Day 23: Who's on First

I took the girls to the doctor on Wednesday.  Nitro still didn't seem to be herself, so I thought I should have her rechecked to be sure she was healing from her strep throat. 

After 40 minutes of waiting with twin 3 year olds, in an 8x10 room, devoid of any air conditioning, the doctor finally walked in (I had just gathered my things and my children and was on my way OUT the door.)  The following is the conversation that ensued:

Doctor:  Are you leaving?  Are you in a hurry?  Do you need to reschedule?
Me:  Am I in a hurry?  No.  But I've been in this tiny room, without AC, for over 40 minutes, with TWO three year olds.  I'm not in a hurry.  I just got tired of waiting.

Doctor:  Well, that's pediatrics.  We run behind.
ME:  I don't have a problem with having to wait.  I have a problem with having to wait under these conditions.

Doctor:  Well, when you come to the doctor's office, you should expect to wait.  That's part of the experience.
ME: If we're going to follow that logic, and you KNOW your patients are going to have to wait for a   lengthy period of time, why wouldn't you just allow them to wait out in the GIANT waiting room where there is an aquarium and a tv and air conditioning?

Doctor: (Completely ignoring me at this point)  Let's see.  We saw your daughter on the 19th.  She had strep. We gave her a 10 day supply of antibiotics.  She only completed 7 days.
Me:  She only completed 7 days worth because it's only been 7 days.

Doctor:  Why would I only give you 7 days worth?  I gave you 10 days.  Why did she not complete the course?
ME: It hasn't been 10 days yet.

Doctor:  That doesn't make sense.
ME:  What doesn't make sense?

Doctor:  That it hasn't been 10 days.
ME:  We came in on the 19th.  7 days later, here we are again.  Only 7 days have gone by.  Look at the calendar.  See?  Only 7 days.  It's the 26th today.  Only 7 days.

Doctor:  I still don't understand why you didn't complete the course of antibiotics.
ME: (silently screaming in my head!)

I would like you to keep in mind that at this point I have been in an 8x10 HOT room with 2 squirmy 3.5 year olds (one of whom is sick) for almost 50 minutes now, and I feel like I am in a scene from Who's On First?

Conversation Continues:

Doctor:  So, for some reason you didn't complete a 10 day course of antibiotics, and your daughter still doesn't feel well.  What are her symptoms?
ME:  She doesn't really have any, I just know she's not feeling well. I'm her mom.  We know these things.   She's not sleeping well, not eating well, and her voice sounds funny, like her throat is really swollen.

Doctor:  Any fever, drainage, ear ache, coughing, difficulty swallowing, constipation?
ME:  No.  (Though I didn't "totally" understand how constipation could be the problem?)

Doctor:  So other than "her voice sounds funny" (he makes air quotes and cops an INCREDIBLY condescending tone here) does your daughter have any real symptoms that would tell a doctor that she is actually sick?
ME:  Maybe you should just check her?

Doctor:  (Rolls his eyes - I fear I did not start off well with him - takes out a tongue depressor, looks at her throat) and says, "Whoa.  That's one bad looking throat."  (DUH!) 
Doctor:  I'm gonna redo her strep test.
ME:  Okay, sounds great.

Fast Forward.  The test is positive.

Doctor:  I'm going to give her a new antibiotic.  I suggest you give it to her all 10 days this time.

ARRGHGHHHH!!!!  Are you kidding me?!  Seriously, I wish I could make this stuff up!

All that to say, I thought you might enjoy a little humor from my day at the doctor.

Day 22: Simple Pleasures

When the girls got up from their naps yesterday, we went outside to play in the yard. ( It's a weird phenomena that happens around here;  people all sit in their front yards and the kids all play in the front yards -instead of the backyards - and people even have BIG SCREEN tv's in their garages and have garage parties . . . but I digress)

So, while we were outside, Nitro discovered a standing puddle of water.  She looked up at me as if to say, "Can I get in this?" so I walked over, inspected to be sure there were no ants floating in it, and then gave her the go ahead signal.  She looked at me with questioning eyes, still unsure I had actually said YES to her request to play in muddy water.

But I'm working on saying YES to things that I can say yes to, instead of having this rigid world of "NO" around them all the time.  (This has included yes to sleeping in a grass hula skirt, and yes to wearing click clacks to the grocery store.)

So she sat down in her WHITE shorts  (yes, I said WHITE . . . someone, somewhere better be applauding the strength it took me to be able to say YES to this moment!) and took off her sandals, then walked back over to the puddle and tentatively put her toes in the water. It didn't take long at all before she was jumping up and down in the water puddle, making the best mud puddle you have ever seen.

Over and over and over and over she just jumped up and down.  And each time she did it, it was as though she had never done it before.  Squeals of delight mixed in with an occasional glance of "are you sure this is okay, Mom?" filled our front yard and eventually drew her sister over to see what was going on.  I laughed out loud when her sister, Shortstack, looked up at me and pointed at her sister.  I could not tell if her accusing glance was toward her sister, as if to say, "do you see what she is doing?" or if it was at me, as if to say, "What are you doing letting her play in the mud and in white shorts no less?" 

But once I told Shortstack she could play too, she took off her shoes, ran to jump in (in her white leggings!), but then chickened out, and instead she jumped over it.  And then a new game was formed.  The "jump over the puddle" game.  And for a solid 10 minutes both girls jumped over the puddle, ran around it and jumped over it again.  Of course there were some occasional "oops, I accidentally jumped into the puddle" moments as well.  Which truly were accidents for Shortstack, but no so much for Nitro!

As I watched them play I was suddenly struck with how little it takes for them to truly treasure and embrace the simple things in life.  They have a garage and house filled with toys, but all they really needed was a warm day and a mud puddle.  They truly just embrace the moments as they come.

I need to be more like that.  Just embracing the moments as they come.  Enjoying the simple pleasures that are right here in front of me, instead of looking for ways to enjoy life more.

All that to say, "God give me eyes today to see the simple pleasures, and then help me to embrace them." 

Day 21: Well, Shut My Mouth

I have OCD.  (How's that for an opening sentence?)  The particular type of OCD that I have causes me to become obsessed when I have any level of relational conflict in my life.  It's why I am so quick to resolve conflict and why I try to keep such short accounts with folks.

If I suspect I have wronged you, I'm gonna ask you straight away, "Are we okay?"  or "Have I done something stupid I don't know about yet?"  or "Have I done something to offend you because I sense that something is up?"

If you know me well at all, you know that this is true.  Many people in my life tell me this is a wonderful quality in me.  I hope so.  I do know the Bible tells us to keep short accounts.

I think another manifestation of this "quick to keep short accounts thing" is that I ask far too many clarifying questions.  A coworker of mine (Ken Williams) once told me that there was a question quota and I had exceeded it!

People often say to me, "I never doubt where I stand with you." or "I never wonder what you are thinking."  or "You are very outspoken."

I can never decide if people say these things to me because I am TOO outspoken, or if it is because they admire this trait in me as well.

I am not quick to speak my opinion  . . . well, maybe I am . . . (shut up, Shauna, I can actually hear you laughing out loud right now!)

What I meant to say (before I was so rudely interrupted by Shauna's laughing) is that I'm not quick to offer advice, but I think perhaps I am too quick to weigh in and offer my opinion.  I'll tell you what I think, but I won't give you a moving forward plan unless you ask for it.

Of late, I have decided that not EVERYONE thinks this is a bonus, my incessant need to ask clarifying questions or my need to insure our relational harmony.  Of late, I have decided that not EVERYONE wants to know that I think we aren't "okay" relationally.  Of late, I have learned that in some instances, I should just assume we aren't okay, and get over it.  Or best yet, in some instances, I should just keep my mouth shut.

All that to say, mmhnmnmhmmmm (I can't say because my mouth is shut.)

Day 20: Two Years

We all know and say that time goes by so quickly (unless of course you are waiting for it to be bedtime for twin three year olds . . . then it drags on forever . . .)  But as a general rule, time does indeed seem to go by so quickly.

We get so caught up in the mundane and even joyful details of our daily lives, that before we know it, days, weeks, months, and years have gone by in a blur.

Two years ago . . . TWO YEARS AGO . . . Mike and I and our sons set out on a journey that has changed our lives forever.

On April 7th, 2010, two sweet babies came to our house, rescued from a life of unspeakable things.

Here they are on their 1st full day at our house.  I remember that they slept for 14 hours.  And I remember thinking how odd it was that they didn't eat breakfast.  (Strange the memories that I have stored away!)  They were mostly non-verbal, but man could they communicate!  They had some
at-ti-tudes!  If they wanted it, they would hit, kick, scratch and scream to get it.  We often said, "be sweet" throughout the day, so it was no surprise to us that Shortstack's first words to us were "Be Sweet."

Within just a few short weeks, we saw so much improvement.  Their skin and hair began to grow and get healthy.  They started eating.  They slept through the night.  They laughed.  And eventually, they spoke.

After leaving our home for a permanent adoption home, and then a brief stay back with their birth mom, God determined that they would come back to our home. 

Fast forward two years and we find ourselves soon to be the forever family of these beautiful girls. I have a million thoughts going through my mind about this and all that it means for us, and for them, and for our family.  But I will just say this.  God has a plan.  And none of us can imagine the things that He has in store for us.  But in His time, He unfolds them. 

All that to say, to God be the glory, great things He has done.

Day 19: Watching Miracles Unfold

Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to know just exactly how the messages I am sending are being received in our daughters' brains.  I'm sure the parent of any toddler would probably say the same thing!  I often have to remind myself that EVERYTHING my girls say and do cannot and should not be connected to their abuse prior to coming to our home.  Some of the things they say and do are perfectly normal in the realm of toddlerdom.

That said, I also know that their little brains got miswired along the way and now they don't always process the things we say in the right way.  And sometimes, when they cannot act, think, say, or do what they want to, they meltdown.  And once they are melting down, they cannot self-regulate.  They cannot get themselves back to a normal state without a lot of help.

This process of self-regulation is a big goal for them. It involves both their ability to NOT meltdown in the first place, as well as their ability to get back to neutral once they have melted down. Anyway, one of the things we do to teach them this process is something that is known quite simply as a "redo." 

Once they are calm, we re-enact the crime (if you will) and this time they act appropriately, speak politely, don't freak out, don't melt down, don't punch anyone.  You know.  They self-regulate.  Supposedly, this helps their brain remember how to act in the future.

We are always, and I mean ALWAYS the initiators of the "redo."  But tonight, a miracle happened.  Shortstack was having a meltdown because she wanted to go bye-bye with her daddy, but she wouldn't get off the bike and go in the house, so we told her she couldn't go with him.  MELTDOWN.  But then, without warning, she stood up, walked over to me, calmed herself and said, "Can I have a redo?"

WHAT?!! YES!!!  Omgosh!!! 

I know this doesn't seem really monumental to most people, but to us, this was a MAJOR step toward her own self-regulation.  She stopped her own meltdown.  Suggested her own redo.  She regulated!  And that helps us see that her brain is healing.  Her brain is FREAKING HEALING!!!!

I'm seriously beside myself and just couldn't wait to share it with you all.

All that to say, the beautiful little girl she was created to be is slowly finding its way out.  I love watching miracles unfold.