Friday, September 28, 2007

New Daycare!

We have new daycare. They are both in-home centers. The home he is going to during the week is absolutely wonderful. S has 4 children. Jacob has quickly become friends with the 7-year-old (I think) boy. He gets to do the boy things I cannot give him like wrestling and playing cars the way only boys can play. They make most of their food from scratch and the children get to help prepare many meals. It is wonderful. S is supportive and flexible which is wonderful. She is willing to watch Jacob on weekends but I don't want to overburden her and wear out our welcome. I will not hesitate to use her if I need someone though.

The other care taker SM is only a weekend sitter. Her prices are reasonable and she seems to really care about the children. She has three children. Jacob won't start there until the middle of October. I hope that he likes it there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another Search For Childcare

Our latest au pair did not work out. I am very disappointed. I really thought things would. She was great for the first month but things have been getting progressively worse since then. It is time for her to move on. I have notified the au pair agency and am looking at other daycare options. Thankfully, my friends have pulled through for me again and covered yesterday and today. I am hoping to have new child care by next week.

Searching for childcare is one of the most time consuming and nerve wracking parts of parenting. It seems like the search for good care is never ending. I have looked at daycare centers and they are my first choice. Unfortunately, they are not open in the evenings. I am now seeking an in-home center which will meet our schedule and needs. I am optimistic that I will find one we both like. Jacob is a great kid and easy to care for.

So what am I looking for? Not anything anyone else doesn't want. I want to come home to know my child is safe and has been watched closely throughout the day. I want to know there will not be ink pen scribbles all over my walls, computer and windows. I want to know that the person caring for Jacob is fun and loving and plays with him. I want to know that he was given healthy meals including vegetables even when I cannot cook for him. Basically, a healthy and safe envorionment where he can learn and grow.

I believe I will be on dayshift soon. Hopefully, Jacob can attend a full-time preschool/daycare center next year. I am just waiting for dayshift hours. If I have to wait another year, that will be fine too. Jacob will not start kindergarten until 2011 when he is almost six. That gives us plenty of time to find the preschool program that fits our desires. He will do well almost anywhere.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jacob's 2!

Today is Jacob's second birthday! He is growing up so quickly! He went to preschool this morning where he was too excited to sit still. We had ice cream with friends and played with their dogs. They were visiting from California and it was wonderful to see them again.

Tonight was Jacob's birthday party. We had several family friends (all teenagers or adults since that is who we know.) Jacob has some friends his age but none that he is really close to. I will probably have a party with other children next year when he is old enough to develop close friendships with other children. Everyone had a good time. I showed the video at the link below. It highlights Jacob's World over the past six months.

I hope everyone enjoys it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Below is a link to see a video of our trip to Ethiopia. It has been slow getting it together. I am still having difficulty getting it to post like I want. I hope to have a new video at the same link next week showing Jacob's World and his first six months home. I hope you enjoy the video. It doesn't seem like just 6 months ago I was in Ethiopia getting to know my son and his birth country.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Congratulations Jacob!

I heard the words I was hoping to hear in the near future. Jacob's preschool teacher recommended that he move up to the 2-3 year old class. He is currently in a class for 1 1/2 to 2 year olds and doing well. He can participate on projects and follow directions. Now, if I can figure out how to get him to do well when I am in the room. Sunday School is still a challenge but a little age will help a lot there too.

Jacob will be 2 years old later this week. He is proving it. I have been very good at ignoring his tantrums. After I ignored two of them earlier this week, he decided he needed more practice. A little later in the morning, I found him practicing tantrums. He would run around in a circle, throw his arms up and then throw himself on the ground pretending to cry. It did make me laugh but I will still continue to ignore tantrums. It is comforting to know he is a typical two-year-old and developmentally on task.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A New Millenium!

Happy New Year! It may seem odd that I would say that today. The truth is that it is New Years Eve in Ethiopia and tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year. Their calendar is seven years different than ours so it is their new millenium. Today marks the start of 2000! I hope that the new millenium sees an end to extreme poverty and a century of hope, happiness and prosperity.

Jacob and I will be celebrating the new year by having lunch at a local Ethiopian resteraunt. We will also say a prayer remembering our friends and family in Ethiopia as well as all of the wonderful people who live there. Please join us in taking a moment to remember all of our brothers and sisters living in Ethiopia.

Monday, September 10, 2007

6 months ago today

I cannot believe it has been six months already! At the same time, I cannot believe it was only 6 months ago that I was single with no kids. How quickly things can change.

As you have probably guessed, it was 6 months ago today that I met my son. I have to say that it was one of the best days of my life. A lot has changed but I would never want to chage a thing.
Here are some of the biggest changes in my life since I met my son.
Six months ago today, I met a little boy who wanted a mommy. He had been at the orphanage 8 months longer than most children. He had seen countless children come into his room and leave with their new mommies. The nannies were always telling the children how loved they would be and how wonderful it would be when their new mommies came. Jacob was passed over week after week.
I walked up to Jacob who was described as being shy around strangers. The camera man told me to pick Jacob up. I was nervous. This child had no idea who I was or how much I already loved him. It quickly became apparent he was willing to take the risk. He did not want me to leave and kept one hand on me for the first two hours we were together. He didn't smile much but he only cried when that strange looking old man (now known as Grandpa) took his shoe.
Two days later I came back to the care center (orphanage) to visit with him again. He saw me walk up to the building and began screaming and laughing. He was so excited that I came back for him! I entered the building and began playing with the other toddlers in the room (after I greeted Jacob of course). A little boy gave me a hug. Jacob's reaction was swift and serious. He pushed the little boy out of the way and began blocking me from all of the other children. He was not going to be picked over again!
Jacob screamed the next two days when I returned him to the Care Center for the night. It broke my heart but we were doing things in the evenings that the children could not come to. It was such a relief to finally take custody of him on March 14. The rest is history.
Here are my favorite memories from the past 6 months.
1) The day I met my son for the first time.
2) The way he smiled the first morning after he spent the night with me. He sat up and smiled when he saw I was still there.
3) The first time he "petted nice" when he saw our dog.
4) The first time he kissed me without prompting.
5) The first time he told me "I wuv."
6) Watching my parents fall in love with him.
7) When he smiles and runs to me when I return home.
8) The look on his face when he learned Mama and Mommy are the same thing. (The nannies told him I was his mommy but I called myself Mama).
9) The day he learned his name was Jacob Mitiku and walked around pounding his chest while I said Jacob.
10) Every smile, I wuv, hug kiss and moment we are together.
Life has changed in 6 months for both of us. There have been challenges (tantrums, parasites, grieving) but there have been many more great moments. I cannot wait to see how he continues to grow and change. I love him and he loves me. We are a family.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A New School Year!

It is time for the students to head back to the classroom. That includes Jacob as well. He went to his first day of preschool for the new session at the YMCA. He is still in a class designed for 1 1/2 to 2 year olds. He moves up to the 2 and 3 year old class in October. It is exciting to see him love school and want to go.

Jacob will also attend Sunday School this year. Or, I am going to try to send him. He is not real great at sitting still even for the 15 minute lesson in Sunday School. I plan to have him attend 2 or 3 times a month. Religion is very important in our family and I want him to continue learning about God and attending church. He loves attending the nursery during the church service so hopefully Sunday School will go well too.

With the end of Summer comes new possibilities. I am on the lookout for cheap (read free) activities to do with Jacob now that the weather will be getting colder. The mall is a wonderful place to spend some time but not always cheap or free. We will probably be going to the YMCA more often now and possibly the Children's Museum. There is still another month of nice weather but it won't be like Summer. This will be Jacob's first winter and my first winter as a mom. We will have to learn about fun activities and outings together.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Fun Reunion

We had a great time today. We spent Labor Day at a picnic about 1/2 hours north of our home. There were many families there with children from Ethiopia. The guest of the day was the director of the orphanage Jacob lived at in Ethiopia. Asnake was very happy to see all of the children today. His wife saw Jacob and immediately became excited.
It was clear to see how loved all of the children were. Asnake's wife told me that many of the nannies still wonder about Jacob and how he was doing. I was happy to be able to send them a videotaped message about how well he is doing. I hope they will approve of how I am raising him and how he is doing. Asnake seemed to be pleased and really seemed to enjoy holding the children and seeing them again.
Jacob and I had fun meeting some new families. It is always great to make new friends and I enjoy being around other families similar to ours. It is also good to be reminded about how loved the children are in the orphanage and how well cared for they are. I will always try to keep some kind of connection to Ethiopia and the wonderful people we have met through adoption.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Jacob's 1st Chore

I believe that chores can be beneficial to children and families. Although not crucial, chores do not harm children and can teach many valuable lessons. In our family, chores are a necessity. As a busy mom, I have difficulty keeping up with chores and need help. Jacob is now old enough to start helping. Besides helping to pick up his toys at night, he has an official chore. Jacob's job is to feed the dog.

Jacob is wonderful at feeding the dog. He knows to take the measuring cup and use it to scoop food from the bag into the dog's bowl. The problem is that he doesn't always understand the difference between dog treats and food.

The above pictures are the first time I told him to go feed the dog. Jacob ran into the kitchen and got the dog treats out of the pantry. Before I knew what he was doing, he had fed the dog over half a box of dog treats. The dog was very happy and couldn't even finish the treats.

For those of you who have read earlier posts. Yes, Jacob still believes he is a dog. I had to remind him about an hour ago that I only like Jacob kisses and not doggy kisses. The dog also loves Jacob and puts up with a lot of abuse from him. She probably knows that without Jacob, she would not receive nearly as much table food or treats.