one day at mcdonald's

i love mcdonald’s.  LOVE it!  i know, many people think it’s gross, including my husband.  but my kids and i, we could dine there every day.  yes, dine. yes, every day.

you can’t beat a cheap place with a playland and yummy food.  and you can’t beat a mcdonald’s cheeseburger plain with a large order of fries and a coke.  maybe the large fries are keeping me from being in the shape i want to be in.  should be a hint to myself, but sometimes i can’t deny my mcdonald’s cravings.

yesterday i had a meeting scheduled at church from 9:30am-11:30am.  several people were expected, but only two of us showed up.  we spent about 25 minutes talking and then ended our time.  we were done early.  we could go home.  or…we could go to mcdonald’s!  the boys were so excited.  and so was i!

it’s always interesting to observe parents and children at a mcdonald’s playland.  i like to see who has good parenting skills, and who doesn’t.  who has good behavior, and who doesn’t.  i like to see how my children interact with the other children.  i like to see how other parents interact with me and one another.  yesterday all the  kids did great.  and i had a few interesting encounters.

at first there was just one other parent and child combo in the playland.

stranger #1(to my boys, about her daughter):  her name is brooke, if you want to play with her.

my boys:  i am wilbur and i am 5.  he is 4 and his name is orville.

stranger #1(to me):  i have a 6 year old too.  she is in kindergarten.  if you want to go order your food, they can stay in here and i’ll watch them.

me:  that’s very kind of you, but we’re not eating yet.  i am going to let them play a little first.

stranger #1:  oh.  really?  we always eat first and then play.

me:  oh.  okay.  well, my boys just had a snack and it’s a little early for their lunch(it was 10:30am).

stranger #1:  okay.  well maybe you could watch my daughter while i go have a cigarette.

me:  um, okay.

she never went to have one.  but, i thought it was interesting that she asked.  seriously.  we just met.  and you’d leave your child with me.  for a cigarette?  yikes.

another lady comes in.  she has a little boy with her.  while my boys are playing they tell me they can’t find the pink slide, which happens to be the tallest and most exciting slide.  i leave our table so i can walk around the playland, telling them what tubes to go through to get to the pink slide.

stranger #2(the new lady):  they’re so cute.  are they yours?

me:  thank you.  yes, they are.  (me inside:  that cut straight to my heart.  why are you asking?  should i tell her they are adopted?  they don’t look like me.  is that why she asked?  my heart hurts.  they are mine.  but they aren’t mine.  did you need to ask that?  i didn’t ask you if the little boy with you was yours.  really, did you have to ask?)

stranger #1:  how old are your boys again?

me:  the oldest will be 6 in july, so i guess i can just say he’s 6.  the youngest one turned 4 in february.  then we have a daughter who is 7.  she’s at school, in first grade.

stranger #1:  oh, i have two girls.  i always wanted a boy.  but, we’re done.  my husband said no more.  he had the magic surgery with the golden scissors.  i was disappointed i didn’t have a boy.

me:  you could always adopt.  (me inside:  how can you complain about not having a boy?  wishing you would have, i can understand.  but being disappointed?  you should be thankful you have children at all. and what about people who only have boys?  don’t you think they’d be thankful for one of your girls?)

stranger #1:  i wouldn’t adopt now.  not while my kids are young.  maybe someday.

me:  i can understand that.  (me inside:  i honestly can.  but i know you won’t adopt.  and you likely shouldn’t anyway.)

i then overhear stranger #2 telling a friend of hers that the little boy with her is her great nephew.  maybe that’s why she asked if my boys were mine.  made me feel a little better.  but not totally.

stranger #3, stranger #4, and stranger #5(all saying the same thing):  your boys are adorable.

me(each time):  thank you.  they are.  (me inside:  oh, they are adorable.  and i know it.  and i hear it all the time.  because they really are that adorable. but yes, thank you.)

stranger #6 to stranger #7(two men who were sitting right next to me, talking about the affairs their wives have had.  i didn’t interact with them, but the stories i heard broke my heart.): my wife actually said that she could justify her affair because it started before Christmas.  this showed they had been together for a while and so the affair should be okay.  but i told her no, that only makes it worse.  that just means you were lying to me longer.

stranger #7 to stranger #6:  i can’t believe she actually said that to you.

i can’t believe it either i thought.  should i say something to them? should i tell them i am sorry?  should i tell them all women aren’t like this?  i didn’t say anything.  it wasn’t my place.  and the setting wasn’t exactly ideal.

i didn’t say most of what i was thinking/feeling at mcdonald’s yesterday.  most people wouldn’t understand.   but maybe i should try it sometime.

and the chaos begins

i always thought a busier phase of life would be fun.  when the kids first came home, we had all the time in the world on our hands.  i often found myself with no idea how to spend that time.  i felt stuck.  now, i can hardly catch my breath sometimes.

soccer season has started.  all three kids are playing.  three practices during the week.  amelia’s is on tuesday, orville’s on wednesday, wilbur’s on thursday.   and then we have three games every saturday morning.

yesterday morning orville played at 10am.  and wilbur and amelia both had games at 11am.  thankfully their fields were right next to each other so we just had to sit and the middle and look side to side to catch all the action.

here’s some shots from orville’s first soccer game.  he’s #2.

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and then, during dinner last night, we noticed wilbur’s ears were glowing.  the sun was shining in the window right behind his head causing great illumination.

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it wouldn’t be a complete series of wilbur pictures without goofy faces.

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happy easter!

‘i remember how the sunlight turned to thunder
and the people ran for shelter from the rain
and the curtain tore and the saints awoke
and the whole earth seemed to tremble
from the fury of God’s anger
or was it the fury of His love?

there were shadows on the tomb there in the garden
and the mist was rising slowly through the trees
and when mary saw the Silhouette on early Easter morning
i remember how He smiled at her and said

He said, ‘Rise, rise and shine
the sun is coming in
and the morning light is shining in your eyes,                                                                                                                                                        rise and shine
the day is coming on
and you know the night is gone so rise’

rise and shine, andrew peterson

an act of love

every kid has their issue.  sometimes it’s chosen for them.  sometimes they choose it themselves. sometimes they have multiple issues stemming from multiple experiences.  our little wilbur has a bathroom issue.  i am not sure if it came with him or if it started here, but he’s had it for about 2 1/2 years now.

he started getting potty trained at his foster home.  then when the foster mom heard he was coming to us in a month or two, she decided to stop the training and leave it in our hands.  in july of 2006, about 2 months after the kids came home, we realized wilbur was more than ready and able to use the toilet.

we started training him as i am assuming most people do.  go potty every couple hours to see if anything can come out.  go poopy after a meal, or after gas starts coming.  wilbur fought us every step of the way.  we could be kind-nothing.   we could be mean-nothing.  we could prompt him-nothing.  we could say nothing-nothing.

eventually, wilbur gave in and started using the toilet regularly.  but regularly for wilbur is potty about twice a day and poopy once every few days.  he’d be bloated. he’d be gassy.  he’d have marks in his underpants.  and he’d keep insisting he didn’t need to go.

we sought advice.  i googled a ton.  we read books.  we consulted friends.  i asked the pediatrician.  we tried mutiple suggestions from kind and loving people.  nothing worked.  nothing. for whatever reason, wilbur could be on the verge of wetting his pants, or pooping in his pants, and he do anything but go to the bathroom.

our most recent attempt to”help” him was to completely ignore the situation.  we wouldn’t ask if he needed to go.  we wouldn’t prompt him to go.  we wouldn’t remind him to go.  it would be up to him.  he could choose when to go all on his own.  we didn’t talk about this with him, we just stopped talking about it all together.

some days this went over well.  other days he’d spend most of his time walking funny, sitting down as much as possible, squeezing his legs together, etc.  i started to think this approach wasn’t working when on monday i realized wilbur hadn’t gone poopy since saturday.  josh and i talked about it and decided we’d just keep trying to ignore it.  then wilbur didn’t go tuesday.  and he didn’t go wednesday.  and then today came.

i have still been reading twenty things adopted kids want their adoptive parents to know by sherri eldridge.  an adoptee herself, sherrie is so insightful in sharing with adoptive parents that their children carry around so much in their heads that they don’t understand and can’t communicate.  most of this “stuff”  isn’t understood until adulthood and sometimes not even then.

today it got me thinking, which i have thought a few times over the past couple years, that maybe wilbur has such an issue with the bathroom because of all he’s been through.  leaving his birthmother at 1 1/2 and being neglected and possibly abused during that time.  leaving his foster mother at 2 1/2.  starting all over with a “new” mom and dad, in a strange home, with strange things.  this can have such a profound effect on a child.  and maybe one of the ways wilbur deals with this is by having control over when and how often he goes to the bathroom.

my sister and i had a chance to catch up on the phone today.  she lives nearby, but her little ones have been sick and we’ve been really busy, so we haven’t talked much the past couple weeks.  during our conversation my sister told me that she recently called focus on the family to get some advice on a sleeping issue with her almost three year old.  a counselor returned her call and gave her some pretty good advice.  i then shared with her that we are still concerned with wilbur’s bathroom issue and that we’ve tried everything.  she suggested i give focus a call, just to get another opinion.

i called.  i spoke to a very sweet lady.  she took some information from me and told me a counselor would call either today or tomorrow.  when i hung up the phone, the Lord shot straight into my heart.  “love him,” He said, “he just needs you to love him.  when he gets home from school, hold him.  tell him you love him.  tell him you’re concerned about his body.  tell him you want him to try to go poopy so his body won’t be hurt from holding the poopy in.  he’s a hurting little guy even though he can’t communicate that to you.  so let the bathroom issue go.  gently remind him.  gently prompt him.  he’ll eventually start to take care of it on his own.”

“i am going to do this,” i thought.  “oh Lord,” i said, “i hear You and i can feel in my heart that You are communicating this to me and i am so grateful.”  i reminded myself that the heart of a mother usually knows best for her child.  and i also reminded myself that i know my wilbur better than anyone else.  he’s lived with me longer than he did his birth mother and foster combined.  and i know i love him more than anyone else, except for his Heavenly Father.

i called josh and left him a message that we needed to talk.  i called a good  friend and ran the idea by her.  she was in agreement and too felt that the Lord had given me an answer.  once josh and i got to talk, he agreed with me too.

after school i held wilbur, told him i loved him, and that i was concerned.  i asked him to try to go poopy.  he literally looked and sounded relieved. almost like he had been waiting for me to love him through this.

he wanted me to be in the bathroom with him, but to not look at him when he was on the toilet.  so, i sat on the stool and looked at the opposite wall.  he told me when he is going poopy he likes to look at the shower curtain because it is so beautiful.  here it is…

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wilbur also said he looks at the shower curtain and says daddy, mommy, amelia, wilbur, and orville.  i asked why he says our names.  he said, “because we are like the flowers.  daddy is the biggest, then next is you, and orville is the little one because he is little.”

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do you see the 5 flowers inside of the paisley?  how cute is that!?!?

wilbur proceeded to tell me his poopy was coming out.  and it did, in 4 rather large pieces.  i reminded him that sometimes when he is having gas, it means his body is telling him to get the poopy out.  and he told me that his tummy has been hurting. and after he was all finished going to the bathroom, he said he felt much better.

i like our new way of doing things already.  i think wilbur needs to go through some of the bathroom training process again, the part where we remind him and prompt him to go.  i think he needs me to be the mommy of that little boy he was 2 1/2 years ago.  and i am so willing to do that.