Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Update

Last week was Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon.  Abigail fell in love with dragons.  She was far more excited about the Dragon than the Chinese New Year festival we took her to or the Chinese food (dumplings!) Larry made for dinner.  (At the festival, she did love the dragon, but ate Tic Tacs instead of the catered Chinese food and instead of dumplings, she ate the olives off of my salad.)  Traditionally children are given a red envelope or red packet containing something lucky such as money of a lucky denomination, or chocolate coins.  Deciding Abigail was too young for this (though Larry did argue that she sure knows what money is!), she received a rubber/plastic dragon toy wrapped in red paper.  For days she took it with her everywhere,  including to bed (where I worried about a sleeping Abigail impaling herself on the tail) and to daycare (where toys from home aren't allowed, but no one could pry it from her fingers).  A week later, she is still bursting out with "Happy New Year, Dragon!!!" and squealing.  She now also knows she was born in the year of the Ox and will be happy to tell you that if you ask.  Another aspect Abigail enjoyed of the Chinese New Year things we did with her were different craft projects like making a lantern and a paper dragon (that is decorated with lots of red glitter-glue and shedding glitter all over the house, much to Larry's dismay).

Developmentally, Abigail is impressing us with 5-6 word sentences and we are having real conversations with her about what she is doing or thinking or wanting.  I would guess that about 90% of her sentences start with the words "I want", but usually also end with "please" and we have trouble denying her requests since they are usually "I want to go outside and swing please" or "I want a group hug Mama and Baba please" or "I want a shower.  I am stinky.  Pleeeeeeease."

We love the little person sharing our house and lives with us.

Unfortunately, she is less entertained now by being in her jogging stroller.  Larry and I were hoping that her love of "going running" with us would last a lot longer.  With winter weather and hours of daylight, finding time for us to take individual runs in the evening is almost impossible.  We are going to need to find a better long-term solution or a cheap baby sitter or something so we can go for runs again as the spring and summer approach. 

I know that is a lot of writing and I won't kid myself; all you really want is pictures!

Abigail's favorite game while hiking through the local park:
Uh Oh!  Duck Your Head!
Abigail felt that she path needed to be
swept.  There was too much nature on it.

Abigail and her buddy giving a performance
after dinner Friday night.
There is nothing like a basket full of
warm laundry and baskets.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Chinese New Year

I will try to post a full Chinese New Year entry this week, after we celebrate official Chinese New Year tomorrow at home, but this weekend we attended the festivities of our local Chinese Cultural Association.  Abigail cried when we first dressed her, but she eventually stopped being upset (pretty much when she saw the dragon running around the auditorium).

Every time I tried to take a picture of her, she kept going into a sumo-wrestler pose, but I do have a full shot of her walking out of the house.  (It isn't really an award-worthy shot or anything, but hey, she's two!)

Here comes the dragon!

Sumo girl

I really hated this outfit when Larry picked it
out last year in China, but Abigail is so
darn cute in anything that it was okay!

Being silly in her room after the

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I love it when...

I love it when she sings the alphabet.  She always starts with "Q".

I love it when she turns into a tiger right after her bath, before she is dressed, and she roars at me from atop her bed.

And I love it when she can't hold her tiger composure any longer and she collapses into her blankets in a giggly-wiggly mess.

I love it when she bursts into song and then dances to her own singing, whether it is "Ring Around the Rosie", "Jingle Bells", "Old MacDonald" or any other tune she produces from her sharp memory.

I love it when Larry and I are talking over her head at dinner and she reminds us that she is here and she is a person too and she wants a part in the conversation, darn it!, and she talks with authority (though not always in English) about whatever is on her mind.

I love it when she wraps her hands around my neck and says "I love you Mama".

I love it when she reads a book to herself or me.  And I love that her words are starting to make sense with the stories.

I love it when she is in her swing and says "Higher, higher, more higher!!" and then squeals with delight when the swing chains slack for a second and then catch her again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Year Home

Abigail has now been living in America for 1 year (and 1 day- she kept me too busy to write yesterday!). This past week, Larry and I have indulged ourselves in some video-watching time after Abigail has gone to bed for the night. We have watched videos of her first day with us, time with us in China, and her first 3 weeks home. We laughed a lot. 

Naturally she has changed.  She has changed in all the ways that 1-year-olds become 2-year-olds and she has changed in all the ways that an institutionalized child changes and grows when she becomes the center of a family that puts all of her needs and wants first.  She is our little girl, not our baby.  

But as we watched these videos, we admired our daughter, how far she has come, and how much of her is still very much the same- just older.  Until we watched these, we had not been able to see all of the innate qualities that are so very "Abigail."  Every day we watch her change before our eyes and were not able to notice how she is the same.  Children come to us, either in the the traditional way or through adoption and they are who they are.  It has been a joy this week to reflect on who my daughter is.  She is a person who

loves to be outside more than inside

loves water, from playing in the bath in a sink to
enjoying living by the ocean

does this when she is upset, wants to calm down or is stressed

loves getting presents (although, what kid doesn't?)
smiles with her whole face
Clockwise from top left (eating finger paint, in her swing, on
the anniversary of her match day, Christmas time)

Abigail is very amazing at thinking through things. 
Watching her videos at 14 months, it was surprising to see that the intensity that is always in her eyes now, the focused determination and careful thoughts she engages in all the time now as a toddler were there when she didn't have the language to talk to us a year ago.

her eyes are intense and seem to be a curtain hiding a
very old soul with incredible and deep thoughts

And I can't help but mention how much I love to watch the little angel sleep
Clockwise from top left: a few exhausting hours after we
got Abigail, Abigail napping on Baba in China, Abigail
asleep on the couch after Christmas fun, in her crib

Welcome home, kid.