Thursday, August 27, 2009

Little Rug Rat is Wearing Us Out!

We have finally succeeded at taking more than a 15 minute nap! The most she has slept is an hour and a half! WhooHoo!!! She gets so restless and will still bang her head sometimes trying to relax and unwind. But little by little I think she is getting there with that. As far as just normal baby stuff...she definitely doesn't always like the nap and we will have to leave her and hear her cry, checking in to let her know we are still here. It's just too hard for us to totally leave her with all that she has been through. I have just started noticing a change in cries sometimes and I do wonder if she is grieving.

She has been doing so good since we've been back that we went ahead and signed up for Gymboree. She was ready! And she has been loving it...she is getting more and more comfortable and enjoying herself rather than staring at everyone else and pointing to all of the posters.

So we take her to her class for her level and for music. Then for a free play day. As much as we can fitting it into her schedule...
She has improved so much with walking. She can now walk an entire room in a flash!!! This little activity of pushing the log...she wouldn't do the first time, but had no problem this time...just still likes to stare at the instructor ;)
Believe it or not...she was having fun. Crazy little thing. We can usually tell if she likes it or not. Sometimes she's just a little unsure. Everything is so new to her...especially all of this attention.
Bath time has really improved and have had no problems since! She got in the big jacuzzi tub with me tonight and just LOVED the bigger bubbles! This picture of her she is pointing at Hello Kitty. She is constantly pointing at EVERYTHING...lights, switches, Daisy and Archie's pictures, Daisy and Archie, her pictures, all of the Hello Kitties...she spots every one of them. Her little mind just doesn't stop...

She does the craziest looks. She's not really too crazy about the big camera either. But she really does wear her expressions all the time...too funny! I'm not quick enough yet to get really good shots of a great smile...she's just too fast!

My friend, Denise, from where I used to work had this little toy delivered, and we had it ready for her when she woke up from her nap. She is kind of slow at waking up, but also just wasn't sure about all of this. Once she realized she could play with it, she was just clapping and swaying to the music!

Dennis went back to work today...first day back. It was hard for him. He was so excited to get back home to see her. I did pretty good. I was really getting worn out though the last couple of hours. She really doesn't play by herself much it was pretty much 12 straight hours of carrying her around or letting her walk me around, or playing, or eating, cleaning up, etc. My back is pretty achy...and I'm ready for some sleep! But she is soooo adorable and such a sweetheart!!!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two Weeks Home Now

Can't believe we've only had Emma now for four weeks and have only been home for two. We have got the going out and about thing down pat...I think China and all of the running around whips you into shape for that real fast. At home is another story...

...But she is doing so much better playing by herself and also with us having to put in her in the pack and play for just a little bit so we can get her meal ready, get dressed, get you something to drink, feed the cats, it's just for a little bit...and it's really helping her adjust to knowing we are not going anywhere. The same with the car set. She used to cry and cry and just want to be, she just makes baby noises, plays with the book or toy, and then usually falls asleep. So huge baby steps. She just loves to be by us at all times, to be held, or for you to take her hand and for her to take you for a walk. YES, she takes US for a walk! She just soaks everything in. I think her first word will be cat...because she has put all of the cat pictures from books and toys, the pictures of Daisy and Archie, and, of course, the real cats...and has put them all together and knows they are the same. She's amazing!

We still haven't gotten much of a break as far as being able to catch up on sleep or do much of anything else, so we still take turns relieving each other. We do have certain areas closed off, so we know she'll be okay...she just usually comes looking for us after a short time...or like yesterday, Dennis fell asleep on the couch while I was trying to do some scrapbooking, and I thought it was just way too quiet. Found her with the cat food paperplate flipped over on herself playing in it!!! Yuck!!! Knew that was we just have to remember to keep the areas blocked off. Just using the Play mats for that...propped them up against chairs and made gates.

She is not picky at all about food. She eats just about anything. Except she really doesn't like yogart. We did get her some McDonald's chicken mcnuggats! Her first! But we don't eat a lot of fast food, so no problem with her eating what we eat...healthy variety...
This was from this afternoon. I knew she was sleepy...but she still will not go down for a nap. I had tried earlier with no luck. So later, this was lunch, and all of a sudden, she's like this...we cracked up laughing...was able to recline her and just leave her there. She did still have food in her mouth! But she didn't move for about 30 minutes! So we don't get much of a break at all...

Dennis gave her some ice cream the other night...
In China, they do not feed babies anything cold. But we've found she likes cold water much better than room temp. And even though the shock of the cold ice cream surprised her, she loved it!

She is such a happy baby. She smiles at everyone and gets so many compliments. She loves her watermelon. But this is a good example of how teething can be, so prepare yourself for "Sybil." On one of our "showing" her off visits to our vet's office, one of the girls said her boy that is the same age has been teething and goes from happy to Sybil. And the pediatrician did confirm that too. So she's normal and the happiest little thing I've ever seen except when the teeth get her. Can't imagine the pain she's going through!

One minute, she's happy and loving everything...
The next...the pain of teething...prepare yourself for this! There is nothing and I mean nothing that will console her. People will think you can't handle your baby. But it's normal. The Children's Tylenol and the prescription from the doctor have been HUGE HUGE HUGE help...hardly ever see this mood swing anymore!

She loves her toothbrush she got when we took her by the dentist office. Put the Oral-gel Toddler toothpaste on it for her and she goes to town! She reaches for it in her little cup in the bathroom every time I finish her bath, which have been going good again. It's better since the meds for the teething and with just me with her...

So I think while I still have about an hour break, I'll try to feed myself!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Video of Trip to China

Trip to China from Patricia Roebuck on Vimeo.

Finally got this done. The password is Dorothy to view it. Some of it may be boring to most people. But wanted to include a lot of this to look back on, and show Emma.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Changsha and Guanzhou, and Emma's First Birthday Celebration!

Backtracking a little...this was the Dolton Hotel in Changsha where we would have to spend 5 days in her Province of Hunan while waiting on paperwork to go through. There was one bellmen that was so funny. He smiled so hard and so happy to see us. They all knew why we were there.
Leaving Beijing to Changsha. What an experience. Worst flight I've ever been on, yuck!
But we are so excited and anxious as we know the next day we will meet Emma...
Changsha airport...Changsha isn't as big as Beijing or other bigger cities, it was only 4 million!!!!
Susan, our guide from our agency, who is a God send, got us all ready to just walk in and go straight to our rooms!

Just thinking back over the trip looking at the pictures and so glad again to be home. We were there mainly for adopting Emma and not to see sights, so anything that was not related to the adoption, we kind of did based on how Emma was doing. The group of families from our agency with us were 5 others, so we would all pile into a bus or a van, no car seats or seat belts either with our new little ones with traffic and driving worse than NY or Boston. And just as hot as here...90s, 100s, very high humidity, but they rarely use A/C. And they had our floor regulated so as not to bring the temp down too low for the babies.

This is a day we decided to not to do the museum, but go for a country drive and see a family and their farm. We all wanted to go because this would be a similar area of where Emma was probably born and would have lived in if her family could have paid the fines to keep her.
This is part of their house...
Very sweet couple, and very happy to have us stop by...
This is their living room...
Their kitchen...
They were so excited, they went into their garden and cut up fresh watermelon for us. Delicious. Usually you do not eat any fruit outside of the hotels, but our guide said it would be okay. We also didn't want to be rude.
They have a couple of pigs, or hogs!
Part of their garden...
Reminded me of being in Dad's garden...they were so proud...
We stopped here for one of our nightly dinners together with all of the families...
All of the food we had was delicious. Just wonderful. The only thing I did not like was that it was swimming in oil. Susan made sure to order things that we would be okay with and not some of the local foods like chickens with the heads on, scorpions, and some of the other unusual foods the locals eat...
They did seat us near the stage for a performance later, but the babies usually have about a 20 minute window. It was so hot walking inside here, that I sweat more inside than outside. They turned the air on just for us!!! OMG!!! And so many people come up to you and they all want to hold her. Hello! I don't know them, Emma doesn't know them. They are Chinese, I'm American...we've only had her a few days at this point, and she's learning that we're her parents...I don't think so! Still a little cautious of even people now that we're home wanting to hold her. There is a bond, but we need to make sure she knows we're her parents and to feel not too crazy about anyone wanting to hold her.
Emma was very fussy...we each had to take turns walking around with her...those teeth are getting to her, and oh...IT'S HOT!!!
To make things easier for this outing, Dennis stayed in the hotel with Emma, and I went to the Embroidery Museum. Wasn't on the list for us to do, but most of us were interested because Hunan is known for their glad I went...
These are not paintings, but all embroidery...little stitches!
Looked around the shop, but our guide had told us to wait to buy anything until we get to Guangzhou, because of the deals there. Beijing and Changsha had very nice these embroidery pieces that were about 9x9 were $400 US dollars each! Gorgeous though. Looks exactly the same as the front!
This is all embroidery!
And here's where they stitch...they do keep this area cool!
They use silk threads and some pieces take a year to finish...

For the very wealthy. We also had seen how they make cloisonné in Beijing, and thought about buying something very nice there too...but a very small 7" vase was $400!

While at the Embroidery Museum, I did buy a beautiful silk shawl with embroidery on it that was $60 US dollars...I got that and a little Mandarin purse for Emma for when she turns 16. I thought she would look so nice going to a dance with that.
She's a handful! Back at the hotel with DaDa...
This is the hotel in Guangzhou, the White Swan, well known among other adopters as the place to stay. There's another hotel just as nice though. Emma did not like this crib at all and would not go in it. So the sleeping was getting worse. We had gotten a little better while in Changsha, but this first night here, she was up every 3 hours screaming!!!!
Our guide said it would be safe for us to walk around the village, but not to venture any further. Once we were here, we couldn't all go together to Walmart or a big grocery store...way too crowded...this was a bigger city. So Dennis took a list and went. The taste of Oreos and a chocolate candy bar tasted so good! We were also glad we had brought lots of snacks! And the Starbucks here tasted like the real thing. Beijing's Starbucks tasted different.
About 24 hours after meeting Emma and making her ours, I'd say she and I had formed a bond. She would not go to Dennis at all. Finally, after she got used to him, the bond started to form. She'd look at our faces, then finally start touching our faces and then that was it...

A little of what's going on now at home...we celebrated her 1 year birthday on Saturday! She reached an even happier state...couldn't believe how much she was smiling and laughing!!!
Laid out some of the things for my sisters and brother-in-law to see about her. The bottle to the left was her bottle at the orphanage, we have pictures of her crib, where she was found, and the orphanage, her finding ad, they also made a stamp with her name to give to us, her original clothes she was found in sealed, and a report with pictures of her from the day she was found until 11 months. That report was totally different from the information we got about her before. For instance. The one before said she was quiet and gentle and shy around strangers. On this one it said she was outgoing. On the other one it said she was soothed by taking her to the playroom, on this one it said to hold her and speak encouraging words.

The little blue outfit to the right is the one she was wearing when we met her. I didn't wash it and put it in a baggie. Have her foot print from when she was just a few days old and now from when we went to the Civil Affairs.

I still cannot get over how healthy she is and how good she is doing. We went to the pediatrician here on Friday and she was amazed, having seen other babies from China and other countries...everything on the list for a 12 month old to be able to do, she could do. She was also mimicking the doctor! She was just so excited to see how well she is. All of that is credit to the Chenzhou orphanage for how well they took care of her for her first 13 months of her life. It's still frustrating to wonder specifically how things were, but we are very lucky to have not had any problems with her health.
She almost looks like a two year old here. I barely got that clip in her hair...she can't stand anything in her hair, but just look at that smile!
The cake came out much better than we could have imagined!
She was getting fussy and was still crying when I put her smash cake in front her, so I had to start her off and put some in her mouth...that frown quickly turned to a smile and she dug in!

She had such a happy day!!! We all just could not get over how happy she is and her laughing is hysterical. I'm lucky to get this up, but eventually, I'll have to post video.

Her teething is pretty bad. The pediatrician said her gums are swollen and inflamed, so she gave us a prescription. It's still very hard to get her to take a nap, getting a little better with getting her to bed at night. Everything other families tell us and the Nanny books are great, but they to a certain point they don't apply to a child that has spent the first 13 months of her life in an orphanage. It's been tough. We're exhausted. She still wants to be held pretty much all the time, and for you to play with her. Trying to teach her to hold and cuddle a stuffed animal. But other than that, she is doing great. So great, we decided to go ahead and schedule the party/shower for her the end of the month. We just were not sure how she would be. Hopefully, we'll have a much better schedule by that's hoping!

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