Friday, March 28, 2008

Send me suggestions: Glasses for Z

So Miss Z needs to get glasses. I think we should go rectangular, oblong shaped frames; M favors rounder and horn-rimmed frames. So please, do us a favor, and tell us your opinion. Find some frames for Z! What shape do you think would look best? Leave me a URL with a photo of your #1 pick in the comments, or send me an email.

Here's a good head-on shot of Z, to remind you of her face shape.

Long night

First of all, I have to say that I find it funny that I got more comments on my "strep, pinkeye and lice" post than any other post so far (except maybe some from when we were in China). Funny in an odd way more than a ha-ha way. But at least I got a volunteer to come over & comb out the lice if we get to that point. No lice so far though.

Poor Z, and M by association, had a terrible night. I don't know what's going on with her. It started with naptime yesterday afternoon. She normally takes really outstanding afternoon naps, like 2-2.5 hours without a peep. But yesterday she only made it about 40 minutes before she started screaming. I got her quieted down a couple of times, but I don't think she ever fell asleep again.

The same thing happened last night. With the exception of that one week she was sick not so long ago, she's normally a stellar sleeper. She goes to bed around 7:30, and we don't hear from her again until at least 7am. But last night she woke up screaming at midnight, then again at 3:00, 3:30, and 6:15. I may have missed one between 3:30 and 6:15 too. And when I say "woke up screaming," I do mean screaming. She sounded angry. Like a combination of crying and yelling. On the rare occasions she wakes up during the night, she rarely gets that worked up, but last night, she went from asleep to raging screams, with no warm-up in between.

Z tries to look innocent, like a baby too sweet to scream through the night

What's up with that?! She didn't have a fever, so I don't think she's getting sick. I'm wondering about teeth. Could she be starting to get her two-year molars? She's not even 18 months old yet, but she did get all the rest of her teeth early. She had everything but those molars at 15 months. B was an early teether too, but I don't think he was that early.

Anyway, poor M was on Z-duty last night. We take turns, and on Thursdays, he's supposed to get up. The poor guy only got about 3 hours of sleep he said. I was up some at midnight and 3-3:30, but that doesn't compare. B slept through the whole thing. He can sleep through anything.

So I think I'll try a little Tylenol at naptime today, to see if that helps her sleep. In the meantime, I'm trying to psych myself up for a day of screaming and head-flinging (that back-arching, head-cracking thing she does when she's mad). B was hoping to go to the park this morning, but it's not a nice day. I'm thinking of a rec center with a sweet indoor playground instead. I may be crazy to take her out in public today, but I'd rather have a mostly happy baby with one or two public meltdowns/hissy fits than a bored, fussy baby all day long in the house. Wish us luck.

Creative B discovers a way to color with four sparkly markers at the same time

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Strep, pinkeye and lice

That's what they have confirmed cases of in B's preschool classroom this week. To be honest, I'm most afraid of the lice. Pink eye is no biggie, and we've been through strep throat once already and found that zithromax knocked it out remarkably quickly. But lice. Ewwwwwwww. I've heard that they don't spread from person-to-person as easily as once thought. You pretty much have to sleep in the same bed or something. If that's true, he should be fine. Cross your fingers that B stays healthy and doesn't bring home any little white things on his head. I will FREAK OUT if that happens.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lazy blogger

This picture makes me laugh

I'm having a hard time keeping up with the blog. To make up for my laziness (or is it to perpetuate my laziness? your call), I'll mostly post pictures today. Just a few things to tell --

Z has gone back to the stellar sleeping habits she showed us after her first few days at home. In the past week, there's been just one wake-up that required parental intervention. Other than that, she's slept soundly for about 12 hours a night. We love it!! She's also given up on 75% of her screaming. She's been a very happy little girl, and very chatty too. If only I knew what she was saying. Honestly though, I'm grateful for both the sleep and the cheerful attitude. It's a lot more fun to live this way than the way we were doing it last week. I'm putting the bad mood and poor sleep down to a little virus she had about ten days ago.

B spent five days with my parents last week. They spoiled him rotten. It's going to take us at least 10 days to de-program him. He had a blast though. He got to go to the airport to pick up Poppy, did two Easter egg hunts, and saw Nemo on Ice. Oh yeah, and he ate sweets every day. That's the hardest de-programming of all. That poor kid inherited my sweet tooth. Unfortunately, his stay didn't end on a good note -- he got a little bite on the forehead from my parents' dog. She's a little goosey, and he's used to Kenai, our gentle giant. I think he just got a little crazy with her in a way that Kenai tolerates, and she snapped. I don't think it's a bad bite, but I'm keeping a close eye on it just in case.

Poor B with his owie boo-boo

Pretty Girl

My brother, with a monkey on his back

Look at me walk!

My nephew, Zorro

B at my parents' house

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In training

Both kids are in training this week. B is practicing hard for Easter, using painted wooden blocks as eggs. His dad hides them, and he finds them and puts them in his basket.

Z is working hard at walking again. You may remember she started walking on her own while we were in China, then lost interest after we came home. Well, she's back at it, and doing better than ever. Today she was sitting in my lap on the floor, and before I even knew what was happening, she stood up and walked off. Fortunately I caught up to her before she tipped over.

I am training to be a more patient parent. Z has been having some major sleep issues this past week. It's odd, since she slept very well for a week before that. This week though, there's been a lot of screaming. A lot. And today it continued throughout the morning. Good times, good good times.

I may need to invest in some earplugs for when I'm in the car, because that little girl has developed a serious aversion to the carseat, and the only way to stop her screaming is to take her out of the seat. Obviously, there are places we have to go, and she cannot ride without the seat. What to do? Wearing earplugs is the only solution that comes to mind, but I guess that only helps me, not Z. Back to the drawing board.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One month

February 17, 2008

March 18, 2008

Weekend in review

Well, the first official B-Z-Mommy Super-Fun Day was OK, but not exactly a resounding success. Z wasn't feeling well. Nothing serious -- just a bad cold & a little fever, but enough to make her grouchy. We baked our cookies, and here is the aftermath:

That crummy little slice of countertop is ALL the counter space I have in my kitchen. I hate my kitchen. I wish we could do something about it, but money isn't exactly just hanging around waiting to be spent these days.

Z still doesn't have much taste for vegetables, so I've been tricking her. I hide pureed vegetables in her food. Today's treat: Annie's mac-n-cheese with pureed carrot. Deeeeeeeelicious.

B at 6 months -- note the family resemblance

You! More carrots! NOW!!

We went to Grandma & Bumpa's for lunch on Sunday. My brother and his family were smitten with Little Z, of course. And B was absolutely delighted to see them. They play hard together. Z added two new words to her vocabulary while we were there: dog and Bumpa. This morning she was petting our cat Lulu, and said "Dog, dog!" While her pronunciation is excellent, I think we need to work on comprehension. They are both black, so a little confusion is understandable. But Lulu weighs 12 pounds, and Kenai is more like 95.

We learned a hard lesson on Sunday: no matter how well sweet Z is behaving, resist the temptation to leave an hour late, assuming she will take a late nap in the car during the hour-long drive home. We ended up with 10 minutes of napping and about 50 of fussing. There are few things less pleasant than being trapped in a car with a fussy baby and a cranky four year-old. Nap time is sacred; never mess with it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A breakthrough

Yesterday, I had Z standing at the ottoman in the living room eating a little snack, while I tried to vacuum the dining room. Well, she lost her marbles when I turned on the vacuum. I'm not just talking crying, no, this was red-faced, ear-splitting, blood-curtling screaming. I've never heard her make a sound like that before. I ran to her, sat down next to her on the floor, and before I could even hold my arms out, she held out hers, toddled over to me, and grabbed hold of me, burying her head in my shoulder as she sobbed. Now this may sound terrible to you, but I was delighted. Fellow adoptive parents will recognize this for what it was: a major step in the attachment process for Miss Z.

She's been doing very well in this department so far, but hadn't yet taken this little step. She knows who we are, and prefers us over strangers (a good sign, since some adoptive children will turn on the charm for anyone who gives them positive attention). She fusses when we put her down or leave the room. She accepts unlimited affection from us -- holding, hugging, kissing. She accepts our comfort when she is upset, and it helps her feel better. However, she had not yet sought our comfort, and hadn't yet really held on when we held her. So this is huge. It means she's realized that we are a dependable source of love and comfort.

Maybe I should do some more vacuuming today to try to get her to do it again. Just kidding, of course.

I don't have any pictures to post at this very moment, but today is the official weekly B-Z-Mommy Super-Fun Day, and I promise to take many and post them by this evening. The only item on our agenda for certain is baking cookies. A neighbor brought us dinner last week, and I don't want to return her tupperware empty. Plus, we're headed to Grandma & Bumpa's on Sunday so Z can meet my brother, his wife, and their two teenage kids. These kids are absolutely amazing -- so well-adjusted and fun to be around. B adores them (and I think they adore him too), so I'm betting Z will too. Anyway, I've been instructed by my mom to bring cookies, so today we're baking a double batch of Grammy's famous chocolate chip cookies. Just in case you want to bake yourself a batch, here's the recipe:

Grammy's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2c flour

1t baking soda

1/2t salt

1/2t baking powder

1c white sugar

1c brown sugar

1c shortening

2 eggs

2c oats

1t vanilla

small package chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream together the sugars and the shortening until they are fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, soda, salt, baking powder and oats, and add them to the sugar-egg mixture in batches. Last, add the chocolate chips. Drop in 1" balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Miss personality

Miss Z is coming out of her shell. She got pretty quiet when we came home, and just sat back and watched a lot. From her point of view, there was probably just too much new stuff to see, hear, taste and do for a baby to process. She had to soak it in for awhile before she could respond. Well, she's back! Her bright, giggly personality is showing again.

Right this minute, she's sitting next to me in her high chair, eating her body weight in breakfast. First she had her morning bottle on the way to drop B off at preschool. When we got home, she snacked on Cheerios while I made her a scrambled egg, then I gave her half my bagel. Now she's back to dry cereal, this time B's Clifford Crunch. She's kicking her feet and jabbering while she eats. Any time her tray is empty, she yells at me for more. I ask her if she wants more, and she signs "more." Smart little girl.

Speaking of smart, she has added another word to her vocabulary: up.

She blew a five-night streak of stellar sleeping skills the night before last. She was up from 1:30 - 2:30am, first fussing, then just talking and playing with her feet. She woke up at about 4am today too, but just talked and laughed for about ten minutes, then went back to sleep. This morning's wake-up didn't require any parental involvement at all.

My biggest problem right now is the way she likes to fling herself backward. She does this when she's mad, but also at totally unpredictable times. She'll be sitting on a marble floor, and for no reason at all, just flings herself backward, crashing her head into that floor. Or into the corner of a table, or whatever happens to be there. It rarely seems to hurt her, but it scares the bejesus out of me. It's one of the few things that I use the word "NO!" for these days. I think that before she came to us, she spent most of her time in a crib or a walker. There was no disincentive for her to fling herself backward like that -- if she was in a crib, she either hit the mattress or didn't have far to go before she hit the sides. In a walker, her head didn't hit anything at all. Maybe it was even a fun game in the walker. It sure is scary now though. If anyone has an idea for getting her to stop, bring it on!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Visit from a friend

Z and I had company today. Drop by her blog to check out the great pictures.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

We survived our first week

Sometimes having two kids is easier than having one. When they play together so I can make dinner, for instance. Most of the time, it's not. Especially not when we're at the outlet mall and both kids are screaming. We are learning how to do this though, and having plenty of fun along the way. We bought a sit-n-stand stroller today (2 kids can ride in it), and I think that will help a lot. B gets tired and jealous when Z gets to ride and he has to walk, so it should at least prevent some future meltdowns in public places.

It helps that Z has slept through the night for the past THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW!!! We decided to try having her sleep in her own room (instead of in our room), and it's been so so SO much better. The first two nights, one of us slept with her on an aerobed, but last night, she spent the entire night by herself, and we never heard a peep. She doesn't even cry when she wakes up alone in the morning; she just starts talking until we come get her. What a good baby girl! And it's making our lives so much easier.

Z had her appointment at the pediatrician on Tuesday. She got four vaccines, which didn't make for a happy baby for the next couple of days. She ran a little fever and was pretty fussy, but a little Tylenol helped a lot, and she's all better now. The pediatrician thinks that she is right on target developmentally, in terms of everything really -- language, motor skills, emotional and cognitive development. This is really wonderful news, and certainly not what you expect to hear when you adopt a child who is almost 17 months old. We feel very lucky, and know that Z was lucky to have received good care before she came home. She is a bit on the slender side in comparison to her height, but she doesn't look skinny at all. She's got an extra little chin and some chubby baby thighs. I suspect she could use a little bit of fattening up, but I think she's just got a long, lean body.

Yesterday I took the kids to get their pictures taken at Kiddie Kandids. It didn't go exactly the way I planned it. We got about two pictures taken before Z started fussing, and she really never stopped. Then B somehow fell over right on his nose, and cried for awhile. Poor little dude. He recovered enough for us to get these two gems:

They definitely capture B's personality, happy and silly. What a handsome Bee!

Here are two of them together, the only two out of about 20 when neither was crying and nobody had their eyes closed, or was tipped over, or had a hand in front of a face:

Family, keep an eye on the mailbox for your copies!

B continues to be a stellar big brother. He's gentle and affectionate, and tries to play with her and help her. She sometimes doesn't want him to hold her or be too close, but I think she'll get over that with a little time. She's still a bit of a mama & baba's girl right now. He's still so proud to be a big brother. He tells everyone he sees the things he's taught her to do: have her nails clipped, brush her teeth, and pick her nose.

I'm afraid I only took three pictures on the digital camera this week before the card was full, and none of them are worth sharing. I started downloading pictures tonight though, so now I don't have that excuse for not taking pictures. I'll also start downloading video tomorrow, and should soon have some video from China, including the moment Little Z was handed to us, and the hilarious belly laughs we got an hour later. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Getting our groove back

This is my second weekday on maternity leave, and I've been working hard at establishing a routine. We all get up at about 6am (thanks to B, the early bird). We all hang out in our bed for awhile, while Z has a bottle and M & I enjoy our coffee. M goes to work, and Z and I take B to preschool. When Z & I get home, we have a nice big breakfast (she's turned into a bottomless pit, and eats for as long as I put food in front of her). Next we take a walk to get some sun, then come home and play for awhile. Lunch is at 11:30, and is followed by a bottle and a nap. Today she's napping in her own room (as opposed to in the pack-n-play in our room). I'm hoping this works out, as we're not getting much sleep with her in our room. Every peep she makes wakes us up. The routine for the afternoon is still fluid, since there's been a lot going on. Z puts on her jammies & has a bedtime bottle at 7, and B gets to stay up until 7:30ish. Everyone is in bed by 8.

Unfortunately, it seems to be part of Z's routine to wake up for the day at 9:50pm. We don't think that's such a great idea. She's settling down faster though -- the night before last she was up for an hour, but last night it was only half an hour. I honestly don't remember what happened the first two nights we were home. It's a blur.

When we arrived at preschool on Monday morning, all of B's friends had been watching for us out the window. When we got to his classroom, they were all standing in the doorway. They were so excited to meet Little Z! B just glowed with pride. It was really cute.

Z is beginning to expand her culinary horizons beyond ham and eggs. Last night she had Spanish rice, and this morning she ate oatmeal. I still haven't seen her willingly and knowingly eat a vegetable, but I have a sneaky plan that I'm hoping will turn that around. Today at lunch, I mixed her mac-n-cheese with pureed squash. She never knew the difference -- sucked it down just as fast as she did on Sunday with veggie-free mac-n-cheese. I'm hoping that she'll develop a taste for veggies with my puree trick, and will eventually eat actual vegetables. That's never been a problem with B. He's been a champion eater since day one, always willing to eat any vegetable or fruit. Z still won't drink anything but formula (I've tried juice, water and milk), but I'm tricking her on that front too. I've been putting a couple ounces of milk in every formula bottle, and I'm going to increase it bit by bit until she's drinking just milk.

I'm off to take a little nap now. It has now been a full week since I got a decent night's sleep, and I'm feeling it.

To tide you over until I find another moment to post, here are more pictures from the night we got home. These were all taken by my family. I haven't downloaded the pictures I've taken on our camera over the past few days because the USB cable is in M's computer bag at work. He says he'll bring it home tonight, and I'll get some more recent pictures up soon.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Home sweet home

Ahhhh, it's good to be home. We got in late Friday afternoon, after a grueling 28 hours door-to-door. Nobody got a lot of sleep on the trip. Z put in about four hours in two separate naps between Hong Kong and San Francisco, then all three of us passed out between San Francisco and Denver. Even without sleep, the trip went pretty well. We had bulkhead seats on the long-haul flight, so Z was able to get down on the floor and play. I don't know how we would've survived it otherwise! She was a great little traveler.

We were met at the airport by B, my parents, my aunt Carolyn, my aunt Carol & uncle Chuck, and my cousin's daughter Sophie. B & Sophie had a great time waiting for us, judging by the pictures. They all came home with us, and some friends and neighbors came over too. It's a good thing we had a house full of people until the kids' bedtime, because I don't know how I would've made it without all of them helping me stay awake!

It was so, so good to see B. He looked huge! He had a haircut right before we got back, and I swear it made him look a year older. He feels like he weighs a ton now, after carrying little Z around for two weeks. How was I carrying that kid around before this?!

If I look a little tired in these pictures, well, that's because I was. Am, I mean. Jet lag is a killer. Z isn't sleeping as well as she was in China, so neither M nor I is getting caught up. We're hoping that changes as she settles in. Please.

B is thrilled to finally be a big brother. He's doing a great job of it too. He is so gentle with Z, and tries to hold her and help her do things. We weren't able to cut her fingernails in China, so they'd gotten pretty long and sharp. Last night, I sat both kids in my lap and cut B's nails while Z watched. Before I'd even finished doing one hand, Z was sticking hers out and fussing. I cut all her nails without so much as a peep! B was very proud that he taught his sister that having her nails cut wasn't scary.

Next week is a big one, with two doctor's appointments for Z. Cross your fingers for her that all the news is good. I think it will be -- she seems very healthy.