Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I woke up before the alarm and turned it off. Started crying because I have to get through another entire day. Pulled myself together and decided one hour of school wasn't worth getting the girls to this morning. I tried sleeping again, but just laid there wide awake.
I prepared breakfast without putting on my glasses and I began to smell cat poop. Then I realized I'd stepped in it and walked on the aggregate floor. Aggregate floor in my house means pebbles mixed in epoxy and spread across the floor. Everything that falls to the floor, falls between the pebbles and gets between and underneath them. The pebbles are also multicolored so everything that falls onto the floor disappears by camouflage.
I told the girls to stay away from the area while I got the cleaning machine. I told them they cannot get their milk yet because this was by the fridge. By the time I found the machine and brought it in, the girls had finished with their cereal and were putting their dishes in the sink, walking all over the cat poop and the area rugs. I yelled, "What are you doing! I said to stay away from here."
Sissy, 15, said she thought I meant the rugs. I asked if I said rugs. She said no. I asked what I did say, she said, stay away.
I call Apple's OT and tell her we are running very late. As we pull into the parking lot, it's raining and there are puddles, I say to the girls, "Leave the diaper bag in the car. Get out on this side," I indicated the driver's side, "Sissy, get out on your side but be careful of the water."
I open the door to get the baby out and Blossom, 13, is reaching for the diaper bag. I asked what she's doing. She had no clue that she shouldn't be getting the diaper bag. Sissy is trying to get from the middle to the back of the van so she can get out on the driver's side. I asked what she's doing, she said trying to get out. I asked them to repeat what I said. Jie Jie repeated it fine, a miracle for her. Blossom only heard to get out on the driver's side, as did Sissy.
We get home. There is no rug by the back door. I say, "Blossom, where is the black rug that I told you to put by the back door the other day."
Her reply, "What are you talking about?"
"I told you to take the black rug and put it by the back door."
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"I gave you the black rug the other day and told you to put it by the back door. Where did you put it."
"You didn't tell me that."
"Yes I did. Where is the rug?" By now, of course, I'm yelling again.
She looks clueless then says, "Maybe it's over there," indicating a rolled up rug near the extra stove.
I say, "That isn't a maybe. There it is. Why did you put it there?"
"I didn't hear you say put it by the back door."
"Yes you did because when I gave you those instructions the other day you said you didn't understand so I showed you the rug by the front door and told you to put the black rug the same way by the back door."
And this is a typical day.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Can you guess which one I was? I wish I could say I was the painter. All parents know how hard it is to take an uninterrupted bath. I did try today. I'm tired of being late for church so I thought I'd wash my hair today instead of tomorrow morning. With the water running I hear a knock on the door. I said, "Open the door, I can't hear you," a few times, yet no one came in so I figured it wasn't important. Big mistake.
I finally emerge from the bathroom, dried off, towel in hand, and see the hallway door closed. I open it saying, "Why is this door..." and notice the back of a large white t-shirt on a large back. Thank heavens I didn't see the front of the t-shirt, right? Thank heavens the hallway was dark.
Blossom had been the one at the bathroom door. When she heard me say the word "open" she didn't stay and listen to the rest, but thought I meant open the front door and let the painter into our home, which she did, completely unknown to me. They were supposed to have called first anyway so I wasn't expecting anyone. Of course, she has no clue that she did anything wrong and one might even say it was an honest misunderstanding, but we've been working and working and working at listening and not walking away while mama is still talking and using good judgment and common sense, and she's now in her room having a major screaming fit with banging the door and taking everything out of the closet like a two year-old.
And I'm supposed to bake a birthday cake because today Jie Jie is 10 years old.
Because if we do, instead of getting sympathy, or understanding or empathy from other moms who gave birth to their kids, which for some reason doesn't count as having to involve making a choice to become a parent, I'm basically told, "Well, you made the choice to adopt kids." I don't get it.
Sometimes all I crave is to be able to have a conversation in regular English with anyone. So I talk a lot when I stand in line. Anywhere. Everywhere. With anyone.
Moms everywhere do have to repeat themselves to their kids. It's a given, right? Well, you wouldn't believe how many times I had to tell my 15 year old that she cannot meet President Obama today after we went to see Air Force One fly over us. After the 15th time, I found myself yelling, "NO, YOU CANNOT SEE THE PRESIDENT! DON'T ASK ME AGAIN! DON'T TALK ABOUT IT ANY MORE!"
How many times can one mom listen to:
I wish I see her. He. Him.
I want tell her - he - hello.
Is her - he - like Yanni? (perhaps she meant famous?)
I want see he.
Can we go airplane - airport - see her - he - him?
Are we airport see her - he - him?
Why we cannot see he?
I want see her - he - him.
He is boss of America?
Then my 13 year-old begins...
Mommy, why not you boss of America?
Mommy, you want be boss of America?
Mommy, I want be boss of China.
I know they can speak better English than this, and I beg them to, I nag them to, but they often choose not to.
Friday, February 14, 2014
We just drove two miles up the road to the airport and stopped on the street and let Air Force One fly right over us. It was about 50 feet above us as it came in to land across the street from where we were parked. I can't believe I didn't think to bring my camera, it would have been an amazing picture!
Apple has learned to use her hands phenomenally well. She can pick things up as well as release them. Letting something go is a pretty big skill. Now, her tiny thumbs are strong enough to hold her cup with one hand.
She loves to draw! She will snatch a pen right out of your hand before you know she's there. Notice that tongue curl. It seems that all my kids concentrate best with their tongues sticking out. I also saw Apple get three of her puzzle pieces in correctly and quickly for the first time yesterday. She's catching up fast to her American peers.
One of the little outfits I've kept for about 15 years, just waiting for my own little girl to come along.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Being careful. Thinking ahead to what might happen before you do something.
This was our lesson this week. One of my chicks didn't get it. Despite my admonishment to not eat too much, Blossom over ate at her class Valentine party today and she's refused her milk and her dinner and is spending some time on the potty and the rest of the time crying in bed while her intestines cramp as her body tries to rid itself of all the food this child consumed. I've never seen this girl not eat a meal. She also drank soda at the party, something my girls don't ever get, which she said even made her stomach hurt in China,
I hope Blossom will learn from this because she's truly miserable tonight, poor little thing.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
I will be so glad when my baby doesn't have hardware in her head any more. Tonight she fell off her little kid chair, of course, head first onto the aggregate floor, though her little shoulder bore some of the brunt of her weight, thankfully, and now has a bruise. I patched her up, but having hardware in one's head sure makes head injuries worse than they'd otherwise be. Her skin broke in several places over the distractor. Fortunately, it didn't bleed as bad as a head wound normally would because of all the cauterizing the surgeons did during her surgery. It takes awhile for the vessels to grow back, plus, I'm fast with the gauze and frozen "boo boo kitty" gel pack.
Apple falls on her head or bumps it a lot. One of the reasons is that her mental capacity exceeds her physical experience. She's 26 months old and thinks like a 26 months old, but doesn't have 26 months of experience being mobile. She's only been walking for a week. Her head is also bigger than it should be and her upper body is weaker than usually due to her lack of crawling (remember, she's been a booty scooter). She didn't crawl because of her hands, though she's practicing now. This means she didn't develop the normal reflex to catch herself with her hands when she falls, though she's getting better at it. Since her head got big fast (30 days of screw turning), she's still adjusting to a high center of gravity and heavy noggin. No one really knows how this effected her inner ear either, since there's less pressure in her head now than there was.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
It's finally time to hook my girls up! Thanks to their gong gong, they each have a computer and started learning real keyboarding tonight, which is what typing is called these days. They also do Raz-kids, Ixl, and Brain Pop. These supplement reading/comprehension, math and more...
You might notice the computers have the latest operating system by that Washington-based company that starts with an M and I can truly say it's pretty horrible, but I'm starting to make headway with it. It takes three steps to do one step. I don't recommend it at all!
...but only when I make her do it! She's a good walker, but fearful, so she hobbles along like an arthritic granny, unless she wants something or has an audience of her favorite person.
I tried having her push her own stroller or hold on to the shopping cart, but I had to stop or get arrested since she SCREAMED bloody murder at having to do it. Then, something started to click after watching other small-fry toddle and walk and sit on tiny chairs at church on Sunday. Last Monday at the speech center for the older girls, Apple started pushing a kid chair around and kept trying to sit on it. I left her alone and in about 30 minutes, I looked up and she was sitting the little chair, proud of herself as she could be! I was very proud of her, too. Once home, she discovered that the diaper pail was on wheels and began pushing it around, too, but she can walk quite well without holding on to anything - when she wants to do so.
Just yesterday, she put her foot into her sister shoe, which is all very normal for a 2 year-old!!! The adoption experts say that for every three months spent in an institution, a child's development is delayed by 1 month. Add adoption, change of language, and two surgeries, and there won't be much catching up - at first. But in the last two weeks, it's very clear to me that Apple is developmentally right on, based on the institution-delay model, with no delays caused by Apert's Syndrome.
Friday, January 31, 2014
We had a fun Chinese New Year party! My girls were looking forward to it with more anticipation than Christmas and they had a great time. You'd never know that I had a team of 3 painters in until after 1pm and that my front entry way, part of the living room and entire hall way to the bedrooms was all tarped, masked, and that the entire house had a layer of fine dust from sanding joint compound for three days.
Two families joined us, one with four children adopted from three countries, two from China, one from Vietnam and another from Kazakhstan. The other family that joined us has three bio children, and their mom is from Taiwan. It was great to hear my girls speaking Mandarin again. Their native language is one of their greatest assets and I'm doing all I can to make sure they maintain it.
So, we had rice, chicken, pot stickers, veggies, cookies, candy, oranges and did crafts. The kids made little horses and lanterns from kits. We had lucky money and a dragon and more. I think we'll make throwing a Chinese New Year Party a tradition!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Yes, it's true, Apple has a mullet, thanks to her cranial surgeon. And now that the short bits are growing back, the top sticks straight up. I am the first to admit it's worse than the IV haircut she came to me with in China. Today I trimmed her bangs just a little, but that mullet has got to go next! Unfortunately, she's not got anything over the ears yet, since that's where the surgeon was aggressive with his clippers and razor. Add to this, the fact that the distraction stretched out her scalp so her hair is thinner now that the follicles have more skull to cover. The good new is that under her bangs, she's getting new hair, so her hairline will come down further in front, thank heavens. The bad news is that her hair will probably be looking cute again right in time for her second cranial surgery this spring when the surgeon will "style" it again.
Lickity Split were the exact words JJ used to tell me how fast he could help me get the jobs done in my home needed for me to get back to work. Yes, my maternity leave is coming to an end. It would have ended sooner, but I could not get contractors in to finish a job in a timely fashion! There was always someone's emergency I was bumped for. Honestly, one contractor couldn't get over here to finish a 30 minute job in well over a month.
Well, my friend, JJ had had enough of watching me struggle with this and declared that he had guys he could line up to get it all done "lickity split" along with extracting a promise from the 30 minute job contractor, so I let him send in the cavalry. In one week, I had the fence mended with a gate right where I needed it, the foliage cut and ground prepared to receive the shed I purchased back in August, which was delivered and assembled today, and tomorrow, the painters will arrive to finish painting my hall and entry ways. JJ also said to call him any time I need something done and he'd help me get the right guy for the job. Now that's a real friend!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
It's been a little crazy around here today. A week ago I nearly lost Henry to aspiration pneumonia and severe dehydration and this week my baby got aspiration pneumonia! She's recovering, but it's a slow process. I took these pictures yesterday afternoon when she perked up for a very short while in her pram listening to Chinese nursery songs, where Henry joined her on his own, my two invalids!
Then she crashed out on the floor while I was unpacking in my newly FINISHED work room!
Monday, January 6, 2014
I'm sure you've noticed in all the November pictures that Apple's hair was very greasy. This was due to the petroleum jelly on the Xeroform that covered her incisions and what the surgeons used to grease the long parts of her hair with to keep them out of the surgical field. I washed and washed her hair, but it didn't make a difference. Once the sites where the handles came off were healed, it was time to figure out how to get Apple's hair really clean. I researched it and found that pure cornstarch did the trick - first try. And it washed out easily. I was so glad to see fluffy soft baby hair again!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Christmas Eve turned out to be very fun. Our friend, JJ, and his mom and youngest daughter, stopped by bringing goodies to eat and gifts for the girls. We had treats of our own to share, like cranberry cake with hot butter sauce and gifts to give, too.
As a single mom of girls, it sometimes doesn't occur to me to get certain things, JJ filled that gap this year. Please notice the box of balls in the first picture. There is a football, basketball and soccer ball, all sort of soft, but not too soft, so all the girls can play, including Jie Jie, who is still rather tiny and got bonked too hard a couple months ago trying to catch a real football. I was cracking up today as they ran inside, each grabbed a ball, and went out in the yard to play. It just never occurred to me to get my girls a football! In addition to the balls, he gave the girls soft, cuddly things to play with.
Apple got a cute napping set that is nylon on the bottom and sort of crinkly, fleece on the top blanket and furry on the detachable froggy pillow. I commented to JJ how perfect the gift was and that he may not have realized how good the various textures are for Apple to experience from an OT perspective, and he said, "Who said I didn't realize it?" It's things like this that make JJ such a good and special friend, he really thinks about my girls' needs.
We got our Christmas tree rather late, but it was to our advantage since the prices had been dropped three times. The tree turned out to be too tall for our living room and I had to cut some off the top and the bottom to make it fit, but it's a beautiful tree! My house is unique, with Japanese shoji screens making one wall of the living room. I opened them and put the tree on the edge so it's visible all the way around.
We found our tree at a lot on a farm with a natural grocery store and a big barn made into a western town by Disney designers inside. We sat in a marvelous sleigh, had free hot chocolate and tried shooting, using up the free tokens we were given for buying our tree there. It was fun and special and we'll make this a family tradition and buy our tree at the same place next year.