It’s been a little while since I did this, so here are a few random stories and pictures of the kids from the last few weeks:

First of all, my disclaimer about the girly shirt on Henry is: we were at my best friend’s house and he got his shirt wet, and all she had in his size was one of Zoe’s too-small sweatshirts.  He did look awfully cute in it, though!  🙂  He loved riding around on Sarah’s vacuum as she was cleaning — anything even remotely adrenaline-charged gets him smiling. 

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The little squirt started calling me “Amber” instead of “mommy” last week!!  All on his own.  What a smart little guy.  I was washing dishes one morning and he was in his highchair and I heard him saying “Am-mo.”  I turned around and asked him if he was talking about Elmo.  He shook his head in that funny little way he does and repeated himself: “Am-mo.”  I got it then and asked him if he was calling me “Amber”…  He looked SO delighted and started laughing his funny mishievous laugh!  So I laughed with him and said, “No, I’m MOMMY” — but he just smiled and kept repeating my name… laughing all the while.  What a funny kid.

Since then he calls me “Amber” when he really wants to get my attention.  He is just too smart!  🙂

Here’s a little “attitude” for you: (he sure has plenty of  ‘tude!)

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He is really talking VERY well for having just turned eighteen months this week.  He will repeat almost anything we say and usually remembers what the word means.  He says “dad-n” in the CUTEST little voice… and calls our closest friends and family by their names.  He says “Ow, Ow, Ow” anytime he wants to protest something.  I’ve been trying to explain to him that it’s not “Ow” unless he is physically hurting —  but it’s his favorite word lately.  When he sees me coming with the lotion he starts yelling it… or when Peter stops throwing him up in the air and he wants to continue.  It made things difficult when the doctors were examining him because they were worried they were hurting him — we had to explain that most likely he just didn’t like it.  It kind of reminds me of the stories I’ve heard of older Liberian kids who have been adopted dramatically yelling “don’t beat me, I beg you!” when their parents take them to the doctor to get shots or blood drawn.  That’s exactly the kind of dramatic protesting Henry does — only his vocabulary limits him to “ow, ow, ow.”  🙂

He’s also fallen IN LOVE with Dora over the last few weeks…  He sleeps with her and recognizes her everywhere we go.  (And Dora is EVERYWHERE!)  I will be walking down an aisle at the store and he will lovingly call out her name because he’s seen some little girl wearing a Dora shirt, or he’s caught a glimpse of a Dora-themed cake box or shampoo bottle… it’s quite a funny little crush! 

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One of these days I will have to get a video to post of his uncontrollable giggles.  It’s seriously one of the funniest things I have ever seen.  You know the kind of giggles that are so intense the person goes silent but is shaking and turning red?  That’s what he does.  It usually only happens right before bed when he is in a goofy mood — but whenever he starts, everyone within earshot is doomed to catch them too.  It’s hysterical.  

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He and Joanna are starting to get along much better.  I still have to break up fights, of course — but it’s much more common now to see them playing well together.  I think we have turned a definite corner.  Joanna seems to be settling in to her role as the big sister and has hopefully tested us enough to see that we still do love her deeply.  Things were a lot harder than I was expecting in the beginning with Joanna adjusting to Henry. I’ve had a post half-way written for months now entitled “the hardest part by far” but I haven’t been able to finish it because I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I think one of the things that made the transition so hard was just how easy it had been parenting her before we brought Henry home.  It was a real shock to suddenly be dealing with very uncharacteristic behavioral issues from my sweet little girl.  It was difficult trying to balance correcting her behavior while still constantly affirming our love for her. Thankfully it seems like things are settling down.  We’re falling into a rhythm again and that always helps.  Like someone told me right before we brought Henry home: the mobile of our family that was perfectly balanced before has been thrown out of synch by adding another member… and it is going to take a while before things are aligned and balanced again — I’m just finally hopeful that we are making significant progress toward the direction of balance!

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Joanna seems so grown up to me these days.  I can carry on full-blown conversations with her and I never tire of hearing her funny little opinions and perspectives on life.  Really.  It’s such a privilege getting to watch her grow up.  I am amazed by how much she changes and grows even from week to week. 

She is currently fascinated with doctors and all things medical (it may have something to do with the fact that her brother has spent so much time going to see them.)  She thinks it’s pretty cool to “practice” medicine on Henry.  Thankfully he is really amiable about it and lets her doctor away.  Actually it’s funny, he’s become so used to meeting new doctors that often when we introduce him to someone new, he asks them inquisitively, “doctor??”

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 A few days ago, Joanna decided that she needed to take her “baby” to the hospital (‘m not sure what was ailing Abbie, but it must have been bad enough that she needed more intensive care! 🙂 ) … so Jo buckled Abbie into the doll stroller and headed off toward “town.”  After she’d gone a few feet she stopped and called back over her shoulder “Bye, Mom…  I’ll be back soon…. I’ve got my cell phone with me.”   Ha!  She takes after her father!!! 

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I think she is as ready for spring as I am!  She brought me the little photo album we’d sent over for Henry that has a picture of our house during the summer.  She was SO excited by that picture and said wistfully to me, “Look, Mom, it’s my PLAYHOUSE and my SLIDE!!… and someday it will be warm again… and the snow will leave and we will put down GRASS to play on!!” 

Yes, Jo… someday!!!

She’s also taken to naming her dolls herself.  We have always had Abbie and Gina and a few more with “official” names (that I christened) but in the last few weeks she’s begun naming all the others — the bigger dolls all the way down to the smaller ones that fit in her dollhouse.  Some of her names are pretty funny!  I just wonder where in the world she gets her inspiration!!?!?  Today she brought me a couple of the little ones and told me their names were “Hootie and One-One.”

I wonder if I should be concerned about my future grand-children’s names?  🙂 

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