Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday

Emil and Colin are THREE years old today! Three years ago we were sitting in church when we got a text that the boys' birthmother was heading in for a C-section. On our way to California a few weeks ago, Brian and I took a moment as we passed through Scipio to remember that it was the spot where we found out the boys had been born. (Funny thing - Bridget was also born on a Sunday.) Emil and Colin being in our family is most definitely a full-blown miracle. And now I have almost completely forgotten what it was like before we got them.

Photo by Emmanuelle Maxwell
With each of our children, I've sought out a moment when I knew they were ours. There are so many competing emotions during the adoption placement. I didn't want to take away anything from Bridget's birthmother or the boys' birthmother, so I was pretty guarded when I met Bridget and Colin since their birthmothers were still in the room the first time I saw them. Emil was in the NICU when I met him. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was my boy. The feeling was overwhelming and I let myself feel it because I could that time without hurting anyone else. Brian met Emil before I did and I know they have a special connection as well. While Emil was in the hospital for the first week of his life, Brian made sure to be there for feedings and diaper changes. There was never a question in Brian's mind - he was Emil's Dad.

Just in the last few months, Emil has really started talking a lot. He gets frustrated by the limitations of his body and his ability to communicate. It's like he's secretly a grown man and he hates it when someone else tries to pour milk on his cereal or peel his orange or open a can with a can opener. Emil insists on helping me with everything. When it's time for lunch, he gets all the stuff for sandwiches on the counter for me. If we're having macaroni and cheese, he has to be the one to pour the macaroni into the saucepan. For the most part, Emil learns from his mistakes. he used to turn the box of macaroni over so fast that macaroni went everywhere. Now he pours it slowly and carefully. A few nights ago he knocked the Christmas tree over and broke ornaments. He stayed in his room and when we came in later he said, "Sorry." 

Emil loves to sing - he often asks me for certain songs by saying his favorite line from the song or doing the actions that go with the song. It's not easy for people to win him over completely. I think I'm the only person he kisses on the lips. :) Everyone else gets his forehead. Sometimes Emil will come to me after he's been scolded, holding his blankie and needing to be held for a minute. When he and Colin aren't wrestling, Emil can be very solicitous of his brother. "Okay, Cahnen?" Emil never ever shares, but he will take turns sometimes. He loves rough-housing and tickling ("deeka-deeka-deeka"). He eats like a champion. Emil has been really healthy this year, now that I think about it. Very few asthma problems. Every time we're out and about, Emil will hold my hand no matter what. He probably thinks he's protecting me instead of the other way around. :) My hero.

Photo by Emmanuelle Maxwell
My bonding moment with Colin was when the nurses let me do a kangaroo hold with him in the hospital. He was (is) very fidgety, but as soon as he laid his head on me, he let out a big sigh and held perfectly still. I could feel how much he loved me and that he knew I was his Mom. He has always been such a lover. Colin kisses everyone! At bedtime and nap time he has to give everyone who is home a hug and kiss. Including Mo. (That's so funny to me. Emil will head-butt Colin if I take him to their room first and Colin will kiss the top of Emil's head if I take Colin out first. They're going to see each other in 30 seconds! They're taking a nap in the same room! So much love.) When the boys were still on bottles, Brian was always the one to feed Colin and take him up to bed. Colin would always look intently at Brian, even when he was refusing to drink his bottle. Every single morning Colin runs into our room and stage-whispers, "WHERE DADDY?" 

Colin says fewer words than Emil, but he knows how to get what he wants/needs. He loves playing with Bridget, so he's learned how to follow some of the rules (Bridget is all about rules:)). Lately they play a lot of hide-and-seek. Colin covers his eyes and calls out random numbers, "Fie! ONE! Tree! TEN! Ready?" Once when they were playing he hid exactly behind Bridget as she counted and when she popped up to go look for him he was left crouching in the open. She went to a couple of different rooms before she came back and saw him. He laughed and laughed. Colin loves to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He and Emil start every day with this argument:

Colin: "Mickey?"
Emil: "No Mickey."
Colin: "MICKEY."
Emil: "No Mickey."

It goes on longer than you could imagine. It's so funny that sometimes I start it. Ha! Like I mentioned, Colin is good at playing games and he seeks out play with other children. He usually shares and he always takes turns. The other day we went to Bridget's school to watch her class sing Christmas songs. Every time the boys see a handicap door opener button they race each other to push it first, then they fight to the death. Every time. As we came close to the door button at the grade school Emil took off to push it first. Colin started to wiggle out of my grasp, then he stopped and said, "Mo's turn." I swear I heard a heavenly choir sing. (Of course Mo forgot all about giving Colin a turn on the way out, but baby steps.) 

Colin will give anyone he loves a kiss on the lips. Their nursery leaders are a wonderful couple - the husband is a very big man who looks like he could snap most people like a twig. On Sunday the boys said goodbye and Colin gave that huge man a kiss on the lips. If Colin loves you, you're getting a kiss. :)

Next month the boys will be separated for the first time because Emil is going to preschool and Colin isn't. I'm sad for them, but I think it will be good. It's only a few hours a week. They're becoming big boys. As hard as it is to have them with me everywhere I go (they've seen all their birthday and Christmas presents already because I put them in the cart right behind where they're sitting), I will miss having them all to myself.


Jess said...

What cute guys! Has it really been 3 years? I loved hearing about your first bonding moments.

melissa said...

They're so handsome and this was so sweet! Thank you for sharing. Wish I could give them a hug RIGHT NOW.