Saturday, November 5, 2011

Enjoying Jie Jie

I really live for weekends. By the end of the work week, Jie Jie is tired of sharing me with the daycare kids and starts acting more and more rambunctious and I'm just plain tired.

Come Saturday morning, we sleep in, get up slowly, have a lazy pancake breakfast around lunch time, then get moving. Jie Jie plays in her room while I potter around, peeking in quite often just to watch her play. Last night we attended a baby shower so today, all of her play was about giving her doll a baby shower. She put her doll's things into various bags as presents and then I sat down and handed them to her to open.

I've been talking more about family relationships, grandmother, mother, daughter, grandfather, etc... but it's still a concept far out of her grasp. I did learn that Jie Jie definitely prefers women, and definitely good looking women. At the shower last night, where she met some of my friends for the first time, she readily allowed herself to be hugged. Afterward, in the car, I asked her about it since she usually doesn't like to be hugged by anyone but me. She said she liked it because "all people girls."

Today she finally confided in me that she is scared of doctors. She didn't have a clue that I already knew this! Funny how their little minds work.

It's hard to believe that she's going to be eight years old in less than 4 months. In many ways, she acts exactly her age, and I love it. In other ways, she's still my little baby, and I love that, too. In the above picture, taken today, she is wearing a size 4 Gymboree sweater and leggings, a size 3 Children's Place skirt, and size 4 knee socks that fit like leg warmers with the heel hanging out her little shoes, the only pair I was able to find in China that actually fit her. In US sizes, she wears a size 7 or 8 (toddler) shoe, depending on the style and/or brand.

I try to stay in the present, especially with all the unknowns still about her condition, but it's hard not to wonder about her future. She never had the amazing growth spurt that so many adopted children get. She's still just a tiny bit over 41" tall and 35-36 pounds, depending on the scale I use. New neck x-rays have revealed some scary things. I'll be getting them evaluated by a specialist, but common concensus so far is that Jie Jie's neck is extremely fragile in two different places. We need to avoid all things that carry a high risk of falling on the neck or even stressing the neck until we know more. The fragile areas developed by compensating for other areas that are malformed. Any injury to the neck at this level is life threatening or catestrophic since it's at the top of the spinal cord. At the playground I want to shout, "Don't climb so high," and "don't hang upside down," and don't do this and don't do that... Instead, I'm becoming the anxious (hiding it well) mom, almost hovering (okay, I am starting to really hover sometimes because she climbs VERY high), too distracted to carry on a conversation with other moms, ready to rush over at any second and make a critical catch."

On the other hand, we are having great adventures in every day life. We biked to the park one evening, took a walk along the shore on another evening and watched the sun set.

Homeschooling is going very well. Jie Jie is getting really good with the alphabet. She can name all the letters that I sign, even out of order, and she can read them, too. She is learning all the lower case letters now, just by seeing them often paired with the upper case letters. I'm amazed and pleased at how easily and fast she is learning the lower case letters. Numbers are coming along, too. She doesn't know the language of math, and is still learning to write all the numbers, but she can already figure simple arrithmatic on a practical level, only she doens't realize it yet so she can't do math problems on paper yet. I think she'll be able to in less than one month.

Call me a baaaad mom, but her first science experiment was to make a bomb. No kidding. We made a vinegar and baking soda bomb in a bag and tried to explode it in the garden. We failed. I didn't have a lot of vinegar so I halved the recipe and used good quality bags (yes, they are as strong as the commercial claims), so our bag eventually leaked a tiny bit at the zipper rather than burst, but we're going to do it again the right way because it was so much fun and we want to see it explode!


Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog and enjoy it a lot. I lived in the Bay Area during my young adult life and your posts often make me long for that place AND TIME in my life. Your daughter is utterly precious. I just wanted to tell you that many of the little girls that come from China don't have a big growth spurt. My daughter is 15 1/2 (I got her at 16 1/2 months). She always grew a little but it was slow. She wasn't skinny. She was just small and didn't look her age. Unfortunately she stopped growing at 4'8" when she was 13+. I say "unfortunately" only because we live in a world designed for people to be at least 5 feet. Some things are a struggle (like driving). It seems as you describe Jie Jie's eating, she is doing well with that so I wouldn't worry about her size. Now the neck and spine issue is scary. I am with you. I'd watch carefully. We can't completely protect our kids from falls, etc., but we can be vigilent. You're doing a great job. Regarding her fear of doctors (and all people medical probably), I'd be sure to be really honest, even in the good times, that she will always need lots of medical care to be healthy, but that now you will always be with her and make sure that she gets pain medicine and lots of HUGS until she heals and is well. She sounds like a bright girl who will more and more understand her wonderful new life. Again, she is precious.
Carolyn (in Las Vegas)

The Straight's said...

She looks so grown up in this picture. Cute as ever!!