Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Trip to Aquarium

This weekend was a bit chilly and our little Monster loves being outside more than anything else it seems in the whole world. (She is Mama's girl in this respect, though Mama isn't so fond of the sub-40s weather!)

In order to experience the outdoors in a way when it was in the low 30s, we took Abigail to the Aquarium (where teachers get in for free and so do under 2's) for a low-stress first experience. She loved watching the fish. She could give-or-take the turtles and birds.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Home and Getting into a Routine

Hello Readers!
Thank you for your patience as we have been spending the last 2 weeks getting into a routine at home. Abigail is down for the night (I think) and it is only 9:38 PM so I have a few minutes to resume blogging!

Our first week home:
It was one of the most difficult things Lar or I have ever been through. Abigail's days and nights were backwards. She wanted to be held most of the time and she only slept for 1-3 hours at any given time. I think that being sleep deprived is one of the worst feelings a person can be forced to endure. We had *no* idea how we were sleeping the same 1-3 hour increments as the Little Monster and she had the endurance and energy of a Jack Russell on speed.

Then our amazing agency came through for us again! They told us to not try to put her to bed at 7:30 or 8 like in China, but to put her to bed at 11 or midnight until she could sleep through the night and then move her bedtime back gradually as she became accustomed to our time zone. IT WORKED!!!! She now sleeps from around 10 until 6 or 8 AM and we feel much better.
After we got home, Abigail got to open her Christmas presents from Grandma Kathleen and Uncle Jim and Aunt Steph. They gave her nice clothing, books, and a doll, among other things. She is going to be spoiled rotten!

Our elderly Chihuahua Jedi has been very accepting of Abigail. Jedi circles her high chair at meal times like a shark circling a sinking raft and puts up with the pokes to her eyes and the yanks on her tail. Abigail, in return, LOVES Jedi.

As far as food goes, Abigail knows the baby sign for "food" and gets a kick out of using it to obtain a snack whenever she feels like it. She seems amazed that this easily performed communication works so quickly to meet her needs and wants. She eats everything we have tried to feed her (including curry!) except she doesn't like vegetables. Her favorite foods are cheese and bananas. She really wants to feed herself with a spoon.

Her first check-up with her pediatrician lasted 75 minutes and the doc couldn't find anything wrong with her, other than being about 4 pounds on the "too light" side of the scale. Abigail was in perfect form at the doctor's office, gregariously running around, playing with the doctor, giggling/laughing non-stop and showing off her best tricks. The doc decided that there was no reason to send her to the adoption clinic at the medical university for some TLC: she does not seem like a baby who spent her first 13 months in an orphanage.

I am amazed at the patience that this little kid has, as well as how driven she is to accomplish tasks. During her first week home, she had a shape-sorter toy that she could not figure out. I showed her how to put the cube in the square hole and the right circular cylinder in the round hole, etc. Then she practiced. And practiced. And practiced some more. She spent almost 35 minutes putting those shapes into the correct holes until she could do it quickly. She studied it, turned the shapes in her hands and studied them. She clapped for herself when she got it right. Lar and I are SO happy that we have an intellectually curious and intrinsically motivated little girl! We hope to nurture that as best as we can so that she will succeed academically and be good at something she enjoys doing.

Abigail is a few months advanced in her motor skills too. She can walk easily, pick up objects while walking and run. She is working on using crayons, PlayDoh, and eating with a spoon. She loves to dance, particularly to "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins. She can sleep through the night and if she wakes up, sometimes comfort herself back to sleep. She uses baby signs to communicate "food", "drink", "up", "Baba" (daddy), and is working on "diaper", "bath", and "doggie". She loves the swings and the slide. Her orphanage said she can fall asleep without being held, and maybe she can, but she prefers to be held and sung to softly, and why not? now that she has two parents who love her to pieces?!?