Monday, April 19, 2010

3 Months Together

Once again I'm amazed at how quickly this month with you two has flown by. This has certainly been a month of turning points. You've been in our arms for 1/4 of the year. 25% of 2010, you've spent as Crazy Roots. I can see clear lines in the sand where we've left certain things behind, and moved toward a more cohesive and stable family.

Look at my proud big boy! No more baby! The Easter Bunny brought you Elmo underwear in your basket!! We began training the first thing Monday morning after Easter. On Monday you had 3 accidents, two immediately in the morning, and one late in the evening. On Tuesday you had one accident in the morning, and one late in the afternoon. And from Wednesday on, (two weeks now!) you've been a dry, going in the potty, underwear only, even at nap time and bedtime, wearing fool! You were even circumcised 8 days after beginning potty training and never missed a beat. You went immediately in the potty after surgery and didn't let your healing - or the gobs of petroleum jelly on your privates every time you go since -slow down your mission. You hated diapers and love your big boy pants and there has been no going backwards. We even got stuck in a really long car ride around town the other day, 4 hours, and you didn't have an accident. I am so proud of you Caleb!!!

You guys are so excited that Spring is here. You play outside non-stop. You even decided that being outside with hyper-Ella-the crazy dog was ok as long as your weren't indoors. It was time for 'Nathan's coming of age to learn how to mow the yard' last weekend and you were so intrigued with him pushing the mower that you insisted you and Daddy mow some too. You giggled the entire time, it was adorable.Caleb, you are talking up a storm. Your mouth is still a bit lazy, not bothering to form the sounds or finish your words all the time, but you are communicating everything you want, and understanding everything I need you to. Your favorite things in life are The Wiggles and swim goggles. You wear swim goggles everywhere. You even wore them to church last weekend, and your teacher said you never took them off. You're so adorable. You find pairs in the house I didn't even know we owned. It's hilarious. You look like a mad scientist, especially since they're usually paired with some piece of clothing you've swiped from your older siblings or daddy. We watch the same Wiggles movie every morning, per your insistence. You know every word, hand motion, exaggerated facial expression, and dance move. You and mommy have to do every single one, every single day. It is a good workout for me, and I love the bonding time with you, but I can't wait for you to agree to at least a different Wiggles video someday. . . I know all those by heart too thanks to your two brother's former obsession.

So, speaking of bonding, how's it going??, we're always asked. . . getting better and still not there yet. I feel like we belong in a Kenny Rogers song. But instead of Daytime Friends and Night time Lovers, I am your Weekday Pal and Weekend Poison. During the week I'm not allowed out of your sight, you have to be able to reach out and touch me at all times, we laugh, we giggle, we play games, I hold you, you cuddle up to me, you give me more kisses than I think I can handle, you hug constantly and don't even prefer daddy over me at lunchtime or the evenings, and you'll pass easily back and forth between us. You'll look me in the eye for extended periods of time and respond "I love you too Mommy" when I say "I love you Caleb" a thousand times a day. And that lasts until about mid afternoon on Saturday, when you realize daddy has been around and not gone to work, and then we're done. You'll scream and thrash and push and kick for hours if I hold you. When I call your name you vehemently say, "No!" and crank your head as far away from eye contact with me as possible. I'll say "I love you Caleb," and you'll say "No love mommy. No mommy. No." Attempts to play, sing, watch Wiggles, dance with you are met with louder more desperate rages of crying. Your crying can begin and last for 90 minutes or more. This continues through Sunday night, and then on Monday morning, you happily wave to everyone as they leave out the door, and when the last carpool has pulled out and it's just the two of us, you hold your arms up to me to be held and say, "Wiggles!" And as if Wally or Greg's magic wand has been waived, you're my friend again.

But, nonetheless, we're moving in the right direction. Those weekdays are wonderful, and in them you're learning I can be trusted, that I love you, that I'm not going anywhere, and that you really do love me too. It used to change every night when dad came home from work, and now it's just on the weekends. Soon, it might last until Sunday morning, and then maybe Sunday night, and then some glorious day, you might decide it's not necessary at all and you'll realize that the bond you so desperately need with a momma in your life is exactly what you have. Until then, we'll keep working harder than you thrash and praying louder than you cry, knowing that day is coming and Jesus is bringing it to us.

My big-eyed beautiful daughter, you've been busy this past month. Starting a few weeks after you got home, we were really having a serious problem with you having small qty wetting accidents throughout the day. You were so busy exploring all the new things around you that you wouldn't stop and go potty. I tried all my tricks and nothing was working. Turns out I just didn't know your currency. It was earrings. You wanted earrings so desperately. You would stroke mine and say "Bekeh earrings." You would walk up to me all day long holding your earlobes and just whine and grunt in dissatisfaction. I told you earrings would hurt and I would squeeze your earlobes and say "owies." and you would shake your head and say, "No, owies. Bekeh earrings." And then the moment of pure genius! I told you Babies don't have earrings, only big girls, and to be a big girl you couldn't have any shint in your panties. We made a big deal of saying three days, three night nights with no shint in panties and then Bekeh's earrings. You understood and everytime you would go potty you would look at your panties and exclaim very loudly, "Mommy!!!! No SHINT IN PANTIES! Bekeh no shint!!" You were so proud of yourself. And you would then grab your ear lobes and just nod your head at me with a quirky smile. And then it was time. We went to Southlake Town Square and I kept telling you, "Earrings are going to be owies." But you didn't care. You picked out your pair, just like Brooklyn's of course, and sat waiting. You were disappointed when you realized what we kept staring at so intently at first was only purple marker dots on your lobes. You thought we were trying to trick you and you got mad. But then the gun came out and I looked at you seriously and said, "O.K. this is the owies. Be still." She clicked that gun, and you didn't even move, blink, or flinch. I thought I was dreaming. Nathan had hidden himself on the sidewalk because he said he couldn't bear to listen to you cry. So sweet. She moved positions and clicked that earring through your second ear, and again, we were all waiting for you to cry, and nothing! You just said, "Earrings?" and I nodded and you said, with pure amazement in your voice, "No owies!" When I showed you yourself in the mirror, you would have thought they had placed the Miss America crown on your head. You were gushing over yourself. And we were gushing over you too. So brave, and so proud, you tell EVERYONE about your earrings. No one comes within 10 feet without you pointing them out. And it's been almost a month, and still no shint in your panties!!!

You have been learning so much English it's mind-boggling. You have picked up personal pronouns, "My shirt. My turn." etc instead of always, "Bekeh's turn, or Bekeh's shoes." Every time you connect a new phrase it makes me laugh, it's just so cute coming out of your mouth with your lazy C sounds and missing Ch sounds. The other day you were working a puzzle with Corban and you said, "My turn Torban. You don't touch." If I had to write them all down I'd guess your vocabulary was into the multiple hundreds already. You've also begun to really slow down and work things out. You are learning how to cut with scissors like a pro, you can color and draw specific shapes and are beginning to figure out how to form your letters. You love watercoloring especially.
With your improving English skills you're also beginning to communicate your memories about life in Ethiopia. The other day you asked me, "Where's Askalech?" I said, "She's in Ethiopia." And you thought for a second and said, "Bekeh bye-bye, Caleb bye bye Ethiopia." I nodded my head and you thought some more and said, "Ababa no bye bye, Askalech no bye bye, Bekeh bye bye, Caleb bye bye." I nodded with each one, until this one, and then I cried. You thought for a bit more and got very quiet and said, "Bekeh bye bye, Caleb bye bye, Mommy bye bye." It was your first time to talk about your Ethiopian mother. I could tell you were continuing to think about her so I just held you and let you remember. After a few minutes you sat up and very excitedly help up two fingers and said, "Two mommies! One mommy, two mommies." The next day you told me how you and Askalech used to play, and you would jump and get water. Saturday you came into the office with me and asked to see a picture of Askalech on the computer, so I pulled them up. When we got to the picture of Me, Daddy, Brooklyn, and your Ababa and Askalech in front of your hut, you exclaimed, "Bekeh's house!" I started pointing to the people in the picture and asking who they were. You got very excited about two daddies again, and you said "Two mommy" and pointed to me. So I asked, "Where's One mommy?" You looked at the picture and got very solemn. Then slowly you pointed at the screen, and placed your finger over the door to your hut. Is she inside? I asked you. "Yes, she's tying." Why is she crying, I asked. You kept looking at the door and you said, "She's going night night, she's tying, mommy go bye bye." You didn't cry, you just slid off my lap and scurried off to play, but I sat here weeping for you. I'm sorry your "one mommy" went bye bye and you're not with her still. You've since talked about how she would feed you, play with you, and sing to you. I can't wait for you to learn more English so you can tell me more wonderful stories about your "One mommy." I want to help you remember her forever, and I want you to always know that God was sad when she died too. God wanted you to be with her all your life too, but we live in a world full of sickness and poverty. We are so loved and blessed that God redeemed you into our family. You are a sweet light in our hearts Bekelech and your "two mommy" loves you and cherishes you deeply.


  1. Love your writings about your precious kids. They sound like they are doing great and you are doing awesome yourself!!! (I found your blog thru your SIL Amy....I hope things are going well for them, she hasn't updated in forever)....

  2. Sharon - Things are going well for them and they are super busy! Five kids becomes a lot especially when the older ones have so much going on and Rhett is a beautiful handful! No down time for blogging! I'm lucky enough to have a few minutes each morning where Caleb loves to play in my office at my feet!

  3. It's been about a month since we said goodbye to you guys in the Cancun airport and I miss you dearly! I can't believe how much Bekeh and Caleb have grown and changed since then. Please give them love and kisses from all of us and we can't wait to see you again. There's always room in the Rowell house for the Crazy Roots if you ever decide to visit Houston :)

  4. I love your posts! This one did make me cry =).I am so glad that things are going well. You are a great Mommy and Bekeh and Caleb are going to love having this record of growing up when they get older. I also love how you let them share their memories with you. I know a lot of people that would rather their kids not remember and I love that you want them to know who they are and where they came from. We love you guys and miss you tons. Can't wait to get down there and meet the newest additions.

  5. Gina, thank you for that great update! Gunyea reads a book called "Please Baby Please" and he always points and says Dereje when we get to this certain page. I am so glad he is making progress. Thanks for sharing. We love the Crazy Roots!

    The Joneses

  6. Greetings from another family that is in the process of adopting from ET. I found your blog on the AWAA Yahoo site and stumbled on this post. We've never adopted, and we don't know what it will be like. But this post highlighted some very important things that I will take away. THANK YOU for sharing your stories! I hope others will find them as valuable as I have. God bless!

    The Seevers