party of five

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, our little nephew Noah has come to live with us for a while. I believe it took his parents a great deal of courage and faith in us to ask us to take him into our care, and we consider him as much a part of our family as Lu and Arthur whether he's living with us or someplace else. He is a wonderful boy with a smile that could melt any heart and a light, gentle but robust sense of humor. Going from three to five in six months has been a challenge, but we have always loved a noisy and happy home. Noah has some challenges of his own to face--he is showing symptoms similar to those of Reactive Attachment Disorder, although there could be any number of diagnoses, and his official assessment is still two weeks away. He needs extra special and constant attention, a very tightly structured schedule, and disciplinary methods which might at first seem counter-intuitive (e.g. "time-ins" as opposed to "time outs"--sitting near him and using calming techniques to get him to talk and open up; meditative techniques [closes eyes, imagines an ocean and counts to five]; remaining emotionally neutral in reaction to an outburst). But this family is like the Marines: we leave no man behind. We're all in this together. His parents and family friends are helping us build a support network for him, and I am amazed at how well he's doing.

(Isn't he the sweetest?)

I plan to blog more about cousin's condition and diagnosis in the future to help other caregivers.

One really cool thing about being a party of five is that game nights and movie nights are way more fun. I love being a mom, always have, but as much as I love the sweet baby snuggles and indiscernible ravings of toddlers, I have always looked forward to the excuse-for-a-second-childhood stage of my children's lives. You know, the part where they can play games and enjoy watching all the shows you grew up on and they're brand new to them!!! The part where their toys are so freaking cool that playing with them is a blast, and you totally want to cut work to hang out with your home skillets. Anyway, we've made it through the first of the Lord of the Rings (Arthur has a Frodo costume) and one Star Trek series (Frodo can name two captains), played some serious dress up, had some messy art parties, and played some awesome new puzzles and games (I am SO hooked on University Games!):

Paul Frank bingo. Easy picture bingo for little kids. We played the heck out of this at El Guapo's the other night!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. AWESOME!!!

And Eric Carle's ABC game (We love the Wii ABC game by the way).

Everything is at once a bigger hassle and a bigger blast. I was really quite proud of myself when I mastered getting three kids organized and out the door by myself for the first time for Philbrook's Festival of Trees. Turns out the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

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