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Friday, March 30, 2012

Co-sleeping

The pic really has nothing to do with co-sleeping...
except perhaps that this is what she looks like when she is well rested!  Cute as a bug!
I won't show you what I look like these days.  It ain't pretty.  
At a time when most parents are trying to get their toddler out of their bed and into their own bed, I'm doing things bass-ackwards again.  Our new daughter is 24 months old, and I'm just now starting to learn how to co-sleep with her.
To be honest, I never thought much about co-sleeping with our bio kiddos.  Not that we had anything against it.  It was circa 1993 when Sunny was born, before "back to sleep is best" was ever even heard of, and these things just weren't on the radar.   And to be honest, I'm a sleep snob and have myself convinced that I need at least 7 solid hours each night to function like a reasonable human being, not to mention the required 300-thread count sheets, 2 extra-firm king-size pillows, the ceiling fan turned on low, and absolutely no digital clocks at all in the room.  I told you I was a sleep snob.  So even though I had somewhat subscribed to "attachment parenting" in part with all of our bio children, co-sleeping was never really a consideration.

Then Tess and Jude came home, and we were committed to do all we could to foster healthy attachments x2, so we tried sleeping with them in our bed.  In the throws of re-entry with 2 toddlers, and one with full leg casts that continually struck me in the middle of the night...
in the head
and body
and arms
and legs
and Tess's head
and Papa's head
co-sleeping lasted less than a week, and we gave up.
honestly in hind sight, I'm amazed it lasted that long.

Now Mimi is home, and we find ourselves giving co-sleeping another good ol' college try.  I've conceded that my sleep won't be as sound.  And I'm ok with that because honestly I'll do anything to help Mimi's attachment and mental security... especially in light of what happened last time.   Plus I am getting some sleep too, but it's just not great sleep, and I'm absolutely positive that there must be some tricks and tips to make co-sleeping more successful.

Here are the hang-ups.
----Mimi thrashes about a bit through out the night.  Right now I have a king pillow between us and this seems to help the  repeatitively-being-kicked-in-the-face problem.  But still she thrashes about in her sleep.  Any tips for training her to sleep vertically with her head at the top of the bed?  Or maybe that's asking too much?
----Currently, I sleep in the middle and Mimi is on the outside.  I have a barricade built up on her side of the bed made from the back of a couple chairs pushed up against the bed, and many pillows rolled up and shoved in the cracks.  Are there any bed rails out there that work with King beds?  Or should she be in the middle of us instead?
----She often hits her sweet head against the head board.  Although this doesn't even wake her, the sound of it does wake me often.   I tried putting another pillow up there, but it doesn't stay up there and the ridiculous number of pillows on the bed is only reducing the surface area.  Should I just not sorry about her hitting her head since it doesn't seem to bother her at all?

We have a toddler bed, right next to our bed, ready to go.  And eventually this is where she will be.  But I'd really like the timing of her transition to her own bed to be based on her attachment and security, rather than my own sleep snobbery.  At the rate we're going, she'll be in her toddler bed sooner rather than later.   But my gut says it's just not time yet.  That she could definitely benefit from co-sleeping for a while longer.

The overall issue, I'm not sleeping all that great because I'm waking up no less than 7,903 times per night.  Our king size bed seems incredibly small for the 3 of us.  She seems to be sleeping great on the other hand.

So if you dare admit that you're a proponent of the family bed, and risk outing your hippy status, would you consider passing on some tricks and tips to a co-sleeping novice?     Any advice would be very welcome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photo Gallery {The Barrio}


I knew one of the things I'd have to do promptly after we returned from China was capture some awesomenessosity images of my first born, which isn't that hard to do when your subject is 18 years old, confident, gorgeous, and the world lies in wait before her.  Sunny is graduating in 8 short weeks and senior portraits are a right of passage that I'll gladly oblige.
She chose the location, and it is in the heart of the barrio with some of the best Mexican food ever.
This is the first of many many to come, Sunny dear.  It was my pleasure.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reentry

In the middle of the night, between the screeching and the pinching and the hitting...
...the sweetest moments happen.
Since coming home, Mimi and I have been awake 4-6 hours every night with only 1 exception.
In the middle of the night while we sit on the couch, without knowing it, my head falls backwards, and I start to doze off.  Mimi strokes my cheek to get my attention.  To have me look at her again.
She wants my attention.
She wants my eyes on hers.
She wants me to see her.
Her sweet smiles and little rumpled-up nose grin appear in the wee hours of the morning.
She loves to have her feet and toes massaged and I can easily accommodate her at this late hour.  She places her feet in my hands until I rub them.  And when I stop she wriggles her foot back into my hand and fusses until I start rubbing again.
Somewhere between 2-3am last night, (or maybe that makes it this morning) she let me cradle her as she finally dozed off.  She tried so hard to keep her eyes open.  And each time she opened her eyes she saw me looking at her, and she couldn't help but smile.  At me.  Again and again she'd smile as she saw me gazing at her during that in-between time between sleep an awake.
These are the sweetest moments.
I had forgotten how hard and incredible the middle of the night can be with a new baby.
And yet, my second time around through an international adoption journey, and I find myself wondering if reentry was this hard last time.  I know in reality it was even harder last time.  But I'm reminded how hard this work is.
Daunting.
Brutal.
Physically my body is shot, and in the first few days when I was so sick, much of the time I literally couldn't do anything more than just observe.  The nausea, the jet lag, the incredible fatigue is overwhelming sometimes.
Additionally, mentally this is so difficult.
The what-ifs creep in.
My family and my home that ran so smoothly before we left,  is now in constant shambles.  I'm not able to find the ability to tuck in T&J each night, or snuggle with Boo like he craves.  I find myself doubting my ability to successfully run this home.  The house is a total wreck.  The meals I filled my freezer with are still sitting in the freezer untouched.  My temper is short.  The laundry is piling up and the dishes need to be washed.
This is hard work.
I rest in the fact, that this is all part of the transition.
My transition.
Our family's transition.
Sweet Mimi Jade's transition.
This isn't reality yet, and yet it is my reality now.
These are all part of the process of a child being uprooted completely from all she loves and knows in an instant and being transferred to something completely foreign and new.
This is all part of the process of dropping a child with 2 years of history into a family unit.
I rest more easily knowing that this processing she is going, that we are all going through, is compounded by lack of sleep, a complete change in diet and routine, jet lag...
I'm trying to get outside a bit each day, trying to let the sunlight hopefully work it's magic and restore our bodies' clocks.
Trying to get over the difficult hurdle of reentry.
Mimi loves it outside.  We all love it outside.  Balls, bubbles, and the grass between our toes.
With the exception of the reentry itself, what's not to love.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guess whose birthday it is?

Happy 2nd birthday, baby girl!
Our sweet Mimi Jade turns 2 years old today, and she started off the day by giving me the gift of a good night's rest!  She slept from 11:30-5:00am last night, and today is the first day I feel like I'm starting to recover and feel like a mama again.  
It will be a very quiet celebration, some cupcakes and a special little gift I got her before we left for China.  Maybe next year we will do it up big in her honor.  This year she needs much more quiet time to continue to get acquainted with her home and family.  
In the midst of our quiet celebration day, I can't help but think that I've been given the biggest gift of all.  A daughter forever.

We already love you to the moon and back, baby girl.  And even though you've only been home 4 days it feels like you've always been here!  And we couldn't be happier to have you home with us!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good-  We are home.  We got home Saturday evening.  The flight went as well as we could possibly hope for.  Mimi slept 8 of the 11 hour flight.  The extra seat we purchased for her, although not required since she is under 2-years-old, was worth every penny.
The bad-  We have been sick ever since.
And the ugly-  Like throw up and more sick.  A lot.  3+ days so far of no sleep and being ill for several of us.  God bless the two people in our house who aren't dealing with either jetlag and/or are sick, Papa and Sunny.  Poor Papa has been nurse maid and cleaned all the linens in the house more than once.  Baby cakes seems not to be sick so far except her clock is still set on China time, and she's up every night from 12:30-4:30.  Which would be fine by me, expect she's tired and doesn't want to play.  She wants to fight me with every part of her being for 4 hours.  Hitting, scratching, crying...  Yet she wants no part of anyone else in the house, so she literally stays on my very nauseous stomach most of the time.  I pass her off to Papa every once in a while, screaming in protest, to throw up.   Being sick while constantly being jostled by a toddler who simultaneously hates yet won't let go of me is difficult at best.

Remind me this is no time to judge my past decisions.

I'm ready for this part to be over.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 13, Tuesday {on the island}

Our day visiting the island and all of its calmness and serenity.  If I had the option, I'd stay on the island.  After 2 cities and lots and lots of exploring, the calmness of the island was welcoming, even if it wasn't as "Chinese" as the rest of the city.
If you're coming, we especially like Jenny's.  It's the best place for the squeaky shoes, (about $5 a pair) and I ending up getting quite a few souvenirs there.  Her prices are low and no haggling which I like.  She also ended up giving us quite a few "gifts" which might indicate how much I spent there.  Cow & Bridge has wonderful Thai food.  Bring your dirty laundry and get it done quite affordably on the island too.
Miss Mimi Jade continues to do well.  She is still transitioning slowly and sometimes quite unsure of her circumstances.  Her grief has given way to exporation and a sense of unsureness.  She is playing and smiling at times and at others something seems to trigger her fear all over again.  A knock on a door does it every time.  So do Chinese women.  She's ok interacting with Chinese women, but when she leaves them or they leave her, I sometimes see the same reaction she had when we left the orphanage.  Arched back.  Screaming. Inconsolable.  Anger.
And speaking of the anger, this girl of ours isn't afraid in the least to show us what she wants and especially that she doesn't want.  She can get angry quickly and will swipe an my face or grab my cheek and pinch hard.    I think this is how the children were likely disciplined in the orphanage.  And I witnessed children at the orphanage being extremely rough with one another without anyone seeming to notice.
 She's still quite picky with her food.  (She has nothing on her big sister Tess though)  and still won't drink anything but water very occasionally.  She loves drinkable yogurt, and I'm going to have to learn how to make congee as soon as we get home.  Anyone have a recipe to suggest?
For those of you who know the famous statue on Shamian Island, here is our girl posing.  She seems to know just where to stand!  It might also give you an idea of how petite she is.      
I am getting incredibly homesick at this point.  I am so ready to get all my little ducklings under one roof and settle into a routine.  I miss my little ducks at home so much and the comfort of Papa's hand in mine.  I heard one of them, Jude, had a mishap and ran into a wall a couple days back and may be missing a couple teeth now.  And I know they are well taken care, but I've been aching for home ever since.  The exploring of China has been wonderful.  Some of the best ever.  But I'm all explored out.  I'm dreading the flight home, and simultaneously so ready for it to begin all at the same time.
On day 10, we are just starting to get our first giggles from our girl.  She is absolutely enamored with simple bubbles!  She bats at them and thinks it is so funny when they come out of the wand.  Both Patch and Liv have been wonderful help playing with her and being my pack mules and go-fors.  I am so so glad they came on this trip.
We are starting our journey home tomorrow, Saturday.  Guangzhou to Seoul to LAX to Phoenix.  Our flight here takes off at 2:00pm-ish, and we arrive in Phoenix at 8:00pm-ish the same day.  It will be about a 36 hour journey.  I'm ready for it.  

March 12, Monday {alley ways & the medicine market}


Liv feeding her new little sister noodles.
Dried everything and lots of things I had no idea what they were, at the Medicine Market.
Dried anise in the front and cinnamon in the back.

Baby bump?
Incense burning at a city temple.  

Typical doorway to a family home in the city.
My father drawing a crowd again.
Carving a jackfruit for sale.
Typical alleyway with laundry and bicycles.  
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