Saturday, January 26, 2013

December…in January…I’m a Little Late, I Know.

So, yeah, I’m a little behind on the ole’ blogging and I hate to not mention December and what went on during that time as I believe it was all fairly crucial in helping Yaya to move deeper in her attachment to us. It all started with an idea to have a family vacation in the middle of December. Thanksgiving marked our 6 months home and we thought we could try a family trip away from home again but for a little longer than our trip to Grandma’s house  for Thanksgiving. We used our Hilton points to book a two bedroom suite in a resort in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We packed all our food on top of our car (the suite had a full kitchen) and crammed all our other stuff and kids in the minivan and we looked like the Clampets driving into the resort. 


The kids did great on the drive up and we had a wonderful reunion with Ella and her family. Ella if you don’t know or recall is a little girl who was in Yaya’s first orphanage with her and who remembers Yaya. Her mother, Julie, is a total lifesaver for me and we are trying hard to keep our girls in touch with each other. There house was a little past halfway to our destination and they had a great yard for the kids to all run around in.


(Note to self: Need picture of Julie and I.)

After about an hour we headed to the ‘burg’. When driving down the strip in Pigeon Forge we were all a twitter with all the fun stuff we imagined we’d be doing! (HA!) We arrived just in time to check in without penalty and then we unloaded the car while the kids ran amuck in the suite loving it all. The first surprise was that the freaky Christmas elves not only followed us to Tennessee but they were waiting for us in the bedroom when we arrived. The kids totally freaked out! They loved it. Here was my favorite location that the elves hid themselves…


The place we stayed was very nice and the bathtub/mini pool was a big hit for the kids.


Yaya made herself at home on the counter…

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Eden made herself at home in her suitcase umm, bear cave I mean. There is a cute video of this but I don’t have it ready yet. I’ll post it later.


We tried to locate some cool events for the entire family and we found a few. My favorite event was the Ripley’s Aquarium. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at what a great aquarium is. This kids loved it. However, it was here that we began to see the beginning of the unraveling of our sweet Yaya. We knew that she would be a bit nervous in this new environment and the first full day in Gatlinburg we stayed in the hotel suite the entire day. We saw a whole lot of ‘velcro asian’ at the hotel, but we had hoped it would abate the longer we stayed. Instead it got worse. At the aquarium, she was so put out by Eric dropping her hand to go attend to Eden that she refused not only to take my hand but she ran up to a complete stranger lady and took her hand!! I was beside myself at her behavior! As the week progressed her anger at being near me increased, to the point that she tried to refuse me giving her a bottle. This is something she has never done. I was texting my friend Julie every other minute. The text that hit home the most was the one where Julie said Yaya was “breaking up with me” before I could “break up with her.” Ahhhhhh. Yes that makes sense, no wait…it didn’t make sense at the time. But as we were driving home at the end of our trip it all came full circle. I’ll expand on that a bit in a moment.


We found a children’s museum that was really incredible but is was geared for kids a bit older than the girls. They had an amazing ropes course above the museum in way up in the ceiling that was all in  black light. Noah and Eric made it to the 2nd level before it was too much for Noah. Eric said it had a couple more really challenging levels he would have loved to have tried. The girls liked the peg board, bubbles, and giant piano the best.


Later we found MagiQuest. Noah and Eric’s favorite thing by far. They ran around with magic wand things and did quests while I entertained the girls in the pirate black light mini-golf course. I did get to do a house of mirrors with Noah at this same place and it was awesome. I ended up having to go get doughnuts with the girls on a car trip to busy the girls while the boys were playing MagiQuest. But all in all it was a pretty successful outing.



I was able to get out with Noah one afternoon and take Noah to see Rise of the Guardians and that was fun. And one night we all went out for pizza at the local Pizza Hut, also a pretty descent time. We got to walk the streets of Gatlinburg one day when the weather warmed up a bit and we visited the pool a couple times. We had to dress up in all are warm cloths just to walk to the pool. It felt ridiculous. But the pool was fun.


However all the in between times about killed Mama. Yaya was off the chain anxiously attached to Eric and when I say attached I mean physically attached. When Eric would try to move or get her off of him she would go into hysterics. Then I would have to take her off him and to another room and listen to her scream for 20 minutes and then try to do our attachment games. It was very tiring and annoying. I can’t sugar coat this. I had a horrible time on the “vacation” for the majority of the time. I had to handle all of her rage and then act like I liked her and wanted to be close to her. It was very trying. We decided to pack up and leave on Friday night instead of Saturday morning hoping the kids would sleep most of the way home. No such luck.

Yaya decided that at about 2.5 hours away from home she wanted to scream and cry and she did this for the entire 2.5 hours we had left. Nothing would console her. Then as we were approaching the 20 minutes left landmarks, I had a sobering realization. We took Yaya away on a trip over her Gotcha Day anniversary and we took her 5 hours away by car and we ended up on top of a mountain…literally. When Yaya was moved from her first orphanage to the second orphanage she was taken on a 5 hour car ride that ended on a mountain. Nice. We recreated one of the 3 most stressful events in her life. The entire time in Gatlinburg she was waiting for me to give her away. She was breaking up with me before I could break up with her. Now I get it. So when I saw our first landmark I knew Yaya would recognize I got her attention and pointed it out excitedly. As I kept pointing out landmarks she started settling down. The closer we got to home the quicker she recognized things, it was dark after all. Then as we were turning on one of our main roads close to home I pointed out the Target. At that moment, it was like a light switched was flipped in Yaya’s psyche. She instantly settled down and her entire temperament changed.  When we arrived home she was perfectly fine. No more anxious behavior, no more shunning me or her siblings, no more velcro Asian. She was happy as a clam to have me feed her a bottle before bed and then put her down. Her intellect works for us and against us I tell you. Once she realized we were going home as a family and not going to give her away she was fine. And she has made great strides in her attachment since that time. Incredible.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Quotes and Thoughts from Eden


October 2012 – Yay! I got it! I learned how to did it!

January 2013 – Bad case of “tosis” (This is her official diagnosis for what everyone has. She has a Doc McStuffins doctor kit and we always get the tosis.)

Eden’s November Thankful List:

Eden is thankful for lovie, Daddy, school, Grandma, Buh-buh, Dots Paint, Ms. Susan (her teacher), & her necklace.

Yaya's  November Thankful List (as written by Eden):

Yaya is thankful for the Christmas tree, Daddy, bubbles, Grandma, Bubh-buh, Mama, her bottles,  finger painting, her friend Abe, and Pump It Up.

Mama’s November Thankful List (as written by Eden):

Mama is thankful for her children.

Apparently Noah and Daddy are not thankful as they did not get lists and clearly Noah and I are in the dog house because we didn’t make Eden’s personal thankful list…I don’t think I should ponder on that long though.

Jan 14, 2013 - Eden and Noah were wrestling with Grandma. It was the girls against Noah. Grandma asked Eden if she was gonna smash Noah. Her response, “Like a potato.”

Jan. 17, 2013 - Noah was holding and squeezing a mostly deflated balloon of Eden’s. As he squeezed the balloon Eden was screaming, “No don’t do that to balloonie!” When he stopped the balloon had a different shape but it didn’t pop. Eden was still crying, “My balloonie, my balloonie!” I was exasperated with her and said, “Eden he didn’t pop it what’s wrong?!” She tearfully replied, “Now it isn’t balloonie, he made it a potato!” It did indeed look like a lumpy potato. After cracking up, we made Noah shape it back into a round balloonie.

Jan. 18, 2013 – I told Eden when I notices she was having “ahem” tummy issues, that I needed to get her some Miralax. I also told I would get her some M&M’s for using the potty. When we finished washing our hands I asked her, “Now what is Mommy gonna give you?!” (thinking she would say M&M’s) She replied, “Relax-me-ere!” I thought I was gonna die laughing! I informed her it was called Miralax but that I was actually now going to give her the M&M’s I had promised. She seemed equally excited about either prospect.

Jan. 19, 2013 – After dressing herself in fleece for the day, she decided she was going outside. I asked her if she needed a coat to go outside and she replied, “I don’t need a coat. I’m fuzzy zuzzy.” I. Love. This. Girl.

As you can see she says a lot of funny stuff,  I could dedicate an entire blog just to the stuff that she utters. But I really don’t have the time for another blog. So I thought these would be good for now.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Need More Noah? Here Ya Go!

noah collage

I felt like I didn’t have enough of young Master Noah on this blog. So I thought I’d take some time to focus on him. Poor kid, he has been having to raise himself for the past 7 months now. He hardly gets the attention he really needs, and he rarely complains. In the pictures above the ones where he is in red pants and no shirt…Eden took. May I just say that I am so jealous that my 8 year old is that ripped! Gymnastics is good to him. I don’t think I was ever in the shape he is in. I love the picture on the bottom of him and Eden in his bed. It was taken on Christmas Eve when Noah asked Eden if she wanted to come snuggle with him and wait for Santa. She loved it and even brought it up today, “Buh-buh asked me to cuddle with him in his bed and wait for Santa.” He is the coolest and kindest kid I know.  He is such a blessing and a gift to me. He is getting older too quickly. Mama can’t “make everything all right” sometimes now. And he is beginning the “no public affection” stage. He’s getting a bit more sassafras in him than I’d like at times but all in all he is just a super kid. I just watched the El Shaddai video again and cried. He watched it with me and laughed at me. I told him to go ahead and sing it again for me. So he started to sing it but fumbled the words. I teased him that he knew the words better when he was three. He laughed then made up his own words about not knowing the words. Then we both laughed. Sigh…they DO grow up to quick.

She Gets Weirder Everyday Now…

And by weirder, I mean weird for her but more like a normal kid for us. The first shocker was this:


A doll ladies and gentlemen she is holding a doll. Now it is a solid plastic doll mind you, no fuzzy soft stuff on this doll. Notice Yaya has taken the doll’s clothes off. Not only does she hold the doll, she takes it everywhere and cares for it! She feeds it, gives it a bottle, has us change the diapers, and bathes it…in the tub. (Then Eric has to rip it’s leg off and pour out all the water. Otherwise it will leak all over you…just ask Grandpa.) She started playing with the doll right around Christmas. This is a huge step for Yaya for two reasons. First, she is engaging in imaginative play and second, it is caretaking play. She kisses it and gives it lots of hugs, something we KNOW she learned from us. So it is pretty exciting to see.

The second shock was this:


She put the necklaces around her own neck and wanted me to take her picture. Yaya puts on NO accessories ANYWHERE on her body, unless it is her socks; which she has on all the time. (P.S. I did get her hair cut after this picture was taken and she no longer has Farah Faucet fly away sides. )

Then she came up with this:


These pictures crack me up! First off, she wanted to put on Noah’s night clothes and she looks hilarious! Second, her head is cocked sideways in two pictures because I was turning the camera sideways to take a vertical picture and I think she thought for the picture to turn out correct she needed to be sideways too! She is so smart…although the pictures don’t really reflect that…she looks not as sharp as she really is with her head that way.

Then TODAY she really did freak us out with this:


This is a STUFFED ANIMAL people!! Do you see her kissing, cuddling and hugging a stuffed animal!!!!??? A good friend of ours sent it home with Eric from work on Friday. This morning Yaya decided she was IN LOVE with this old school Curious George monkey. She took it with her all over the city, it and her hard plastic baby doll. They had to ride in the Target buggy with her. They rode in the car with her. They got out at Subway and ate lunch with her. They sat in the bathroom with her while she bathed. She took care of her two babies ALL DAY LONG. It was amazing to watch. We love to see her caretaking these toys! She has come a long way since May. She is doing so many things now that seem so…I don’t want to say normal…but it is the word that comes to mind. She is losing the orphanage behaviors and fears is a better way to say that. It is really encouraging to see.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Surgery Update…boooooo

Hello friends, those of you that are still hanging around…bless you. I have an unfortunate update to post tonight. Yaya got the flu over Christmas and so her surgery had to be postponed. It is a rule from the anesthesia department that you have to wait 4 to 6 weeks after the flu before they will put children under anesthesia. Sigh. So I left multiple messages with the cleft clinic hoping to get at date closer to the 4 weeks time frame opposed to the 6 weeks. Well we ended up with 8 weeks! When I heard this news this morning I could not have been any more distressed. Yaya WANTS TO TALK!! I mean badly! She is talking, only, it is almost impossible to understand her if she doesn’t use sign. Some words we are used to now and she is using them more. My heart is so heavy. I know that God clearly knows something we do not know and so he is giving us this time, not wasting it. My best friend called me tonight and I think she had a solid explanation as to why we are being gifted this time. I have to think on it more before I post it though. God is just cool that way to send along messages in the voices of those that we love dearly. So thanks Cathy.

There is the off chance that there could be a cancellation…i.e. a child gets the flu and has to cancel or something else bizarre, but I don’t want to wish a postponed surgery date on any family with a child needing surgery…or adult for that matter. So I wait and trust that one day Yaya will talk…eat real food…climb up and down stairs safely…go to school…enjoy a babysitter…these things I know will come. Our burden is so light I really can’t complain…well I could and often do but really I ought naught to.

Yaya is in early intervention for her lagging gross motor skills and can I tell you she is in love with her PT girl, Katie. We all are. She is wonderful. She did a house visit this past Wednesday and Yaya was beside herself when she saw Katie at the door. What a gift Ms. Katie is to our family. Katie and I are gonna get my little girl up to speed! So glad to be working with the people from Hand in Hand.

Yaya’s ears are a source of concern lately. We think she has an ear infection that even antibiotics aren’t touching and she is constantly complaining that her ears hurt. We know they are full, jam-packed with wax and the tubes aren’t working. I don’t think we can wait till Feb. 25 to do something about them. I don’t want her to have to go under anesthesia twice in two months time, but I’m pretty sure we can’t let this continue for her. So more news on that later, when I know more news on that.

It’s late and Yaya and I have our last attachment therapy session tomorrow at 8 am. From here on out we can go see the therapist as needed or for maintenance. We have all the tools we need to progress from here on out and really, Yaya is doing pretty well now. We are far from a date night or a weekend getaway without Yaya but we are bonding better we feel and we are hopeful that her anxiety is lessening some. Keep praying for a strong healthy attachment between me and Yaya and then Eric and Yaya.