Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just another 100 degree day in paradise.

Not the best picture, but it nicely shows off SS's H@rry P0tter sunglasses. She also has nice wraparound sunglasses, but P really likes these.

Must get her slide fix.

Pull on the rope and you are rewarded with more water.

Words cannot express how much I love this amazing child.

In September 2008 the lady bug hat was huge on SS. She was also a Velcro baby.

Today, SS began to spontaneously throw herself face first on the water while we were playing. She is really becoming more comfortable in water every day. It is really neat to see her daily progress. OMG, we just noticed something. At the end, SS comes towards me. She placed herself on the water and got up all on her own.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Submerged SS.

This morning, we met with an Early Intervention specialist and an occupational therapist. While P was really worried about SS's language skills, I was confident that for a child with her circumstances, she is doing fine. Children raised with more than one language do speak later. I also realize that SS has hit a plateau with her language acquisition and has regressed some. Completely understandable after her March meltdown. My concern (and P's) was related to her inability to jump, overall clumsiness, and her very awkward running (using that term loosely). We waited this long to request an EI evaluation because due to SS's history, an evaluation before now would have been a waste of time.

Here's the big surprise, SS does not qualify for their services. She would have to have delays in two areas of development. They were not concerned about her language at all, and were pleased that we began using ASL from the moment we met. The OT recommended that we request a referral to a pediatric physical therapist. After observing SS running, climbing and falling, it is her opinion that SS's legs are not strong enough, and just give under her. If she only saw SS a year ago. We are so proud of how SS's strength has increased, and will get on that referral tomorrow. It also looks like SS will be heading to gymnastics on a trial basis. She is still too little for martial arts.

They brought a few toys that SS had not seen before, yet was able to figure out, and handle with dexterity. It should not come as a surprise that we think our daughter is G0d's gift to humanity, and walks on water. Still, she blew us away by doing things we did not know she could do. SS was able to master a wooden puzzle in record time. P and I just looked at each other in a what the heck is she doing moment. Oh yeah, she made us look like absolute idiots. I am surprised they did not refer us to the regional center.

We are still going to have SS evaluated at the International Adoption Clinic. Why? Because we think that professionals who work with Internationally adopted children will be able to recognize issues that the EI folks are not educated about. We are not diagnosing SS, we just want to make sure to provide the best care for her.

On a funny note, both the specialist and the OT stated that SS is tall. Dude, P and I seriously questioned their judgment after that statement. Think about it, EI deals with children three and under. They should have a lot of experience with that crowd. Not sure we can fully trust them.

Finally got that dry bag, and put it to use. Boring video of SS in water, again. But the Abus and JJ really miss her and enjoy watching her.

SS's first stop was the slide. She can control her momentum and no longer ends up underwater.

SS did not spend much time playing, she requested to move to the "deep" side of the pool. This is a very short clip of SS underwater. As much as I brag about my film with one hand, catch the kid with the other technique, this does not apply when my child is in water. Still, you can get a quick glimpse of the most beautiful mermaid evah. I'm sure my one handed technique will improve as SS's swimming progresses.

Next, SS practiced jumping in the pool. She still needs to hold our hands, but we are sure that by the end of summer, SS will be doing cannonballs.

This was a first, and completely initiated by SS. P took advantage of her impulse to kick to hopefully add some strength to those legs.

Back to the play structure, where SS made a few baby steps. For the last two weeks, she has remained very close to us. SS also whines , when to her horror, water hits her face. Yes, the same child who loves to be underwater. Here she is showing some independence.

Another baby step, her first time climbing up the steps and making it to the slide on her own.

Last week SS would not even attempt to get close to the water, as the pressure was too much for her. Here's our brave little girl under the water. Love those baby steps. BTW, I don't think I hung around playgrounds when I was a child, now a get a daily dose. Weird.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We got the tickets.

Before summer is over, SS is finally going to meet her Great-grandmother and her Abuelo. We will spend two days in NY and nine days in PR. P is going to have to work over one week without a day off upon our return. That is the sacrifice he is willing to make for this to work. While we are concerned about how being away from home, and the exposure to so many new things will affect SS, we have to go. This is not a vacation, it's something we need to do. P and I have not taken a vacation in way too long. Thankfully for us, our daughter was born in China and our relatives reside in interesting places. Otherwise, we would never leave this place.

This will be P's first visit to PR and he is really excited. Is it the pristine beaches with warm water, SS's first dip in the ocean, the opportunity to visit my birthplace, or our planned visit to El Yunque rainforest? No, P is going to be busy searching for the Chupacabra. The man even owned a T-shirt with that hideous thing emblazoned on its front. SS and I will make sure to take lots of pictures of our adventures at the aforementioned places.

The Abus already purchased a stroller for SS. We are sure going to miss the Hummer while we are there.

I have officially begun my downward spiral into the ultimate anxiety attack as I step on that airplane. I don't have a problem with flying, it's crashing that worries me. Why board a hunk of metal that defies the laws of physics? Because it is too darn far to drive.

Before we had SS, I traveled with over a dozen children who were obviously not mine. I never gave it a second thought. First, minors under sixteen do not need an ID. Second, if anyone questioned why I was flying with them, my work ID would suffice. If that was not enough, a phone call and the problem would be solved. Not once was I asked my relationship to the children. So why am I worried about traveling with SS? It did not cross our minds when we returned home from China, and SS had to travel under her Chinese name. Now, we both find ourselves wondering if we should bring her passport, even though it is not required for travel to PR (it's a Commonwealth, just like traveling to any State). One of those little extra things we have to worry about. I also pity the pour soul who dares to ask.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Live music and water. (Updated video)

This afternoon, as I was pondering what we would do this evening, P called me with the same on his mind. Our choices were another movie or going to the water park after hours (7-10 p.m.) to listen to a Hawaiian music band. We both agreed that SS would enjoy both the music and the water.

There were not that many people there, and had JJ been with us, we would have ditched SS and go crazy on the slides. SS had a great time in what she now obviously deems as her l@zy l@goon, and swam her tiny tush off. Since we were not besieged with splashing and pushing teens, I tempted fate and got my diaper bag camera. Leave it up to SS to act uncharacteristically clingy and whinny. I will upload video tomorrow, because it takes too long to upload to U.t.u.b.e, and I am beat.

The lifeguard at the lagoon was smitten with SS. Funny, the dude was late teens or early 20s, tattooed, spiky hair and full of I-don't-give-a-sh*t attitude. That guy could not stop complimenting SS, talking about how adorable he found her. Whenever we were by him he would make a comment, kidding, like "if you don't watch her, I'll take her from you." At a point, SS was screaming just for the heck of it, and he actually blew his whistle, and made a cut it out gesture to us. Spiky hair dude, we do not make her scream, that is what your so called adorable creature does. He also asked us if he could have her. Not a freaking chance, and just try asking that when JJ is here.

SS danced in front of the band, but froze whenever she realized that people were watching her. Totally out of character, and we think it has to do with the adjustments we have made. A three-year old girl approached SS and wanted to dance with her. SS was really shy and would not allow the girl to get close to her. For about thirty seconds, they both danced. The girl really danced, SS went through the motions. Again, out of character for SS. The girl's father took a picture of them, but came to us and asked if it was OK, or he would delete. Since his daughter was in parts of the video we took of SS (she jumped in), he asked, seemed to realize his boo boo, and did not give a creepy vibe, we said it was OK.

The little girl pursued SS for a while and tried to give her a hug. SS freaked out, and we felt bad. The mother came up to us and tried to pry her daughter from SS. We told SS that it was OK, but SS cried. The mother did the she is beautiful thing, and then asked "Is she yours?" UGH. I am not doubting the sincerity of her statement. The mother, the father and three other people in their group spent about half an hour smiling, waving and trying to get SS to talk to them. But, why ask?

Paddy wanted to slow dance with SS and I but our little tornado was not up for a dance. We decided to dance anyway, and SS spent the entire song running and dancing around us. I don't recall when was the last time I danced with my husband. Having a little one, and one with special needs really takes a toll on your relationship. However, for us, it's all about SS, her needs and her well being.

Baba, always hovering over his precious daughter. As you can see, I am the irresponsible one, keeping my distance for the sake of snapping pictures.

SS munching on the most expensive, and foul tasting hot dog/fries/soda combo. P had the soda, since SS is only allowed to have milk, real juice and water. She loved the fries. What is it about kids that no matter the taste, fries are always a hit?

SS thinks that dipping is such a big girl thing to do.

SS finds a shark in the lazy lagoon.

Barking at kids who get too close for her comfort.

Our little hula girl. We can't wait to take her to her first luau when she visits Grandpa in Maui. We are aiming for next year.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Although this is not P's first Father's Day, it is his first with SS. We have celebrated Father's Day since he became a part of our lives. Not many men would dive (unasked) right in to co-parent a teenage child. I am fully aware of that, so around here, P has always merited more than scribbling our names at the bottom of a card. The dude gets spoiled and recognized.

We had dinner on Saturday, because P's favorite steak house is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. SS, our little carnivore, strongly recommended the Porterhouse and P was very pleased with her choice.

Sunday, we just hung out and P used his new gift. Happy Father's Day Baby!

Baba, I'll be ordering for you, consider that my gift. Well, and also that you are sitting next to the magic that is me.

Yummy, now I have to taste Mama's, to make sure they cooked it to my specifications.

Our gift.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Movie in the park.

On Fridays, the aquatic center has Rock and Swim from 4:30-7:00 p.m. I provided the info to P, yet forgot all about it. When he came home, SS and I were not ready, and he had to remind me. We were also hoping to take SS to her first real movie experience (no way will we try a movie theater with her now) at the movie in the park series. The past two Fridays, we have had thunderstorms and it was canceled. The movie was just right next to the aquatic center. When we arrived, P took our chairs and staked out a front row spot for us. Then off we went to give our precious SS her water fix.

I need to eat crow and admit that P was right about the no floaties, no water wings edict. Intellectually, I knew that his concern about a false sense of security was spot on right. But my mommy side felt bad about my baby girl, once again, being different. At the water park SS must have a PFD on in the l@zy l@goon and the pool, no way of getting around that rule. These past few days, I've been getting a good dose of the consequences of wearing a PFD. SS just throws herself out there, like she knows how to swim. When P is underwater, she tries to go after him. There's two of us watching her, and I still worry. The positive side is that SS is very comfortable in water, and "swims" between us without a problem.

In the shallow side, it is still deep enough for SS to glide between us. We do not have to do anything, SS just throws herself, kicks her legs, and blows bubbles (to keep water out of mouth and nose). I bought her her first pair of goggles, but SS is not a fan. She really needs it, because her eyes do burn after she is in the water for a while. I do see the goggles becoming an issue, one of those, no goggles no swimming things. Right now it is not a battle I am picking, way too much on our plates.

After nice warm showers, we headed over to the park. We really thought that SS would fall asleep before sundown, but she held up really well.

They had beach balls around for the kids. A boy (about 8) approached us, and asked if it was OK for SS to play with his ball. That was so sweet of him and SS enjoy kicking the ball around.

Attempting to get some nourishment in SS.

SS's first encounter with a St. Bernard. They brought three for the kids to enjoy. This is Freckles, the youngest, he is only one-year old.

A chip for lefty and a chip for righty. Love how kids must have one in each hand.

Chasing Mama.

SS had a sub for dinner (the parts she liked). SS is perfectly capable of feeding herself, but our reality is to make SS accept food on our terms. We, and only we feed her.

I chose the pajamas she is wearing, because I thought Aunt Court's gift complimented the movie theme. I was worried that SS would be too hot, but those PJs were perfect. It was cloudy, with a chance of thunderstorms (again), and windy (duh, we were by the river). Not only was SS rocking the dog theme, but she was warm. I think those are the best PJs SS owns. Don't know why, but I really like them.

SS had brownies for dessert. Come on Baba, I can take a piece way bigger than that.

SS's first movie in the park.

First Glow Sticks, SS dug them.

At last... our love has passed out (10:34 p.m.).

Out, comfortable and protected from insects and the nasty wind. At the risk of making people nauseous, we want to reiterate how much we love this stroller. If we could, we would have children with this stroller. Abu, thank you so much for this gift, you have no idea how much use we get out of it. SS's stroller is now officially known as The Hummer. We are all spoiled. SS has more room than she needs, and we have a lot of storage space. When we go to the water park, we can place all our stuff (towels, sandals, diaper bag, extra clothing) in the back. Heck, we did it when JJ was here, so that was enough crap for four people. Sadly, we can't take it into the aquatic center and that is when we realized how spoiled we were. We did the first day, but it is too wide to get through the normal entrance. A staff person had to open a side gate for us to enter and exit. If it was a wheelchair, we would gladly ask, but it is not fair to make them go out of their way because we have a humongous stroller. Now we have two strollers in the van, The Hummer, and the crappy, tiny, difficult to steer Sn00py stroller. If you are expecting a child and someone offers to buy you a big ticket item (and you can trust them to follow through, unlike our experience), go for the Kidar00z.

What SS is up to.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Random bits.

Although working on attachment sucks donkey balls, there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel. Sticking to the no one holds SS except Mama and Baba is paying off, and we had our first baby step. P had a coworker over Tuesday to watch a baseball game. SS was initially shy, but did warm up to him later in the evening. I took advantage of the occasion and retreated upstairs to work on posts and have some rare me time. P reported that SS kept her distance, and did not ask to be picked up once. YEAH! Do you know why? Because we did not make a single exception.

I no longer encourage SS to say hi when people gush over her. As a matter of fact, I'm getting really good at giving a f**** o** vibe. SS needs to get stranger danger down. I unconsciously began to keep SS's hats on indoors. The first time I noticed was when we visited the caves. It was blistering hot outside, but mid 60s and dark inside. Yet I made SS keep her hat on (except for photo ops). Silly, but you know what, if it helps keep people away, then we'll keep doing it.

If you are a prospective IAP, I strongly suggest that you listen to Nancy Thomas' Taming The Tiger While Its Still A Kitten , before you travel to meet your child. In our case our tiger is already a tiger, even at her tender age. We did do a lot of the things recommended, as SS was on me almost 24/7. Using the bathroom with a child strapped to you is quite an experience. Still, something went wrong, and we are going to backtrack, and work our tails off, until we make it better.

DO NOT feel bad for others when you have to impose restrictions upon them not holding/touching/kissing/bathing/feeding your child. We returned home from China with a CHILD, a living, breathing child. A child with a complex history and substantial emotional baggage. Our daughter is not a trinket we picked up at a souvenir shop for other people's amusement.

I blatantly swiped this from another mother's blog, and still have to ask her permission to link to a powerful post she wrote recently. But this is how it is here until further notice:

One morning, while JJ was here, we were hanging out talking and listening to music. I absentmindedly began to sing to SS. Nothing new, I sang to JJ all the time as well. JJ says to SS, "You know, parents usually play Beethoven for their children." The smirk on his face made me take notice at what I was singing. It was the chorus to this song. P and I better hurry up and finish writing our parenting book. There is going to be a bid frenzy by publishers never seen before for the rights to our book. Heh.

Later in the day, JJ told me that he finds himself downloading "the weirdest music." He recently downloaded the Chic@go 17 album. That did not surprise me, because he grew up listening to that music. Let's face it, I was also a slave to whatever music my mother and older brothers listened. JJ said that when he searched for ABBA, he knew it had gone too far.

That reminded me of something that happened when JJ was five. He was in the back seat of my car singing along to The One You Love. I thought it was awfully cute that he knew the lyrics. As I was changing into my running shoes, JJ was belting the last line, "Someone is going to thank THE STARS ABOVE..." The boy was into dramatic endings. I was so glad that I was bent over and he could not see my face, because I was doing my best not to bust out laughing. Kids do have tender egos. As JJ was exiting the car, he solemnly stated, "I know that song. That is wrong, that is SO wrong." Cracks me up every time I think about it.

JJ recently experienced the kind of heartache no parent wishes for their child. But, in life, we can't prevent bad things, we just have to be there to help them pick up the pieces. We are both very impressed with how JJ handled himself, and so freaking proud of where he is now. Believe me, we had nothing to do with the maturity and insight he has demonstrated. JJ even managed to inject humor into a few situations that have annoyed us. I never thought in a million years that we would be having these conversations with him. JJ you really make us proud. We hope you do not mind when we shamelessly claim that our parenting was responsible for the awesome adult you are today. Gotta sell those books.

Yuck, that last bit was too serious, so let's get back to sophomoric humor. Our lovely SS is trying all sorts of babble, and it often resembles real speech. A few days ago she kept repeating something that P swore sounded like "happy g@y day." P asked me if I heard the same. By the time P and I said it twice, SS was able to hone it to a clear "happy g@y day!" P is searching for local g@y pride events to showcase SS's new three word sentence. I really wish I was kidding, seriously.

Tuesday, I went shopping solo, that's right, without my shadow. I have probably been out without SS five times since coming come. It felt really weird, like I was missing a limb. Halfway through my shopping, it dawned on me that something was eerily different. I was invisible, no one smiled at me, no one pointed at me, no one tried to approach me, no one talked to me. Such a contrast from the freaking circus that I have become accustomed to. I really hope that the novelty wears off soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Aquatic Center

We finally brought SS for her first visit to the aquatic center. They have Family Splash Time between 7-8:30 p.m. What better way to get your child tired and ready for bed. We had not been there before, and were a bit surprised by the depth of the water by the play structure. SS slipped twice (she was walking too fast), and ended completely under water. Good thing that she thinks almost drowning is a riot. SS was also initially intimidated by the water pressure. P and I walked on the structure with her to get her acclimated.

The slides were a lot of fun, but one of us needed to be at the bottom, because SS ended almost submerged, due to her momentum. Still, she did a great job, for being her first time in this type of setting. After warming her up with play, we moved to the pool side for a swimming lesson with Baba. We initially worried the lifeguards, because I was dropping SS into the pool (no PFD) from the side. I am 5'6" and probably dropped SS off close to four feet over the water. As usual, P allowed her to remain under a few seconds. SS had a blast, and let everyone know with her squeals of delight. She is such a funky character, so small, so inexperienced, and yet so daring.

The pictures are crappy, but at least you can see the play structure. We really have to get that camera waterproof bag, because I see a lot of water fun times ahead for SS.

Checking out her dream come true, a playground flooded with water.

How cool is this?

Twenty-six minutes after arriving home (P timed her). SS still falls asleep in our arms or cuddled close to us in bed. We want her to feel secure, it's good for attachment, we really enjoy it, and we know soon SS will be falling asleep on her own. They grow so fast, so why rush things.

Although the water pressure initially spooked SS, she eventually went down the slides several times. I carried her through the pouring water, and P waited for her at the bottom of the slide.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh yeah, we were married eight years ago.

With JJ's visit, and the anniversary of SS's referral, our eight wedding anniversary came and went without much ado. We usually go away for the weekend, but that is not going to happen until SS is able to handle a separation. Let's say we hope to get away by the time she enters kindergarten. This year we did not even manage to go out for dinner. We were both tired from chasing SS in the water, and our late night watching a movie. We party like rock stars here, aging, bed ridden rock stars.

Agreeing to a second marriage was a huge leap of faith for me. I had no intention of marrying again, one lousy marriage was plenty for me. When we were married, we had been together for six years, and really what is the use at that point? JJ already had P's last name, a big concern for P, if something ever happened to me. We had joint bank accounts and were splitting expenses for so long, that I really did not see the use. The first time, I had my last name changed without my consent (got to love the military) or knowledge, and I was not about to have that talk with P. BTW, I adored P, I was just not into the whole I do thing.

P had accepted a job as a government observer in Alaska, and was waiting to be trained and assigned to a fishing ship. Although The De@dliest C@tch was not around then, I did enough reading to know that it was not a very safe job. But P wanted to work in his field, and employment for Fisheries Biologists were not plentiful. P did what he does best, he appealed to my pragmatic side, and presented his argument. I know, a REALLY romantic tale for our kids. P's greatest fear was that something would happen to him, and I would not legally be his next of kin. I did not see that as a big deal, since P (and JJ) was my beneficiary at work, and we were not married. Guilty, I love to play devil's advocate.

P explained to me that no one knew him better than JJ and I. The thought of being in a position where he could not make decisions, and not having us (mainly me, as I was the adult) making those decisions for him scared him stiff. He also worried about access to him, in case of an emergency. I did not share that concern, but did have JJ to think about. I took a few days off from work (I hate taking more time than necessary), we drove to Reno and got married. The plan was to have a wedding later. Here we are eight years later (14 together), and look how well that worked out. Snort.

We plan on renewing our vows in the future, but we want to do it when our family is complete. Right now we are in limbo, because we both feel that we have to bring Baby D home, and then we will be complete. I must admit that P has more faith than I do. But I digress...

On July 4th, 2001, P woke up, got out of bed, and fell like a ton of bricks. P and I twist our ankles frequently and I thought that is what happened. Then P said, "K, my legs gave up on me, I can't move them." P never jokes like that, and I instantly became worried. I helped him back on the bed, thinking he would be up and about in a few minutes. He was not, and was diagnosed with a thankfully mild case of Guillain-Barré syndrome. It was so difficult to see my very young, very healthy husband using a cane. But the important thing is that he recovered fully, but was unable to take the job in Alaska. At least P had decent health coverage since we were married. :)

When we were dealing with the medical appointments and testing, P's words just kept resonating on my mind. Every time he asked me to be by his side at the doctor's, or the many times I wrote my name as his emergency contact, and then spouse as my relationship, I thought about his fear. It was never my fear because all I saw was a young, healthy man. Life sure has a way of throwing curve balls our way, and P was better at anticipating them. So there it is SS, not a fairy tale, but a common sense tale. If you inherit our sense of humor, you can tell our grandchildren that Baba convinced Mama to marry him, by shamelessly dangling the prospect of pulling the plug on him.

I got P this:
P has been coveting one for a while now, and I decided to go ahead and suck up the expense. I am not a game person, so I don't really get the appeal. However, P spends a lot of time blowing up zombies when JJ comes to visit, and I knew it would be a good stress reliever for him. P made an awesome avatar that really resembles him. SS's avatar is also good, and P even replicated the hair do with the little pony tail on the side. The funny thing is that SS's avatar is practically all head. Well, that is what toddlers are, massive heads and little bodies. Why have an avatar for SS? He did it just for sh*t and giggles, but her avatar shows up as part of some of the games, and in the audience in the bowling game. It's cool to have SS in there. My avatar is not as good (P also made it), and I did not think anyone would get it was me, unlike P's. Leave it up to SS to recognize her Mama anywhere. She squeals "Mama!" every time my avatar, or P's come up. Kids... I'll post pictures of the avatars later.

P got me this:

What? Another gadget to play music in the kitchen? I had given up on the radio/player P allegedly bought for me. P asked me a few times why I was not using it, and I honestly told him that it was not worth walking upstairs to retrieve it from SS's bathroom. What can I say, I can be really petty, and lazy. P felt bad and bought me a much nicer one, with a travel case (as if I'm about to haul it out of the kitchen). I wonder how long before my old player lands on the kitchen counter and my new toy finds its way to SS's bathroom. If that happens, I'm super gluing that puppy to the counter. Just getting in touch with my inner two-year old, no sharing. P learned a long time ago that I do not do chocolates, flowers or jewelry. The way to my heart is through electronics.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Super Stamina S.

We took an impromptu trip to the water park. We were busy cleaning the house, and initially P did not think that it was hot enough. He then realized that he wanted to watch a movie, and thought tiring SS would make things easier. Give the guy credit, he could have thought about Dr. Ben A. Dryl (kidding, we'd never do that).

Although she's only been at the park six times, SS gets really excited as soon as we enter the parking lot. She has this nervous laughter that is a hoot. It usually comes out when she is excited about getting something or seeing someone special (JJ). Today she added "Yippee!" to her repertoire. P and I looked at each other and asked, "Did you teach her that?" Nope, we have no idea where she got it from.

SS decided that she's done with being held in the L@zy L@goon. P did not protest, and just made sure to keep an eye on her. We thought she would tire quickly, but Stubborn S was determined to do it her way. She spent ninety minutes floating and threading water. That is quite a big deal, when your short legs can't reach the bottom, and your PFD is meant to keep you floating on your back. SS had to keep herself upright and orient her little body. She had a blast and got a lot of attention. Kids older than SS were happily sitting on inner tubes, held by their parents or sitting on their parent's laps. Our spectacular swimmer was laughing and having a grand ole time. She would occasionally hang on to our fingers or our hands; but this only happened when kids would splash around her or get too close for her comfort. SS is also saying something that sounds like "back off." Not sure if it is, but she is using it appropriately.

SS also unveiled her new move, twirling around. She looks so darn cute doing 360s in the water. SS sat on our laps for thirty minutes and we had to get out of the water, because her exhaustion was getting the best of her. She was falling asleep and we could not allow her to nap so late in the day. We got out, dried her, wrapped her in a cozy towel, and fed her sugar.

Way too many pictures for a day of doing nothing, but the Abus need their SS fix. Next week, we are taking SS to the aquatic center, where she will be able to be in the pig pool without a PFD. P is determined to have SS swimming by the end of summer.

Ninety minutes floating and threading water, and she looks great. Tired, but great. Notice the towel, another hypocritical parenting moment. SS needed a towel just for water park time and I decided that The L*ttle M*rmaid would be OK. I did read the story a few days ago, and Ar*el did save the dude's life. That is something our SS would do.

Munching on the world's smallest funnel cake, but the same price as it full size counterparts. A very tired SS needed a sugar rush to keep from falling asleep. Check out P's newly shaved head. I like it, makes him look thuggish.

Corn, everywhere corn. When P removed the tray, he was stunned at the amount of corn on the seat. P asked me how SS managed that. Easy, it's simply her job.

Picture perfect.

Out before 8:00 p.m., those season passes were money well spent. As much as we adore SS, it was nice to be able to watch a movie (88 M*nutes), without her vying for attention. Check out P's smile, he can't believe we are about to finally watch the darn movie.

We are so beyond ready to have SS give up finger sucking. But, she came to us with that habit, and we are sure now it's not the right time to take away the security it brings her. Look at the contrast between SS's and P's skin.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A care package from Michelle.

Yesterday afternoon we received a care package from our blogger friend Michelle. Since we are really bad parents, we had neglected to purchase something special for SS to commemorate The Call and seeing her amazing face for the first time. SS was beyond excited and she now has the whole package opening thing down. Michelle, you are going through so much right now, we are so thankful that you took the time to think about us. I had been feeling sad lately and this really perked me up.

That is the amazing thing about Online friends, especially for us APs. Granted, one can find a lot of trouble Online, one does not even have to look that hard. But to APs, this community is 99% of the time a lifesaver. They understand The Wait, they understand the need to bond with our children, and they understand the trial and tribulations of attachment. Only someone who has been there, done that (BTDT) or someone who has lived through it with a close friend or relative can truly understand. And then there are those kind souls who have no direct experience, but are
in tune with our children's pain. We are thankful for all of you.

When P and I made the decision to post about our concerns (no, we have not posted everything), we never expected the only emotional support to come from people we have never met. Of people we now in real life (IRL), only JJ and D have expressed concern and understanding. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but such is life.

SS enjoyed the beads, sea creatures shapes, turtle swim ring and the Hugs. She sees turtles almost daily and promptly recognized them. SS also blew us away by knowing that she was holding yummy chocolate in her tiny hands. Thanks Michelle.

* Sorry it took so long to post this, as I am obviously backtracking. We have been rather bummed out about Jokshy returning home. We are also dealing with SS's inability to understand why she can't see her brother daily.*

A package for me, I bet there are treats inside.

Boy, I'm getting pretty good at this.

Beads! P and I had a momentary flash forward to a teenage SS at M@rdi Gr@s. Scary, and we made a mental note to put a tracking device on her when she goes to college.

A swim turtle swim ring.

I did not realize that SS recognizes and is very interested in whales now. P has been working with her during bath time, that is why I missed on this.

H*rshey's H*gs, yummy. Mama and Baba do not need the calories, so I will make sure to help them eat these. Michelle, the thoughtful note and card were very much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

JJ, Legos and geese.

We had Chinese for lunch and had an interesting incident. As I was settling the check, the waitress pointed at SS and said something I was unable to understand. JJ then talked to the waitress, and that is when I realized that she remembered SS from our visit in March. JJ, Abu and Grandpa were with us, and the waitress even remembered where we sat. I have no recollection of her, but she sure remembered our daughter. She further surprised me by getting SS's name right, except for one letter. That is pretty good for someone who is struggling with English as a second language (she is Chinese), and our daughter's nickname is not one that people hear often. We have never heard of anyone with SS's nickname. We are grateful that JJ came up with her nickname, because it is as unique as his sister.

This afternoon, we headed to the Leg0 exhibit. JJ was a Leg0 freak when he was a child. I lost count of how many times I stepped on one of those plastic, pain inducing pieces. This was SS and mine second visit, and SS did the same as during her first visit. She became withdrawn and clingy. I wonder what is it about that room, or maybe it was the size of some of the art.

We wondered around the park a bit, SS used the slide that is clearly not appropriate for her size, we visited the turtles on the yucky pond, and allowed SS to get her geese fix. This evening we are driving JJ home and we are bummed. We are hoping that SS is asleep when we get there, because she melts down when JJ leaves her side. We really wish he would move with us or at least move to our city. We all miss him.

SS's favorite, skulls.

It took me a while to see the eye. I was not able to distinguish it, until JJ showed me a picture.

Self portrait of the artist.

JJ liked her tag showing like that. It was not intentional, but since it amused him I let it go.

SS just wants to be like her brother. Thugs :) Upon seeing this picture P commented, "They both look Asian, but her eyes are rounder than his."

Because we are all about following rules, especially safety rules. We never noticed this sign before and had sent SS down the slide alone many times. I love her expression, is like she's thinking, "the things these two make me do."

I'm still amazed at the strong bond they have. At the risk of ruining my heartless reputation, it is truly beautiful. SShhhh, don't tell them I said that.