Sunday, May 31, 2009

Despair with Daddy

I guess things are going as well as can be expected. He's sleeping okay as long as I lay down with him and don't leave the bed. But he isn't really that happy to be with's more like I'm the only half-way acceptable option at the moment. This morning I wore him in the Ergo for a couple hours. I put on Chinese children's music and danced around (as I did a couple days ago when he loved it) and he hit at me and lunged to the side, trying to get down. He refuses to let me feed him anything, so that's not a "bonding moment." He wants me, but he only wants me cause I'm the least offensive person around. Lizzi and Anakin are also pretty appealing. But he detests having anything to do with Dh. When Dh takes him, he screams (sometimes ear piercing) and cries. We aren't sure what to do. We want to help him through his grief, but aren't sure that catering to unreasonable demands (like never touching Daddy) is helping anything. BigSis came home for the first time this morning and he wants nothing to do with her. Yesterday he did say "ni hao" to a few visitors, as long as they kept their distance.

And on the question of whether it helps to hear Chinese? Well, we're finding the answer is "not really." Yesterday my friend Doris came over with her Chinese-born daughter, Anna. Doris lived in Beijing for 3 years and can speak a little Mandarin. Doris will have to reply for herself, but my take on it was that he noticeably pulled back when she spoke to him in Chinese. Later he was trying to interact with her some (handing her toys so that she could say their names), but when she'd ask him questions, he'd look away and not respond. Although he did respond to two things by shaking his head no. "Did you like the plane ride?" And "Your Mommy & Daddy are good." Apparently, he disagrees with both.

We are very grateful for the meals we've received (thanks, Vonnie and Doris!) as it's near to impossible to get anything done at the moment. He is very much like an infant as far as needing supervision, but he moves at 100 miles an hour. So if I sit down for a moment to use the "facilities," it's sorta dangerous as I don't know how quickly he can get to another dangerous spot. I've learned not to use the screendoor as he will open it himself, going in if we're out and going out if we're in. Luckily, he can't open the sliding glass door by himself.

It's fascinating to watch him learning about things for the first time. He always points when he sees a bird and is particularly smitten with bluejays. I doubt that he's seen many birds close up. Sarah (the dog) has become a favorite; I've heard him saying "Wo Ai Ni Sarah" several times when he's alone with her. ("I love you, Sarah.") We haven't gotten any WoAiNi's, so she' obviously rates in his world. He doesn't react in any particular way to the grass, but I know it's new to him and he does seem delighted to run across the yard. He loves baths (bathtub is new to him), especially playing with Caleb and all the bathtoys.

He does look happy most of the time. Mostly if he's getting what he wants. I've had to tell him "no" to repeated requests for gum and chips. But he's fairly happy if he can be loose outside in the sandbox or on the swingset. He is eating well and absolutely INHALED the congee that Doris brought over.

Yesterday we got a new kitten. At the moment, they're all out playing with it. I hear no screaming, so perhaps he's made peace with Daddy. For the moment.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


This grief is deep. I didn't really expect less, but this is hard to watch.

Last night I put GG to bed. He went willingly to our bed, alone, but with the door open and hall lights on. I went across the hall to read to LilDude and put him to bed. When I came out, GG was sitting on the floor of my room, near the door, quietly sobbing. The clock radio had been turned on. At first I didn't know if he was sobbing because he'd turned the radio on and couldn't turn it off or because he was just generally sad. It became apparent it was the latter.

I carried him around and tried to console him. He just cried and cried. Dh tried to help. More crying. We finally put on the Adoptive Parent Chinese Phrases CD and played a bunch of different phrases. "Are you sad?" "Does anything hurt?" Etc. No reaction whatsoever. I gave him a bottle and got occasional eye contact. He was very constipated earlier in the day so I decided that maybe that was a problem. So I gave him a suppository and we sat around to wait. It took a LONG time to work. He played for awhile which seemed to cheer him up. He was sitting on my lap when the suppository suddenly worked WELL (too well!) By this time it was about 10pm (he'd gone to bed the first time around 8), so I tried to put him in bed again. This time I lay with him for 10 minutes or so until he fell asleep. I thought that was it.

I stayed up another hour or so working on the computer. Then Anakin came walking down the hall, carrying a sobbing GG. I don't know how long he was sitting there crying, but he again had woken up and was crying hard (but quietly) in the doorway. This time I went to bed with him. He continued to sob and tried to sit up, away from me. I pulled him into my arms and held him while he sobbed more. When Dh came to bed, he made the mistake of removing Dora (GG's 2.5' doll) from the bed, thinking GG was now fine since the sobs had tapered off. Dora set everything off again. He finally went to sleep with one arm holding me down on the bed.

I had dreams about being pinned down. I woke up thinking GG was halfway laying on me, keeping me from leaving the bed. Although this was true early in the night, when I regained consciousness in the middle of the night I figured out that it was actually Dora pinning me down. Dora got the boot.

GG slept the rest of the night and is still in bed with Dh as we speak. (9am)

Pray for GG's little heart. He is so, so sad.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jet Lag and Adjusting...

Things are going well. But I'm TIRED.

Last night GG woke up sometime in the middle of the night and didn't go back to sleep for a LONG time. I don't know how long it was or what time it was. The advantage of no Lasik? I couldn't read the clock and really didn't want to know.

This morning the kids and dh were up and preparing for work/school. GG was VERY sound asleep. LilDude wanted me to take him to school so at 8:15 I started trying to wake up GG. It was difficult. He doesn't like to be awakened. I finally got him up and dressed and then as the big kids were walking out the door, LilDude decided he wanted to ride the bus too. Sigh.

GG and I played some. Did a little laundry. Put a few things away. Mom came over and helped. At around 10am, we all went for a walk. GG seemed to relax in the Ergo, so I continued to wear him until around 12:45 when LilDude got home for lunch. I fed both and GG started getting fussy. I lay him down on my bed and he was asleep without complaint within 10 minutes or so. LilDude and I also took much needed naps. GG slept about 2.25 hours and woke up on his own, which surprised me considering that to his body, it was the middle of the night. My body certainly thought it was.

The two boys played inside and outside until Liz/Anakin returned from the after school dance and dh came home from work. GG sang a lot today. He especially liked it when I Ergoed him and put on a Chinese children's CD. He definitely knew some of the songs and sang a few words before they were played.

GG is eating well. My friend Doris brought us beef stew and he ate that with enthusiasm, as did the rest of us. I cooked some rice at lunch and mixed it with the stew and he ate even better. Doris also sent me a note that said that the Guangxi people use a lot of pickled beans and bamboo shoots for cooking. Tonight I offered him small chunks of canned dill beans (spicy/pickled) and he loved them. It's funny...our guide/SW in Guangxi said he must not have any spicy foods (his list of approved food items read much like that of an infant.) As soon as he saw the breakfast buffet, however, the main thing he pointed to was the picked/spicy stuff. I followed his lead and he ate. We're foregoing the Chinese formula as well; I made him a bottle this afternoon of regular 2% milk and he guzzled the whole thing. I think I do need to go buy him some prune juice, if you get my drift...

One thing about adopting a 3yo internationally that I hadn't fully considered... Everything is new to GG. The washing machine/dryer were a little scary until he got to push the buttons. Everything in my kitchen is new and he looks into all the drawers and shelves, trying to figure it out. When you consider that this was his kitchen before, you can understand why mine looks so confusing.

In many ways, he needs supervision like a much, much younger child only because of the environmental differences. He doesn't know what's safe and what's not. He hasn't seen an oven, a bathtub, or spent any "quality time" with a Western toilet. Lawn/grass is new. Freedom to run and run outside is new. The sandbox (and sand!) are new. He likes to walk around the house opening every drawer, door and cabinet to see what's in there. He doesn't understand the concept of "outside toys" and "inside toys." It will all come with time, but meanwhile, there isn't time to do much except for watch him as you would an infant who RUNS!

My China blog

China travel blog can be found at Special Time China. I'll be loading travel logs from the trip over the next several days.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home from CHINA!

We're home from China with our very adorable, 3yo son. Here's a teaser photo:

I'm hoping to transfer my rather long blog/travel journal to a public blog in the next week or so. I know I would have dearly loved updated swine flu/travel info for China before we traveled.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Celery--Off the Shopping List!

You may recall that celery comes in at a repulsive #4 on the "Dirty Dozen" list. We tried to grow some last year, both in a raised garden bed and in a pot on the back porch. The plants grew very slowly, resulting in lots of leaves and little stems. But they were hardy and survived til the coldest winter months. I cut them off, chopped, and froze the leafy/spindly stem collection. It was a great addition to winter soups and casseroles. I would have planted it again just for that, simply because I like the celery flavor but really don't care that much about large chunks in foods.

But imagine my surprise when, this spring, they came roaring to life, now with big stems. Apparently, celery is a perennial that does much better on year two. It's been fairly cool and very wet this spring, yet the celery is raring to go. You can see it here, behind the parsley (which also is doing much better in it's second year, btw.)

I'd love to fill an entire garden bed with perennial vegetables. It's so much fun to see edible stuff come to life in the spring. Anyone know of other vegetables that do this? Someday I'll plant asparagus, but I'm not quite ready for the prep work yet.

I can finally strike celery from the shopping list! ;)

The mint is going gangbusters in a pot on our back porch as well. Isn't spring amazing??

Swiss Chard YUM!

I don't think I'd ever tasted Swiss chard til a year or so ago when I tried it in a new recipe and failed. I am so, so glad that we tried it a NEW, FAVORITE RECIPE!

Last year I planted a bunch of new stuff "to try." Some didn't come up. Others didn't come up at the time but came up this spring when I wasn't paying much attention. The Swiss chard was so beautiful I almost hesitated to eat it. But I've been wanting to try more recipes from Simply in Season, so I looked up Swiss chard in the index and settled on "Chard Cheese Bake." It was scrumptious! 'LilDude had three or four helpings. Big ones. I lost count at some point. We also had locally grown asparagus and a rhubarb/blueberry crumble made from our new rhubarb and blueberries from the freezer. I'm thrilled that it's finally SPRING! ;)

Have you ever washed anything so gorgeous???

And the final product:

Chard Cheese Bake
from Simply in Season

1 lb Swiss chard or spinach (chopped)
Cook and thoroughly drain. (In the front of the book it has cooking tips for each vegetable. I cut the stems into chunks and then rolled the leaves together and cut the roll crosswise in each direction. I boiled the stem chunks for 8 minutes, adding the leaves for the last 3 minutes of cooking time. They were perfect.)

4 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk (I used rice milk)
1 c. cheese (I used cheddar)
1 c. cubed bread (I used gf rice bread & thought it particularly good in this)
1/2 c. green onions, sliced (I used 2 T. that I'd frozen)
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Combine all ingredients and pour into greased 2-qt dish. Cover and bake in preheated 375 oven for 25-30 minutes, until set. (It took mine at least 40 minutes.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'Lil Dude's Mathematical Mind

At lunch, 'LilDude (6) pipes up and says, "7 1/2 and 7 1/2 are 15 cause 1/2 plus 1/2 equals one."

"How'd you know that?"

"I was layin' in bed and I was thinkin' about it."
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