Thursday, June 14, 2007

Missing Tooth

Does anyone notice anything different about this child?

During "rest time" today (which, let me tell you, has become a total exercise in futility), Jack and George were supposed to be watching TV in my bed, while Grace and Henry were supposed to be doing the same in the loft. From my office, I saw Henry and Grace run downstairs with looks of panic. Grace was pointing at Henry, but Henry looked fine, so I assumed she was about to tell me he'd busted through a wall, jumped from his bunk bed, or drawn on the TV.

I yelled, "It's REST TIME. Does ANYONE know what REST TIME is? It's a time to REST!"

No one was listening.

Grace came in and said, "Mom, Henry's tooth is loose."

Sure enough, his bottom tooth was quite loose. I told him to go upstairs, continue chewing on his apple, and REST! It seemed the tooth had a ways to go before it fell out.

Once they got the other kids involved, I could hear all kinds of analysis going on around how they could get it out, how badly it was bleeding (I could only imagine where the blood was being wiped), etc. Then came the yelling: "It's out! It's out!"

Sure enough, his tooth fell out. There are only two problems:

1. Jack is devastated. He said he's now the only big kid in the house who hasn't lost a tooth. I told him to go eat an apple.

2. They can't find the tooth that DID fall out! Jack and Grace are up there frantically searching for it while Henry watches cartoons.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

In other news...

I'm sorry, but this deserves a post all its own.

George is completely potty trained! He did it himself in about 4 days. One day, he just started running to the potty every 6 minutes. Of course, I thought it probably had something to do with the M&M rewards, but unlike the other kids, I never had to ask him if he needed to go. He just went!

Now, a week or so later, the process is complete. He's stayed completely dry the last two nights even! I'm sure having his three siblings cheering him on at every turn helped. Literally, the kid would sit on the potty for like 25 minutes at a time the first couple of days and either Henry or Jack would voluntarily sit in there with him and then if he went you'd hear this massive party going on in there. It was hysterical. For once, David and I were completely removed from the process!

I am so thrilled that I have not changed a diaper in nearly a week, and may actually get a year-long hiatus (after nearly 8 years of diapers) before we're back there again. But by then, I won't mind. After all, there will be a pink dress on over that diaper!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Horticulture and Handcuffs

Another Monday, another trip to the police department. The truth: no handcuffs were placed ... at least not on any of us (though I think they thought maybe George would be safer if he were in them). In addition, the masses waiting for their numbers to be called were probably wanting to muzzle Henry who, because he was not with Grace, George, and me on my first trip down there, was rather curious. "What did HE do?" "Why is SHE here?" "Is he going to jail for the rest of his life?" was the gyst of the endless verbal rampage he was on the entire time we were in there. It was great.

This past weekend, David and I went to a nursery in Scottsdale that specializes in --- no, not babies --- Bonsai trees. Since we have been interested in Bonsai for a long, long time (especially David), we decided we'd get our own for our anniversary. Turns out everyone was interested in them, So we got one for each of us (except George, who is partially responsble for David's). Here's a picture of us all working on them.

Our first visit with our social worker on Saturday went surprisingly well. The kids were very cooperative, and at one point George came up to the table, pointed at the social worker, and asked, "When her leaves, do we get our baby?" We all just stared in awe. Peggy asked if he actually understood what was going on, and we said, "Well, we guess so!"

She'll be back in a few weeks and then our home study will be complete. Of course, I thought that was almost it. I was wondering what everyone complains about regarding paperwork. I mean, sure, there were forms to fill out and notarize, but it wasn't THAT bad. However, late on Friday we received the dossier packet from our agency. The dossier is the entire packet that goes down to Guatemala, and the home study report is only one small portion of it. The rest of it is comprised of more documents than you could imagine, all of which have to be not only notarized, but state certified. Suddenly, I thought, "OHHHHH - THIS is what people mean by being buried under an avalanche of paperwork!"

I'm basically in the middle of re-acquiring all the documents I acquired the first time, but this time absolutely everything has to be notarized and then state certified. So, my birth certificate and marriage certificate not only have to be certified originals, but I then have to send them back to Delaware to be state certified. And our reference letters have to be not only notarized, but the notary's name must be known in advance of having it notarized so it can be typed onto the document before it's printed. It's insane.

This morning, we took all four kids to the blood lab to get bloodwork done (which, of course, must be notarized and state certified) and, unbeknownst to me, I had to have a urine test as well. No idea what that is for. Since I'd been fasting and had no idea if I could drink water, I didn't. Try peeing on demand under those circumstances! I swear, I willed my bladder to function as it was designed to function. But anyone who knows me well knows that I'm like a camel. I can go DAYS without peeing if I have to. So I sat there visualizing a waterfall, Niagara Falls, anything. Thankfully, it worked, which was good because the tech said that if it didn't, I'd have to sit in the waiting room (with the rest of the city and all my kids) waiting until it DID work.

After that was the aforementioned trip to the Phoenix police department for set #2 of fingerprints (don't even ask; I barely understand it myself). This one is for the FBI to confirm that I don't have a record. I am now not even sure what the first set was for. Aside from Henry's endless inappropriate questions, the trip went fairly well. We had to park six blocks away, so Henry was pretty much a mile behind us by the time we got back to the car but all's well that ends well. Plus, it only hit 97 today, so it could have been much worse.

This evening, the kids were outside studying a cricket that was busy hiding on the side of the house. They'd go look at it and then flee as though it were a scorpion. At one point, Grace no longer wanted to go see the cricket, but Henry did. So Henry said, "Fine Grace. I'll go and panic by myself."
I shall now do the same regarding the 785 documents on my schedule to acquire tomorrow.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Home Study Commences...

First of all, let me just say that my parents are in for QUITE a shock when they return from Europe on Monday. I really didn't want to tell them that we'd moved ahead with all of this over e-mail, so I'm waiting until they return. I'll have to choose my moment wisely; with the jet-lag, it may take them a while to process what I'm saying! But I always say, I like to do something crazy when people go out of town. When David leaves town, I typically redecorate a room. When my mother goes to Europe and is basically en communicado for three weeks, I have to get a bit more bold!

Our medical letters have been approved by our agency and we are, as of this morning, officially clients! Our home study will officially begin Saturday morning at 9:00AM with a visit from our social worker. I'm hoping the chaos doesn't prompt her to make an immediate recommendation of "absolutely, unconditionally, positively NO."

I've now documented more of my life than I ever have. I have photos of everything and everyone (including the new 3-bolt combination lock gun safe in our closet; that's really attractive, by the way). The dog's rabies vaccination is documented and my social security card has been located after several years of absence.

Every time I have to make a call related to this process, Grace says, "Was that about the adoption?" I say "Yes" and she asks, "Was it important?" which translates to, "Is she coming home yet?" I keep telling her it's going to be quite a while, and she continues to respond with, "Okay, well then can we just go shopping for her soon?"

I think I'll just put Jack in charge of all equipment because at the store yesterday we were evaluating items for Aunt Katie, and Jack was assessing them all as though he were judging them for some sort of consumer awards. He was like, "This one's too big," or "This one isn't very pretty" or "This one wouldn't be easy to hold."

I'm now off to clean. Jack and Henry claim they are going to clean their bathroom. I can't wait.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Paperwork Marathon

If you're part of my family and are still wondering what on earth has possessed us, just take a look at this photo. How could you not want a zillion of these?

The paperwork marathon, at least on our part, is almost finished for now. All that's left are our autobiographies (well, David's...mine's been finished for about two months), the acquisition of David's birth certificate, the submission of our I-600A (which is dependent upon the acquisition of David's birth certificate and some info from our agency regarding how to fill out a few sections. Of course, the acquisition of said info from our agency is dependent upon our becoming official clients of our agency, which is dependent upon our submitting our signed, notarized contracts to them, which will occur on Monday), and our medical forms. I swear, sometimes it's hard to figure out what comes first in this process: the chicken or the egg.

We headed over to our marvelous doctor's office (with all four in tow) this afternoon to get those forms filled out, and then we begged our friend (and realtor) Trisha, who also happens to be a notary, to come notarize the medical forms because we simply couldn't handle another 20-mile drive on I-10 to the nearest Chase bank with a notary on staff who's in today (oh, and the bank also closed at 1:00 today, which made it even more challenging to use their on-site notary at 3:45 this afternoon).

I was finally able to see Grace and Jack's "adoption paperwork." It involved fingerprint cards they'd made for themselves (Grace felt it was critical that every member of the family be fingerprinted, but Henry and George said, "No.") as well as an adoption application Grace had created that included, for starters, the members of our family, whether or not we had pets, what kind of pet we have, and whether or not he's well-behaved (interestingly, she noted him as well-behaved). I believe that last night Grace also began the decorating plans for her sister's room. I won't ask what they are because I know they're undoable (recently she asked me to paint the Chinese flag on her ceiling because she was interested in China that week; she couldn't understand what could possibly be so difficult about that request). In addition, I know that she'll change her decorating scheme 586 times before her sister arrives (not to mention the fact that I have a few ideas of my own!).

I'm definitely getting a glimpse of what it will be like to shop with Grace and Jack as their sister's arrival gets closer. With Katie and Steve expecting a baby in September (YEAH!), those two are already in full-force baby-shopping-for-our-cousin mode. In Target the other day, Jack was like, "We need to get Aunt Katie's baby some binkies. It needs a bib. It needs some bottles." Grace was running for the clothing department and wasn't at all pleased that she didn't know if she was looking for pink or blue. I'm not happy about that either. We're hoping for some resolution shortly on that issue. Henry was yelling about being thirsty, and George was begging for an Elmo cup - for himself. At least I had 50% of my people on task.

We hope that our home study will officially commence this week. The official visit may not occur until next week, but that's okay. It's the first week with all four kids home and out of school for the summer, so I'm sure I'll be plenty busy handling the noise (and the heat).