Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter and Other Treats

Sunday morning we went to an hour of church, which was just right.
I took these pictures of us using the timer on my camera.

She loved coloring the Easter Eggs.

She awoke to an Easter basket at the foot of her bed filled with a few treats.

Thank you to B & J who left a gift certificate to my favorite place on my kitchen counter while I was in China. These two helped me so much in the last couple days of packing, truly, truly! Thank you sooooo much! As you can see, Jie Jie loved it.

A box of gifts was waiting for Jie Jie at the post office upon our return from China. It was from a dedicated reader whose good wishes have been constant. Jie Jie loved everything, especially the dog purse and lollipops, which were organic and delicious. Bella, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers and gifts!!!

See, the dog purse! It comes with us everywhere and contains all of Jie Jie's "jewels."

Can you believe that the only helmut to fit in two stores was a cat?

I love this look on her face as she goes down the slide.

Looks benign right?

She's actually 5 feet up off the groung without a safety net! I remember doing the same things at that age so I allow it. She's been good so far about knowing her own limits.

Today is the one month anniversary of adoption day and things are continuing to go very well. My only regret is that I wasn't able to take a maternity leave. I see the result on her and feel it myself. I hardly carry her any more because if we are getting out of the car, inevitably I have all the grocery bags in my arms. If we take a walk during the day, I'm pushing 4 kids while she's on the Strolli Rider. If we take a walk at night, she's in her pajamas in her stroller under a thick quilt, falling asleep. Honestly, I think this was my favorite moment of the week. She loved being allowed to take a late evening walk and fall asleep under the stars. It's one of the things I envisioned doing from the start with Apple so I'm glad that my big girl can do it, too.

The second time we did it, she had taken a nap so she wasn't sleepy and when she saw the San Francisco skyline at dusk for the first time with all the city lights on, she sat up so excitedly and shouted how pretty it was three times. I can't wait to take her to the beach for the first time.

She got her first cat scratch today. It's only one line, but it drew a tiny bit of blood. She didn't come to me or even cry, which was unusual. Instead, she showed it to me matter-of-factly a few minutes after it happened. Sammy was the culprit so I knew she'd provoked him. He's never scratched anyone in his entire life. She's not good at telling what happened when things are her fault for doing something naughty. I've been watching her poking the cats with her finger as she walks by or when they are sleeping and even knocking them on the heads a bit or swinging things at them. I hope now she's learned her lesson because when I've caught her annoying or provoking the cats, I've warned her and demonstrated that she could be scratched. Now she knows exactly what I meant.

She still sleeps very well. We did have a bedtime meltdown last night, only our third or fourth in the nearly three weeks that we've been home. Her grief is always aimed at an object and last night it was that she didn't want her pillow that's she had since coming home, she wanted a smaller pillow. That was easy to fix and the fact that she instantly stopped screaming and relaxed the second I removed the offending pillow was all the proof I needed that it was a grief issue. Honestly, it was like flipping a light switch. Tonight I asked her if she wanted her pillow back and she thought about it for a moment, finger on her chin to seriously contemplate her answer, then accepted it back. I think it's very significant to note here that I'd put a new pillow case on the pillow last night, one we'd bought in China and hadn't used yet, and that sometimes kids can have a "psychotic perception to change" to quote a line from a movie it reminded me of called House of Cards with Tommy Lee Jones. It really mirrored a scene in that movie in which a 6 year-old girl is dealing with the loss of her father. No, my daughter is not in any way psychotic, but she is going through a process of deep grief, loss and new attachments and it can manifest in many ways.

She's enjoying a lot of new foods. She loves salad and always eats two helpings. Lasagna, shepherd's pie, egg salad sandwiches, chocolate (which she didn't like on her ice cream in China, but she did like hot caramel on it), homemade macaroni and cheese, which surprised me because she doesn't like cheese by itself yet.

We eat dinner at the table together every night and I've learned not to pick up the phone if it rings during dinner because for several nights I was on the phone while my little girl sat in front of me eating and be both hated that.

She is learning to write her name. I am teaching her proper printing, a nearly lost art. Her name is very simple so I started there. She is also learning to say the alphabet, which I started in China informally with her musical toothbrush.

She is just about doing 25 piece puzzles by herself. She still needs a bit of help getting started. I'm pleased at her progress in two areas, one, she is now understanding the relationship between the picture on the box, the picture the puzzle makes and that the colors on the pieces relate to one another, and, two, she is more patient and willing to try harder to figure it out before asking for my help or whining.

I am learning to understand a lot of Chinese, but it's more her local dialect than Mandarin, I think. I repeat it, but can't always reply properly for lack of knowing the right tense, verb or sentence structure, but I love that I understand so much of what she says. Tonight she said for me to "come quickly and look" as she was watching an airplane through the window all lit up in the night sky. We live very near a major airport so there is a lot of low air traffic.

As I knew I would, I love motherhood and it's a natural lifestyle for me. Jie Jie brings out the best in me. My organizational skills are peak and I'm getting more sleep than I've gotten in the last year because I'm able to go to bed at a decent hour. At some point in the day, Jie Jie goes into her room to play, and this gives me a moment to myself. I always go in to check on her and give her some kind of positive feedback so she knows that I'm fully aware of where she is and what she's doing and that I'm thinking of her enough to seek her out. I do all this without intruding on her alone time, if that makes sense, and she often relishes the opportunity to show me what she's doing in greater detail, then I pop out again, back to doing dishes or whatever.

One of today's highlights was to see a mama duck with 7 tiny duckings in the water today when we took our walk.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your blog, you are sweet and I love reading about your journey.

It is unusual for your daughter not to cry over a boo boo, but it is not unusual for a child raised in an orphanage or foster home to not understand your role as Mama in taking good care of her. Make a big deal of her littlest boo boos and she will soon come to you to fix or kiss even the imaginary boo boos!

Congratulations & Blessings
to your beautiful family.

Carrie said...

Beautiful pictures of you and your daughter! You both look lovely!

Eliza2006 said...

I've been waiting for an Easter post, but figured maybe you had decided not to make a deal out of it since you haven't been home long. It sounds like things are going well. I'm so happy for you and Jei Jei!

China Dreams said...

Sounds like things are going really well, with lots of special Mom and daughter time even if it doesn't seem it to you.


B said...

The pictures are darling!