Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Getting to our new normal

We have had a good couple of days. Our new normal so far seems quite manageable. I feel a bit guilty writing that, because I know of many toddler adoptive families (or even families adding a third by birth) for whom it has not gone nearly so well so soon. 
I know it seems like all I talk about is food,
but have you met a one year old lately? It's 90% of the game. 

I’m still tired, but it may just be because I’m getting ancient or it could be the remnant of this cold. I slept over 9 hours last night and I have no regrets. I’ll do it again tonight if the stars align. I’d be bold and say no one can stop me, but that’s not quite the case.

The night before, Primrose slept through but Isaac woke up with a nightmare. It was like the 10th (okay, actually 5th) night I hadn’t had enough in-a-row hours and it was starting to make me feel desperate around 4pm each afternoon. The nighttime duties are nowhere near what they were with newborns but it was still adding up. I’m terrible at sleeping on planes and I don't go back to sleep well when I've gotten up in the wee hours.

I brushed it like 10 times. To no avail, even her hair is fierce.
She’s a very opinionated kid, which we like. She makes the best faces, and is extremely playful. She's actually somewhat self-sufficient for a one year old, and let me practice quite a bit in the living room while she played. I swear she gets sarcasm, or at least gentle parental mocking, and dishes it right back.

Yesterday she met a ton of new people. We had to go to one of our music academy schools to meet new student families, and then we went to CC, our homeschool community group. At CC she zoomed right to each of her brothers in their classrooms. She wanted to take Isaac's hand and walk him out of the middle of his class! She tended to warm up to people (kids first) within 10 minutes or so, and as she got used to a place became more accepting and flirty with the adults, too. She’s generally more comfortable with women than men at first. 

My parents drove 45 minutes to our house to bring the boys to CC yesterday. They have been a huge part of this process. All of our family near and far have been supportive, and we love them even more for that. But my parents have really done a ton for us in practical ways. They had the boys for two straight long weeks, taking them all the way to Portland for music lessons, doing homeschool work with them each day, hitting several swim centers and biking in a deserted church parking lot. Two weeks is a long time. The boys cried after Mom & Dad left our house the day we got back from China.

Primrose seems to know that she’s got it good in the grandparent department. She’s already warming up to my parents after a grand total of about 20 minutes of waking time together. She’ll meet J’s amazing parents this weekend, and they are spicy and funny like her so I know she’ll like them, too.

Her language skills seem on track as an 18 month-old. J thinks she might be even more advanced than our kids were at her age. She understands when we are talking about diapers, shoes, bed, bath, food and play. She tells us pretty clearly when she wants or doesn’t want something, but not usually with specific words. She’s more of a babble-and-gesture kind of gal. She’ll take my hand and bring me into the kitchen. She has a short sassy grunt/squeal with a single foot stomp when she does NOT want something. She snaps her mouth closed in a pout. It’s hilarious, actually, which helps since she is usually being a pill when she does it. She will sometimes also turn her head sharply to the side and cross her arms at the same time. Universal one-year-old toddlerese for “NO way, NO how, AIN’T gonna happen.”

I’m so relieved she is able to be silly, and has opinions she is ready and able to express and defend. It wasn’t until we researched adoption and more specifically the effects of childhood neglect that we realized those skills could be a luxury. This child knows she matters. 

If you have a nine minutes, check out this short video segment about Jenny Bowen and Half the Sky on PBS's News Hour. This woman and her family undoubtedly had an effect on where my family is today:
One family’s quest to unite orphaned Chinese girls with a happy home

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