Thursday, August 21, 2008

First month home.

One month ago we arrived at SFO ready to begin our adventure of a life with Baby S. She has not disappointed us and works very hard at filling our days with joy, laughter, hugs, kisses and sleep deprivation. Can't blame her though as the changes she has endured in such a short time would throw anyone for a loop. I think jet lag has been the biggest obstacle we have faced. Our bodies are amazing instruments and do rise to the occasion when needed. We had expected jet lag to kick our butts in China but the much anticipated breakdown did not materialize. Silly us, we were running on pure adrenaline and blissfully unaware of what awaited us once home. Still better to breakdown at home than in China.

Since today is Wednesday and P had to work we laid low. We took Baby S to a local park to try their playground. Baby S would not go for the swings and did not want to use the slide. Since we did not visit her SWI nor have seen pictures, we have no idea if she just does not have a concept of how much fun swings and slides are or if she is too needy right now to part from us. We just practiced on her walking then took her to BK to let her pig out on French fries, something she can't get enough of these days.

These weekend we are celebrating one month home by taking a small trip with Baby S. P made reservations for us to spend the weekend at a nice hotel with two pools (one is humongous). Initially I was unsure as the "experts" advice waiting at least six months before exposing the babies to unfamiliar surroundings overnight. Then P reminded me that the same "experts" advised against bringing toys with lights and sounds as the babies would be frightened by them. And that is why even though we have dozens of such toys home, we found ourselves at the Kunming Wally Mart searching for those same toys we left behind. Yep, Baby S could not get enough of the noise and lights. :) P won that round of logical thinking.

We are looking forward to three days of teaching Baby S to become comfortable in water and lounging by the pool. P also made it very clear that I will not be hiding behind a camera during our time together. I will actually be in the water with him, learning how to risk my daughter's life by letting go of her in 5 feet of water. :)

I turned to the dark side and forced this bow on my very upset daughter. :)

This is a far as she would allow us to be. All that good stuff back there? Not the least interested.

Observation area by the fish ladders. We'll return when the salmon are ready to spawn.

Mama, that is a LOT of water. Can we swim?

She does have the cutest little baby face.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

For those of you who know me, you know this is big for me. Yep, I am admitting that I just celebrated a birthday on August 13. I hate, no, loathe, my birthday. I’m pretty sure that it began when Papi passed in May, just before my 11th birthday. By the time my birthday rolled around, it really felt disrespectful to me to be celebrating anything. I know, really, what business does an eleven-year old have thinking that way? That is just the kind of weird kid I was.

On my 18th birthday I made perhaps the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Add to that the loss of three pregnancies within days of my birthday, the long wait for Baby S, and I think I have darn pretty good reasons for wanting to skip a yearly reminder of the worse in my life. The last two places where I have worked have a monthly newsletter that lists employee’s birthdays. I always make sure that mine is not listed. No way, nope, it ain’t going to happen.

When Persistent P came along he had the gall to tell me that I could keep the whole darn world from knowing or celebrating my birthday, but not him. To P, birthdays are a big deal. Well, J’s, S’s, his grandma’s, his and mine are a big deal. So he decided to compromise and every year he celebrates, but no parties or other embarrassing stuff. He usually takes me for a weekend of amusement park/water park fun. Gosh, we have had some great times. P also knows that I am not a girly girl; jewelry, flowers and candy are not my thing, so I always get electronics as a gift. I have really enjoyed my birthdays with him (even the one when I got a 3rd degree burn and landed at an ER in Oregon, August 13, at 1:00 p.m., the time I entered this world. Cool, huh? What are the odds?). I know how hard P strives to make me happy during my special day and I hope he realizes how much I appreciate his efforts.

This year we did not have the time for a weekend getaway and I would have nixed it anyway because it is too soon for Baby S to spend a night away from home. P was upset because he had not purchased my gift. He gave me a Nikon D60 before we went to China and he intended to get me a point and shoot because he knew there’s no way I could schlep Baby S and the Nikon when we are out and about. The thing is that with the referral and everything after that, I did not have the time to research and tell him what I wanted (Isn’t he sweet? He actually asked). BTW, I made it clear prior to referral that having Baby S and traveling to China were more than enough gifts for me. I could not think of anything I wanted other than my daughter.

The thing is that I received one of the most amazing gifts for my birthday, just a month earlier. I traveled to China to meet my daughter and will hopefully spend six months at home getting to know her. I feel greedy thinking about wanting more. OK, I’ll get over it soon; after all, I am all about the loot.  I told P I was going to blog about my b-day and he was stunned. I reassured him that it was OK and that I should mark the first year since Papi passed away that I am in such a good place that I’m ready to let go. I have finally come almost full circle; I have J, Baby S and P. We now look forward to Baby D (last arc on our circle), but know that it will take years to bring our last born home. It’s OK, Baby S is going to keep us running ragged until then.

Since this is post fact, you may wonder how did we celebrate. I spent the day doing what I have been doing since July 7, playing with my girl. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant, where Baby S stuffed her little face with samosas (patties stuffed with potatoes, green peas and spices), lamb biryani (Basmati rice cooked with boneless lamb), lamb boti kabab (boneless lamb marinated in yogurt), tandori wheat baked bread and mango pudding with fruit. We thought her belly was going to burst. I don’t know many sixteen-month olds who fancy lamb, curry and lentils, but Baby S enjoyed my b-day dinner.

OOPS, I forgot to mention that I received my first b-day card from Baby S. She is such a thoughtful little girl, especially when P is helping her impress her Mama. I must say that my daughter is quite perceptive since she not only chose a Snoopy card, but wrote just the right sentiment that melted her Mama’s heart. Great, another freaking charmer to get her way with me.

We capped the celebration by coming home and watching the Olympics. Yes, we lazy a$$e$ just hung out until bedtime. Best birthday I have had in a very long time. Also, it was the first b-day I have celebrated at home in, wow, like a decade.

P got me a NICE point and shoot as a present and I can’t wait for it to arrive. One of my favorite mom bloggers owns that digi cam and it is waterproof.

Since I have been a lazy (albeit with a good excuse) blogger, I will try to give you a glimpse of what has been happening around here.

Two best...

birthday presents....

I've ever received. (Baby S & J)

This is what happens in the time it takes me to get out of bed a reach the door (a few feet away). Baby S must be with me All. The. Time. That morning, I told P to change her diaper while I made a bottle downstairs. Did not make it to the door before the crying began. P then realized that he had not touched his wife in ages and decided to see if crying and outstretched arms would get him some attention. Sorry, the cute little one won.

Meeting A&J, who brought the store's water toy section as a present for Baby S. It was really nice of J (blue blouse) to part with the toys. She really had a difficult time letting them go, but Baby S promised to share.

Baby S does this the second her tiny hiney hits the high chair. Our girl LOVES to eat.

Baby S learned to sign "more" her second week in China. Hers is a modified sign because she can't get the tips of her fingers together yet. However, she uses the sign appropriately and consistently. We are now working on poop, drink and bath.

Pretty girl.

Meeting Grandpa A (who is now visiting cousin Bell). On August 13, Grandpa A celebrated his 7th year of sobriety. We are so proud of you Grandpa!

China does not grant dual citizenship and Baby S's was revoked when she arrived at SFO. That did not stop Baby S from enjoying the Olympics opening ceremonies and vigorously cheering for her birth country. See, our little girl at one is already doing better than the Swiss wrestler, whose name I cannot recall and do not care to look up.

OK, so maybe the sting was eased by the fact that if she ever chooses to seek Olympic gold she could do it either as a member of the US or PR team.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

One month ago...

At the Civil Affairs Office in Kunming, China, we met the most beautiful girl we had ever seen. She was standing between her nanny’s legs, her Mama said her Chinese name, and the nanny nodded affirmatively (as tears formed in her eyes). The Mama kneeled and carefully approached the beautiful girl, hoping only to touch her and not scare her in the process. The Baba was filming their interaction and in as much of a haze as his wife. When the Mama moved towards the beautiful girl, the child reached out for her, the Mama held her, and their lives have forever changed. Not a tear was shed by the beautiful girl that day, but many happy tears were shed by her parents.

While we have been home for two weeks we are nowhere near settled. Baby S is thriving, very comfortable in her surroundings, happy and healthy. The Barnacle has taken her moniker seriously and is exceeding any expectations anyone could have about her attachment. She is on her way to be called McClingy.

Thank you J for starting this and remaining here against the odds to be with your sister.

Thank you Mami, Papi and Grandpa C for watching over our little girl for sixteen months.

Thank you to the People’s Republic of China for such a precious gift.



Scrunchy Face S