your three year old is bright enough you actually can reason with them.

I was glad to share our story with folks who will probably find themselves knee deep in angry, confused, broken child within the next six months.  It’s not all lollipops and sparkles, by any stretch.  But sometimes your little guy sits on your lap and tells you that he’s “a little happy but a lot sad and and angry” and doesn’t know why…so you send him to “Mister Donald’s” for lunch with his daddy and he comes back feeling at least 25% better.   And later you pick him up from your parents’ house and he had a great time without meltdowns and he goes to bed happier than he got up.  And that’s a little tiny victory.

 

Where Does He Get This Stuff?! September 28, 2012

Filed under: B3 — andreabaileys @ 1:30 pm

Last weekend, Brian and I finally took the kiddo out to buy a new bed.  Since B3 came to us so suddenly, we were still set up for “birth to three foster care”.  Everything was slightly baby-oriented and convertible for older children.  My brother and sister-in-law bought us a crib, and our awesome friends the Bravermans bought us a mattress.  Set up in the toddler bed mode it has been perfect for B3 since he came in April.  Lately, though, we’ve noticed a lot of tossing and turning, and our very active almost-4-year-0ld was using the remaining bars on the bed as a jungle gym.  Finally we realized he’s just gotten too big for his britches…um, I mean bed.

So off we went to buy a full size bed, and I headed to Target to have entirely too much fun buying snazzy new bedding for my little guy.  It was an all day operation, and by bedtime we were all exhausted with shopping, hauling, laundering, bed-dressing and the tiring effect of “change” on B3.  He doesn’t enjoy it, that’s for sure.  As we finished up our bedtime routine and B3 and I were laying on his new bed waiting for Brian to come read books, the following conversation made me laugh my head off:

B3: You want some covers, Mommy?

Me:  Sure.  Thanks.

B3:  Can I put my head under?

Me:  Sure.  It’s your bed.

B3: You want covers over your head?

Me:  No, thank you.  I don’t like covers over my head.  I can’t stand it.

B3:  (nodding sagely) You know what I can’t stand?

Me: (afraid of where this was headed) What?….

B3:  Lions.
He never missed a beat, and was dead serious.  I literally laughed til I cried.  I love this kid.

 

Summer Recap, B3 Style September 23, 2012

Filed under: B3,Baileys Adventures,Catching Up — andreabaileys @ 12:05 am

Don’t freak out, your Google Reader isn’t broken…I just haven’t updated my blog in almost two months.  I’m realizing that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get every thing done, which is probably why my house is a huge mess and I seriously need to hem a few pairs of jeans (or grow three inches) and nothing has gotten crafted, sewn, crocheted, or otherwise done around here.  Most days I’m happy we’re all in clean (if wrinkled) clothing and fed a somewhat nutritious meal at some point before bath time.

The nutshell version is:  we’re all doing well.  We’re finding a system that works for all of us and are really enjoying our new little family.  Brian’s been working a lot of overtime and I finally have a full house again.  B3 is settling in nicely and is usually on a pretty even, albeit hyperactive, keel.  We have rough days and we’re working through a lot of emotional stuff, but by and large it’s all working pretty much as well as we could ask.  While it’s slightly uphill, this whole parenthood gig is pretty awesome.

I’m finding it hard to write blog posts without pictures.  I really want to share B3 with you guys!  Not only is he adorable (I can say that — I didn’t make him) but we’ve been doing some awesomely fun stuff this summer.  So, here’s what all I would show you if I could…and some day soon I will:

*B3 meeting my parents, who promptly fell in love.

*My first Mother’s Day and the first time I took my kiddo to a restaurant, and his first time meeting his Uncle.

*Our yearly yard sale, now with cute entertainment.

*B3 meeting Brian’s parents, who promptly fell in love.

*A huge picnic with my father’s family and some family friends to celebrate Father’s Day and let folks meet B3.  He was understandably overwhelmed but had fun.

*Riding his “motorcycle” up and down the back alley, including a huge wreck and our first “boo boo”. First here, at least.

*A huge storm which led to all of us huddling in the basement. B3 was introduced to Angry Birds that night and was a trooper through all of it.

*Meeting Spiderman at a local furniture store. Good call, Brian!  It blew his mind.

*VA’s baby Z was born, and B3 spent his first day away from me.  We survived.

*Fireworks!  B3 was completely underwhelmed.  I may have built it up a little too much.

*A fabulous picnic with my mother’s entire family to welcome B3.  He had an absolute blast playing with cousins and making Mama and my Little Bro run all over creation on the park. We learned that he will run willy-nilly in front of a bunch of swings, repeatedly. B3 met sweet baby Em since my YaYaPrincess came down, too!

*Our first trip to WV to see Brian’s entire family.  Folks came from several hours away for a giant picnic and we had a blast.  B3 met his aunts, Uncle Cop Guy, Girly Monkey, and about a billion cousins.  He did great on the 8 hour trip there, and when the trip home stretched to 11 hours he still did just fine.  We stopped at WVU to see the coliseum and Jerry West statue (“That guy is huge!”) and he enjoyed running around all weekend meeting new friends.  Saturday morning he took a face-plant into a set of wooden steps, bit into his cheek and gave me a coronary.  After a bloody hour he had recovered well, was sporting a huge bruise and gash and had a good back story (“It was a bar fight.”)

*Driving over the mountain to see Uncle Little Bro and Aunt Sweet Lizzy’s new house and have lunch.  B3 had tons of fun.

*Discovering my kid has an amazing innate grasp of math and reasoning, including the ability to subtract and do 30-40 piece puzzles he’s never seen before.  Yeah.  So pretty quick we went from “working on basic stuff” to homeschooling for real with plans and curriculum.  My 3 year old can trace letters, memorize Scripture, and manipulate numbers, ya’ll.  I thought I had two years to adjust to being a mama before I had to learn how to be a homeschooling mama.  Nope.  Our first official day of school was September 10, and he’s doing amazingly well with two 45-minute sessions each day and some review work or sensory activities in the evenings. WOW.

*My birthday.  35 feels pretty sweet.  We took our first picture with all three of us, which is my new favorite picture.

*The Hill Reunion, followed by our joint daycare picnic.  Both chances to run around parks and eat hot dogs.  Or, as B3 would call it: Heaven.

*Two hours hanging out at BW3 to watch WVU slaughter JMU.  B3 can officially hang with the Mountaineer crowd — which is good since that’s pretty much his only Daddy-permited college choice other than Stanford.

*A few trips to Skyline (we saw a bear both times!) and the arboretum, and fun at the parks in our neighborhood.
It’s been an amazing summer.  Thank you to everyone who’s made our little guy welcome in the family, and to everyone who’s praying for us as we learn how to be parents.  Happy Fall!

 

Mama Said…. July 24, 2012

Filed under: B3 — andreabaileys @ 10:18 pm

…there’d be days like this.  You know: those days when you get to the end, sink down on the couch and just thank God it’s over? Yeah, those days.  We just made it through one of those days, and thank God it’s over!

B3 is many wonderful things. He’s adorable, funny, sharp as a tack, and so gentle and loving.  And at the same time, he’s a three year old boy who’s been in foster care.  That’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.  B3’s been with us for 11 weeks tonight (wow!), and I’ve been with him almost 24-7 for that entire time.  I think I’ve left him with Brian 4 times and Mama once in that three months.  What this means is that he seems to be attaching to me quite well, and after about two rough months I seem to be having more good days than bad.  There are exceptions, of course, but by and large he and I have a good idea of how things need to happen in order to get to 9 PM happy.  Unfortunately, Brian is with B3 about half that time, so they’re only about half as far along the line.  Which means that lately every time they’re together someone ends up in time out or yelling.  Usually it’s B3.

Today…good grief.  One of those days.  I may have watched one too many episodes of Mad Men last night and was a bit less than eager to get out of bed this morning.  I decided to shower at nap time so I could actually enjoy it.  I headed to work and spent the next two hours trying to keep a 3 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and an 18 month old from swinging off the fan while the five month old refused to drink his bottle or take a nap.  The 18 month old took three years to eat some oatmeal.  B3 refused to eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast (hello?  who prefers cereal to that?!) before heading to the arboretum with Brian for the morning.

And then…the tantrum began.  Refusal to put on his shoes, refusal to go use the bathroom, refusal to….well, everything.  Ever been involved in a two and a half hour tantrum and time out?  It’s just as fun as you would think. By 10:00, the 18 month old was headed home with a fever over 103.   Somewhere around 11 I was refereeing another fun father-son battle of wills while holding a squirmy baby and trying to convince him (again) to drink his bottle when I heard that distinctive sound that means someone is going to have to change a diaper soon.  Since he’s definitely gifted me with several poopsplosions before (like last week), I almost said out lout “Man, I hope this diaper holds until he takes this last ounce or so.”

About 5-10 minutes later, I got up to put the little guy in the swing, and as I shifted my hand under him, it felt wet.  I immediately said “Oh, God, no!”…and realized that my hand wasn’t the only casualty.  My only clean jeans, the baby’s outfit, all lost to PoopTuesday.  I will say I instantly had the attention of every kid in the room, even mine who was serving yet-another-time-out.  From there the rest of the day went downhill.  I’m lucky my Munchkin Coalition is well-trained enough to handle it when one small boy (mine) loses his mind at lunch, crawls under the table to avoid going to nap and then plays for two and a half hours instead of napping. My nap time shower?  Lost to thunderstorms and a tornado warning.  Instead I managed to develop a migraine so bad I couldn’t even function.

Other than a brief period from 4:20-5:28, the rest of the day progressed the same.  I taught a lesson listening to the strains of one screaming boy pushing his daddy’s buttons, Brian escaped to the store to pick up (sweet, blessed, caffeine-laden) Dr. Pepper while the monkey ate dinner, and he finally dropped off to sleep by 8:45.  We heated up chili from the freezer and indulged in the sad, desperate lives of Don Draper and Peggy Olsen.

Some days…you just thank God you made it though. Luckily, as I keep telling B3, tomorrow is a brand new day.  Goodnight!

 

9 weeks?! July 13, 2012

Filed under: Adoption,B3,Foster Care — andreabaileys @ 1:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

Somehow, it’s been over 9 weeks since B3 came to live with us full-time.  That’s just nuts to me.  Sometimes it feels like it’s been 9 minutes, and other times it feels like he’s always been here.  I’ve written this post in my head a billion times, but I haven’t known what to say so I’ve been avoiding my computer.  That, and by the time we get him to bed at night all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch my newest addiction (Mad Men, at the moment) in the 30 minutes I have left before bed.  This has been a huge adjustment on us all, but we’re starting to get a handle on it.

So far things are going exactly as we expected.  We had a couple good weeks with a sweet, agreeable, friendly little boy.  And then he started to work through the attachment stuff just like we were expecting.  And so we had about 6 weeks of….wow.  Angry, mean, acting out little boy who didn’t know what to do with all his feelings.  In the space of an hour we could go from a happy guy to hitting, kicking, screaming, and clawing.  And then poof!, he’d be fine again. We learned that B3 is a master manipulator who is entirely too smart for his own good, but at heart is simply a sweetie who wants love and craves attention.  He’s also downright hilarious and goofy, which is good.  In addition, it appears the headcount of “People with ADD in Our House” is raised to 3…  At least he’s in good company, right?

The past week has been pretty excellent.  B3 is starting to understand that Brian and I are in charge and that arguing with us is rather like arguing with a couple of posts.  He also learned that running from us is never a good idea since Daddy played football and Mama moves faster than any fat girl ever should. The entire past two months has been full of learning experiences.   B3 learned that running through the sprinkler (“sprinkles”) is awesome, and that riding your little motorcycle super fast is fantastic but hitting the ground at that speed sucks. Apparently all things are made better by a Phineas and Ferb Band-Aid, though.   Brian and I actually find ourselves discussing the merits of Diego versus the WonderPets (Backyardigans still get my vote every time, though), and 10:30 now feels like 2 AM.  Snuggling in bed with a kid may be nice, but snuggling in bed with my kid is rather like trying to hug an octopus made of knees and elbows who never…stops…talking.  I also learned not to start something with a 3 year old that you don’t want to continue ad nauseum, for the rest of your freaking life.  For example, this kid will expect lemon yogurt-covered pretzels (printzles) after lunch for doing a good job for the rest of his natural life.  And I learned that Miss “We Only Eat Healthy Stuff” will happily bribe her kid with food via a behavior chart: Dum Dums for five stars, chocolate pudding at 10, and Reese cups for 15 stars. Hey, Reese cups are clearly his currency — who am I to argue?

All in all, it’s been an hilarious two months, and we’re beginning to feel like we’ve turned a corner.  Hey, the monkey is usually eating the majority of his dinner without incident, is finally sleeping halfway decently, and loves to help out around the house. We’ll take it.  He’s baffled by cleaning and clapped for me after I cleaned his bathroom last night — where has this kid been all my life?!