Friday, February 27, 2015

Thank you to Placement - a letter I get to write each year

This is a letter I write each year to thank the man who placed Warren with me. It's a little different each year, but I cannot even begin to say how grateful I am for that telephone call five years ago!!!

Hi Steve,

Can you believe it's been five years since you called me to tell me Warren had been born? Well... technically... I'm two days early writing this email this year, but given that it's munchkin's birthday this weekend and the Purim Carnival, I won't be near a computer, and I wouldn't let this anniversary go by without expressing my eternal gratitude to you.

Five years ago this Sunday I was sitting on a conference call with my boss right beside me when I saw the placement phone number come up on my cell phone caller ID. It had been nearly four months since Evan and I had a child in our home. We had just returned from two weeks of back to back Jimmy Buffett concerts. But when that phone number flashed across my caller ID I knew it meant something important. I quickly dashed an email off to everyone in placement saying do not call another family... I'm calling right back as soon as I get off this conference call!

I remember every.single.moment. of that ten minute wait! I remember thinking how heart broken I would be if because I was stuck on a business call I couldn't answer the phone. But you waited for me. You waited for me! Do you know how different my life would be right now if you hadn't? I'm good at playing the "what if" game, but this is one time when I refuse to play it. My life is perfect. It is perfect because of this little boy who will turn five on Sunday.

Don't get me wrong. There are moments when I could pull my hair out. There are moments when I've had to call in reinforcements and put myself in a time out (ask my aunt... she'll confirm this). There are moments where at the end of the day I've put all the munchkins to bed and told my husband that I have to go out for an hour of quiet with no kids and no husband just to get over the crazy of that day.

But over all, things are perfect, because to me this perfectly crazy life is exactly what I am meant to have. I love when Warren comes into my room at 5 AM to snuggle up for the last few minutes before we have to get the day started (even if he does kind of have dragon breath first thing in the morning). I love that he peppers me with about five zillion questions in the 30 minutes it takes for us to get dressed, brush our teeth, get our shoes on and get to school (even if some of those questions are really hard to answer - I have no idea how this kid got to be so dadgum smart, but he really comes up with some humdingers). I love that he is hyper and fidgety and sometimes a little crazy during taekwondo (even though he does sometimes have to sit in timeout). And I love that he makes me read him "The Book With No Pictures" nine times a night (even though he has it memorized and can recite it himself). And I love singing Laila Tov to him right before bed (even though I can't carry a tune in a hand basket). I love that he smells like wet dog after he's been playing really hard. I love that his hair is crazy and looks slightly like Albert Einstein's hair. I love that his voice sounds like one of the Lollipop Guild Kids. I love that he has a "collection" of stuff under his pillow - like matchbox cars, books, snappy bracelets, and action figures. I love that he gets so excited when we get to go out for snooshis (sushi) because he gets to eat with chopsticks. But most of all, I love that he calls me mommy. When he puts his arms around my neck and whispers that I am the best mommy he has ever had, my whole world melts away and there is only him.

I know you guys love the work you do or you wouldn't do it. And I know you have some days where it gets really hard. But at the other end of the phone, you're changing the world. One kid at a time. One mom at a time. You made my life perfect. Just like Rachel did when she called me with Liam and Tenille did when she called me with Elie. So while this seems like so not enough, I will tell you thank you again! Thank you for my perfect little wild boy whom I love so much! I will tell you this every year until my dying day, because my life would be so meaningless without this little munchkin in it. ​ ​


Heather Rosenberg

Monday, February 2, 2015

A good weekend

I love weekends - but let's face it, most people do. They're the time I get to be away from my desk and with my family, and they're the time I get to use my creative brain to try new things out (like recipes, crafts, new techniques for getting my kids to listen to me?)... While I didn't do any significant crafting projects this weekend, I did try some new things out with the kiddos - notably practicing not repeating myself over and over again. I didn't have a ton of success, but I did have a lot less frustrations than on a "regular" weekend which means I am likely to try this experiment out a little longer to see if it's an anomaly or if it's truly working.
Let me back up a few frames though and talk about the day leading up to the weekend and why this is such a big step for me. If you know my family, you know that we've been working through some behavior issues with my oldest son. This child is incredibly smart, observant, crafty, and strong spirited. This combination will likely be a huge blessing for him when he gets older but for now is an incredibly difficult combination to parent. If you clearly establish the authority pattern with him from the onset and remain consistent with absolutely no chinks in the armor, he does much better. Unfortunately, I did not realize this as he was growing up and was much more of a laid back parent. I was not consistent in the application of the rules and was incredibly lenient in the application of corrective actions as well (a mistake I promise I am no longer making). The reasons behind my parenting folly are the subject of a future post, but for now we'll focus on the present.
Anyway - so we had some testing done with the school system because his preschool teacher had expressed some concerns also several months ago and we got all of the results back this past Thursday. I went to that appointment with a great deal of trepidation because I was quite certain the feedback was going to be all gloom and doom - especially given that the last few weeks have been quite challenging, behavior-wise. But we got in and as the psychology intern was going through all of the results, it quickly became apparent that we were likely not dealing with a major issue but rather one that with the consistent application of positive parenting techniques would likely disappear as our child grew and matured - that while his executive function was not fully matured as of now, that it likely would mature over the next few years and that he would gain more and more ability to exercise control over his temper and reactions to various stimuli. It was like a huge weight was being lifted from my shoulders!
I left that meeting on cloud nine. Seriously.
So I went to the grocery store to get the few items I still needed to finish up making lunches for the kids lunch boxes that day and went home and made a bazillion little heart shaped PB&J sandwiches. Yes. I was so excited I made PB&Js!

I went nuts, I know. Then I was on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend because all of the suddent, it appeared that if we made some minor course corrections to our own parenting techniques we'd be looking at a much different picture. So I wrote down a few things I'd gotten from our meeting and implemented them. What do you know, they worked!

So the weekend was actually much smoother than many I've had in the past. I give you photo evidence below:

We spend a good amount of the day at the Florida Museum of Natural History on Saturday for Children's Day. Thats' where we met Olaf and got our face painted. We did a little archaeology, got to lay down in a dug out canoe, got chased by an American Mastodon, and even got to learn how to hulahoop!

All in all, it was a fun weekend... we'll definitely try this a little longer to see if we continue to get awesome behavior!