Monday, December 20, 2010

Game Recommendation

We had two extended family Christmases this past weekend, and Yikealo received a new game that I am highly recommending for those of you with small children: Richard Scarry's Busytown Eye Found It game.

Cousin Quinn spent the night with us last night - Yikealo's been begging for him to stay over - and this game kept those two boys ENTHRALLED for a good 2.5 hours this morning. The best part was that I even had fun playing it with them. Games like Chutes & Ladders or CandyLand (both of which Yikealo loves) are about enough to send me over the edge, but Busytown is a definite keeper. You play as a team, so you either win or lose as a group - which is another great thing when you are playing with two EXTREMELY competitive 4 year olds. Quinn, being the youngest of four children, usually resorts to his fists to solve disagreements, while Mr. Y tends toward excessive tattling and pouting if he's not getting his way. Needless to say, we had a lot of discussion this morning about teamwork: "Hey, teams do not fight! Teams work together to solve problems. If you two don't knock it off, the pigs are going to win!" By the end of the 7th (yes, you read that right - the 7th!) game, they were quoting me, "Remember, teams work together! Let's kick those piggies' tails!" Great, great choice, Aunt Julie!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Playing House with a Fighter-Mighter

I was informed today by the boy that he is a "fighter-mighter." What? You mean you don't know what that is? Well, neither did I, but Yikealo explained it this way:

Y: "You have to wear the right stuff, like a backpack, and gloves and boots and a fire hat. And you have to have a bear-n-arrow."
Me: "Oh, I see...but what does a fighter-mighter do exactly?"
Y: "Well, sometimes they climb mountains and stuff. And they shoot stuff. Oh, and they certainly rescue people."
Me: "They certainly do?"
Y: "Of course."
Me: "Hmmm...well it sounds like a dangerous job. What kind of things do you have in your backpack?"
Y: (pulling out a tape measure) "Sometimes you have to measure people." (binoculars) "These are to help me see better." (hammer) "This is for pounding nails." (saw) "This is for cutting logs so we can make hot-dogs."
Me: "Oh, you cook for the people that you rescue?"
Y: "Yeah, because sometimes they are very hungry, and they always like hot dots."
Me: "Interesting."
Y: "Now I need to go outside to see if there's somebody what needs rescued."

When the fighter-mighter came back inside, he had decided that he wanted to be a Dad instead, and I was his baby. I happened to be lying on the sofa at the time, so I figured that I'd play along.
Y: "Child, it is time for bed. Would you like me to get a drink for you?"
Me: "Sure, and then why don't you come snuggle with me?"
Y: "That's what I'm going to do. You don't need to be afraid, okay? Daddy's here." (snuggling in beside me and patting me on the head.) "Do you have your diaper on?"
Me: "No."
Y: "Child, are you a boy or are you a girl?"
Me: "I'm definitely a girl."
Y: "Well then, you need a printheth (princess) diaper, because girls always like to wear a printheth."
Me: "Oh they do, huh?"
Y: "Yes. Child, are you dancing from foot to foot? Because if you are, that means you need to go potty."
Me: (laughing) "It sounds like you've heard that a time or two."
Y: "Okay, Child, now it's time to wake up. You need to learn your shapes and colors, but first, I need to go work at the sink. Then I will help you."

So, is that what I sound like to him? And honestly, what DID I do for entertainment before this kid?

In other news, we had our fingerprinting appointment at USCIS on Wednesday afternoon, so that step is completed. Now we just wait for our favorable determination letter. Once we receive that, we will actually be eligible to accept a referral, although more than likely it will still be months before we learn who our child is. I think I've mentioned this before, but if this adoption were following the same time-line as Yikealo's, we would be bringing our son or daughter home in less than two weeks! Our process this time around is really making me aware of just how crazy fast Yikealo's adoption was.

God must have known that Cleo couldn't have waited even a day longer for her Fighter-Mighter to rescue her.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Coveted Bear-N-Arrow and "Boss" of the Cats

Last night was the Sunday school Christmas program at church - Yikealo's first "performance." When I was growing up, my family had the tradition that if we did a good job in our program, we got to open one of our Christmas presents afterward, so David and I decided that we were not above the same type of bribery.

Weeks ago, while looking through a toy catalog, Yikealo excitedly informed us that what he wanted for Christmas this year was a "bear-n-arrow" (bow and arrow, for those of you who actually know how to pronounce things) and he has not stopped talking about it since. So, the Cyber Monday deal on the Vision Forum website had a toy crossbow marked down 60% to $12. I happened to have a coupon for $10 off any purchase from Vision Forum, so I spent around $7 for the bow and shipping! Yay - you've gotta love deals like that. Since it didn't really fit in with our traditional frankincense, gold and myrrh themed gifts, we thought it would be the perfect "program" present.

Yikealo was SO excited to get dressed up and go sing his Sunday school songs last night - he made us turn off our Christmas music in the car on the way to church so that he could "practice some more." He was a very good little boy, thankfully, in spite of the fact that he is on two different cough medications that both have the unfortunate effect of making him EXCEEDINGLY hyper. Besides, he looked rather adorable in his new Christmas outfit.
After church, he opened his present, and we had a hard time getting him to go to bed after he saw what was in it. Of course, Daddy was pretty excited too, and confided to me that he wishes that HE had one just like it. I have a feeling that my boys are going to be getting plenty of target practice in over the next few days.
All I can say is that the resident felines had better watch out. Yikealo has recently "discovered" Cleo, and insists on dragging her around the house, much to her dismay. Whenever we see her skulking around the house with her tail tucked between her legs and her belly low to the ground, darting under the closest piece of furniture, we know that Yikealo is lurking somewhere nearby! When he catches her, he holds her down on his lap with one hand, and repetitively scritches between her ears with his other hand, while she yowls pitifully. He's not actually hurting her, but we can't make him understand that she is not interested in his ministrations.

Along those lines, I overheard this conversation last week:
David: "Yikealo, could you please come give the kitties some more water?"
Y: "Why?"
David: "Because it's your job, and I asked you to. You need to listen to your Daddy."
Y: "Okay, but Dad, I've got a great idea. How about if you be the boss of me, and I will be the boss of the cats?"
David: "Why do you want to be the boss of the cats?"
Y: "Because I want to make somebody hafta listen to me."
David: "Unfortunately, I don't think that will really work."
Y: "Why?"
David: "Because kitties usually listen even less than little boys do. Watch this: 'Frankie, come here!' (long pause) See? She doesn't listen anyway. Being the boss of the cats would not be very satisfying at all."
Y: "That's not fair! Why do I gotta listen all the time and they don't?"

So, dear reader, any suggestions on explaining that one?

Okay, off to get my hyper kid down for a nap. He's driving me just a little crazy today, in case you can't tell. A while ago, I asked why he was being so wild today, and he shrugged and said in a very matter-of-fact voice, "Sorry, Mom, but that's just the kind of little boy you got." Then he told me that it was really "George's fault, because HE started it." This is the same child that informed me last week that he was trying to "get some sleep, but I cannot, because George is jumping on the bed and blowing in my ear." Can you say "active imagination?"

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Prayer Request, New Numbers, and a Strange Medical Finding

Hi again! One of these days we'll actually get back into the groove of posting more often, but you know how life is. We do have a very important prayer request for all of you though: my sister-in-law Casey (my youngest brother Seth's wife) has been in the hospital over the last few days following some stroke-like symptoms, some seizures and a horrible migraine. She has been through a whole bevy of tests, and the neurologist can't find anything wrong, so she is currently diagnosed with a "very complicated migraine." Obviously, it has been very scary for all of us. She is only 21 years old, and she and Seth already have a lot on their plate. Seth is in his 4th year of pharmacy school as well as working as many hours as possible to support their family. They have 3 small children and they live about an hour away from their extended families. Casey's been told that she may not be able to drive again for a year due to the seizures that she had, so that further complicates everything. Please pray for them: for Casey's healing, for their strength, for Seth's last week of school before Christmas break to go smoothly, for their finances, and for their children. God is faithful, and prayer is so important! Here are some pictures of their family: (Zavier, their oldest is 4 and is one of Yikealo's good buddies, Lexie is 2, and smiley Baby Drew is 6.5 months)

In other news, we recieved our new waitlist numbers today: we are now #84 for a girl and #62 for a boy. Not a lot of movement yet, but that's okay. It will all happen when it's supposed to!
We've asked our case manager to check into the possiblity of us being able to meet Yikealo's birth family when we travel to Ethiopia on our first trip, and she did find out for us that Y's older brother is still in our agency's sponsorship program, so they do have some contact with them. We ask for your prayers in this matter too - that God will give us wisdom to know how to proceed and that he will open the necessary doors for us to meet Mihiret and Edil if possible.

Speaking of Yikealo, he has had a nasty, croupy cough again during the last few days, so I took him to the doctor today for some prescriptions. Our regular pediatrician was off, so we saw a different doctor who pointed out to me that my son does not have a uvula (that little flap of skin that hangs down in the far back of your mouth.) She said that while she doesn't really know about Ethiopia, she used to work with a number of refugees from Somalia, and it was common for them to remove the uvula of an infant shortly after birth! I was very surprised that after all of the different doctor's appointments that we've been to, no one has every mentioned this to us, but there you have it - just one of the many possible bits of random information that you can come across as an internationally adoptive Mama!