Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Erik's birthday

Today Erik turned 5. He celebrated at preschool with a Lithuanian "sakotis" cake and then at home with a huge chocolate Chip cookie/cake!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

this and that

We are still experiencing firsts with the boys... well as they grow there will always be firsts. But, at almost 5 years old, Erik rode on a sled for the first time last night. There was a good wet snow and it was also good for building a snowman. When the snowball started to pick up all the snow on the grass as I rolled it, Erik became quite alarmed. HE did not want it to ruin his option for sledding!

The new thing Gregg taught the boys to play in the last week is the story of Daniel in the lions' den. They were naturally playing David and Goliath- seems a natural boys story! But even as I right, Gregg gets thrown into the den of lions- (David being the lion) then tells that an angel comes to make the lions not eat. After this Erik comes as the king to rescue him.

The other thing they play is based on the TV series- Lazytown. It is a children's show that models good virtues and has a hero Sportacus, and the nuisance- Robbie Rotten. They learn on this show that apples and carrots are sports candy. Makes you strong enough to do anything. (We were going through a lot of apples for a while there!)

The beginning of last week we had the sobering realization that maybe not all is as well as it seemed in Preschool for David. We are used to his accidents and bumping things and always having a bruise or cut on his face. We have also been working at safety issues and it feels sometimes that we get nowhere. The teacher sat me aside and started to ask how we handle things at home- do we have any boundaries at all? do we just allow him to grab and do anything he wants? Well, I tried to assure her that we do have rules and he simply tests it constantly. She complained that he screams when he does not get what he wants too, much more than ones younger than he.

It took me back to this summer when we were told by International adoption clinic of the factors involved in our boys' behavior. It was hard then to separate them- to know what was from adjustment to family life, what was attachment issues, (what was being in the US- as we discovered later when they settled down in LT), and what was due to alcohol exposure in the womb.

I guess we still cannot be sure, but certainly the overall adjustment to family life seems mostly completed. But there are a signs that are still coming. In the last weeks both boys have been in our bed. I know - it is the time some parents work on weaning kids off of coming to the parents' bed. But, with ours they would have nothing to do with it, even when upset. Until the last few weeks.

For David though the chances are greater that alcohol exposure will have longer term effects. This saddens us of course. There are some things that he just does not get because his attention span does not allow it. And things that Erik was aware of a year ago- at David's age now, David does not have awareness of. There are just some neurological changes that mean development will be slower. And the time it takes to explain what is wrong is noticeably longer. And it takes the wisdom of Solomon to figure out what response to have to him- because he is also very able in some things much of the time. He is even counting to 10 spontaneously which Erik did not do until a few months ago!

I also decided it was time to let the teacher in on the cause of the developmental delay, but we have not had a chance to really sit down and talk about it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

how babies are born

Yesterday we had guests- a little friend Ema and her daddy, for supper. Ema's mama (Gina, one of Sharon's friends) just had a baby girl on Friday night.
So this was the opportunity to talk about babies. I did not realize the conflict I would cause from explaining about them growing in the mommy's belly. To Erik this was just disgusting. How would a baby grow in there with all the food? It would get dirty! Well, a little explaining and we got to the point of understanding there is a separate space for the baby to grow. "Well, I would kick and push to get out!" Yeah, that is sort of what happens. But where does it come out? well we setteled that one too. But then the natural question came- but I was not in your belly mommy.
You grew in another mommy's belly. Well he did not like that idea very much- I don't like her, he said. But he did not seem to have any reason. Probably it was just the idea of someone else he has no connection to that was not pleasant.

Gregg had been away for a Pastor's retreat. First time he was away overnight since the boys live with us. It went alright, though it was definitely evident that they missed daddy. ANd they welcomed him home. David was ready to tell the whole story about Ema's mommy having a baby too.

We continue to be amazed at the language development and things we hear the boys say. Mostly in English. But there are a few words they bring home from darzelis (preschool) too. This week it was "pabaisis" or monster. Good there was a Lithuanian here at the time so I got the realy story of what he was saying!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


We have been out in the snow and ice a bit a couple of days, but it is a little cold to stay out for long, especially when the cold symptoms are probably not far away. The boys enjoyed using sticks to dig out ice that was stuck in the walkway to the slide at the park. They opted for that rather than walking around the statue park.
One of the fun things we discovered over the last weeks is that we can buy cantaloupe here in Lithuania- even now in off season. It was one of the few fruits Erik really liked this summer when we had the choice of almost anything!

We are enjoying a change of pace and the ability to meet with more people this week. At the beginning of the week we went to Siauliai (2 hours drive). I have nostalgic feelings for that city even though it is nothing much to look at. My first experiences in Lithuania were there and I got to know the place from living there one year back in 96-97 as well.

We stayed with Grazina who had a young kitten. It was definitely the highlight for the boys. They also enjoyed playing with Domas and his toys of course too. His parents Viktoras and Asta are our friends over the distance too.

We also met with some Free Christian church associates as well and were welcomed rather last minute to lunch at Kristaf Haegle's home. They are missionaries from Germany who have been in Lithuania longer than we have.

We decided against going on from there to Latvia to a water park since Erik was coughing when got up in the morning. It turns out the travel was enough activity for us. And we've now sucessfully stayed somewhere other than our home here in Lithunia. It took a little for the boys to understand staying over night and whether we would come back to our home! But Grazina seemed "no worse for the wear" so to speak and invited us to consider coming again sometime.

We also had a visit to Mc Donalds where the boys wanted to play too. Well, the best we came up with was making the rule that they could be in the children's room for parties but not walk on the floor. So they climbed from stool to stool and across the bench around the table and quite enjoyed themselves.

Last night Chris Hatton visited. He is the current chaplain at LCC. And he was ready for some exercise which the boys took advantage of for certain!

We expected to have a short visit from a couple from church today but that did not happen after all. So now we can have a quieter rest of the day I suppose!