Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More Ty-ee-nol, Momma?

Our son has a sweet tooth -- or should I say sweet teeth, since he is infatuated with sugar. Especially refined sugar. Preferably with red dye number 40. Particularly late at night. And hopefully laced with caffeine to prolong the wall-bouncing that inevitably ensues.

I should have known. When he was a year old I let him play with the pots and pans in the kitchen while I assembled our dinner. I didn't work fast enough, because in the blink of an eye he went from drumming like a fiend to scavenging like a rodent through our kitchen cupboards.

He expertly cast aside the canned vegetables, knocked over a five pound bag of flour, and threw the spice jars around like live grenades. But the boy knew what he was after, and he settled on his prize without hesitation. He let out a squeal of delight and dove head first into the brown sugar bag.

I dropped the salad dressing and dragged him out of the lazy Susan. He tried to squirm back into the cupboard while I brushed clingy clumps of sugar out of his hair, eyes, nose, and mouth. "Mooooooooooooooooooooooow-er? Moooooooow-er pease"? (Mower meant 'more' in those days, and 'pease' is and remains 'please').

Ah, "more". The monosyllabic request of a legion of toddlers. In the time since he learned the word, Little Man has made numerous requests for more. Each day brings a new demand:

More sugar?
More candy?
More swimming?
More juice?
More wawer? (water)
More wawer park?
More beach?
More Grammy?
More Papa?
More up? (i.e. don't put me to bed)
More down?
More snuggles?
More frenfry? (french fries)
More book?
More tickle?
More puppy?
More horsey?
More chick-en? Bawk bawk? More chick-en?

But last night's request was unusual:
More ty-ee-nol? Pease, Momma?

Now, it's a pretty sad state of affairs when your toddler asks to be medicated. We were enjoying a nice evening at home, as our friends were in town from Dublin to visit. Little Man took a shine to my friend Amanda, and was constantly climbing in her lap and demanding her attention, "More book, Mumanda? Pease? More stoh-wee?"

After a few stories he flopped out of her lap, toddled over to his Daddy and climbed up for a snuggle. He looked at me and declared "More ty-ee-nol, Momma?"

We all laughed hysterically, as his requests are usually for something delicious. But he was insistent: "More ty-ee-nol. PEASE, Momma?"

At that he slid off of Daddy's lap and landed in a toddler puddle on the floor. "Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, more ty-ee-nol!"

I went over and picked the little munchkin up. I didn't need a thermometer to know he was fevered. Poor babe. In just a few short minutes he'd transformed from bouncing baby boy into a sobbing mess on the floor.

Of course, Little Man got his ty-ee-nol -- oops, I mean Tylenol. I am so thankful he can communicate now. I'm pretty proud that he can verbalize his needs. Of course, I'll be happy when he's feeling better and goes back to asking for more "more candy" instead of "more ty-ee-nol".
Get well soon, Little Man! I'll even let you play in the brown sugar cupboard if it will help you feel better. ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Opening the Door on Openness (Part Two)

After months of waiting, Little Man finally got to meet his big brother. It had been a long time coming, and we were so glad the day had finally arrived. The weather was too lovely to consider meeting indoors, so we opted to meet at a nearby beach.

The morning of the meet-up, I was a mess of nervous anticipation and giddy excitement. The enormity of the occasion was getting to me. I quickly became long on questions and short on patience.

Me: "Are you wearing that to the beach?" (Kevin: Why can't I wear my skull t-shirt?)
Me: "Did you wash his face? Clean his ears? Cut his toenails?" (Kevin: Yes. No... um, I'm just about to.)
Me: "Should we change his swim trunks? They don't match his hat.... should he wear his hat? I want them to see his curls!" (Kevin: You've changed him seven times already. He looks fine. And they'll see the curls.... even with the hat on they're so huge they obscure the sun if he stands up straight.)
Me: "What if they don't like us? (Kevin: "They'll like us, I'm just not sure about you.")

But we got there, and waited at the playground for the family to arrive. We'd agreed to meet at noon, and already the beach was bursting with families. The playground was full of giggling kids. Having only seen one photograph of the family, we weren't exactly sure who we were looking for. So every child who seemed to be the close in age to Big Brother was closely scrutinized. Every pair of parents sitting on a bench was quickly approached by me, a crazed mother, looking to put on her best friendly face to the parents of her son's big brother.

Then we saw a family struggling up from the parking lot, buried under beach toys, umbrellas, and coolers. They brought along a daughter and a young son, whose mischievous grin was all-too familiar. I knew in a heartbeat it was them!

Little Man and I were standing at the top of a covered tube slide when we first saw the family. When we reached the bottom, Big Brother was standing in the sand in front of us. Brother's Mom was calling Little Man's name, and we happily hopped out of the slide to introduce ourselves to the family.

The introduction was great. We got a coy smile out of Big Brother, who seemed to genuinely like his little brother. Big sister was thrilled to meet us as well, and it wasn't long before the kids went off with both dads to splash in the waves. They played together as if they'd done nothing else since the day they were born.

I stayed on shore with mom, and we talked about our sons and compared how they were alike and dissimilar. They didn't share a lot of physical features, but had the same impish smile, mouth, and cheeks. Both had huge hands and feet disproportionate to their average sized bodies, although Little Man is much stockier than his lanky big brother.

We spoke of birth family, adoption stories, schools, and family histories. We talked about foster families, and future plans, and shared how both our sons came to join our lives. It was a beautiful afternoon.

When we all made our way into the water, Little Man exhibited his signature "I'm so excited!" move. He stuck his arms straight out, put his hands into fists, and shook with joy. Big brother's mom just stopped and laughed; her son did exactly the same thing when he got excited!

We were sad to pack things up a few hours later, but Little Man was cranky and badly in need of his nap. Big Brother and family stayed on to splash around in the waves for a while longer. We promised to meet again soon, and hope to stay in regular contact so Little Man and Big Brother can grow up together, even though they live apart.

For our son, I'd always hoped that openness with his brother would be more than exchanging information, sending photographs, or sharing a day at the beach. I prayed for a significant relationship, so that our son can know his family and not miss out on his siblings just because they couldn't grow up together. I hope we can fulfill that dream.

My wish for my son and his brother is simple: may you know and love each other, may you be there for one another, may you always remain brothers, may you look out for one another.

Welcome to the family.