Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Solely Sam

I’ve been wanting to write a post devoted solely to Sam for quite some time. But it feels so overwhelming. I don’t feel that I can smith together just the right words to accurately and completely describe this incredible, dynamic little boy.

Words are so inadequate and they feel so limiting.

But I’ll give it a try.

I guess I’ll start by saying that when we adopted Sam I was woefully ignorant about all things boy. Growing up, I had a sister. My only child was a daughter. I had a whole bunch of friends who also had daughters. Heck, even my pets were females. what to expect from a boy.

I was in for so many pleasant surprises.IMG_7374

Personality  Sam is laid back, easy going and almost always full of joy. He looks for reasons to smile and laugh and is just naturally happy. He has never met a stranger and charms just about everyone he meets. His infectious personality makes everyone around him just a little happier.

Sam bounces and skips and hops and jumps wherever he goes--he never walks. He will jump off of anything and has no fear of trying new things. He oozes self-confidence. He loves to follow Molly and copy everything she does. And he holds his own while playing with all of her six year old  friends.

I never expected a boy to be cuddly. I thought boys were too busy boys things like throwing rocks and wrestling with Daddy to care much about cuddling. But Sam is a cuddle bug. He thoroughly enjoys snuggling and being carried. He even jumps for joy when I pull out the Ergo baby carrier.  He loves to kiss and be kissed and he makes this momma feel so loved.

Sam does have his moments…he is two years old after all. He can pitch a fit with the best of them. When he wants his way he will crouch down in a squat then hold the squat while he jumps up and down screaming. I find it entertaining and even amazing to watch. I mean how can you jump up and down while holding a crouched position?

Sam will usually burn himself out pretty quickly. I just laugh…is that all you got? I’m used to Molly, who can go on for hours. A few  minute tantrum seems like a breath of fresh air.

Sometimes the tantrum will last longer. In that case I will scoop Sam up and make him sit in a chair for maybe 30 seconds. He screams the entire time, but as soon as I pick him up he nuzzles in my neck and all is good. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Growth When we adopted Sam, he measured 31.5” and weighed 24 pounds.Six months later he is 33.5” and weighs 26.5 pounds. He’s not breaking any growth records and is still on the small side, but his growth curve is good and we think that he is the absolutely perfect size. He fits well into 18 month clothes, although I am buying 24 month/2T to get a little more wear out of them.

Sam loves his clothes. He gets excited when he gets something new and has to go show them off to everyone around. But he gets equally excited when you pull out one of his old favorites like his Doggie PJs or his t-shirt covered with all kinds of trucks.

Sam’s feet are very big for his size. When China sent me his foot measurement I figured it was a measuring error. No way could a kid that size be wearing a size 7 shoe. I was so sure that I brought size 6 shoes to China, figuring they would still be too big. Wrong. He wore a size 7 on Gotcha Day and is almost ready for size 8. Little guy, big feet!

Eating While we were in China, my travel group gave Sam the nickname of The Garbage Disposal. This name partly reflected the way he ate--with a bunch of chewing, grinding and food flying everywhere--but also reflected the quantity of food that he could put down. This hasn’t changed.

Sam eats more than Molly on any given day. Some days he eats more than me. He never eats more than Dad! It’s amazing to me that he has only gained two pounds as

His favorite foods are pizza, macaroni and cheese, waffles, yogurt, watermelon and ice cream. He also loves anything sweet. Unfortunately, he came to use with several cavities so we really have to limit the sweet stuff and brush his teeth a lot!

It took Sam a while to really appreciate American food. He was eating solid food in China and definitely had a palate for it. Slowly but surely he adapted to a more American diet, however he loves it when we go out for Chinese. He gorges himself. His favorites are steamed buns (just like his Mommy!) and these little shrimp and scallion dumplings things. Of course noodles and rice also rank up there pretty high.

And can I just say that the drooling has finally ceased! The bibs have been put away and I can actually see the shirts that my son wears each day. Hallelujah!

Sleeping The two things that Sam excels at are 1) eating, and 2) sleeping. He is by far the easiest child that I have ever seen when it comes to sleep. He needs to be cuddling me in order to fall asleep (darn, I hate that Smile!) but it always takes him less than 5 minutes until he is out cold. Put the boy in a horizontal position and it’s lights out. He sleeps 10-11 hours each night and takes a 2-3 hour nap each afternoon.


Sleep issues can be so difficult, especially for parents who are pushing 50 pretty darn hard. We are so lucky that Sam is a sleeper and pray that he stays that way!IMG_8787

Speech/Sign Language Because of his cleft, Sam can’t say too may words yet. He is great with vowel sounds and with the letter M. His first word was Mama--be still my heart! It was so incredible to finally hear that word come out of his mouth on April 10, 2012. Yes, I di mark the day on the calendar!

Sam has lots of other words, too. You just have to live with him and have a lot of context to understand them. But at least he is trying. In the past month he has really begun to imitate the intonations of our speech, even though he can’t pronounce the words exactly right.

Most of the consonant sounds are difficult for Sam as the air needed to generate sounds goes out through his cleft and nose rather than through his lips. We have discovered that if we pinch his nose closed, he can make new sounds. He was so proud when he clearly said baby and baba (Chinese for Daddy….or poop depending on the tone!) He will now pinch his own nose and say words. I cried the first time he did this. My heart was so happy for him!

Although intelligible speech is still a ways off, Sam is a signing whiz kid. He has over 60 signs now and uses them all of the time. He will even put several signs together to get his message across. I usually only have to show him the sign once or twice and then he has is it down and never forgets it.

Sam's most used signs are sister and ice cream. The two things he wants the most. One of them he gets a lot, the other only once in a while. Can you guess which one is which? I bet you can! He continues to be undeterred and asks for ice cream several times a day!

Playtime Sam is all boy. Even if he plays with all of his sister’s pink toys! He loves balls. He loves to throw them. He loves to catch them. He loves to bounce them. He loves to kick them. He loves to roll on top of them. He loves big exercise balls and tiny little super balls. He’s never met a ball he didn’t like~

He is also very physical, jumping off of anything he can climb. I am surprised that we haven’t been to the ER yet, although I know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.IMG_9084

Sam runs. Everywhere. I don’t think he knows how to walk. At least I’ve never seen him do it. He loves to chase and be chased.

Sam adores playing with his sister. It’s nice to have Molly and Sam be playmates, entertaining each other during the day. In my fantasy world, I thought that I might actually get stuff done around the house during these times. But I am usually doing one of two things: watching them play together and thinking how lucky I am to have two great kids or I am breaking up arguments and settling turf battles wondering why I ever decided that I needed two kids.

Routines Sam thrives on routines. He likes to know what to expect and is always ready for the next step, as long as we stay in our normal routine. He knows that bath is followed by lotion and then pajamas and then his lip massage (to reduce the scarring). If we miss a step, he quickly reminds me!

He is also very linear. He loves to put like objects into lines, whether it is blocks, dining room chairs or food on his dinner plate, like things go in lines. IMG_8739

In a similar vein, pairs must always be together. Sam goes around the house collecting shoes and lines them up in pairs.IMG_9059


I never have to worry about closing closet doors, or kitchen cabinets, or shutting drawers,or even pushing in chairs. Sam’s sense of order compels him to do all of those things for me. Seriously a big help because I am always leaving things open or undone. Now I have a shadow to complete my tasks for me!


Gosh, there is so much more I could say. Want to say. I know that this sounds like one big love fest. It is. We  are head-over-heels about this little guy. If it sounds like it’s almost always sunshine and puppy dogs with Sam, well then I’ve been successful. Because it truly is.

I worried about adopting a young child—let’s face it, we’re old. I worried about adopting a boy—so out of my comfort zone. I worried about adopting a special needs child—could we hand all that it entailed?

All of my worries we unjustified. Sam is a joy and such an easy child to care for and to love. We are blessed to call this child our son. Truly a gift from God. And we are grateful that he is ours!

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