Monday, October 22, 2012

Three! (and other stuff)

Our little L turned three this past week.  I know I've said it before, but the fact that we got to celebrate his birthday with him was one of the biggest gifts we were given in the timing of the adoption.  Choosing just the right present (a Big Wheel) and finding a cake he likes (a brownie--he's not much of a sweets boy just yet) was fun and something we had dreamed about for a long, long time.  We had family over for a small party, and I teared up when we all sang the happy birthday song.  He absolutely loved the attention, and our families were generous and thoughtful, and I think were as excited as we were to be at his party.  It's been a long time coming. 

Checking out his new dump truck and school bus.

Getting ready to blow out the candle.

Post-party roughhousing with Dada and cousins.  These were some tired kids at the end of the day!

We also had our first post-adoption home visit, which must happen in the first month of custody per China.  The visit went really well, and I was far less stressed than homestudy visits of the past.  Of course, I still cleaned like a maniac, but some things will never change. 

We took L to the pumpkin patch as well, and I think he enjoyed it although sometimes I think he must think we're a bit nuts.  He loves pumpkins, though, and insisted that we not only purchase one for each of us but that we pick out one for Maggie (our dog) as well. 

Fun at the pumpkin patch!

Happy Mama

Happy Dada 

Things here continue to go pretty well, actually.  Over the past week or so, L has started to show some real interest in learning English.  He's now repeating most of what we say, and is holding things up so we can tell him the English word for it.  In the past, he usually corrected us when we would tell him an English word --he'd look at us like we were just a bit slow, and repeat the word in Mandarin.  It's complicated, this whole international adoption thing (understatement, yes).  We are dying to communicate with him, and since he talks constantly, we would really love to know what in the heck he's saying.  But losing his native language is sad--it's a big, big loss.  There are certain little catchphrases he says that have now entered our vocabulary that we don't want him to lose, such as "Baloo!" which means stinky and is accompanied by a funny face.  We have lots of video of him speaking Mandarin.  And we need him to have some vocabulary to communicate with those around him, and our Mandarin is pretty limited.  So we're working on it. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

10 Days Home

These first ten days have been a pretty amazing learning experience for all three of us.  L is adjusting rapidly to the new home, toys, smells, foods, and schedule.  This is probably a really boring post, but I want to get these thoughts down so I  don't forget them :-) 

Pets: We have three cats and a dog, the youngest being 12, so essentially we own the Home for Elderly Pets. While sometimes one of them gets a wild hair and is playful, generally they lounge, eat, and sleep. L was literally screaming with terror when he first met them--trying to tell us that there is a cat in the house!  Cat in the hooouuuse!! Get it out!! and we were thinking oh, kid, you haven't yet met the dog So the first few days were hard for all four of them as they figured out how to live together in the same (small) space.  Now, however, L is wildly interested in them, wants to touch their eyes and teeth specifically, and is learning to pet gently.  He has gone into a modified time-out for kicking Maggie-dog and being too rough with Dee-cat, although these are actually the only two times he's needed to take a break so far.  He's learned to surreptitiously feed Maggie his food and blames his gas on her, and the cats just stay up high when they are not in the mood, which is most of the time.

Schedule:  We are feeling more and more over the jetlag thing every day.  Consistency is key, so he is going down at the same time each evening, and takes one mid-day nap.  He's sleeping between 11 and 12 hours per night, getting up at least once to go to the bathroom.  I think we may bag the nighttime pull-ups as he's had only one accident since being home, the first night.  We'll see.  He currently sleeps in his crib in our room, and seems to take comfort from having us so near. 

Health:  L came home with a sinus infection, a general body rash, and a raging case of athlete's foot all over both feet.  We met with his pediatrician, who prescribed antibiotics for the sinus infection, which is now gone, Cort-Aid for the rash, which is also gone, and prescription cream for his feet. My feeling is that his shoes were rarely, if ever, off in China, and that the athlete's foot is going to take a long time to resolve completely.  But the itchy-burning feeling seems like it has decreased, which also makes for a more peaceful nighttime.  It was driving him crazy, poor little guy.

Limb Deficiency:  L was born without a right hand.  He has a little wrist bone, so can manipulate the end of his forearm just a tad, which helps a surprising amount.  He is extremely adept to figuring out how to make things work, although he seems to be naturally right-handed as he always tries with that arm first.  His brain has created some amazing work-arounds, however, and he can do almost anything with his left.  We've been doing small activities to work on fine-motor skills with the left, such as putting pennies into a piggy bank, and he does just fine.  We have a meeting with limb deficiency doctors in November and are curious to see what their take is.  Some children wear prosthetics, some don't, and some do for certain activities (such as playing guitar) which require two hands.  The first prosthetic most children use, per our pediatrician, is kind of like a scooper, called a "hook".  Thus, we will be able to tell people:

Mah boy's got a good right hook!

(ha ha!  get it?)

Anyway, we'll see what the doctors say and use their guidance to see what next steps, if any, we will take. 

Language: L talks constantly, and is now showing interest in learning English words.  He has his old standbys of "Helllooooo" and "Bye-bye", and has added a few more, including hammer (hammah), kitty (kitt-AY), Maggie (Magg-AY), please (wuh-LAY), thank you (daydoo) and how are you? (hello loooo).  He has a handful more, and is adding to his list daily.  If he has a question, he still adds "ma" on the end of the sentence, which is a question word in Mandarin--if you add "ma", it makes the sentence a question--"Behfast Mama ma" means "Breakfast, Mama?".  It's been such an interesting process.

Cory went back to work the Monday after we returned, although he worked short days the first three days back---thank goodness.  He's now full-time so we call several times a day and check in.  L loves his daddy, and wonders often where he is, saying "Dada wo-looo" ("Dada's at work").  I go back part-time from home next week, so am trying to enjoy my last maternity leave week.  Sigh. 

And now, pictures!!  For some reason, I can only attach one at a time--so here ya go. 

Brushing teeth is so much fun!