Monday, September 13, 2010

Mercer's personality is coming through

Mercer did something that was SO funny the other day:

We were grabbing a slice of pizza up on the square & someone we knew stopped by our table to talk. The woman, Joan, asked Mercer a question, but he had just shoved a piece of pizza in his mouth, so that when he replied he let out an un-interpretable mumble. She asked him the question again and he replied with the same mumble. I told him not to talk with his mouth full -- intending for him to finish chewing and THEN reply with his answer. Instead, he grabbed the chewed up pizza out of his mouth & stuck it in my hand, then answered the question!!

Todd, Joan, and I BUSTED out in laughter. I don't even remember what the question or the answer was because I was in shock! He resolved the problem in a much different way than we had intended, but... he DID resolve it!

Mercer's also starting to think and reason for things he wants -- even things that are not tangibly in front of him. We were watching some neighbor kids one day after work / after school. I wanted him to behave well / not be cranky, so I brought a cheese stick so he could eat it on the way home & carry him through 'til he ate dinner later that evening. He's eating the cheese stick -- and after awhile he says "this is not a treat, mommy" "this is not a treat, ok?" I suppose he was afraid he wouldn't get a goodie at some point later if he gobbled up the cheese stick?!

Hmmm..... smart!

This past weekend, we went for a bike ride on a converted "Rails-to-Trails" path called the Silver Comet. We had a nice ride & even stopped at one of the pull-off areas to hike a little bit. We knew there was a nature preserve and walking trails that backed up to the Silver Comet, but. little did we know that there were some old ruins on a creek at the end of the trail. The ruins were supported by a steel sub-structre which added even more interest to the site from our perspective.

We were so pleasantly surprised -- as ruins and water are 2 of the things Todd & I like to see along our hikes, in fact we sometimes plan trips to specific places because of them!! For us, this was a hidden treasure & we will definitely be back!

Todd took some photos of Mercer in front of the ruins while Mercer was climbing up an elevated manhole structure not too far from the stone ruins. At first, he needed our help climbing up the 2' tall structure, but after a few times, he was able to do it himself. He was also a little apprehensive of jumping off the structure, but quickly got over his fear and did it over and over again all by himself. He's definitely becoming more independent.

Speaking of independence, we've enrolled him again into semi-private swim lessons. They're more expensive & further away from where we live, but we really didn't think he was getting life-safety skills at the place he's been going for the past year. He's no longer afraid of the water, but we want him to roll over & float on his back - most importantly - when he does get in the water. Hopefully these new lessons will provide these fundamentals & others. He had one lesson last week & the instructor said he needed to move up to the next level. This new level is the first class where the kids are in the water on their own with the instructor.... none of the parents go in the water with the kids.

He was the youngest kid in the class and was clingy & apprehensive, but we passed him to the instructor. She carried him into the water & set him on the step where the other few kids were waiting. Mercer actually sat in one place on the step for the most part. He went to her when she came to get him for his one-on-one instruction. He got his head & ears wet. He floated on his back with her. He kicked. He (sort-of) blew bubbles. And - he jumped into the pool upon her instruction where she caught him. He kept looking over to us to make sure we were there -- or to see if we were watching & applauding him on his achievements. All night long he kept saying "I did it." He was definitely proud. I was a little sad -- this is a new step for him, but we were both proud of him too.

Finally, Mercer has begun a couple of new things that ALL kids do / we knew to expect at some point. He does the constant "Mommy, mommy, mommy...." "Daddy, daddy, daddy...." until you look at him. Just acknowledging him doesn't work to cease this constant name-calling. He's also began the continuous "Why?" He hasn't done this too often, but several times he's asked when I wake him up in the morning: "Where's Daddy?" I reply, "he's at work." "Why?" "Because he has to pay for the house and the groceries." "Why?" So that we have a place to live and food to eat." Why? I think at that point, I distracted him with something so it ended!! I know that there will be ever more and more "why's" added to the end of the string.

Good times!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

2 years ago today, we celebrated Mercer's adoption

It was his official adoption day. We went to court in the morning for the judge's review of our paperwork, social worker's recommendation, and and ruling. We had a big party that evening. Two years has passed quickly in one sense when thinking about his development and growth. But, it feels like "forever" that we've had Mercer -- it feels like he's always been a part of our family.

Today, we hung out as a family -- going out to breakfast, playing here at the house, then going to an annual picnic that our church was having. It was at a historic "meeting camp" site nearby. (It's a place where many denominations of churches gathered starting in the 1800s. There's a large open-air heavy-timber church which is pretty cool.) After eating, Mercer was drawn a few times to the open-air structure where there was singing, but the highlight was definitely the playground. Here's a pic... this is something I started & still think is sort of funny... but I know one day will haunt me -- him opening his mouth & showing me what's inside. He ate a blue cookie & wanted to show me.

Now - things may seem a little confusing if looking at hair style. In the pics above (from this weekend) Mercer's hair is shorter. He got a haircut a couple of days ago. The pics below are from last week. There's one pic that has an adorable long curl going right down his forehead. oh... I hated to see those long curls go!!

Last weekend, we went for a hike at a spot that Todd & I like (there is water and building ruins along the way). Mercer actually did a great job on the hike. Todd & I had to carry him a little bit, but he moved along the trail for the most part. Well, until he'd get distracted by a tiny worm.... or river viewing platforms that he would have to dance around and explore every inch of. The thing that kept him moving the most, however, was logs buried in the ground. He would see one and run to it. Then, he would jump off of it. He'd see another & take off again. We took a number of breaks along the way -- once for a picnic lunch, once to explore the rocks in the water, and once to get another stamp in Mercer's letterboxing book (someone had buried a box in the park & left description enough for us to find it).

Mercer has had some "eating" firsts this week. He ate his first hotdog (well, really it was a veggie dog) at a Braves / Mets baseball game earlier this week. He ate his first piece of fried chicken at the church picnic earlier tonight. He had his first "kids meal" at a fast-food restaurant... ate 2 chicken bites from chick-fil-a, a few fries, and an apple juice (this one, I'm not proud of, but we were on the run & were both getting cranky because we hadn't eaten lunch). And, he had his first piece of bacon at breakfast today. It was turkey bacon and to him this flat piece of meat looked odd. Once he tasted it, he gobbled it up quickly, though.

Mercer has picked up a new habit - not a good one - where he's grabbing and scratching when he dosen't get his way. Todd & I are trying to work on nipping this in the bud and hopefully this is a short-lived phase that he's going through. He's been getting frustrated really easily too. And he also squeals "stoooooppppp" when we're trying to help him do things. Very independent... and doesn't want our help! (He kind of sounds like a whiny teenager when he does this.) It's a little bit funny -- for now.

Another picture from our hike... This is the face he makes when he wants a treat. I can't imagine what he wanted while we were out there, but had to post. We're SO onto him, although he thinks he's being cute & sweet.

One final thing, Mercer is starting to show that he's scared of things. He'll put his hand over his mouth & gasp or he'll cover his eyes. One thing that is interesting, though, is that he's not afraid of the dark. He likes to run into his closet in his room & shut the door. In the bathroom, he'll cut off the light and say dark. You ask him to turn the light on and he doesn't want to.

He's always keeping things lively here!