Well, can you believe that I let time get away from me and didn’t quite make it for a half year update?! I can! Because I am a work-from-home mom who now has two three-year-olds! Life seems to speed by at a pace I just can’t keep up with. And laundry. So. Much. Laundry…
We have now been home for 166 days, and Shane and I still can’t believe how well Ruth is doing. For a long time now she has been sleeping all on her own (still in pull-ups and with the concessional outburst in her sleep). She has also been potty-trained with very minimal accidents, most of those have been during a nap and are pretty rare. She is also improving some in her speech- although not enough to forego speech therapy. Her physical therapy sessions have been moved to once a month instead of every week, and her inserts give her increased confidence and support. Those will likely continue to be the most helpful aspect of strengthening her ankles and coordination.
We have been able to send her and Allen over to grandparents’ and aunt/uncle’s houses for sleepovers a couple times (without mommy and daddy!) and they have been successes! It is so obvious that Allen is Ruth’s anchor, and as long as she has Allen, she is willing to be in what would usually be uncomfortable situations.
She is truly coming into her own self- she is a fearless, mischievous, thrill-seeker and she is starting to give her momma anxiety! Ruth will climb anything, no matter how high, and she has no reservations whatsoever about jumping head first into a swimming pool (with a floatie on, but I’m sure she would try it without one, too!). We hadn’t even had a chance to tell her how to hold her breath before she was jumping into the pool and going completely under water! Allen, on the other hand, can barely even be bribed to get into the pool- let along jump! Ha!
However, she’s learning some tough lessons about throwing caution to the wind. There have been lots of scrapes and cuts, perhaps even a deep tissue bruise recently, because she’s willing to do things that she probably should be scared of! The issue is, once she sees someone do something, or has an idea about a “fun” activity, there’s no thought-processing until after the commitment has been made. For example, yesterday at a playground with some friends, Ruth decided to jump off of a platform that was really too high to be jumping off of, and she hurt her right foot/ankle. But because she knew she liked jumping off things, she just assumed bigger meant better! It seems to me, since she now feels comfortable enough to explore, that she’s going through the developmental phase of boundary-pushing that newly mobile babies go through. But the stakes are higher for her since her abilities are more advanced! Needless to say, she’s keeping us on our toes (literally) and will be taking swim lessons this summer- if not for anything than to give her an outlet with certified lifeguards!
As for Allen’s progress as big-little brother over the past 6 months, he has just been Ruth’s little angel (and sometimes devil!). He adores “Woofie,” and considers her his best friend. It’s wonderful. He does, however, get a bit bossy or bothersome- but no more than any brother does to a sister! And he might even argue a little less than the average brother. Might. He is Ruth’s role model, she copies everything he does, which is mostly a blessing. Allen hasn’t seemed to have any issues with no longer being the only child, and he enjoys having a partner in crime so much that he’s asked for another sibling (or more) in recent months. Specifically a brother. Mommy and daddy are going to table that for a while, bub…
As for our adjustment as parents, I guess I’ll just speak for myself here. As you know, I was having trouble connecting with Ruth to the degree she was connecting with me. It was so difficult, wading through my emotions and struggling to understand my unique relationship with her when all I’ve had to go on was my relationship with Allen. I am happy to say that we are getting better. But it’s a process, and there are even still good and bad moments and days. I imagine many parents struggle with this when second or third etc. children come into the family scene. While I want to have the same level of affection and connection with Ruth as I do Allen, I have to realize that will take time. I’ve had three and a half years (plus the almost nine months womb-side) to develop my relationship with Allen. I can’t expect to have that instantly with Ruth, or vice versa. I don’t believe it will take years for our mother-daughter relationship to grow as strong as I want it to, and that is an encouragement to me. Especially on the days where I feel we have taken a step back.
Ruth and I will always have a unique bond, and that was difficult for me to accept early on. I wanted the same as I had with Allen. I thought the same bond would mean the same love and affection between both of my kids, and if it weren’t the same, how could I be the best mom to her and give her everything she needs? I’m just beginning to understand that uniqueness can still mean strong bonds. Just like we are all unique people, parents have unique bonds with each child. And I’m so looking forward to seeing how beautiful Ruth and I’s bond becomes.
There are still MANY MANY aspects of our life that have yet to be figured out (such as me being able to braid Ruth’s hair tight enough that it stays in for more than one night, ugh!), but we are truly starting to feel like we are seeing one another as we truly are. There are a lot of exciting life moments happening, like: a first movie theater trip (success) and a first Chick-fil-A family night photo shoot with the cow (failure). Shared experiences are knitting us closer together, and we are trusting God to guide our family along this journey he’s given us.
Ruth has her fourth birthday coming up! We will be happy to share about that celebration, along with some medical/developmental updates on how she’s progressing. Thanks for sticking around to share in our story!