I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Friday, November 30, 2007

2 Weeks Home Pictures

Here are some pictures that we took over Thanksgiving and with some of our "India" buddies. Our friends Craig and Stephanie have adopted 3 amazingly beautiful girls from India (the middle daughter, Emma, is from the same orphanage in Calcutta as Noah). They came over last Friday and the girls had a blast dressing up in their fancy dresses. Noah and Eli wouldn't wear their outfits, but as you can see in one pic, Eli did manage to don his Halloween dragon costume.

As far as the other pictures go, the cute couple holding Nandini is my cousin Tyler and his fiancee, Mary. My beautiful cousin, Tiffany, is holding Eli - and if your eyes were blinded by the absolute beauty of the next photo, then you must've come across Simeon holding Noah. Talk about two handsome fellas! :-)

There ya have it. A look through our family photo album.


Our First Two Weeks as a Family of Five

Yea!!! Yes, we're still alive. I know it's been more than a week since I last blogged - but, believe me, there was good reason. First of all, I ended up in the ER with severe dehydration from my non-thinking decision to have a Sprite (with ice!) at a McDonald's in Delhi. I was finally able to hold food down come Thanksgiving and overindulged just a bit. Well, the bacteria or amboeba's or whatever it was had a field day and I really paid for it. Let's just say that I got seriously acquainted with our toilet - at eye level - and I will never, ever, ever go that long without cleaning it again. Eeeewwwww.

The second reason that I haven't blogged is because I've been 100% sleep deprived. Sim, too. Nandini decided that she could manage just fine sleeping only 4 hours a night. And, actually, that's about how much Noah slept for the first 9 months he was home, but he was our first so we were able to adjust to his schedule. But, now, we've got 2 others at home and 1 who decides that he has to wake up about 6:00 each and every morning. So, there's not been anytime to rest. Fortunately, though, she started sleeping through the night a few days ago, and it has been WONDERFUL!!!!

The third and final reason I haven't blogged is because.... drum roll.... Nandini won't let go of me!! Can you believe it??? She spent the entire week in India hating me and our first week home pushing me away, but as soon as Sim went back to work, she started clinging to me. She won't let go. Ever. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go the bathroom with a child sitting on your lap? (I bet all you moms are nodding, "Yes. Yes, I do".) lol. She is getting so attached to me. She screams everytime I leave her sight. It's really fantastic. Exhausting, but fantastic.

So, things have been good. She gets along really well with Noah. It's weird, she just kind of knows that Noah is a bit different - and she's so cool with it. She brings him toys and always makes sure that he has whatever she and Eli have. If we leave to get in the car, she takes his hand to make sure he follows her. It is just so sweet. I was changing him today and she was handing me wipes. She is just so unbelievably sweet with him.

As for Eli... well, the first week was like a honeymoon. He was SO excited to have a playmate, but now the excitement has worn off. They fight ALL the time. He hates to share and she loves to hit. I've never experienced this whole sibling rivalry thing, but it has hit the Thomas household with a vengeance. One minute, they're playing peacefully and I hear laughter coming from the bedroom. The next minute, I hear screaming and "Mooooooooooooommmy!!!! She took my toys" and then Nandini laughs and rattles off something in Marathi. She loves to push his buttons.

To let you know how Eli's adjusting, here's a conversation we had today:

Eli: Mom, is Nandini going to be with us forever?
Me: Yes, she is.
Eli: I want her to go back to India.
Me: Why?
Eli: She messes up my things.
Me: Well, she's your sister and she's going to be with us forever and ever.
Eli. (Pause) Well, then can I go back to Guatemala?

Siblings, eh?

But besides that, things have been great. I LOVE having a little girl. It's so much fun and soooooooo different from having two little boys. She is just so happy and playful. It's a complete turnaround from the grieving little girl that went into Emotional Shutdown just 2 1/2 weeks ago. I am absolutely in love. Exhausted, but in love. :-)

I'll post some pictures.... because I'm sure after me posting pictures everyday that you've all gone through a Nandini picture withdrawal. :-)

Oh, and Christie. You wanted to know why there are so many pictures of Nandini and Eli, but not any with Noah. Well, although Nandini loves Noah, he doesn't exactly hang around her like Eli does. He still doesn't know how to play or interact with people, so the only pictures we can get of the two of them together are when they're eating or strapped next to each other in the carseat. And it's really hard to to get Noah to look at the camera and smile. But I'll keep trying!

Hope you all had a great week. We did!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Even MORE Pictures

Okay, I know. I know. I am going way overboard on the pictures. But they're so cute!! :-)

Also, I wanted everyone to witness firsthand Nandini's terrible sense of fashion. I am removing myself from all responsibility for how she appears in public. I am warning everyone that she may very well show up to church on Sunday in tights, biker boots, and a purple sparkly Indian top. She is soooooooo determined and knows what she wants. She will quickly tell us if she doesn't want to wear what we picked out. In fact, she wants to pick out all her clothes and refuses to let us dress her. If we do, she's got them all off the second we turn around. She will definitely be one of those kids you see in Walmart who's wearing a tutu, cowboy boots, fairy wings, and a wooly hat. She loves her robe that Auntie Liza brought back from Uzbekistan (thanks Farida!) and insisted on wearing it with the biker boots that Amy brought over today. (BTW, those kids in the pic belong to Amy. She has 6 kids and adopted Mya & Aleigha from the same orphanage that Eli was in. Actually, Eli and Aleigha were cribmates. They've just moved to TX from Indiana last spring. Isn't that cool that they can all grow up together?)

We're gearing up for Thanksgiving tomorrow. It should be fun. Hope you all have a great Holiday. We certainly have a lot to be thankful for in our household.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Pictures & An Update

Hey, just wanted to post some new pics of Nandini that we took this afternoon. My luggage finally arrived - with my camera. Yea! So, we've been snapping away.

Will try to update with a proper post later on tonight. I am still reeling from jet lag and that darn stomach virus I caught. My mom has it, too, and we think it might be the fountain drinks we had at the McDonald's in Karol Baugh a few hours before we boarded the plane. We were so good about not drinking the water... it didn't occur to us at the time that the fountain drinks are made with the local water. But let me tell you, the Paneer Salsa Wrap they had was the best thing I've ever eaten. I might start a petition to get the U.S. McDonald's to start putting it on their menu. :-)

Nandini's taking a nap. Her sleeping patterns are so messed up. She went to bed at 1:00am last night and woke up at 5:00. For a child that spent three years learning how to put herself to sleep on her own, she sure has gotten used to being held. She won't fall asleep unless she's on Sim's chest or unless he's carrying her. She is still leery of me, but it's getting a teeny, tiny bit better. He goes back to work on Saturday, so I hope things will improve by then.

Oh, and if anyone wants to stop by... stop on by! Seriously. My friend Amy is coming tomorrow morning and we're planning on going to church on Sunday. We're just going to try and get back to normal. Nandini can't stand the quiet and seems to like having people around. We don't plan on going anywhere (except to A. Jayne's on Thursday). For some reason, I decided to start potty-training Noah this week. Yes, I am nuts. But we're taking Nandini every hour, so might as well do Noah, too. He's gotten to where he doesn't want us to put a diaper on him, so I found these environmentally friendly cloth pull-ups with hemp liners that snap in. He isn't really ready to be potty-trained yet, but can't stand diapers. So, we'll go with the flow (quite literally, actually - lol) and see what happens. (And he looks sooooooooo cute in his white briefs!) Point is.. we'll be around!

Hmmm... looks like I've actually posted a proper blog message! lol. So, I might as well continue....

Sandwich, you asked how Noah did while I was gone and how my mom did in India. Noah actually did really good. My dad said he cried a few times... he would walk into the living room and find Noah sitting there in tears... but he did really well. Probably because he was fed a diet of no-no food while we were gone. He seemed really excited, though, at the airport and walked up to me and squealed with delight and clapped his hands. I missed him so much.!! He looks so HUGE next to Nandini. And anyone who has ever seen Noah in person knows that he's a tiny little thing... but he's just a giant next to her. She's so tiny.

As for my mom, she did well, too. The food ended up getting to her. At the Seasons, she was more adventurous because the breakfast was a buffet, so she could always sample things. At the Sri Nanak, though, she was afraid to order Indian food and then be stuck with it if she didn't like it, so she got the chicken omelet for breakfast and the tomato soup and rice for lunch and dinner. Healthwise, she only had to use her inhaler once and that was when we were stuck in traffic and the exhaust got to her. We also had no problem carrying all her medicine with us - although it did make the carry-on pretty heavy. Oh, and by the way, Sandwich, thanks for the Sri Nanak recommendation. I really, really liked it. It was perfect!

And that's about it for now. I'm going to try and make Potato Jheera and Rice with Veg tonight. We're going to see if we can fool Nandini into thinking that tortillas are actually chapatis. Will let you know how it goes.

P.S. Regarding those sparkly pink shoes in the picture... Nandini won't take them off! I bought them in India and she LOVES them. We were going for a walk today and I tried to put on her pink and brown Mary-Janes and she shook her head "no" and pushed them away. I then tried to put on her hot pink shoes and she shook her head "no" and pushed them away. Then I tried a pair of black shoes. Same thing. Finally, I held up her sparkly pink impractical shoes and she smiled and did her Indian sideways head nod. Silly girl. (By the way, her Indian nod is SOOOO cute. I hope she never loses it. She tilts her head from side to side to indicate yes. So Indian. So cute!)


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Sorry for the photo quality. I have no idea what happened. We tried every single setting, but they all came out blurry. When we got home, Sim said, "So... did you try cleaning the lense?" Hmmm, maybe that was it! Now, we have a bunch of blurry photos because we weren't smart enough to wipe off the lense. But I'll post them anyway. Leslie

We're Home!

We're home!! Well, we're at my mom's house - but we're headed to our place in a few hours.

We managed to get through the maze of both the New Delhi International Airport and the atrocious Charles De Gualle airport. I am never, ever, ever, ever, ever, going to fly through CDG again. It's a nightmare - especially if you're flying American Airlines. Speaking of which.... I am never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever flying AA again. I'm not being anti-patriotic by saying that. I just can't stand the airlines. They make international flying so difficult. I understand and appreciate that they are being as thorough as possible with security checks... but we waited in line for over 2 1/2 hours to get through their security. And we were the 4th in line! Can you imagine my mom standing there for 2 1/2 hours with a fussy, impatient baby. And no, I'm not talking about Nandini. She was good as gold. I'm talking about me. I about lost it... nearly becoming an embarrassment to our country, but I bit my tongue. I was about ready to hire a car, drive to Germany, and fly out that way. Anything to get out of that dreaded, slow line. My next visit to Paris will be via the chunnel from England. No more Charles De Gualle for me.

The whole airport thing... I can tell you right now, it was far worse than any of the snags we went through with our adoption. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Okay, I'm going to let it roll right off. It's over. It's done. It's finished. Moving on.

Nandini was amazing. Her Emotional Shutdown Mode comes in handy on the airplane. Out of two flights and a total of 19 hours flying time, she slept for 17 of them. Some people didn't even know we had a baby on board. She was fantastic.

There was a mini-welcoming party waiting for us at the airport. She's loves herself some helium balloons! lol. We then went to Aunt Wese's and had pizza, cake, and ice cream. Can you believe I made it all throughout India without catching the tiniest bit of Delhi Belly, but I get home, have 2 slices of CiCi's and a fourth of a Mountain Dew and all of a sudden I'm in severe gastrointestinal distress? I am still reeling from it. I'm just hoping I can handle the drive home. But, on the bright side, I might be able to zip up my skinny jeans now. :-)

... which would actually be good... seeing that the airport lost my luggage. My camera, my video camera, my cell phone... Nandini's clothes, most of my clothes... all gone. Hopefully they'll arrive in a few days. Everything I bought Nandini is in that suitcase.

But all in all, I am so glad to be home. Nandini went straight to Simeon. Actually, she went straight to everyone except me. I'm sure we broke every single adoption rule by immediately having a little party for her and letting everyone hold her... you know, it's probably not the best for bonding. But everyone enjoyed holding her and we live an hour and a half away from all of our family (and a continent away from Sim's), so I'm not too worried. When we get home later today, she'll have no choice but to bond with us. And we'll be home all the time, because I don't dare take her out anywhere for fear she'll be one of those kids who knocks over the pyramid of canned goods that some poor stockboy just finished stacking up. Plus, I don't know how to manage the whole shopping cart thing. Noah always goes in front and Eli gets the basket. But now, Nandini will have to go up front and Noah will get the basket and Eli will have to walk. And Noah can't have the basket because he mouths everything... and you cannot even imagine the stares you get when people see a child mouthing away on a package of cellophane wrapped raw chicken. So now... the real world begins. And I have no idea how to handle it.

Point being, though, that I have no worries that she's going to bond with me. I mean, a little, but I'm feeling better than I did when were in India.

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who prayed for us while we were gone. I really appreciate it and felt those prayers. There's no other way we could have made it through.

So far, Nandini is doing really good. She's still weary of everything and is scared to death of the dogs. She seems to enjoy Eli, although he can be a bit overbearing at times. I think they will be the best of friends. She hasn't really noticed Noah yet, but Noah hasn't really noticed her, either. The effects of his diet for the last 9 days has hit him hard. He didn't go to bed until 6:15am this morning. He pulled an all-nighter like a college kid cramming for finals. Then, he was up with major tummy trouble about 4 hours later. But my dad says he's had a blast, and I think he's gained 5 pounds.

Right now, Nandini is chasing Eli through the house and Noah is hanging out with the Cars toy that A. Jayne got him. I hear the laughter and sounds of 3 children.... and it's beautiful.

Will try to upload some pictures later. My camera is in my lost suitcase, so my mom will download the photos she took later today.

It's good to be home.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Coming Home

This is our last day in India. In fact, we leave for the airport in a few hours. Can you believe I'm going to miss it here? I know, I know, I must have a multitude of problems, right? Just a day ago, I was crying and boo-hooing over how I couldn't wait to get home, but now that the day has actually arrived, I'm a little sad. I know part of it has to do with the fact that I dread getting back to my routine - dealing with autism and diets and Eli (oops, did I say that? lol) and temper fits and Walmart. :-) But I'm also going to miss India. I have just gotten used to it and now we have to leave. I wonder if mom and dad will watch the kids for 10 days next year and Sim and I can go on holiday here. That would be really cool - although I have a feeling my parents will say, "no". :-O Or more like, "HECK NO!".

We went out today with my friends Sudhir and Kavitha. They're a riot - a lot of fun. Nandini refuses to come to me and Mom had to carry her for 5 hours. Her back is killing her. Finally, I demanded that Nandini come to me and she threw a wall-eyed fit. Everyone came out of the shops to stare. They all had these looks of amusement at the gora who was trying to calm the screaming Indian child. Sudhir said I was lucky that he was with me or they'd have thought I'd kidnapped Nandini. I'm not quite sure if he was joking or not.
Afterwards, we came back to the hotel and I went out with Ben, the guy from CT, and his daughter Ruchi. Mom and Nandini stayed in the hotel. I finally know my way around and since I'm dressed in a kurti, I don't stand out so much. It was funny watching the tourists looking lost and getting scared over the traffic, while we darted in and out and walked with a purpose - like we'd been living here for years. Oh my gosh, some of the tourists.... don't they read the guide books about what not to wear? I've seen tube tops, see-through pants, spaghetti straps... you name it. I'm not walking around wearing a salwaar kameez, but I am wearing Indian tops and I feel so much more comfortable doing so. I cringe when I see the other foreigners walking around half-dressed. It's really embarrassing.

Well, we're having one last meal and then off to finish packing. Mom is dreading the flight home - esp as Nandini will be sitting in her lap the entire time. Poor girl is in for a rude awakening when we get home and Mom goes back to her place. She's really coming along, though. I have my hands FULL. She is into EVERYTHING. She's already broken our room key, emptied my purse, gone through the mini-fridge, unpacked everything I packed. Oh, and she took her entire sticker collection and stuck them all over the bed frame. Nice, Nandini. Very nice.

But she is so funny and so sweet. I am feeling so much better, and so is she. It's all going to work out. It's all going to be okay.

I can't believe it's all coming to an end. A whole new chapter starts in a few hours. It's exciting to think about what lies ahead, but I'm a bit sad about closing the current chapter. I definitely need to keep Nandini in touch with her roots.

Do you think a little sister would do the job?

JUST KIDDING!!!!! Are you crazy? Did you really think I was serious??? lol


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Making Progress

Wow, this has been a FANTASTIC day! I'm so sorry for all the doom and gloom of my previous posts. I know it makes for pretty depressing blog reading. But I think it must have gotten a lot of you to pray for us - because today was a complete turnaround!

Nandini spent the morning crying, but she perked up as soon as we left the hotel. We finally had another "A-ha!" lightbulb moment when we realized why she hates the hotel so much. She loves the hustle and bustle of India. That's what she's used to - not the quiet room of of just three people. Remember, she shared her room with 22 other kids. She's used to the noise and the sound of the traffic outside.

We were gone all day today. We started off at the doctor's office. We went yesterday at 4:00 because it says he's open from 4-6 pm. But he wasn't in and we were told to come back today. So we got there at 9:00 and waited for an hour and 40 minutes. At 10:40 his Mercedes pulled up and he came in. The whole examination lasted less than 3 minutes. Then, we were off to the Embassy, where we whizzed through in record time. We waited about 30 minutes, our interview was about 2 minutes and our visa was granted in 15 more minutes! We then headed off to Pizza Hut. It's funny because my favorite food in the world is Indian food, but I'm not used to eating it 3 meals a day. That Pizza Hut menu was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. After that, we headed off to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath Rd (you have to specify which one or the drivers will take you to the State Emporiums) and I bought a book on Indian Folk Tales for Nandini when she gets older. After that, we headed back into rush hour and made it to the hotel.

Nandini was a real trooper. She has taken to Mom like you wouldn't believe. She's been climbing all over her like a little monkey. She's been saying, Mommy, Daddy, Nonna, Papa, Eli, Noah, Bye, Up, and No-No-No-No while shaking her finger at us. This is the first time she's talked to us. She finally started playing with Ruchi, the 5 year old whose family is here from CT and she's been giving smiles out like crazy. She still doesn't like for me to hold her - she cries and reaches for Mom, but she is coming around. We also bought her a toy with 5 wooden pegs that has different shapes to slide on the pegs and she arranged them all by shape on the first try. She's really smart. We were really impressed.

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know how fantastic today went. Who knows what it'll be like tomorrow - but today was an answered prayer.

Tomorrow is our last day here (!!!) and we're meeting one of the international students I worked with at UNT. He was at UNT when we came here 5 years ago to adopt Noah and his wife showed us around. Now, he's back in India and we'll meet up with him and his wife at 10:00 in the morning. Then, we leave for the airport around 10:00 at night. Our flight is at 1:20am and we go straight to Paris. I think it's a 9 hour flight. Then, we have a 6 hour layover and fly straight to DFW. That takes 11 hours. Whew. Just look for the three tired and cranky chicas and that'll be us. :-)

Thanks for all your prayers! We appreciate them.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

REALLY Ready to Come Home

I miss the boys so much that I can't stand it! I can only imagine how much their lives are going to be turned upside down when we get back home. All of our lives. It's worth it, of course, but we are SO tired and Nandini is SO fussy and grieving. It's just been really hard.

I woke up with a rash all over my chest this morning. Nandini's been itching her hair. We checked for lice, but didn't see anything. I'm praying it's not lice. Can you imagine us doing a lice treatment on the whole family? How on earth would we be able to do that to Noah? The chemicals alone would set him back months.

Nandini is still having a very hard time. In my head, I know this is normal and will last months and months, but in my heart, I just want it to stop. I want to comfort her and she won't let me. I feel completely helpless here. She just cries and cries. We do get a few smiles every now and then, but then she realizes she's letting her guard down and she puts it right back up.

This morning, she found her leg braces in the suitcase and just started bawling. She seems to want outside all the time. She can't stand being in the hotel - she wants to be near Indian people and see them all the time. As soon as they're out of her sight, she just comes apart.

This adoption thing is so tricky. I know we are giving her a chance for a future - a chance for an education and she's going to get all the therapies and medical care she needs. But at the same time, it's heartwrenching to see her grieve so much because we know WE did this to her. She doesn't understand that in the long run that having a family is what she really needs. And then you feel so guilty for taking her away from everything she's ever known. Adoption is a ball of emotions.

I hope I don't come across as regretting this. Absolutely not. I love this little girl so much. I just feel helpless because I can't comfort her - and it kills me to see her hurt so much. Plus, we're so tired and just ready to come home. India is so funny that way. When I come to India, I can't wait to leave. And the moment the plane lifts off, I can't wait to get back to India. India tugs on your heart and finds a way to make a permanent mark on you. I love it here, but, oh, I don't know. It's just so hard to explain.

The cornflakes just came and she's calmed down. She's good at feeding herself and she's potty-trained. She's 3, so she should be, but she does have delays - so everything she does we just watch in wonder. I can't wait to see where she'll be a month from now - or a year from now.

We're off to the doctor's this morning and then for our visa interview. I'm wearing a ridiculous long-sleeved outfit so that I won't look like a weary backpacker for the the interview. Oh, did you know I wear an XL here? Nothing will crush your self-esteem faster than realizing you can't fit into the smalls and mediums here. Yep, XL for me! lol. (I bought Sim a shirt and it was XXL! ).

Will write more tonight.


Ready to Come Home

Well, we made it to Delhi. It took us over 2 1/2 hours to get to our hotel. I spoke to a friend of mine in New Delhi and he said the area we're staying in is the most congested area of all New Delhi. Good for cheap shopping, but even he said he only comes to the Karol Baugh area once a year.

The traffic is unreal. 4 lane roads condensed to one lane because people park their cars in the middle of the road. And that one lane is crowded with cars coming both ways... not just cars, but motorcycles, bicycles, cows pulling carts, people pulling carts, people pedaling on bike rickshaws, people walking, cars honking, and stray dogs running across the road. I have never seen anything like it. It is so unreal. Our driver couldn't find our hotel, so he just stopped the car in the middle of the road and left us. Didn't say a word. We had no idea where he was, we were just left in the middle of the road with all these faces staring at us. Finally he came back. I guess the directions he got were useless b/c he continued to drive us around, while swearing in Hindi for at least another 45 minutes.

The trip to the Embassy went well, but the doctor was out, so we couldn't get Nandini's physical done. We'll do that in the morning and then go for her visa interview tomorrow at 11:00. I pray we can get it done in time.
Nandini has reverted back to Emotional Shutdown mode. It's all too much for her. Right now, she can't stand the sight of me. I planted a kiss on her at the embassy and she had a breakdown and cried and cried. She is attached to Mom, but cries everytime we put her down or even try to sit down with her on our lap, so we just end up pacing back and forth with her all day. I know it'll get better, but we're in for a rough adjustment.

Okay, our food is coming. Plus, I'm so exhausted, I just can't really think of much to say.

Maybe I'll more tomorrow.


Headed to New Delhi

Okay, it's 8:40am on Wednesday morning. We leave for the airport in a little over an hour. I should be up in my room packing, but wanted to nip down to the computer station and send a quick update.

Nandini is really sick right now. She's been running over 100 temperature and has a bad cough and cold. We think she has a double ear infection, too, as she's been pulling at her ears and whining. We are REALLY dreading the flight to New Delhi. Fortunately, it's only 2 hours. Now, if the ear infection is not cleared up by our 28 hour journey home on Saturday then I'm thinking that Mom and I might just have to take advantage of the free alcohol they serve on the plane.

Just kidding.

Well, maybe.

Nandini didn't sleep well last nigt. We kept taking turns laying her on our chest and elevating her head. She's so small for a 3 year old. She's tall, but just seems so small. She's got the tiniest little face I've ever seen.

She finally went #2 in the potty. Poor girl had such a belly ache. She hadn't gone since Monday. Fortunately, Mom was helping her at the potty and had to deal with it. What a stink! How on earth can such a tiny little thing make such a stinky mess. Mom was gagging and I was doubled over with a giggle fit. Mom was having such a hard time - squatting on the floor holding Nandini over the potty while trying not to throw up at the smell. And, you know, it really doesn't matter what you're doing... toilets just don't smell good from that angle.

Poor Nandini. I hope we didn't add to her already fragile ego.

I really hope her cold clears up. She's so out of it right now - you know how you get when you're all congested. She's just in such a daze. But, boy, she looks pretty! :-). She cracks us up with her love for all things glittery. I think she's going to get some Disney Princess costumes for Christmas this year. :-)

Mom had her first meltdown yesterday. We took an auto rickshaw to Pune Central and it's a bit like a jeep in that there are no doors. It's open. Well, we stopped at a busy intersection (whatever image you have in your head... just erase it... unless you've been to India, there's no way to explain what a busy intersection looks like. It's unreal). Anyway, this little beggar girl came up and started tapping Mom on the leg. Then, she started doing backwalkovers and gymnastic tricks to get Mom to give her some money. Of course, I couldn't help myself. I gave the little beggar girl our taxi money and then had to beg money from Mom. Oh, the irony!

The thing that got us the most was that she just stared at Nandini. She looked at her leg braces and then at Nandini and then at us. The look on her face was indescribable. She knew exactly what was going on. And really, there is no difference between Nandini and that little girl. As horrible as this sounds, and I don't want it to be taken the wrong way, the only difference is that Nandini was fortunate enough to be placed in an orphanage (at BSSK). Her future was secured when she was cleared for adoption. And this little girl that lives on the streets will do this for the rest of her life. She will not go to school or get an education. Her future is already set. And that broke Mom's heart. Of course, it didn't help that a little boy came hobbling up to Mom and shoved his ampuated leg in her face and held out his fand for money. It just really set her off and she broke down. And then, going in to Pune Central, which is a fancy department store and seeing the prices and the designer clothes and furniture... when right outside the door are homeless street children. It was just too much for her to take.

She's doing much better today, though.

Okay, I need to run upstairs and back. The hotel here in Pune has been great. The food is cheap and great. Touch wood, we haven't gotten sick yet. Oh! And Nandini refuses to eat Indian food anymore. After tasting pizza for lunch yesterday, she's developed a taste for Western foods. Mom ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and potato chips, but I ordered Veg Thali for us, and Nandini literally turned her nose up at it, shook her head, and pushed it away. She then reached for Mom's sandwich and ate 1/2 of it. For breakfast this morning, she had a bowl of cornflakes, toast, and fresh fruit. She also doesn't want to drink out of a glass. She wants to drink out of the bottled water like we do. lol. She's a character, I tell ya.

Off to pack now. Not sure if the computer at the Sri Nanak will be up and running or not. Haven't been able to post pictures, but will see if the CT couple will take a picture and download it to their PC and I'll try to add it. Hopefully, we'll have some pictures posted by tomorrow night.

Wish us luck at the Embassy!

Leslie (will forgo the whole Noah's Mom thing, as it's just not PC anymore, is it? lol)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making Progress

Hey, I just wanted to post a quick update about Nandini. I posted the first update this morning and it's now 8:00 at night on Tuesday - and Nandini is slowly starting to emerge.

She slept through the night and had a good breakfast. She was still really shy and mechanical with us through the morning. We ordered pizza for lunch (can you believe the best Pizza Hut I've ever tasted is in India??) and she ate a bit. She seems to love anything made with bread. Anyway, she has a terrible cough and fever, so we gave her some medicine and we tried to put her down for a nap. She didn't really sleep, but in a strange way, I think she sort of bonded with us over being sick. We were taking care of her and stroking her hair and rubbing her back - and I think she just started to let go a bit.

She's really picking up on things. I sat in front of her and she played "Beauty Shop" with my hair and combed it and tried putting it in a ponytail. She also colored a bit and played with some toys.

This afternoon we went to Pune Central, which is like Dillards and we did some shopping. (Who, us? Shopping?). Let me tell you, Nandini is going to be one frilly little girl. Deep down inside of her is a beauty pageant queen just waiting to get out. She kept grabbing at all the sparky bangles and ankle bracelets. We looked at some kurtis and asked her which ones she liked and she picked the loudest and gaudiest ones in the whole store. She is attracted to the sparkle. If anyone has a bedazzler for sale, let me know. :-)

She really loved getting out of the hotel. She's so curious and loves to ride in the car. She LOVED the mall. She's 3.... startin' out young, isn't she?

When we got home, we played her most favorite game....it's called Lets-Dress-Nandini-Up-In-Pretty-Clothes-and-Let-Her-Admire-Her-Sweet-Self-In-The-Mirror. Mom was in the other room and I dressed Nandini up in her new choli. It's GORGEOUS. It was $26. If anyone is headed to New Delhi, I'll give the address. They have the best cholis and for a really great price. Anyway, I put on her new bangles and a new bindi - and she walked out to the living room to surprise Mom. When Mom saw her, she was so excited and told Nandini how pretty she looked. Well, Nandini got the biggest grin on her face and ran into mom's arms. It was amazing.

She is really starting to take to us. She kissed me today and hugged me a few times. She's smiled about 5 times and has said "didi" 2x. She's still silent and sometimes we catch her holding herself back. It's as if she realizes that she's getting too close, so she starts to pull away. But things have been really good this evening.

I think she just honestly needs to feel loved and feel special. She is so happy with her new pretty clothes. And then she just admires herself. She's a princess. She knows she's a princess and she just walks around in amazement at everything that's happening to her.

Anyway, I just wanted to update everyone. We leave for Delhi tomorrow morning. We have to go the embassy to file our I-600 and then take Nandini for her medical screening.

Thank you everyone for your prayers. We can really feel them. The transformation just from this morning to this evening is amazing. It's so evident that there are many of you out there who are thinking of us.

Will try to write again tomorrow.

Noah's Mom

Meeting Nandini

Well, here we are. It's 9:00 in the morning and we just finished eating breakfast. Nandini ate almost a whole piece of buttered toast, some scrambled eggs, mango, pineapple, and a bit of idli (a South Indian dish). She's got a terrible cough and cold, so we're going to introduce her to the world of icky cough syrup in a minute. I may let Mom take care of that one. lol.

Okay, where to begin? No matter what I'm about to write, just know that today is better.

When we went to the orphanage yesterday, we spent about an hour doing formalities and going over paperwork. Finally, they took us to the school room where the informal school was going on. It's a bit like preschool. Anyway, there were about 10 kids in there and when we opened the door, Nandini and another little girl came running over to us and started hugging us and begging to be picked up. I was so excited because I couldn't believe she ran over to me like that. Then, she realized who I was and she went into Emotional Shutdown. Later on, we realized that she is so used to seeing parents come into the orphanage and leaving with a child - so she can get lots of attention from these parents and not have to worry about being taken away. But then she realized who we were and she wanted no part of us. Does that make sense?

So, she literally went into shutdown mode. It was if a switch had been turned off. She refused to make eye contact or acknowledge anyone. She acted like she was autistic and it scared me to death. The ayahs kept saying how smart and playful she is and how she loves puzzles and stringing beads, but they would put one in front of her and she would just sit there. Everything she did was very mechanical. Honestly, I was terrified because she was doing nothing that the reports said and she was in her own little world. Then, I noticed that she would glance at me out of the corner of her eye to see if I had left yet. When she saw I was still there, she'd quickly glance back. But that was my first clue that there's more than meets the eye.

They then took her to lunch and she refused to eat. She just kept darting her eyes to see if we were still there. It was obvious that she was mad. She was ticked off that we were coming to bring her home and she wanted no part of it. It was finally her nap time and we followed her to her crib and she climbed in and jerked the covers over her head - but every so often, she would peel down a corner of the blanket to see if we were still there and then jerk them back over her head when she saw that we were still in the room.

So, slowly, pieces of the puzzle started to emerge.

When we took her back to the hotel, she cried and cried for 2 1/2 hours non-stop. She was so angry and so scared. She wanted nothing to do with me - just Mom - because she associated me as being the person who ripped her life apart. Finally, we changed her clothes (oh yeah, she was so mad that she peed on me) and put on a new dress with hairbows and new shoes and she was a different person! She was still very mechanical with no display of emotion, but she kept pointing for us to carry her to the mirror - and she would just stare at herself. After we put on her new PJ's, she pointed me to carry her to the mirror and then she grabbed the camera for me to take a picture of her. She LOVES to look at herself and admire herself.

She also loves her pretty shoes. We were really surprised when we showed up at the orphanage and she was wearing leg braces. We had no idea. Apparantely, she just got them a month ago and hates them. Her ayah said she is self-conscious and wants to wear pretty shoes like the other girls, so she is very attached to her shoes that we bought her. That and her pink Hello Kitty toothbrush. She carries it everywhere.

Anyway, basically, Mom and I couldn't sleep last night, so we poured over all the files they gave us and went over the conversations we had in the orphanage and the behavior that we saw Nandini display and it all clicked. She has experienced a tremendous amount of loss in her short life. For three years, she's seen all her friends leave. Every friend she makes leaves. She is the last one in her orginal group. She is behind the other children physically and developmentally and cannot get the 1:1 attention she needs. They said she is very insecure and it's obvious that she does not yet know that she's with us for good. It will take a long time for her to realize that we're not going away. She needs lots and lots of praise and needs to feel pretty and special and loved. She goes into Emotional Shutdown to protect herself. She doesn't know we're not going to leave. Right now, she's in Survivor Mode. She depends on us for food, drink, toilet, and clothes. She is is slowly warming up to us, but is protecting herself, too. Everything is very robotic and mechanical - bare basics right now. But we have seen enough to know she's a smart, clever little girl and she will absolutely blossom when she gets home.

She has stopped crying - for the meantime. We saw her first smile today - her first display of emotion - and that was when I closed the door to go to the bathroom. She smiled b/c she thought I was leaving. But, hey, it was a smile.
Yesterday was a big ball of emotions, but Mom and I prayed and afterwards we realized what's going on and God's plan for her in our family. It's going to be okay. It's going to be hard and a lot of work, but she has so much potential. She really is a flower bud that is waiting to blossom.

This morning is definitely better than yesterday and it will continue to get better. I hope that you all will pray us and for Nandini. She is grieving very heavily. She has no idea what to do with a Mom or a Dad.

Will update later.

Noah's Mom

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Countdown Begins

In 40 minutes, we are leaving to meet my daughter for the very first time! Right now, Mom is sitting in the hotel restaurant chowing down on South Indian food and chatting with a couple from CT that is also meeting their daughter today. I, however, can't stomach a thing. I'm so nervous and excited that I'm afrad to eat. The good news is that my belly is getting smaller. lol. Seriously, though, I'm afraid to eat because I just don't want to chance getting sick or anything. The food's been great, but nerves are getting the best of me.We're in Pune now - the City of Nandini. :-) It is GORGEOUS here. I love Pune. It's completely different from the part of New Delhi that we're staying at. The Seasons Service Apartments are really nice. There's a pool and an indoor playground. The orphanage is two blocks away and we saw some of the kids sitting in the window when we drove by yesterday. When we got here, I had a terrible migraine and went to bed immediately, which resulted in me waking up around 2:30 this morning. My sleeping habits are very off. My mom is doing great. Much, much better than I expected. She's being very adventerous in trying all the different foods. She's also in charge of tips - after my 1,000 rupees fiasco. I think I'm walking all over India with a huge, flashing neon sign that reads "Sucker" and, therefore, I'm attracting all the hagglers and beggers. I just supply Mom with a stash of ones and then duck into the next room whenever it's time to leave a tip. Her days of working at a flea market have prepared her well. She won't take cr-p off anyone and I think the hotel staff is scared of her. lol. You don't mess with my mama! lol.The CT couple brought their 5 year old daughter, Ruchi with them. They adopted her from BSSK 5 years ago. Oh my, she is gorgeous. She is the spitting image of Noah. Literally. They could be biological siblings. She has taken me and mom by the heart - and she is in love with us. She's attached herself to me, and, of course, I'm eating it up. She is the sweetest little thing.Okay, 35 minutes until we meet Nandini. I'm praying that God will prepare her heart for us. I'm hoping that she will do okay and I really have no idea what to expect. By the time Sim puts this up on the blog (we can't access blogger from here, so I'm emailing him the updates), we will already have Nandini in our arms.I've got her little backpack all packed up with different outfits and toys. The legal documents are in my satchel. One more trip (or possibly two... or three) to the bathroom and we're all set. lol.Did you really need to know that? :-)Will try to update later. The CT couple brought a laptap and maybe we can post pictures later. Can't promise, but will try.The next time you hear from me, I'll have 3 kids - one girl and two boys. How on earth did I get so blessed?Noah's Mom.... and Eli's Mom.... and Nandini's Mom

Namaste from New Delhi

We're here! We arrived last night at 11:30pm.... after 28 hours of travelling. And we are exhausted!First of all, the flight from Brussels to New Delhi was excellent. I cannot recommend Jet Airways enough. They treated us like stars. The service was fanastic, the food was incredible, and the in-flight entertainment system was awesome. (How do you like all those adjectives? lol). Anyway, we finally landed... and our greeter wasn't there! We waited an hour and a half - and were dripping with sweat. It was midnight and about 90 degrees. So, I called the greeter guy that Holt gave us and his phone was turned off. We finally found a really nice guy to help us out and he let us use his phone and helped us buy a ticket for a prepaid taxi. I was so grateful - and a bit disoriented - that I tipped 1000 rupees. Yeah, that's right. 1000 rupees. Mom scared me to death when she calculated that I'd just given a stranger $260 dollars.Thank goodness she's bad at math (as I obviously am, too) and it turned out to be $26. Still, that's one honkin' big tip - especially when in some parts of India, people make $1 a day.Anyway, hey, it made his day (week, and year), so it's fine. Chalk it up to a learning experience.So, we got on the taxi.... a taxi that had no gas. It stopped and sputtered all the way down the dusty, foggy highway at 2:00 in the morning. At one point, I thought me, mom, and all our luggage was going to end up on the side of the road (or in a ditch. The guy scared the crap out us - almost quite literally). There's more to the story, but I'll post it later.Okay, so we checked in. We're staying at the Sri Nanak in Karol Baugh. It looked awful last night, but it's really nice. The area is iffy, but there's excellent shopping - which is what counts, right? lolWe've been scammed a few times with the rickshaws, but can you really complain about paying a few dollars extra when you know some of these drivers make their living with it. What's a few couple of dollars when you look at it that way?We've met some great people at the hotel restaurant. There is FREE internet, which is fantastic. It doesn't always work, but we'll try to update when we can.We did some shopping today. Stephanie, I bought the girls some outfits and bangles. They are adorable!!! I bought Nandini a few things. I can't wait to try them on her.We'll off to bed. We fly out to Pune early tomorrow. We'll leave at 6:30 in the morning, so we have to pack and figure out how to fit all our purchases in our already overly stuffed suitcases. We didn't really think about that when we were out and about today.That's it. Will post more when we can.Noah's Mom

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Countdown Begins

In 40 minutes, we are leaving to meet my daughter for the very first time! Right now, Mom is sitting in the hotel restaurant chowing down on South Indian food and chatting with a couple from CT that is also meeting their daughter today. I, however, can't stomach a thing. I'm so nervous and excited that I'm afraid to eat. The good news is that my belly is getting smaller. lol. Seriously, though, I'm afraid to eat because I just don't want to chance getting sick or anything. The foods been great, but nerves are getting the best of me.

We're in Pune now - city of Nandini. :-) It is GORGEOUS here. I love Pune. It's completely different from the part of New Delhi we're staying at. The Seasons Service Apartments are really nice. There's a pool and an indoor playground. The orphanage is two blocks away and we saw some of the kids sitting in the window when we drove by yesterday.

When we got here, I had a terrible migraine and went to bed immediately, which resulted in me waking up around 2:30 this morning. My sleeping habits are very off. My mum is doing great. Much, Much better than I expected. She's being very adventurous in trying all the different foods. She's also in charge of tips - after my 1,000 rupees fiasco. I think I'm walking all over India with a huge, flashing neon sign that reads "Sucker" and, therefore, I'm attracting all the hagglers and beggars. I just supply Mom with a stash of ones and then duck into the next room whenever it's time to leave a tip. Her days of working at a flea market have prepared her well. She wont take cr-p off anyone and I think the hotel staff is scared of her. lol. You don't mess with my mama!

The CT couple brought their 5 year old daughter, Ruchi with them. They adopted her from BSSK 5 years ago. Oh my, she is gorgeous. She is the spitting image of Noah. Literally. They could be biological siblings. She has taken me and mom by the heart - and she is in love with us. She attached herself to me, and, of course, I'm eating it up. She is the sweetest little thing.

Okay, 35 minutes until we meet Nandini. I'm praying that God will prepare her heart for us. I'm hoping that she will do okay and I really have no idea what to expect. By the time Sim puts this up on the blog (we can't access blogger from here, so I'm emailing him the updates), we will already have Nandini in our arms.

I've got her little backpack all packed up with different toys and outfits. The legal documents are in my satchel. One more trip (or possibly two... or three) to the bathroom and we're all set. lol.

Did you really need to know that? :-)

Will try to update later. The CT couple brought a laptop and maybe we can post a picture later. Can't promise, but will try.

The next time you hear from me, I'll have three kids - one girl and two boys. How on earth did I get so blessed?

Noah's Mom.... Eli's Mom.... and Nandini's Mom

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bonjour from Belgium

Well, I don't have anything insightful to post, but thought I'd pop in and say that we made it safely to Europe. Just another 16 hours to go.


I always thought my bottom had a lot of cushion, but let me tell you, it is ACHING.

We are going to look for something good to eat, but everything is written in French. Hello, people! English is the universal language. (Just kidding. That was for you, Geri).

And I did complete 2 years of college French, but I can definitely say that it's not like riding a bicycle. It has not come back to me.

So, we may starve. Except my mom packed a bag of mini-sized Snickers on her carry-on.

God Bless Her.

Okay, just a quick note to say hi. I'm not sure when we will get another chance to use the computer. We are anxiously waiting to get to India and soak it all in. I cannot believe that we'll be meeting Nandini for the first time on Monday. Can you believe it???

Oh, and if you want a good, inspiring read, then check out "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World" by John Wood. I picked it up at the bookstore in NY and read most of it on the loooooooooong flight to Belgium. It is awesome! (Sim, you would love it, but it would make you want to quit your job tomorrow.... so I'm going to have to debate on whether or not I let you read it.)

Allright, off in search of coffee. Well, see if Belgium coffee rivals the French Vanilla Cappucino that I can get at Food Fast.

P.S. Dad, Mom is okay. She looks like a complete tourist in her short-sleeved T-shirt - when it's WINTER in all other parts of the world except for Texas and India. But she's doing okay. She just broke out the snack pack of peanuts and we've been having a junk food fest. Oh, and she says she tried to call, but the phone card can't be used with a payphone. Now, that's a bit of a rip-off, isn't it?

Give the boys a kiss for me and tell Sim hi. Or, Sim, if you read this, "HI!" And be sure to cut the boys hair while we're gone. Thanks! :-)

Take care,

Noah's Mom

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, It's off to India we go

Well..... the big day has arrived! We are leaving for India in a few hours.

I cannot believe it's all about to happen. When we started the process back in January, we were hoping that Nandini would be home by March. 2008. And look at us now. We're about to leave, and she'll be back for Thanksgiving.

Thank you God!

So, I have all my bags packed. I ended up packing 18 outfits for Nandini. But you can mix and match, so really the possibilities are endless. And since she'll only be with us for 5 days before we leave for back home, I'm thinking that I overpacked.

Or maybe it was my dad saying, "Are you crazy? Do you really need all that stuff? How are you going to carry her and lug that suitcase all over the world? You only need two outfits. Have you ever heard of washing dirty clothes? Huh? Tell me. Have you?"

Therefore, after careful consideration, I was able to weed out 5 outfits - leaving us with 13. I mean, it's going to be 90 degrees there. I'm sure she doesn't need 4 long-sleeve shirts, 2 sweaters, two pairs of pink and brown tights (but, oh, they are soooo cute!), and a fleecy 2-piece outfit. So.... if there is a freak massive snowstorm in New Delhi next week, I'm going to let my dad have an earful.

Poor baby girl will freeze. And I'll just have to break out the credit card to restock.

See. Overpacking is really just all about being economical.

Words from the wise, people. Words from the wise.

For all of you out there who are crazy enough to meet us at the airport, we'll be flying on AA from Paris to Dallas. We should arrive next Saturday at 3:20pm, but it might take an hour or more to get through customs. Not only that, but we have to file Nandini's green card upon arrival. With Eli, it took about 10 minutes. With Noah, it took longer - so I have no idea. Let me just say... if you do meet us... don't go expecting to witness some great pictures of beauty walking off that airplane. Have any of you actually ever seen me sleep-deprived? With flat hair. And no make-up. It ain't pretty. Nandini, however, will be looking fabulous. Although I am saying right now that I have no control over what kind of shoes she'll be wearing. I've packed two pairs, but seeing that she wears corrective shoes, she may not be able to put her feet into them.

So, don't go thinking I'm color blind if she's wearing chunky, blue orthopedic shoes with a delicate pink and white gingham number.

I'm just saying. It's all about the accessories, you know.

And that goes for hairbows, too. I have no idea if she will take to them, but don't you know I packed a suitcase full. It looks like Clarie's has deposited their entire Fall line into my luggage. And the frillier, the better.

Okay, enough chatting. I have some major last-minute panicking - oops, packing- to do.

BTW, Geri, I got your email!!! You go, girl, with the new cutie-pattootie boyfriend! And it was so good to hear from you. I'll email you when I get back, okay. And you start planning a trip to Texas, ASAP. Pronto. You hear?

Alright, peeps. The next time you hear from me, I'll be sporting a 3 year old little beauty on my hip. I can't think about it too much, or I start to freak out.

If I can find an internet cafe then I'll update while I'm gone. Can't promise, but I'll try my best.

P.S. For all you losers who didn't send me a Flat Stanley. What were you thinking? Perfect homeschooling geography lesson, people. So, you'll have to check out my friend Tracy's blog when I get back. She sent the cutest little softie, Tag Along, who is about to embark on the adventure of a life-time.

Okay, adios. Au revoir. Auf Weidersein. Bis spater. Later taters. I'm outta here.

Noah's Mom

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Seeing the Humor...

Now that I refuse to let autism rule my life, I'm able to see the humor in it.

Okay, sometimes.
Usually after having a bit of chocolate.
But we all knew that, didn't we?

So, anyway, I thought I'd post this picture that I took of Noah. Only another mother of a child with autism can understand.
It's Noah discovering that Nandini's Swan Princess Barbie Carriage is much better than those stinkin' Hot Wheels that he's been playing with all these years. Oooh! Big, huge, gigantic wheels. That spin. And they're so pretty.
Go Barbie!
Noah's Mom

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Just a bloggin'

It's 8:00 in the morning and the kids are asleep.

Eli finally went to bed around 6:30 - this morning. Which means that I am one tired mamacita.

He's doing better now, but started running between 103 - 104 temperature last night. I have no idea what it is, but he gets these little episodes about 2x a year. He'll get a sky high fever, stay up all night shivering and whining, and then be fine in the morning. It's happened about 6 times in the last 3 years. Very weird.

Of course we're not complete ogres. We did break out the pharmaceuticals. Thank goodness for dye-free Motrin. Which reminded me that I need to pack some of that and some dye-free Benadryl for the trip. Both Noah and Eli got really sick once they left the confines of the orphanage, so I want to be prepared for Nandini - and I'm hoping that Eli's episode last night didn't occur simply to remind me to pack medicine. You know, as a premonition of what's to come on the trip.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a worrier?

Which brings me to this. I haven't been worried about the trip, which has me worried. I am now worried that I'm not worried.

Nandini doesn't speak English (although she can say, "My name is Nandini. I am a girl". Isn't that the cutest? Anyway, she can repeat tons of things in English, but as far as initiating speech, she can only do 2 words together at a time, which means she's speech delayed in her own language. But then again, she just turned 3 and has been in an orphanage her entire life. Who knows what will happen when she gets home. The point is that I'm not worried. I mean, I have a very silent 6 year old - and we're managing fine. Nandini is leaps and bounds ahead of Noah. So it should be okay, right?

Which reminds me. Noah is going to talk. God told me. Yes he did! He said to stop my worrying, have faith in Him, continue to do what we're doing (which is basically not a lot compared to what we used to do) and that Noah will be a right little chatterbox when he's 8 or 9 years old. In fact, God's exact words were:

"Do what you are doing and in 2 -3 years it will all come to fruition and unfold"

Some of you may think that's completely wacky and question my sanity, while others might think that is the coolest thing in the world. I want to hang with the latter.

The important thing, though, is why I am rambling so much and jumping from topic to topic.

Oh, that's right. I got an hour and a half of sleep last night. There ya go!

Okay, back on the train track. Let's see... Eli has been sick. I'm leaving for India on Thursday, and God has been talking to me about Noah.

Let's talk about Noah.

I know this blog is meant to be all about Noah, but it has now just become a big 'ol blog about anything. The thing is.. when I started it a year and a half ago, I was in a terrible place. Cure Noah. Recover Noah. Try anything. Autism is evil. Blah Blah Blah. And I still feel a lot of that today. However, that urgent "gotta do something now... this minute.. this second" feeling is gone.

And I like it.

A few years ago, I ate, slept, and drank autism. It was my 24/7 world and I was a Mom on a Mission. I'm still a Mom on a Mission.... but one who recognizes that it's important to stop and smell the flowers sometimes. The one who realizes that the world goes on... just keeps a spinning... even if Noah has autism or not. I don't want to live my life in an autism bubble. I don't want my life ruled by autism. It has already taken so much from our family. I don't want to give it anymore.

So, while I am still working towards Noah getting better, I've also just learned to let go a bit and leave it God. And what a freeing release that is. It's fantastic.

So......... poor grammar aside (and, yes, it is scary that I have a degree in English), I am refusing to have our lives ruled by autism. There will still be dark days.... days I want to cry and kick and scream and break dishes (not that I've ever done that, but wouldn't it be fun?)...

Until you had to clean them up.....

But I am going to start celebrating the little milestones in Noah's live. Which brings me to my long-awaited point....

1. Noah kissed Dad. That is right. It actually brought tears to Dad's eyes. Noah started giving kisses a month ago, but refused to kiss Dad. Well, the other day, Dad picked him up and said, "Give me a kiss, Noah" and he puckered up those cute little lips of his and leaned in and kissed him. It was a beautiful sight.

2. Noah hugged me! Like, absolutely hugged me on his own. He was sitting on my lap, facing me, and we were doing Wheels on the Bus. Well, he threw my arms aside, leaned in and wrapped his arms around me and hugged me. Now, he's always been a cuddler, but this was the first time he initiated a hug on his own.

Speaking of which...

3. Noah kissed me on his own last night. Usually, we prompt him with "Give me a kiss, Noah", but yesterday he got down off his booster seat after supper. I happened to kneel down beside him and he came right up to me and smacked me on the mouth and then carried on. How cool is that?

4. Noah fed himself a bowl of soup last night. There are two major things about that. First, that Noah ate soup. This is the first time in his life that he's tasted soup. He usually refuses. But last night, I made curried butternut squash & sweetcorn soup, and he ate the whole thing. The second thing is that he fed himself with a spoon. The entire bowl! He usually eats with his hands, so this was major.

Okay, I know there's more, but can't think of it right now. Plus, I hear him stirring. (It's now 9:00 o'clock). So I'd better sign off.

I'll try to blog again before I leave for India.

Did I mention it's in two days!!??

Noah's Mom