cover photo

cover photo
The Chaos Reigns
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that our lives belong to each other." - Mother Teresa

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Updates

It has been a while since my last update on Jude and Gia. We have been absorbed with school starting, activities, and all things fall.  School has given our family a much needed structure to our day. (Our kids are broken up into smaller groups which is making our life much more manageable... but also very full.)

Jude

I feel like we are making some major breakthroughs with this kid. He is becoming such a character. He is starting to explode with joy and seems so happy in our family. (He still has his grumpy and mad moments too :) ) He is always bursting into smiles when he sees me and is actually showering me with affection now. (This is the same child who pushed all my hugs away in China.) He is now my little sidekick and is always rushing to my aid to help me with any task. We are noticing he is starting to become a big people pleaser. He is definitely not the sad, grumpy boy they described in our China updates.

He has finally decided to recognize his little sister Gia's existence. For the first few months, he would sort of act as if she wasn't there. She would smile at him..attempt to play with him, and he would either not make any eye contact with her or give her a persistent evil eye. Poor Gia. I thought there went our whole theory of adopting them together so they will be close.

However, we recently went on a family trip to the mountains and something clicked for him with Gia. We were hiking on a mountain trail, and he actually smiled at Gia and tried to get her attention. I was shocked. Maybe it was a good team building exercise for us...he realized we are all in this crazy family together (including Gia) for better or worse. LOL. 








Now that he acknowledges her existence, he has decided that he is in charge of her....taking the official role of big brother. He now screams Gia at the top of his lungs. Gia doesn't always listen (OK she never listens), and so he is always trying to keep her in line. If we are out and she is lolly gagging with the group... when I call for her to come, Jude will scream Gia...run and go get her for me like a little sheep dog and push her on the back to move. If she has to clean up a mess she made, he always goes to her aid to help. It is very sweet to see him start to advocate for her.

So, all that crazy Jude yelling we experienced in China.... he has now found a productive place for this skill...singing. He drives around our house smiling in his little Cozy Coupe singing what sounds very much like the Ave Maria in a crazy loud Opera voice. It makes me laugh because he is overflowing with joy when he does this. He will attempt to sing any song he hears. This is very exciting to his musical father that we now have a budding dramatic tenor Opera singer in the house. Jude has such a loud, projected yell, Dave actually notices that you can feel your skull vibrate when he screams. Aren't you envious of our loud household?

Jude's language and development are both exploding. Although he is still behind his peers, he is catching up very rapidly. In China, he was terrified of stairs. He now rocks the stairs and can walk comfortably down the center without holding onto anything. His vocob is expanding, and he is saying new words everyday. He definitely tries to keep up developmentally with big brother Joel. Joel makes all these crazy complex roads, garages, and bridges for all his toy cars (Our house always looks like a matchbox car bomb explosion), and Jude will now try to imitate what Joel is building. Joel, of course does not want Jude to come near any of his creations. Poor Jude.
I also cannot get over how much he is like his brother Joel.  Stocky, wavy hair,  his big skull, his smile, his stubbornness. :)

Jude wearing Joel's glasses

Jude is still eating a ton. I thought the eating frenzy would wean by now. It has for Gia, but not for Jude. Just to give an example, when I came home on last Sunday, Dave was cleaning up lunch, and Jude was signaling me to get him back into his highchair. I hesitated since the kitchen was now clean, and he had just finished his lunch. But, he saw I was preparing something, and he wanted more food. So, I obliged and gave him another bowl of eggs...and another....and he was still hungry.  So, I got out the leftovers from the night before and he ate 8 meatballs and a plate of noodles. Seriously, this was lunch #2. He is very much like the very hungry caterpillar....still hungry and looking for more food. I might need to create a sponsorship program to supplement Jude's diet.


More...Jude breaking the record for eating the most oranges at one sitting (keep in mind that half of the orange peels are on the floor)


 Gia's Update

I am now spelling Gia with a G like her first name Gianna  (vs. middle Jia) since everyone in the fam is now starting to call her Gi Gi.

Gia is making great progress as well. Although we still have a mountain to climb emotionally and developmentally with her.

We finally figured out how to get this exhausted child to nap longer than 20 minutes. When laying next to her, I noticed she still has the startle reflex like a little baby, and the reflex would wake her up. So, I tried swaddling her.. like you would a little baby. And, let me tell you, it was miraculous. She still rarely naps more than one hour, but I'll take one hour over the 20 minute cat naps. I also ordered them both weighted blankets which seem to be helping a lot. Both kids do best if they take a nap at 9:00 and then again at 1:00, which seems crazy for two 2 year olds.  But, they clearly need all this rest.

She also has finally stopped the night terrors. Alleluia. And, she is sleeping through the night in her own room!!  (However, my brain is still hearing babies constantly screaming at night, and I am not sure when that will go away. This is parental post traumatic adoption stress.)

We got through the night terrors by co-sleeping for a while. But, then she started waking up at 1 am like a little gymnast in our bed. After weeks of exhaustion and annoyance, we came to our senses, and decided to put her back in her crib and do a gentle cry it out. It only took a couple of days my friends, and we finally have a sleeper.  No more power struggles over sleep.


Developmentally, she is very much on track (or even ahead) on gross and fine motor. This child can climb anything..has a perfect pencil grasp. But, cognitively and emotionally we have our work cut out for us. I showed videos of Gia's behavior around the house to our attachment therapist, and she basically banned her to the ergo carrier for most of the day. Telling us we are up against pretty significant emotionally delays.


Gia still has progress to make in attachment.  She is definitely showing all signs that she has never attached to anyone and has experienced early trauma. It is so hard not knowing what happened to her in the past.  Living out parenting the hurt child has been incredibly humbling and challenging to say the least.  But, I am trying to celebrate the small things...like sleep success and Gia finally being able to play a little, and stay encouraged in her progress.


More random photos...


Grandpa giving Jude a haircut


Joel's turn


I somehow managed to take them all to the pool this summer.


How do you watch 3 toddlers at the pool? You can't. Life vests.


Meals are always major event in our house.


puzzles


The high demand crew.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Sweet Caroline

Dear Caroline,

8 years ago I was very pregnant with you...


Our house was under construction and very behind schedule (We were hoping to move in before you were born)...


My water broke dramatically in the middle of the night...We now know how much you love a great  performance.


You came out screaming.  You were loud....you can still project that great loud voice. :)



Your big sis finally had a sibling and a sister.  


You have grown up to be such a lovely lady.


You are quirky and fun...



love playing practical jokes...


full of joy...


smart (my cute little Mandarin speaker)....


a socialite, ( I can't keep track of all of your friends)...


You have a great, big heart...


stand up for the weak...


and tease your siblings a little too much.  :)

We love you Caroline.  Happy Birthday!!