Thursday, March 22, 2007

March 22, 2007 Part 2

The boys playing. Nicholas likes to sit on the lock box.

My mom bought this toy for the boys, about a year before they actually arrived home. This little box has different kinds of locks on each door. It is great for practicing fine motor skills and also some thinking skills. They also love putting things in the box and taking them out again. We are currently storing a few wooden blocks in the box, as the entire bag of blocks are too many for them (and me) to deal with right now.

Both boys have always loved playing in the bathtub.

That is my husband, holding up the towel while watching the boys play in the bath. This is our normal watching position, both of us kneeling next to the tub, holding up the towel to keep us and the floor from getting drenched.

The boys playing. Ben in red and Nick in blue.

Nick playing with Megablocks. He can now put more than two together, although I think he likes taking them apart more than putting them together. I have seen both boys focus on a particular toy/task for longer periods of time lately. Ben spent quite a bit of time last night, trying to figure out some of the locks on the lock box.

Nick on the left, approximately 16 months old now, Ben on the right, approximately 17.5 months old now and both boys home just over two months.

March 22, 2007

 Yesterday Nick bit Ben when they were sitting in the stroller, waiting for their turn for shots. I was so shocked because we had never seen this behavior before. Ben had Nick's sandal and Nick wanted it back so he bit Ben on the hand and left teeth marks. He didn't break the skin, thankfully, but I know it hurt and Ben cried. 

I had seen both boys "mouthing" each other before, where they put their mouth on the other's arm or head or something and leave slobber but neither of them had ever bitten the other one. So when I saw Nick with his mouth on Ben's hand, I didn't think much about it. And then my sister said, I think Nick is biting Ben and I looked back, just in time to see Nick starting to pull away a little from Ben's hand, with Ben's skin still between his teeth. I was really shocked. And then my sister, who has a twin brother, said "Well, Kenny (her twin) use to bite me all the time when we were little", which is true.

One evening, while my family was here, we were all eating at the kitchen table and the boys were in their highchairs. My husband was feeding Nick and I was feeding Ben and the boys also had some cheerios handy because we frequently give them a few while we are doing final prep for the meal. It was the end of the meal and Nick was playing with and eating his last few cheerios. He handed one to my husband, who opened his mouth and let Nick put it in his mouth, which Nick enjoyed. But it was the last cheerio, except for the one he was chewing in his mouth. So Nick promptly put his finger in his mouth and dug out the half-eaten cheerio and then wanted to put it in daddy's mouth. It was quite funny and everyone laughed.

Friday, March 16, 2007

March 16, 2007

This coming Sunday, two days from now, will be two months since we picked up our sons from the orphanage in Volgograd Russia (1/18/07). At that time, Nicholas was 14 months old and Benjamin was 15.5 months old. They are now approximately 16 months and 17.5 months old, respectively. It is amazing at how much they have changed in just two months.

Here is Ben on our first visit to Volgograd in November of 2006. He was 13.5 months old in this picture.

And here is a picture of Nick during our first visit to Volgograd in November of 2006. He was 12 months old in this picture.

Here they are in the hotel room in Volgograd on 1/18/2007. This is the day we really became a family, although we legally became a family the day before in court.

In this picture, Ben was 15.5 months old and Nick was 14 months old.

Here is a picture of Ben today, almost two months later. This is the best picture I could get of him today but, I'm telling you, this kid has one of the most charming smiles you will ever see. Everyone comments on it, in addition to his big, beautiful, brown eyes. He has a beautiful smile and he is a beautiful child.

Two months ago, he would hardly play with a toy and would be more likely to throw it down or drop it quickly if you handed him something. He immediately pushed any food that was placed on his highchair tray to the floor and could not feed himself at all. In fact, he never, ever brought anything to his mouth to chew on, except for his finger sometimes. Anytime he was frustrated or angry about something, he would hit himself and sometimes he would try to hit us. He could crawl but he could not walk. He could pull up but was not very good at cruising and didn't show much interest in it. When he did pull up, he did not stand for very long. He did not babble a whole lot and could not say any words.

He can now feed himself finger food very well and he also chews on toys. He hardly ever throws anything in the floor when he is eating in his highchair and he never hits anyone anymore, including himself. He is now walking pretty well and spends a good part of his waking hours walking all around the house. He has become more assertive and he no longer lets Nick take away his toys. He now babbles all the time and he says momma, dada, kitty, all done and he tries to say many other words. He is still behind with his communication but catching up quickly.

And here is an up to date picture of Nick. He has an adorable smile too...maybe a bit impish...he is a little imp. He is also a beautiful you think I might be just a bit biased?

Two months ago, Nick was pretty much on track developmentally and was actually ahead in some areas. He is still pretty much on track developmentally but also behind with his receptive communication skills. His latest interest is talking on the phone. He was holding a block to his ear the other day and saying something that sounded much like "hello". When the phone rings he also says something that sounds much like "hello". If I am busy and don't answer the phone, they both look at me expectantly, like I should be answering it. They both love to listen as someone talks to them over the phone, especially when daddy calls. Nick is also now starting to run a little bit and loves climbing all over the furniture. He can say quite a few words and tries to say many more that are hard to recognize. He understands so much more of what we say as each week goes by, it is amazing. He knows where we keep the drinks and snacks and will point to the fridge or cabinet when he wants something.

They are both pretty smart little guys and we are enjoying this time of learning about their developing personalities. I was looking at some of the old pictures and it is amazing at how much they have filled out since they have been home. Their faces were so much thinner in the earlier pictures and I can really tell a difference in their little thighs. They have a bit of meat there now, almost a little bit of a chub....much more normal looking. Two months ago they were skin and bone.

They are interacting with each more and more each day and it is obvious they enjoy being with each other. They follow each other around and mimic each other a lot.

Sometimes they are pretty good about sharing and they enjoy playing together or near each other.

...sometimes not:). Actually, times like this are pretty rare, for now anyway. This type of behavior is more likely to happen when they are playing very close to each other and they accidentally fall into or onto each other and/or they are wanting to play with the same toy. They normally stop before I have to intervene but sometimes I have to firmly tell them to stop. Nick tends to enjoy sitting on or rolling on top of Ben and Ben doesn't care for that too much.

They both love pushing everything around, including cups that are turned upside down or anything that is not suppose to be pushed and may ruin the wood floors. We try to keep them interested in pushing around the things that are made to be pushed around.

 They both know how to "give mommy a kiss" and also "give mommy a hug" now and it simply warms my heart. They think it is so funny. They are so sweet and cute and hugable!

We are so very very blessed. I believe these two little guys are both miracles and blessings from God. That they have done so very well with this major transition in their short lives is just a miracle. I thank God for them and for how well they are adjusting to us and also us to them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March 14, 2007

Yesterday I was trying to find the cow that goes with the little barn toy we have. The cow is Nick's favorite and he was missing it so I was looking for it all over the house, including under the furniture. I finally found it in the bottom of the toy basket. Today Nick was looking for it and I saw him imitate what I did yesterday. He got down on his hands and knees and was looking under the furniture. It was really cute.
Benjamin and Nicholas continue to learn so much so quickly it amazes me. After teaching them at one meal to say "all done" and hold their hands up, when they are finish eating, Benjamin started doing it at every meal. It is really cute. Nicholas copies also when Benjamin does it. Today, Benjamin started saying "all done" and waving when we were leaving to go somewhere. So he may be a bit confused about when to do this.

Ben really is catching up with Nick so quickly. He is walking really well now and he walks all over, all the time. He does circles around the kitchen island, while playing with a toy in his hands. The bad thing is he is not real good at watching where he is going and ends up tripping over things every once in a while.

I love being a mom. I love being a stay at home mom. I enjoy having a routine, most of the time anyway. I love introducing the boys to new things and watching the delight in their eyes as they see and learn new things. They are so sweet and cute. Our cat probably wouldn't agree with that though. We are still working on getting them to be consistently nice and gentle with the cat but they are getting it sometimes. There are times when I worry about the poor cat though, although I don't know why he keeps getting down in the floor, right in the middle of them for more torture. I guess he must like it somewhat. He is a sweet cat.

The other cat ended up getting locked up in the boys room again last night. This is the second time this has happened. I must be better about checking on her. I heard her on the baby monitor around 7:00 or 7:30 this morning, meowing at the top of her lungs. She can meow very very loudly. It is somewhat surprising really. I quickly ran up stairs and cracked their door to let her out and Nick started half-crying that wake-up kind of cry but thankfully he was able to go back to sleep.

Friday, March 09, 2007

March 9, 2007

The boys have been invited to an Easter egg hunt at a friend's house in April. Since they have only actually stepped foot on grass once, I thought I should probably get them out in the yard a little before the Easter egg hunt. So yesterday we went into the yard. Benjamin was a crack up, crawling and walking everywhere, not caring if his hands were dirty or what he was crawling through (I'm so glad we don't have a dog). Nicholas was just the opposite. He fell, while walking on the grass and sat there with his hands in the air, not wanting to touch the grass and kind of unhappy about his situation, wanting me to pick him up. I think some of this probably is because he is not feeling well right now.

We received a bubble machine at the lovely shower that was given for us last weekend, so I took that outside and let them play with it. They both liked it a lot, although Nicholas kept putting his finger on the little hole where the bubbles are suppose to come out. They had fun with it though. We really have to get out in the yard more though and I think I may need to hide some eggs for them and teach them how to hunt for Easter eggs, so they will have more fun in April.

Other than this, they are both doing great. They are saying more and more words. Ben was hardly even babbling when we first took custody of him and now he babbles all the time, although he is more quiet around people he doesn't know.

Our adoption was finalized on January 17th, 2005, we took custody of the boys on January 18th and we arrived home on January 23rd. Approximate ages of the boys now: B is approximately 17 months old and Nick is now around 15.5 months old.