Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Dining Set

We have lived here in this parsonage for 3 years and 9 months now. For a little background, we live in a beach community. Our best guess is that this parsonage was originally built as someone's beach vacation home, and wasn't originally intended for a family of 5 to live in year round. Our church has been WONDERFUL about getting our house into great shape for us. They even added on a new master suite when M arrived, which was much needed considering the house was a 2 bedroom up until that point.

But back to dining furniture...The dining area in this house is small. We have a "great room" set up, where the living and dining areas, and the kitchen are all open to each other. We have been making do with the dining set we had when we moved here, but it is too large for the space. We had to keep it with one side pushed up against the wall, just so we could have a walkway. Meaning that now that M is big enough for a booster instead of a high chair, the old table just wasn't practical anymore. Also, the old table was, well, old, and not child-friendly at all. Some of the chairs had issues (that can be resolved with some wood glue), and they had upholstered seats. You can only imagine what those look like in a house with 3 kids, age 5 and under.

So, last week we purchased a new, narrow table, with kid friendly, un-upholstered chairs. It even has a bench on one side. It fits nicely into our little dining area. And now we can retire the high chair.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

24 Hours...

...pacifier free!

We knew we were getting close to the time when we needed to wean M away from his paci, and after our experience with K, we decided that cold turkey was the way to go. (We let K continue to have hers for nap and bedtime, and that was a mistake. It was very difficult to wean her away from it at bedtime.) So, yesterday at naptime, my husband happened to be passing through, and he was putting M down for his nap. On the spur of the moment, we decided to try it without the paci. M fussed for a little while, and went on to sleep. He went without it all afternoon, and when bedtime came, he wanted it, but we held firm. Again, he fussed for a little while, then went on to sleep and slept all night. It is now paci-free naptime #2, and again he fussed, but is now quiet. I have thrown away all remaining pacifiers that I could find, mostly to avoid the temptation of giving in to his fussiness. So, we appear to be a pacifier-free household! Yay for milestones!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {Hide and Seek}

This may be my shortest ever Sunday Snapshot, but this picture is too good not to share.

And now, may I present to you, the 3 year old version of "Hide and Seek"...

Did you find her? :-)

Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not Always Easy...

I wish that I could say that there is no difference in parenting an adopted child and a biological child, but that wouldn’t be an honest thing to say. I can say that on the day-to-day issues, there is no difference that isn’t related to children who have very different personalities needing to be handled in different ways. Eating your meal before you get dessert, being nice to your siblings and family pets, taking care of your toys and books, doing your these things, there is no difference.

But, no matter the age of the child at adoption, there are going to be “issues” (for lack of a better term) that will have to be addressed. MJ was not quite 9 months old when she was placed in our arms in that Civil Affairs office in Nanchang, China. She was left to be found when she was only one day old, according to estimates from the orphanage. (I feel okay including that because that part of her story is shared by so many other Chinese adoptees. I will not, however, include any more details.) She spent most of her first 9 months in a foster home, until that day that she joined our family. We have a few pictures, but other than that, we know pretty much nothing about those 9 months. So, even though she joined our family at a young age, there are holes in her story. We do think she has (or at least did have) some early memories. When she was around 22 months old, we met another family with a daughter the same age from the same SWI. Both of them had been home for around a year, MJ a little more, and her friend a little less. Those babies had evidently played together because they acted like 2 children who knew each other and played together regularly. Pretty spectacular, actually, and a genuine “God thing,” but that’s another story for another day.

MJ, for the most part, is a very securely attached child, but even with her, there are attachment issues that we see. The biggest one is night terrors. She has always had night terrors, and as she has grown, they have become much less frequent. However, she still has them on occasion, but now they are accompanied by sleepwalking. It is a frightening thing to see your child, completely hysterical, wandering through the house, and totally unaware of what she is doing. We’ve learned a lot, just by dealing with this. We know the trigger now that will start the process of ending the episode, and once that happens, and she starts calming down, she cuddles in my lap for awhile, and then we carry her back to bed. She never remembers in the morning. (Edited to add: I do realize that night terrors and sleepwalking occur with children who are not adopted. We have some specific reasons for believing that in MJ's situation, they are adoption-related.)

And there are the conversations...the ones that hit you right between the eyes from the middle of nowhere. Lately, with MJ, it has been, “Why can’t some mamas take care of their babies?” Our policy is to answer her honestly, and in an age-appropriate fashion. So for now, that means telling her that sometimes there are grown-up problems in the world that have nothing to do with children (thanks, Tonggu Momma, for that one), and I have also explained to her about the one child policy in an age-appropriate way, along with some other possible reasons for abandonment that may not even be related to the one-child policy.

I was looking back, the other day, at some of the written interview paperwork I had completed for our homestudy, those several years ago when we were paperchasing. Back then, I considered myself fairly well-informed, but as I read, I realized that I had so much more to learn about parenting this child who would be ours. Life is a continuous learning process, and this is no different.

I read this blog post the other day, and I have to say, I love the image she uses from the book of Isaiah, “the repairer of broken walls...” What an image! Parenting MJ is a special gift from God. I am so blessed to be Mama to this vivacious, energetic, inquisitive girl.

Parenting an adopted child isn’t always easy, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!

(As an aside: I generally cringe when people distinguish between my children as adopted and biological, but for the purposes of this post, it was kind of necessary.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: {Preschool Dress-Up Days}

Week before last (I'm running behind.), MJ and K's preschool had dress-up days in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday week. That meant no uniforms, and lots of fun...

Monday was "Wacky Hair Day." K was home sick that day, but here's MJ's wacky hair...

And the back view...

Tuesday was "Dr. Seuss Character Day." MJ was "Velma Vera Vin and her Violet Violin." K was Dr. Seuss's ABC because she really wasn't into the whole costume thing, so we improvised...

Wednesday was "Silly Sock Day"...

And we may have had the only 2 little girls at school sporting Lightning McQueen socks...

Thursday was "Funny Clothes Day"...

And Friday was "Crazy Hat Day." (Love the reality of this picture. MJ was annoyed because I told her she needed to come have her picture made and then leave for school. She wanted to finish coloring first.)

Fun week!

Ni Hao Yall

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Randomness...

I’m taking a few minutes from my rather chaotic morning to write a blog post, mostly because I’m tired of looking at that “Pet Peeve” library book post at the top of my blog. I had a Sunday Snapshot planned for this weekend, but ended up not having time to put it together. Hopefully I can get it together so I can use it this week. So, it’s about the girls’ dress-up week at school last week...the pictures are still cute.

As for life, it is busy, busy, busy. Our Adoption Voyages website business is starting to pick up a little steam, which is wonderful. I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to build a couple of new sites this week. (By the way, we are accepting new clients, so if you are in the adoption process, please come by and check us out.)

We registered K for pre-K yesterday. I can’t believe she is going to be old enough for pre-K in the upcoming school year. And soon, we’ll be registering MJ for kindergarten...also hard to believe. And while we’re talking about children growing up too fast, I’m also in the midst of planning M’s 2 year old birthday party. 2? Really?!?

And, as if I didn’t have anything else to do, I’m having a garage sale Friday and Saturday. It’s just your general “clear out stuff we don’t need anymore and don’t have room for” kind of sale, and a couple from our church is bringing some of their stuff over, too. They are newlyweds consolidating households, and they live in an apartment, so they needed a place. We have a garage and already were planning to have a sale, so it works well. Thankfully, I have most of our stuff priced, and now it is just a matter of set-up. Just hope the rain goes away so we can get everything done this afternoon. I have to get up too early for my taste on garage sale days anyway. Don’t want to have to make it earlier because I can’t get things set up this evening.

Looking at my calendar, it does actually seem that we will have some calmer days coming soon. For that, I am very thankful. And maybe, just maybe, I can blog a little more regularly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A New Pet Peeve

I have discovered a new pet peeve. I didn’t even know it was a pet peeve until I started reading the library book that I currently have. You see, someone went through this book and underlined random words with a ball-point pen. It almost looks like they were compiling a vocabulary list or something. The book is a light reading mystery novel--not anything with any kind of academic merit to it, so I doubt someone was reading it for a school assignment. It is bizarre, and as I am reading, I find myself (unintentionally) mentally emphasizing these underlined words. Considering there are probably 3-5 underlined words per page, it gets old quickly. I would really like to just enjoy my book without all of this distraction. There is a reason that libraries discourage people writing in books. I just wish the ball-point pen person had been one who was more inclined to follow the rules.