On April 7, some of my co-workers threw me a baby shower. They were very crafty and painted onesies for Maggie; Elise even got to paint some. These are the same co-workers that painted quilt squares and made a quilt for Elise (http://mcclellantown.com/?p=263); they’re pretty great co-workers. It was nice to get to chat and hang out without tons of preschoolers running around us except for my Elise. And we were very appreciative of the generous gift card and other gifts from my co-workers and the lovely gifts from parents of kids in my class. Thanks again girls!
Well, we’ve made it to Easter. I’ll be 38 weeks tomorrow, so Maggie is welcome to come any time. Meanwhile, we still did our Easter festivities. Elise got to “dive” some eggs and then decorate them with glitter. And Scott got some great pictures of her finding her Easter basket this morning; Elise kindly obliged with some great facial expressions. Enjoy!
My brother, Johnny, finished the first part of his training as a Dallas firefighter and is now officially a rookie. His class showed us several things they have learned: rappelling, church raise, helio something, burn house, propane tank simulation. Elise had fun watching and cheering on the firefighters.
Johnny’s biggest part was the burn house. He was on the engine that responded first, Engine 54, and he was the guy on the nozzle which means he operated the hose in the fire. He was the first one to enter the fire. In the video, he’s the one kneeling down at the door; then you sprays of water coming out of the house after he enters until he finishes. You also here Elise and I talking a lot, so it’s pretty well narrated.
Then after officially becoming rookies and shortly before the closing prayer, the chaplain said, “There’s a young man that has something to say, but I’m not sure which one it is.” And Johnny stepped forward to propose to his girlfriend Erin. He had been nervous that something would happen like the chaplain or instructors would forget to give him time to propose, but it was perfect. They’re engaged!
Today we did all things Elise would love. We went to her big sister class at the hospital, then to play at the park, and eat Chik-Fil-A. She got an extra treat because a friend gave her some money, so Elise could buy the Dora watch she’d been wanting. The big sister class didn’t do as much as I thought it would. They made picture frames to give to the babies which Elise of course says is hers and not for the baby. When they sat on the floor to read a book about a new baby, Elise was kind enough to tell the nurse that mommy couldn’t bend down. And when they got to the part about the baby being born, she said, “I was born…in Vietnam. Mom and dad came and get me.” She also clarified for everyone where exactly the special milk from mommy’s body comes from. Next, they learned to swaddle, took a tour of the hospital, and got “graduation” certificates. Elise said her certificate was an email for a Dora adventure, so maybe the big sister thing is lost on her a little bit though she does proclaim that she will be a great big sister. I’m sure she will.
And for those keeping track, I have 30 days until my due date, May 9. I’m hoping I don’t make it to 40 weeks, but we will just have to wait and see.
Elise and I have had some conversations over the past couple of weeks that I think form an interesting progression.
About a week and a half ago, Elise asked how baby Maggie got in my tummy. I told her that mommy had a seed deep inside her body, and daddy had a seed deep inside his body. Daddy’s seed made mommy’s seed grow. Her reply, “Grow? Into what?” Me, “A girl.” Elise, “Like me.” Me, “Yes like you, but you grew in someone else’s tummy in Vietnam.” Elise, “that’s right,” and she bounced back to ballet class after her potty break. (This conversation is courtesy of Mary Flo Ridley http://justsayyes.org/maryflo.php)
Then this weekend, she asked, “Which people is the baby going to go with?” I was confused as to the people and the baby she was talking about until she pointed to my belly. Me, “Oh, Maggie? She’s staying with us in her room upstairs.” Elise’s response was to start crawling around on the floor like a baby.
On the way to school this morning, Elise asked me to sing her a song I sang her when she was a baby. It’s just something I made up that talks about us going to Vietnam. She said, “I go on plane to Vietnam.” Me, “We brought you home on a plane from Vietnam.” Elise then said something about having to have a big bottom to sit on the plane (not sure where this came from). Me, “Right, Elise you were too little sit on the plane. I have a picture of you sleeping in a bed on the plane and sitting in daddy’s lap.” Elise, “That’s in my story (her lifebook).” And then tonight, we told Elise daddy was going to a meeting. She said, “With friends?” Me, “Yes, with friends.” Elise, “Daddy is going to a meeting. Mommy is eating strawberries. And I’m going to Vietnam?” Me, “No. Daddy is going to a meeting, but you’re not going to Vietnam. We are all staying here in our house in Plano. ” (The strawberry reference is not important. It was just something she heard me talking about.)
So, she seems to be processing her story and asking: Where did this baby come from? Where is it going to live? and Where am I going? Her little world is about to be turned upside down (as is mine and her dad’s), and she just can’t make sense of it right now. But she’s asking questions, and hopefully she’s getting the answers and support she needs.
As I answer Elise’s questions, what questions of my own are surfacing? I have heard people compare the reception a biological child receives versus a child who is adopted and finding them unequal. This is not something we have experienced; our families’ and friends’ have been equally supportive and welcoming of both our children. Elise may have gotten more attention than Maggie. In fact, I am going to be disappointed if we don’t get dinners, visitors, and my mom cleaning my house (Mom I think you did dust because I remember correcting your dusting technique). Sorry friends and family but you set the bar pretty high the first time, and I have high expectations this time.
While we prepare and wonder about the next chapter in our story, Elise will always be our first baby. I told her the other day that I was glad she was my first baby. Scott asked me why, and I don’t really have an answer. I’m just happy Elise was first. There is really no way she would have become apart of our family without adoption, and I don’t think anyone can imagine our family without her.
We had a busy March. We were down in Houston for a baby shower with family at the beginning of March. Elise got to introduce her cousin Olive to watching shows on the iPad, and she loved playing with her cousins. Then for spring break I wore myself out. Elise and I went to the Ft Worth Zoo, Ft Worth Science Museum (where we met up with two other families who adopted from Vietnam), and visited with family. With family in town, Elise took to wearing out her Uncle Ben which gave me a break. Thanks Ben.
As for a pregnancy update, I was 32 weeks at spring break which was a turning point. I say everything went downhill for me, but really I just acted more like was pregnant. I couldn’t sleep from back pain (probably all the walking at the zoo and carrying Elise), so I now own a pregnancy back brace for back and belly support. I also started a hunt for comfortable flip flops; I have crocs, Dr. Scholls, and clarks. I recommend the Dr. Scholls from Walmart the most. And I finally got the much anticipated stretch marks. All thanks to a growing and heavy belly and baby Maggie, but I only have a little over month to go – 38 days and counting.