Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finding SS.

I was looking for SS's shot records, and came across her finding ad. The Chinese government requires that an ad be placed in the local newspaper, to find the child's parents. We were given a copy during one of our last days in China. We simply filed it away with the many other documents and did not look at it again. That sounds pretty heartless, as it is the first picture we have of SS, probably taken within days of her birth. It really is a treasure. But looking at that finding ad is sheer torture, because it brings up a lot of questions and no answers.

One of the aspects of SS's past that haunts us is that amount of time from when she was placed to be found (we do not use the A word) to when she was found. We have shared that SS was in severe need of medical attention, so that hurts our hearts even more. During the wait(and still today)I have shed countless tears thinking about that time. P does not go there and does what works for him, he completely avoids the subject. I wonder if SS was fed before being left, I wonder if she had appropriate clothing. SS was born in March, it must have been chilly at that time of the year. Was she covered with a blanket? Was there a note from her birth mother? I wonder if she was scared, I wonder if she cried in a futile attempt to be comforted by the woman who brought her into this world. I wonder how long it took for that person to find her. I wonder, I wonder and I wonder.

Since we have been recalibrating our parenting lately, I have wondered if we over indulge SS. She has our sole attention, yet at times it does not seem to be enough for her. I know that over indulging a child is problematic, and I want SS to grow up to be a conscientious adult. But that part of SS's past, the very beginning of her life, is always on our minds. I held her finding ad for a while and just cried. Thankfully SS was napping, she did not get to see me upset. I had a good cry, because it is all I can do.

To really understand SS and how we parent her, people need to consider how her first few days in this world affect her and will affect the rest of her life. We know that, but it is so disheartening when people blow us off and state that SS is like any other child, that has been home since birth. It bothers us when people insist that there is no way SS has any memory from that time (If you think that read Primal Wound). Not true. It upsets us when people dismiss attachment concerns because they have never heard about it, or someone close to them, an "authority" has never heard about it. Our daughter has deep psychological scars, and she cannot articulate her fears. SS does what she can, and that is letting us know through her actions that she is in a bad place. She is such an incredible little girl, strong, brave, and tenacious. Maybe that is what I should take away from looking at her finding ad. That starting life on that note has equipped her with positive qualities that make her into the gem she is today. But I know that I will always weep when I think about that ad.

That ad is why we tend to over do things with SS. It's why she has about 10 sippy cups, why we carry two changes of clothing with us, why she has more jackets/coats than she really needs. It is why we carry at least two different types of snacks with us. It is why even if we go for a two hour drive we have a cooler with her milk sippy, her juice sippy and her water sippy. Those first few days of SS's life have had a profound impact on us as well. It is why we constantly reassure her that we are her forever Mama, Baba and big brother JJ, that we will never leave her behind, and that our love is unconditional. It is why JJ and SS have the same last names. It is why we rush to her when she calls for us, and why we are quick to wipe her tears away. It is why we make sure that she is comfortable, and why for an overnight stay the back of our van is full of things we should have left home.

SS's behavior has improved over the past week. The lack of TV has been really good for all of us. We are still allowing SS to rock on to regular music, but only until dinner time. At that time we play instrumental, soft music. SS really likes pan flutes and P and I found a station with our phones that we play for SS. She knows that after brushing her teeth, she needs to lay down and go to sleep. SS is not resisting laying down, a big improvement. She is sleeping well, and she has not whimpered in her sleep for a few nights. We hope we do not experience a set back, but if we do, oh well, we'll keep working at it.

I do not know if I am going to keep this post. I guess there are so many things we want SS to know about her time with us, and I sometimes wonder if I will have the opportunity to talk to her about these things. I am surprised I posted her finding ad, but for now, it seems like the right thing to do.

A very tiny SS.

SS helped Mama cook dinner. Turns out she makes a mean farfalle with cilantro pesto. While scrapping the pesto from the food processor, SS sang "helping, helping, look at me!" A bonus is that she loved the pesto.

Enjoying the fruit of her labor. We often joke that we should have named SS Virtual Motion or Perpetual Motion. The funny thing is that when she is "cooking," she is very relaxed and very calm.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A family visit to the doctor.

SS was due for a routine check up, P's back has been hurting and my allergies are becoming a problem. Family visit to the doctor day. The receptionist and the nurse got a kick out of how P hurt his back. SS is just fine, 34 inches, 25 and 1/2 pounds of love, and a fighter. She fought the vitals check; even after watching P and I going through the motions with happy smiles on our faces. P has really been hurting, was prescribed the big V for night time relief, and told to return to his PT exercises (from a back injury two years ago).

After doing the ENT plus eye exam, Dr. J (we usually see his wife) half kidding, half serious said "you do drugs?" Yeah dude, I snort all day, and keep up with a two year old, while working on attachment. That is, when I'm not watching TV, talking on the phone, and eating Bon Bons. P was not pleased, but since SS was there I gave him the "later, SS is taking in everything" look. P asked what he saw and Dr. J said, "her nose has blood, green crust, and all kinds of stuff." Dude I am not an MD, but ... allergies.

Dr. J was very impressed by SS's development. He stated that her muscle tone was really good, and her movements were developmentally on track. His professional opinion was validated when SS fought valiantly against his exam. Dr. J remarked, "If she can kick like that, there is no reason to worry about her leg strength, or the rest of her." It looks like our excessive time at the water park and pool paid off. There were times when I wondered if SS needed all that water time, and felt guilty about not doing something more productive at home. But SS's legs are so much stronger than they were at the beginning of summer, so it paid off.

P and I had our flu shots, and we have to take SS to the Public Health Department for her flu nasal spray. That is when SS gave nurse L a good belly laugh. I was first, while SS was on P's lap. I smiled at SS while I had my shot (role modeling sucks). SS was snuggling against P's chest and very comfy. That is, until she saw Nurse L and the needle approaching. She quickly got down and ran towards me. See you, would not want to be you Baba. It was really cute, our baby girl knows when to jump ship.

SS walked in after the appointment, picked up her tools, and went right to work.

Play time with Baba. I had a whole 45 minutes to myself.

After her bath, SS returned to the same spot. Her OCD Abuela is going to be so proud.

Not only is SS a W0nder Pet honorary super hero, but she also wields a broom and dust pan with panache.

Busting her hump to earn her keep.

And the post title comes from?

Just realized the above picture is really blurry (thanks Brenda). Here's SS broom and dust pan. She placed them between the fridge and the wall. Too cute. We never intended to buy SS any "let's make this little girl into Suzie homemaker" type of toys. But SS just won't leave the broom and dust pan alone. So we relented and begrudlingly bought SS her own.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Ever since the first leg of our summer trip, SS has been really interested in airplanes. She plays with the toy one we purchased for that trip, and simulates take offs and landings, like we did for her. We are glad that her recent traveling experience appears to be positive, because she may be doing it again in a few months. P thought it would be a good idea to take her to the air show. Our day was not as long as yesterday, but it was really hot.

I was not sure if this was a good idea, but P really wanted SS to get up close and personal with airplanes. She points at them up in the sky, and gets really excited. I have become the Queen of Compromise (yuck), and the deal was that if SS reacted negatively, we would leave. Yesterday, P purchased a toy replica of a Blue Angels jet, the main attraction at the air show. I do not like air shows, because I attended so many, and they bore me. It got to the point that I had their routines down. But P had never attended one and he was really excited about sharing a first with SS. As we approached the airport's terminal, we saw the Blue Angels lined up, and it was neat to see SS look at her toy plane, at the real thing, and excitedly wave her plane at us saying "airplane!".

SS did really well, but the heat was oppressing. The actual temperature only reached 99, but due to the tarmac, it was between 108 (lighter tarmac, where we sat) and 115 (darker tarmac). SS did well but half way through our time there, we became concerned about the heat and spent 90 minutes enjoying the AC in the terminal. We made it back just in time to watch the Angels. People around us commented on how cute she looked simulating what she saw with her little plane.

We were careful to make sure that SS was hydrated, and we periodically poured cold water on a towel and cooled off her sensitive skin. We made a game out of it, and SS played along with us. We do not have good pictures, because I spent all my time getting SS's stuff ready, and neglected to bring our macro lens. Really, who cares if you have great pictures and your child gets heat stroke.

Although SS did well, we are going to limit her exposure to big crowds for a while. We have a weekend away coming up in three weeks and we have changed our plans. Initially, both P and I wanted to take SS to Gilroy Gardens, so she could finally meet Sn00py. SS is going to be wired from spending three days with JJ, and from spending a day with her grandmothers. We can't add more stress. We have also decided that SS is not ready for physical contact outside the nuclear family. No details, but SS is not ready for the real world; only Mama, Baba and JJ can hug and kiss. This is not easy, but it's what is best for SS.

SS and Baba entering a C-17 .

Baba, don't try to distract me. If this is the type of accommodations awaiting me in January, I refuse to fly the friendly skies.

For Grandpa. This Dolphin is stationed in the district we used to live.

SS and the pilot chatted briefly. It's so good to expose SS to positive female role models. SS, don't ever let anyone make you think your gender would prevent you from reaching your goals. Although being at the helm of a hunk of metal that defies the laws of physics is not something we want you to do.

Because anyone who has been here before knows we can't resist a close up of SS.

Enjoying her frozen lemonade.

Cooling off in the terminal.

I like how SS mimics what she sees with her airplane.

Look Baba!

Whenever I see this I think of Shamu. No idea why.

Best shot we got, and of course it was snapped by P.

Explaining to SS the loop she was about to see.

In case anyone has any doubts about how good this stroller has been to us. What you can't see is the bag of snacks and small cooler in the back. There is no way to travel light with a child.

Why? Because SS said "airplane."

So cute how SS imitates with her plane.

Sunday outing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We had a really long day (Part 2).

By the time we arrived at the Plaza, it was 107 degrees. We were as elated as SS was at the sight of the water fountains. Also, unknown to us, they were hosting Pastels on the Plaza day.

Hello my old friend, long time no see.

Come on guys, drop the cameras and join me.

Who can resist such a request coming from this pretty face?

We put away the cameras and cell phones and joined SS, before she got soaked. We took plenty of pictures last time. We had a good time chasing after her. That is, until I looked for P and saw him on the periphery of the fountain (SS and I were right in the middle). I walked over to him, and he whispered something in my ear. I called him on it this evening, and P insisted I would have done the same. Don't think so buddy. You'd think your husband would have the courtesy of advising you that it is not a good idea to get soaked, while wearing a very thin top, and an equally thin bra. You know, instead of standing there staring. I was mortified.

After that we walked around to take a look the very talented work on display. SS was very drawn to the vibrant colors and tried to step on one of the works. I caught her just in time. She did study each one longer than expected. We think SS made the connection of her chalk play and what the artists were doing and was fascinated.

P's favorite.

Chess anyone?

The van? They could not get to the fuel gauge problem and we have to return next Friday. Waking up at an ungodly hour again, drive there, return home in the midget car. Then I drive P to work, take SS to gymnastics, pick up P for lunch, drop him off, return for him at 5:00 p.m. I don't know about you, but it sounds like everyone is going to be all smiles on Friday. I don't know when is the last time P and I shared a car. At least we are going to wait until Saturday to pick up the van. We'll have to look for more ways to amuse SS.

The next stop was shopping, and P introduced SS to the concept of a body tattoo. I'm keeping this picture bookmarked for future reference. As when SS comes home with her first real tattoo and P goes ballistic. Not that anyone cares or is counting, but this is SS's third wardrobe change of the day.

I was separated from P and SS for a while and met them at the register. I asked P about the sticker on SS's dress. He told me that it was on the cart and SS appropriated it. P had not read what it said. Yes SS you are a toddler. Cute.

We arrived home shortly before 6:00 p.m. and to 110 degrees of dry heat. The high today was 111, and the record for this date is 112. By 7:30 P began telling (whining) me that he was beat. He then asked, "am I that old?" No sympathy from me, because I am that old. P and SS were out by 9:00 p.m. Tomorrow we are going to treat SS to a close look at one her new interests.

We had a really long day (Part 1).

We woke up at the crack of dawn to get ready for our day. I had a whole three hours of sleep, and mostly sleep walked through gathering what we needed for the day. P had his usual coffee, and I needed 44 ounces of cold caffeine to keep awake. SS was up by 3:30 a.m., but was still a trooper (she slept during most of the drive). She was SO happy to be back in her real carseat, and caressed the liner to make her point. In two hours SS went from this... this.
We thought being back in her second rate carseat and with less space to boot (she's never been in P's car), would sour SS's mood. Her carseats do not fit rear facing, and even though P and I were concerned about her safety, SS had a grand old time. For the first time in fifteen months, she had the same view as us. Check out SS's feet, those are real shoes. Last time she wore shoes was on August 4. It's been sandals and flip flops during the bulk of the summer. We realized that SS is about to outgrow her Chucks and has hardly worn them. One cool thing about having a blog is finding information like that. Of course I did not remember the date off the top of my head. But all I had to do is look through the archives.

What is one to do on a Saturday at 8:00 a.m., when one's body is screaming "get me the hell back in bed." We took SS for a big breakfast. The picture below shows the yummy breakfast SS scored for a mere 99 cents. Yep, that is from the kid's menu.

Once SS's tummy was full, we headed to a kiddie park I found Online. One thing we liked about it is that adults are only allowed in the park if they have a child under 13. No idea how they enforce it though. It was blistering hot at that early hour, but we enjoyed ourselves and plan to return.

SS liked the pirate ship

Pirates and slides are a good combo.

Crooked house.

P liked the lion water fountain but SS would not get near it. She did roar from a safe distance.

Teeter totter with Baba. Only way she would try it.

A big first for SS. She hung on for about a minute. I think the only reason she braved it is because it is a dolphin. SS loves anything that is connected to water.

See, she even kissed her new friend.

Guys, you are bailing me out, right? I'm too beautiful to be behind bars.

After all that fun, and not caring that it was 104 degrees, we went for a walk. Look at my feet. Really dumb move on our parts, and we both have the blisters as souvenirs. Next time, we are wearing shoes.

Pretty cool natural pool, that was sadly closed for the season. The creek water was very tempting. Since we could not take a dip, we drove SS to visit an old (a whole month old) friend.