Saturday, February 28, 2009

Playground fun.

This morning we had to run an errand and Baby S was out by 12:15 p.m. We drove home, hoping to place her in her crib, allowing her an early nap and an early bedtime. I have been successful transferring a sleeping Baby S from the van to her crib, and P decided to give it a try. Alas, it was not to happen today. P put up a good fight, but the tiny toddler won, and they returned downstairs together to eat lunch. After lunch, we drove to a local park that we have not visited since September. It appeals to older kids as well, so I was concerned about Baby S's safety and ability to have fun there. We had a great time and Baby S impressed us by trying three slides, two of them longer than what she is used to. She also tried a kiddie suspension bridge on her own and gave the swing a short test run. We then walked for over twenty minutes, with Baby S walking the whole time. She really impressed us with her stamina, especially during the steep part of the walk.

Baby S points to the bunny's nose.

She liked looking through the tires, but was not interested in walking through.

This slide is taller and longer than mine. Can we take it home?

Baba, you jump in first, I'll spot you.

I asked P to hang on to Baby S because I did not think that she could maintain her balance. Baby S returned two more times and played on it by her very confident self, thank you very much. This is quite a feat for her, because when she is on solid, stable, flat ground, she continuously trips over her own feet. She only fell once and simply said up, got up, and kept playing. There is a video below of her antics.

Baby S did really well on this slide and returned many times.

Here I come!

She briefly tried the swing, but it involved P behind her and me in front of her, basically handing her to each other. This is another picture shot with my left hand, while catching her with my right hand. And it was taken with the D60, not my diaper bag camera. Told you I was getting better. :)

P took the camera away from me and made me show my face. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

During our walk we found a roller hockey skating ring. We had not idea it existed. Baby S enjoyed walking the length of the rink and playing with the goal posts.

Like brother, like sister. Baby S has been interested in nuts, bolts and screws ever since we met. In China, she spent her time in the bus looking for them and trying to figure out how to get them out. On the flight from Tokyo to San Francisco, she amused herself in the same manner. P and I were thankful that she was so small and had no tools to her disposal. When she gets her hands on a toy, the first thing she does is to look for the battery compartment, and then touches the screws. Like JJ, she is just determined to take things apart. We were hoping that it was a phase, but we realize that we have a hard road ahead, as she figures out how to dismantle everything in her path.

She spent so much time examining these bolts, that P and I had to walk away to get her to stop. Baby S did not fold quickly, she allowed us to walk quite a distance before she realized that we were serious. This is the first time we have done this, but we were desperate. It is important to us that Baby S trusts us to always be there for her. Next time we will just pick her up and deal with the public humiliation once she melts down.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Making liars out of her parents.

This morning I had to engage in a very boring, tedious, yet necessary errand. The type that includes waiting in line without knowing how long and bureaucratic red tape. It also entailed waking Baby S up from a deep sleep, a mortal sin in her book. Our girl was dressed and out the door by 7:30 a.m.

Both P and I were concerned about how Baby S would behave. She had a sippy cup with milk, a sippy cup with juice and a sippy cup with water. Talk about covering all my bases. She also had Cheeri0s and a fruit bar. I added some extra toys to her usual ones and allowed her to bring Zebra in the office.

Baby S was a saint, and only uttered "more" in a few instances. More for Baby S is usually said very loud, like a miniature Neanderthal. Who is this kid in my arms, who is politely whispering "more" to her Mama? I called P to update him on our appointment and mentioned that I was gathering her things and would be busy for I did not know how long. Baby S sat on a chair with her Cheeri0s, milk, toy and Zebra. She was SO GOOD, that the office staff would walk over and fuss over the oh so well behaved little girl. I was tempted to ask them to follow us home so I could videotape them as their jaws hit the floor.

P, knowing his daughter, left work to come and keep us company. He did not call me before leaving (or he would have known it was OK), because he thought he could just follow the noise and find us. When he arrived, he was puzzled about the lack of screaming, shouts of more or Mama chants. He had to look for us and was pleasantly surprised when he found his daughter, quietly sitting and entertaining herself. One of the staff ladies gushed about his adorable daughter.

That is the funky thing about Baby S. Sometimes she really worries us with how hyperactive she is. This is coming from the mother of the ultimate poster child for ADHD, JJ. Yet Baby S is far more hyper than JJ was at her age. Those of you who know my son are going to find this hard to believe, but it is true. The difference is that JJ maintained his activity level home and wherever he went. Baby S tends to be more subdued in public. She does have her moments, but really, what child is perfect all the time. When P and I relate her antics at home, people find it hard to believe that we are talking about the same girl in front of them. I really hope she remains that way.

After our errand we went to W@lgreens and spent some time looking at the Easter decorations. As I was trying to figure out the purpose of a weird looking toy, Baby S began to say, "OOhhhhhhhh, bubbles, Mama, bubbles." I looked in front of me and all I could see was the usual Easter fare, eggs, bunnies, etc. Baby S would not stop with the bubble talk. Then I looked to my right and there I saw a plethora of bubble paraphernalia. The funny thing is, that the particular item she was reaching for, was a Spi.der M@n bubble toy that I had to look closely to realize it was for bubbles. How does she do that? I think I know what we are getting for her birthday.

Since Baby S was so amazing this morning, we took her to have lunch at her favorite place, C0$tco. She loves their hot dogs and they are fattening, so we hope that it helps her bulk up some. After we were done with our shopping, we headed home. Since the sun was out, and I am an enabler, I allowed Baby S to indulge in her latest addiction, er, obsession.

I'm such a good girl.

Still insisting on climbing the wrong way.

I rue my decision to assemble this toy in front of Baby S. She's been fascinated by the bolts since that day and keeps messing with them.

I'll never get tired of this beautiful face.

Baby S managed to unscrew the wheel on her slide. UGH. That is another trait that she shares with JJ. By age 3, he was quite adept at taking our telephone apart. I finally gave up and bought him a cheap phone and let him pick it apart at will.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hide N' Seek is not fun when you do not know you are part of the game.

Baby S gave me a horrible scare yesterday. I went into the downstairs bathroom, left the door open, and emerged thirty seconds later. Baby S was in the living room watching Ni Hao Kai Lan. Then when I got out of the bathroom, I could not see her. I called out her name and no response. I looked in the dining area (now her play area) and she was not there. I did not bother with the kitchen as there is a gate there, and I'm pretty sure she can't climb it yet.

Then I thought about the stairs. No way could she get upstairs that fast and without me seeing her, right? But I rushed upstairs anyway calling out her name. There is a gate in her bedroom doorway, so I went into our room and looked in the room, the bathroom and our walk-in closet. Nothing.

Here is where irrational thoughts take over rational thinking. Upon entering our apartment, the first thing you find is the bathroom. Plus the front door was locked and dead bolted. But I could not help it and I truly panicked. I yelled out her full name and rushed downstairs, only to find Baby S leaning on the sofa, watching TV. Where the heck was she? Where did she hide?

While I'm sure that going upstairs and returning downstairs took less than a minute, it seemed like an eternity. I was really upset and had tears in my eyes. I hugged Baby S and asked her to NEVER do that again to her Mama. That is, unless she wants her Mama to leave this earth prematurely.

Once I calmed down, something about Baby S's demeanor bugged me. Baby S is pretty much in tune with me and if I'm upset, she is upset. Later on that afternoon, I had a coughing fit and she was very worried. Baby S caressed my cheek and gave me a kiss and a hug. That is just how she rolls. But when I came downstairs, freaked out of my mind, she was eerily calm. She looked at me as if asking, "Gee woman, what's with the yelling and tears." But it did not upset her at all. Sometimes when P and I joke around or get excited and raise our voices, Baby S gets scared and it shows. So why the calm, cool demeanor? Maybe she was playing hide and seek with me. It would have really helped if she had informed me about my participation. I am also concerned that I have no idea where she hid. What if she gets stuck or something?

Talking about irrational thinking, it is truly amazing the thoughts that run through one's mind in such a situation. I had two scary (and irrational) thoughts during those seconds.

Irrational thought #1:
"Twenty-three month old vanishes in thirty seconds. Details at eleven." Except that by 11:00 p.m., my 30 second jaunt to the bathroom, would morph into a three hour, behind closed doors, m.e.t.h. cooking soiree.

Irrational thought #2:
N@ncy Gr@ce waxing philosophical about Baby S's journey from a SWI to the U.S. And although how P and I seemed OK to adopt, well, "Who was looking after Baby S? Let's unleash the lawyers!"

I know, I know, there must be something seriously wrong with me. The only rational thought was, how on earth am I going to explain this to P? I must admit that Baby S is doing her best to keep me on my toes.

T-shirt: Trouble is my business and business is good. 'Nuf said.

P thought it would be fun to get B.K. Burger Sh0ts for Baby S just, her size.

But she still needed two hands.

Mama, this fry is for you.

You don't want it Mama? Fine, then I'll eat it.

Bath time bubbles.

Baby S woke up yesterday requesting to play with bubbles. Don't you love it when your child is obsessed with something? I had some house things to take care of in the morning, but assured her that we would play with bubbles after running errands in the afternoon.

When I opened the door, eager to get my errands done, Baby S ran ahead of me and began to play with her slide. She usually needs help navigating that one step between the door and freedom. Not yesterday, she took the plunge and made a run for it. Baby S was determined to get her outside play time and could not care less about errands. I had the most difficult time prying her from her slide. Then our little agent provocateur made the simple act of securing her into her carseat into an almost insurmountable task. If Baby S tackles the everyday problems of life, love and her education in the same manner, she will be one successful adult.

Wrangling her into her carseat made me feel like I was a contestant in a rodeo. We managed to accomplish what we set out to do, but Baby S fell asleep on the way home. She did not even wake up when I got her out of her carseat. Another one of those baby steps, because she used to wake up right away. I considered waking her up, but she was up early and really needed a nap.

Since guilt is my middle name, I felt bad about Baby S missing outside time and most important, bubble time. P and I made it up to her during her bath and just brought the bubbles inside. Do not be fooled by these pictures, because just half an hour before they were taken, Baby S had a major meltdown. Thankfully the mere mention of a bath or a shower stops her in he tracks. :)

We had a lot of fun watching her play. That's the great thing about children, they take such joy in the simplest of things.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rain, rain, go away.

We are not rain fans and yesterday we got a full day of showers. Baby S was bummed out because she wanted to go outside and chase bubbles. She would come up to me and carefully pronounce "bubble;" she looks so cute when she does that. I fell for it and repeated bubble, what I didn't know is what that means in Baby S's world. It appears that repeating said word is an iron clad agreement to head outside and start a bubble extravaganza.

Baby S ran to the bathroom, picked up a bottle of bubble juice (yeah her lame Mama left it there within her reach) and was ready for action. Sorry little one, it's thirty something degrees outside and wet, very, very wet. Baby S was not happy about my pig headed refusal to go along with her sensible request.

After all, what is a girl to do inside with a house full of toys? BORING. Our little trooper, perhaps inspired by her Santa PJs, chased her blues away by engaging in silly antics. To keep up with the Holiday theme, she used her Halloween bucket as an accessory and had a grand ole time playing bucket head. That bucket and Mr. Skull are not going to make it to the garage with the other Halloween stuff. She really likes that silly bucket. Kids.

P came home just before 4:00 and headed for the sofa. He was exhausted and like us, still sick. Baby S was napping and that allowed him to fall asleep quickly. When Baby S awoke from her power nap she was ecstatic to find her Baba home. P did his best to wake up and play but he was too tired. I was busy in the kitchen when the silence worried me (those two play hard and loud), and I walked into the living room to find P passed out, and Baby S quietly using the leftover D0ritos from P's bag and making D0ritos powder on the carpet. UGH.

I involuntarily shrieked and startled P from sleep. The poor guy tried to help clean up the mess but he could hardly keep his eyes open. That is when I realized how bad off he was. P looked ten times worse than we we arrived home from China. I don't know when is the last time that I have seen him so beaten. So I told him to go upstairs and that I would deal with the mess and Baby S and to just sleep until dinner.

Once I was done cleaning up it hit me. What have I just done? Did I just volunteer to take an extra shift with the tiniest yet most effective weapon of mass destruction? See, that is the problem with loving people and why I have a strict limit on how many creatures I love. When you love someone your brain goes out the window and you make stupid decisions like the one I made, juts on a whim. How am I going to cook and keep Tornado S from unleashing her fury? Oh well, P really needed to rest.

Baby S, as usual, rose to the occasion and did very well, taking in her consideration that she did not get her Baba fix. She managed to only stop my heart three times with her stunts. I was able to capture one of them below. I saw her stepping into P's shoes (size 12) and I knew I needed to be close just in case.

Oh yeah, you are seeing exactly what you think you are seeing. Baby S tried to take a step and down she went. As you can see, I have improved my "take a picture with my left hand while catching Baby S with my right hand" technique since that first stunt baby picture in Kunming. I should add that to my resume.

Baby S LOVES sausage and noodles and that means that we have spaghetti with sausage once a week. She usually has a serving of plain noodles first. If you add sauce, she sucks the sauce and spits out the noodles. Once she eats her noodles we allow her to play and suck sauce to her heart's content. Baby S is really enjoying using a fork and was very proud of herself whenever she managed to get a piece of sausage or a noodle. I had a blast watching her try to figure out the logistics.

P was not awake by dinner time and I did not have the heart to wake him up. After dinner, Baby S enjoyed a bath and I have no idea how P slept through it. Our daughter is loud and I'm sure the neighbors know when she is in the tub. Baby S amused herself by trying to use her body to form a wave and drench her Mama. Our little Tsunami S. I really need to put less water in the tub.

P woke up at 9:30, had dinner, played with Baby S and was back in bed by 10:30. When I went upstairs at 11:00 he was almost out, while Baby S was sitting next to him, quietly watching him. I think she realized her Baba was sick, because she is usually very active when she is in bed with him. She obviously missed the excitement of their play time because she did not fall asleep until 11:30. Yikes! P woke up this morning looking SO MUCH better. I'm truly relieved because I felt really bad for the guy. He just needed some rest.

Here is a video of Baby S during dinner attempting to say sausage and noodle (nunu).

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a difference half an inch makes.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Baby S's 12 month C@rter PJs did not have much room left lengthwise. As usual, it happened at a rather inconvenient time. Baby S fell asleep downstairs and I needed to change her. I tried to get them on quickly and then found it difficult to get her arm in. Weird, because she had room to grow. Baby S woke up but I was able to get them on and get her back to sleep. I thought maybe it was that I was in a hurry and forgot about it. The next night the same thing happened and I realized that her PJs were now a perfect fit. P got out the measuring tape and it appears that Baby S has grown half an inch since her check up in December. Please keep in mind that this is us measuring half a$$ at home with a very wiggly toddler. To us she looks the same, but then again, we see her every day.

Right around that time I started noticing certain things around the house. One in particular caught my attention, Baby S's sippy cups. Our girl loves to walk around holding her cups and like her Baba, she loves leaving things all over the place. I particularly dislike it when she leaves her sippy cups in her ball pit. You never know where she is going to leave (rather hide) that thing. Then when she must have a sip of whatever and does not remember where she left it all heck breaks loose. By now I have a pretty good idea where to look, because thankfully our place is small and she is predictable.

I like that she is predictable in her own messy way because P and I are the same way. We are terribly disorganized, but in a predictable manner. Heh. If I was the last person with the remote it can always be found under a pillow in my vicinity. Now days you can even find sippy cups under the sofa pillows and even under the pillows on my bed. I wish I could blame it on Baby S, say that it is a means to hide things from her. But I have been doing this for decades.

P tends to leave things between the sofa cushions or on the sofa. Look at the picture below.

This morning I found a phone, a remote and a binkie. You can usually also find sippy cups, Q-tips and the last thing he removed from Baby S's grubby little hands. But back to the sippy cups; I kept coming across this,

and it caught my attention. I never place her sippy cups on the stools and neither does P, as it is beyond Baby S's reach. It usually caught my eye as I was on my way to do something so I didn't think much about it. Maybe P found a new place to leave stuff. I picked up the sippy cup and placed it in its usual place, on the coffee table.

A few days ago I walked into Baby S's room and found this.

Baby S is a grabber and she cannot fathom being on the changing table without at least one toy. It usually is a tub toy that she grabs on her way to the dresser. We also keep a few toys on the dresser to keep her busy hands happy. However, the fish rings are not one of those toys.

Two days ago I was cuddling with Baby S on the glider after her nap. Once she was fully awake she climbed down from my lap and went straight to her toys, grabbed the heart shape piece from the shape sorter and walked over to the window sill. She got up on her tippy toes and triumphantly placed the object there. She then turned around and went back to her toys.

AHA! It was her placing the sippy cups on the stool after all. I guess half an inch is not that big of a deal to us grown ups, but when you are only 30 inches tall every bit counts. Baby S is drunk with the power her new found height is affording her. I like that she leaves a trail wherever she goes, in her own Hansel and Gretel way. Guess she won't become a master criminal, since she leaves incriminating evidence in her wake.

Here is our Yunnan Ham in action.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another golden moment in parenting.

I can't believe that all three of us are still struggling with this cold. UGH! P is working this weekend to make up for the two days he was sick during the week. This means that it is Baby S and I all by ourselves. That saying about misery loving company is so true. Anyway, we'll have family time next weekend.

Baby S and I were totally low energy this morning, and I know P was no better because I kept him up all night hacking. Although we thought about keeping Baby S in bed with us, P moved her to her crib due to my coughing. Good move on his part.

Although my handy dandy iPh0ne informed me that it would be raining all day, the sun was out and calling our names. I asked Baby S if she wanted to meet Baba for lunch and boy did she perk up right away. Her happy dance was something else. When I showed her the Y0 G@bba G@bba shirt (her current favorite) she squealed and did another happy dance. Off we went to meet Baba for lunch and pick up a few items, like orange juice. Baby S has been drinking a lot of it lately, it is her favorite juice by far. We gave up on apple juice, it is just not her thing.

By the time we left the store our friend the sun was gone. Although I had planned to go to a few stores I decided to come home and allow Baby S some free range time. Funny thing is that when I commented on how beautiful it was outside P told me to enjoy it for the short time it would last. I hate it when Weather Man is right. Today Baby S was fascinated with plain old gravel, picking through the stones and gleefully showing them to me, while saying "ohhhhh." She also spent time chasing bubbles.

Baby S was was on exploring mode, just walking all over the place. I finally tried out the macro lens that came with our camera. That explains the close up pictures. I wish we had used it in China, but the reality is that when you are parenting on the go, picture taking is not a priority.

Remember when I posted recently about how scared Baby S is of cars, or rather the noise cars make? Leave it up to our daughter to change gears on us when we least expect it. Baby S has had the week from he** due to being ill and as expected, has been really hypersensitive about everything. Totally understandable and expected. Of course she chooses today to find cars amusing. Every car that passed by was carefully looked at and waved bye to, while saying "car." A tow truck drove by and I rushed to get close to her due to the noise. Baby S inspected the large vehicle and seemed rather taken by the fact that it was towing a car. She turned to me and with exaggerated moves and in a deep voice stated, "CAR, CAAAAAAAAR." Yes Baby S that was a big car.

Two hours of playing and running amok took a toll on Baby S and she threw up. I took that as our cue to go inside and settle down for a while. Baby S strongly disagreed with my assessment and tried to negotiate more outside time. Her negotiation tactic came in the form of a royal tantrum. Sadly for her, P and I have a strict rule of not negotiating with terrorists, something we say to Baby S often. Of course it helps that she is small and all it takes is picking her up and bringing her inside.

Baby S wanted to play in her room and I decided to download the pictures and choose some for today's post. That is when our golden moment in parenting came to my attention. I looked at the date (how I file pictures) and realized that today is Baby S's seventh month at home. DUH! Usually one of us remembers, and this is the first time that neither one of us had a clue. Bad, bad parents. :( This past week has really kicked our butts.

With JJ we basically keep track of one date, March 21, his birthday. It's neat and simple. There is nothing simple about IA, including those milestones we hang on to, perhaps to make up for missing on our children's birth and firsts. Here are a few of the dates we keep in mind:

Dossier to China (DTC) : Date our completed dossier is sent to the CCAA.

Logged in Date (LID): Date the CCA officially logs in the dossier.

Referral Day: AKA as The Call, when the agency representative calls to inform that our referral has arrived.

Letter of Intent (LOI): Our agency does not do this, but other agencies have the parents sign a document expressing their intent to adopt the child referred. This one cracks us up because we could not imagine not following through with Baby S's adoption. We did not care if she had an extra head or several extra limbs, she was our baby.

Travel Approval (TA): When the Chinese government grants permission to travel.

Family Day, Metcha Day, Gotcha Day (some find this term offensive): The most amazing day, the day we get to meet and hold our child.

Medical Exam: Very basic (thank G-d) medical examination to comply with US immigration requirements.

Consulate Appointment (CA): Where we swear that the information we provided is true and that we will take care of our child. For us this was a bit different. Due to the child with chicken pox in our travel group, the US consulate did not want any of our children possibly contaminating the other children there. So they came to our hotel for the ceremony. Since 9/11 security is very tight and no pictures are allowed. The upside of our situation is that we have pictures of our swearing in and when the US liaison handed us the infamous brown envelope. The one to be turned in at our port of entry. I am absolutely unimpressed by ceremonies of any type, but if Baby S cares in the future, we have that little bonus moment for her.

Arrival Home: Finally!

*** There's also the date your child is found, frequently different than their DOB.***

As you can see, there are a lot of dates swirling around these old brains, so it was only a matter of time before we forgot one of those milestones. I might move those dates into another post because this one is awfully long already. I'm trying to write things down as I remember them to hopefully give Baby S as accurate an account as possible of her time with us.

Once we reach the one year Family Day anniversary we will only celebrate yearly. But for now, Family Day and coming home day are very important to us.

I'm not sure what had her bending over in laughter.

Try it Mama, it's really comfortable.

Soulful eyes. Reminds me of the song Yo Vendo Unos Ojos Negros.

Her mischievous face.