Friday, March 9, 2012

Mini Kiddo Updates

This is a pretty regular scene at our house…..

Jayla will disappear into her room for awhile, shut her door and turn on her music. Then she’ll dig through her dress up trunk, get all fancied up, and come take a little stroll around the house with her baby doll. She makes a big show of it, always hollering for Jake’s attention to ensure that he sees her, “Dad! Look at me!” She’ll wait for him to say, “Oh you look so beautiful.” Then she’ll flash a big smile, strut her version of a runway walk, and eventually head back into her room to change outfits and do it all over again. LOVE HER!

In dance Jayla’s class has just started learning their ballet and tap routines for the spring recital. The theme of the show is ‘Under the Sea’ and Jayla’s class is dancing to music from The Little Mermaid. A few weeks ago they got to try on their costumes and perform a couple of 8 counts for us parents. It was SO CUTE! Here’s a video clip I took on my phone (Jayla is right in front of the teacher) ….

Is the crab coming into the picture not hilarious? Jayla hasn’t quite learned to commit the moves to memory yet, so she usually just mimics her teacher a couple of seconds late. :) Even though she doesn’t know the steps, I LOVE to watch her smile the whole time. She is so proud of what she has learned. One thing that we have noticed is that she especially enjoys the gymnastics part of the class which they do the last 15 minutes. A few weeks ago they worked on their recital routine the entire time and didn’t have time for gymnastics – she came running out of the class with tears rolling down her face when it was over saying, “we couldn’t do nastics.” She was so sad. It made me decide that this summer when dance class is on break we should have her try out a class at a gymnastics place and see what she thinks. She is constantly perfecting her cartwheel at home, doing headstands up against the wall, and back flips off the couch. Even big brother JJ has to get in on the mix and compete with her to see who can do cartwheels the best.

Last week I got JJ all signed up for kindergarten (for the fall) and my mind has been reminiscing and pulling out shelved memories of our last [almost] 6 years together ever since. Preparing myself for him to go to school has made me even more appreciative that I’ve gotten to be a stay-at-home mom with him since the day he was born. However, I am going to miss him SO MUCH during the day. I can’t imagine going a morning without hearing about all the previous nights college and NBA games, what the team records are, and the top player stats. Hearing his little sportscaster voice go on and on excitedly the moment he rolls out of bed and checks ESPN is as routine as my morning coffee. And who will make him his beloved shells and cheese for lunch? And how will Jayla and I get through the matching game without hearing JJ talk smack to us because he has the marks on the backs of the cards memorized? And throughout the day I adore hearing, “Mommy will you throw me some passes? If it’s a touchdown put your arms up like this, if it is incomplete wave your arms like this….” and “Mommy, I got a big game in my room today at 12:00. You want to come watch? I’m playing the Lakers today. It’s just warm ups right now.” And when I need a midday smooch and hug, he’s always right there to be squeezed. I guess every momma has to let their first-born grow up, but I do not like it Sam I am!!!!!!!

With kindergarten in sight, we’ve definitely got some ‘growing up’ tasks to work on over the next few months – namely learning how to tie our shoes, cut paper with scissors (we barely know how to say the word ‘craft’ in this house), and learning how to ride a bike without training wheels. That being said, the kid can swish a baseline jumper….

Check out Justice’s new reading glasses prescribed to him by Dr. Mike!

Lookin’ good dude! Even without the glasses the past few months Justice’s reading has improved by LEAPS and BOUNDS (literally - you should see the chart of scores his reading tutor has graphed out)! As always, Justice received a great report from his teacher at conferences yesterday. His ESL teacher, who has worked with him now for 1 1/2 years, got tears in her eyes as she talked about how much she is going to miss him next year (for 3rd grade he heads to a different building). I know teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but you can tell Justice holds a special place in her heart. :) We told her not to worry as she is going to get to do this with us all over again in a few months when our girls come home! We met with three of his teachers (2nd grade teacher, reading tutor, ESL teacher) and each one of them was so encouraging to him about his upcoming trip to Ghana. His ESL teacher especially has been encouraging him to stay fluent in his other Ghanaian languages. This will be a huge tool for him to have as he gets older. We want him to be able to communicate in the local languages on our trips, and especially to be able to talk with his birthmother who doesn't know English. Justice will give a big presentation on his trip to his class when he gets back, and I know everyone is excited to see pictures and hear from Justice first-hand. What a great opportunity for our family to also educate others about adoption!

As we’ve been preparing to take Justice back to Ghana for his first visit, we are very curious as to how he will respond. He’s talked a lot about his little brother in Ghana, Kwasi (spelling?), as he’s thought about the trip. I can imagine that someday the comparison of how his brother is growing up, to the opportunity that Justice has been given is going to get more pronounced as Justice gets older and he understands more. Taking Justice to Ghana frequently will hopefully provoke some resolve in him to stay connected to his heritage and take action on behalf of his people and his birthfamily. Justice has been saving his money to buy Kwasi a gift, and he knew just what he wanted to get him – a remote control car. When we first met Justice back in December 2009 we had thought he was younger than he was, so we had brought him a little electronic spiderman car. Well, it ended up being a huge hit with little brother Kwasi…..

Justice told us that Kwasi played with it sun up to sun down! Here is the stash that we are bringing for Kwasi this trip….these items were all hand-picked by Justice…..he was very adamant that we needed to bring him a toothbrush and toothpaste.

We’ve also picked out some of the donated clothes that we think should fit Kwasi perfectly.

In my heart I had promised Justice’s birthmother that this would be an open adoption. I am so excited to take the first BIG step of making good on that promise!


Mandy said...

Oh my goodness! I totally busted out laughing when I saw the photo of Jayla! Too cute! And Justice looks so handsome with glasses :)

Happy weekend!

Renee said...

Love this post! Jayla is soo darned cute! And I'd really like to see a video of her doing a back flip off your couch! You are one brave mama! JJ and Justice are growing up soooo fast!