Monday, June 29, 2009

Hey, at least it's still June...

I'm sorry. I really am. A month is way too long. I know this. But there's this crazy thing going on...she just keeps on getting busier and busier and more and more fun. And before I know it it's 9:30 and she's not asleep yet. (She's a fun tired kid--you know the type--gets all giggly and goofy when she's tired and she's just so dang adorable and fun that we can't bring ourselves to stick to the schedule that we know we're supposed to stick to. She hasn't been asleep before 9:00 in over a month. Can I blame it on it being light out so late?) Anyway, that's my excuse for being an absent blogger.

Have I mentioned how adorable this kid is? Her hair has grown into quite a mop, she runs all the time now (I think the words "sloooooowwwww doooooowwwwwn" come out of my mouth at least 30 times a day), and the words--oh my, the words! Her receptive and expressive language skills blow me away. I can't help but imagine being transplanted in China and where my language skills would be 4 months are amazing. She has a heck of a memory--tell her something once and she remembers it. The other day she was asking what a wall is called and I told her--"wall." She proceeds to visit every section of wall in the house and pound her palm on it while proclaiming "waw". Then she walks up to the door jam in the bathroom and says, "waw?" and I tell her "door jam" and she says "doh yam." Already knowing the word 'door' from everyday use, she then circles around to every door in the house, pounds her palm on them, and proclaims them "dohs." Hilarious. Dan's been working with her on her ABCs--she can repeat the alphabet one letter at a time in the most adorable way--especially W (baba-yoooo). Whenever he gets to E, she jumps right to F with this big smile on her face like she's pulled off the best trick ever.

And then there's Nedy trying to teaching her baby (Baby Big Toe--don't ask) to talk. I'm trying to encourage her relationship with her doll and it's working. She wakes up every morning asking for baby and seeks her out throughout the day--sometimes to hug, sometimes to throw on the floor followed by a pained look on her face, touching her head and muttering, "ooooohhhh." I would think this baby abuse to be disturbing, but I've convinced myself that she is practicing feeling empathy...*cough*... Anyway, so the other day I say to her, "Hey Ned, wanna bring baby in the car with us to Nana and Papa's house?" to which she promptly responds "yesh" complete with a head nod and raising and lowering of eyebrows. (You've just gotta see it to understand--the eyebrow thing is a stitch.) So I go into the bathroom to finish getting ready and she heads into our bedroom to get baby out of bed. And then I walk into the bedroom to find her back to me, holding baby's face about 2 inches from her own and saying "C-C-C-CAR...CAR" to baby and it occurs to me that she is trying to teach baby how to say car in preparation for her first car ride. HILARIOUS. So here I am behind her and she doesn't know I'm there. And what do I do? I dig out my best high-pitched baby voice and say, "car." Her hand immediately covers her mouth in shock and she stares at baby as though she's just witnessed the break-through of a lifetime. And then she tries her favorite word of all--lawnmower...and that's when she figured out my involvement. Damn. Anyway, it doesn't stop her from regularly teaching baby new words and looking to me for 'technical assistance'. Oh, and yesterday she started teaching baby to walk by holding her arms and bouncing her along the floor chanting "awk, awk, awk." Kid is absolutely hilarious. I remember early on in our adoption process telling Dan that I hoped our kiddo had a wild sense of humor--I think my wish was granted.

Dan is still home with her full-time and it ROCKS. We're not sure yet when he'll return to work, but for now we know this is the right thing for her. In the past couple weeks in particular she has been so much more joyful and just plain goofy. She's also in an interesting period of relationship confirmation--she'll pat me and say "mama" and pat Dan and say, "baba" and then pat herself and say "baby" and nod her head, almost as though she's reassuring herself.

Her relationship with Hank is developing nicely. He's given up on gagging every time she comes near him and, in fact, will even stay for a few pets and the occasional combing. (He doesn't even complain when she combs against the grain. He may be a tad cranky, but he's a really sweet little furry guy under his tough exterior.)

Eating remains a challenge, but we remain hopeful that it is teething related. After cutting all 4 12- month molars, she immediately started on her 2-year molars...poor baby. She's not cranky from pain, just naws on her hand--her whole hand, at that--a lot. She has this thick drool that she swallows (no external drooling for this baby) and it causes gagging and puking on occasion. From what I understand, kids who swallow their drool can have a sore throat and stomach ache and, as a result, a small appetite. In any event, we found a new, awesome pediatrician who saw Nedy for the first time on June 3rd. She is affiliated with Children's Hospital Medical Group and has access to all of the gazillion blood tests they ran on Ned when she saw the doctors at the International Adoption Clinic in April. Ned's results are all normal. Hooray! (Not that we had reason to suspect that they weren't, just nice to have confirmation.) Ned was in the 50th percentile for height, but only the 15th for weight weighing in at 22.4 pounds. Her doctor asked to see her again in 6 weeks for a weight check--not because she's in the 15th percentile--she's fine with that if that's where Ned belongs--but because her weight gain has been relatively slow since we've been home. In the meantime, she advised us to continue our at-that-time new practice of using high fat mix-ins in Ned's baby food (still not chewing much, so baby food is her main calorie item and "real food" is just for practice) such as heavy cream, butter, olive oil, cheese, etc. forward to yesterday. On Saturday we noticed this bump that appeared to be a bug bite, but it quickly turned into a blistery thing that was quite red and infected-looking. Being a first-time Mom and a nervous wreck by nature, I asked Dan to take her to the doctor on Monday to have it checked. Drum roll please...Ned was diagnosed with...a bug bite. Oh my God. I am that Mom. My baby went to the doctor for a mosquito bite. Crap. Anyway, the good news is that they weighed her...24 pounds! YAY for fatty mix-ins! And to think I used to think she couldn't get all the calories she needed without drinking milk. HA! Enter heavy cream! (Seriously, 50 calories--all of them fat calories--in one tablespoon. Pure magic, that stuff. Brain food.)

This month brought lots of new things for Nedy--her first professional baseball ('bay-baw') game, first fireworks (The Big Bang, at that--have to start out big, ya know...), and first time playing in the sand at the beach. She went to the park just about every other day and even went swimming with Baba! She loved it--she loves all things water--so we're signing up for a membership to the Jewish Community Center where the pool is chlorine-free so they can swim a few times a week.

In other news, Dan starts Mandarin classes at UWM the week after next. Our next trip to China will be much different with a hopefully Mandarin-proficient Baba!

The most wonderful thing about this month is Ned's ever-emerging personality. It's like watching a flower (or 'flouw-uh' in Ned-speak) bloom... nothing short of amazing. How'd we get so lucky?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Don't you hate it when bloggers don't update their blogs?! :)

Is it really June? Really?!?! JUNE?!?! I think I get another Worst Blogger Ever award.

Remember last post when I talked about how Dan and I were both back at work and adjusting to our new schedule? Well, we quickly realized that--while Nedy adores her grandparents and is so relaxed and happy spending time with them--Nedy was starting to have what I refer to as "caretaker confusion". She just seemed as though she was preparing mentally for another big shift. I know she's young, and I know I read a lot into things sometimes, but Dan and I both got the sense that she needed to stay home a while longer to be secure in our permanence as her Mama and Baba. So we made a big decision. Dan extended his leave from work in order to stay home with Nedy until we're comfortable that she's comfortable. This was (obviously) a huge decision financially and otherwise, but once we pulled the trigger on it, it felt sooooo right. She spent 9 months in utero only to spend 15 months elsewhere before being handed over to complete strangers 3 months ago... That is a TON of change in a short life and we owe her time to just chill and get to know us. As they say, attachment is a process, not an event, and we want to do the best we can to give her the security she deserves. So, today started our second week of Dan home and we're already seeing some great progress in terms of affection. We also started co-sleeping nights last week. It's fun to have kiddo in bed and look at her little sleeping self at night. And then there's the way she wakes up in the morning, looks at one of us and says, "hi!" in her adorable little voice before climbing all over us and announcing "Down. Walk." She sleeps so peacefully most of the night, so we're not even suffering punches to the kidneys or anything. Knock on wood that that continues. There is so much research on the benefits of co-sleeping in terms of bonding. She continues her naps in her crib so she maintains the ability to sleep by herself, but at night it's a big ol' family bed. :)

Food is getting a tad better (again, knock on wood) and she's certainly growing, as our growth chart shows 2 inches of height gain since March! She's walking (or shall I say jogging?) like a pro, busy as can be, and so interested in the outdoors. She loves touching plants and rocks, playing in sand and water, and walking as fast as her little feet can take her. (She's a careful daredevil--she seems to know her limits, but man, she makes my heart race with her experiments in movement!) She is totally into doing dishes (something tells me that will pass by the time she is actually able to do the dishes...) and has recently started requesting the reading of "boohs" (books--said complete with her sign for book so we're sure to understand) several times a day.

She's mimicking more and more words. Her recent favorite is "lawnmower"--which comes out more like "wowmowo"--and is always accompanied by a big smile. She seriously seems to love saying that word. Cracks me up. Another favorite is chicken--"chitzen." Oh, and her latest is scratching her arms (which don't appear to be itchy by the looks of them) and saying, "itzy". And she can say her own name--"Neny"--as she pats her chest. Too cute.

Anyway, on to the pictures. Enjoy!