Monday, October 5, 2009

Call me AVA

The girls:  Sharing an afternoon snack of peanuts together

So, Miss Toot-sweet was in a pouty mood this a.m. when Derek went to work upstairs in his office and the kids all went to school.  Hrumph, she was stuck with me.  She stomped and pouted and ignored and stuck out her tongue at me...ONCE.

Okay, so back to the beginning of the day...  First she pouted on the way to driving Eliza to school because Eliza had a raincoat and she didn't have I showed her the universal hand sign for money (pointer, middle and thumb rubbing together) and told her we'd buy one for her.  She didn't forget that and bugged me (and later Dad) about it all day mimicking the hand sign that I had showed her.   I think she was also pouting because she wasn't going to school.  I do empathize with her world being changed and the fact that she is trying to establish herself into the family dynamic and into possessions.  I also chuckle quite a bit because she is such a 6-7 yo...lots of pee-pee, poo-poo jokes and gestures; pranks.  She's really quite funny, silly, smart and we're all enjoying her and her personality that she brings to our family.

So, being stuck with mom... She and I came home from dropping Eliza off at school and she started in with the ignoring me and eventual sticking her tongue out at me when I told her I'd brush her hair after I finished loading the dishes into the dishwashwer...she swiftly got her toy taken away and into timeout for 5 minutes.  She sat there very obedient.  After 5 minutes, tear in her eye, I gave her a hug (she stiff hugged back, don't ya love that) and then she was happy again.  She was very compliant the remainder of the day.  Bored, but compliant.  Okay, "very" is a little over the top; she was better.  LOL

Maybe because I needed some control or sanity, I spent the a.m. cleaning, purging, bleaching.  Maybe because I lived out of a suitcase and a hotel for 10 days?  Maybe because I just didn't feel like entertaining what started out to be another pouty-child day?  Ha, ha...  Either way, she finally settled into the kitchen table with Play-Doh and accessories and went to town making enough Play-Doh Chinese noodles to fill platters, teacups, a overflowing.   Tomorrow, she and I are going to our Asian market to see if she wants to pick out same familiar foods.  Hint, hint:  Chinese noodles, I got it.  She hasn't been eating as much since being home no matter how I try to fix things that she ate while in China.

We went across the street to my friend Kim's for a minute and she immediately started opening her fridge and freezer.  She pulled out cheese.  Oh my, apologies, boundaries... Kim took it all in stride.  She offered her some cheese and I said that I was quite sure Ava didn't like cheese.  Well, like she does with all her food, she shoved the entire piece in her mouth.  She walked around for 5 minutes, not swallowing it and we couldn't help but laugh before signaling that she could spit it out into the garbage.  She seems to want to graze all day and not settle down for a meal; she also seems to be trying everything, but not finding anything that she likes.  I feel bad.  She didn't even like our Chinese restaurant...can't blame her...American Chinese restaurants don't even compare to real China food.  Anyone have any food suggestions or easy recipes?

She also took it upon herself to gather up the white's (laundry that I had made her put aside yesterday) and brought them downstairs to the washer on her own.  She's giving my 13 yo a run for her money between laundry and doing dishes, I'll tell ya!  I had to remind my 13 yo that Ava didn't have the distraction of laptops, tv, texting/cell phones, etc. in her previous home and that if she doesn't shape up herself, she might not have those distractions either!  LOL

So, here's when she started being more compliant and agreeable:  At one point, I had Shutterfly up and was looking at pictures from China.  She leaned over my back and then chimed in with something that I couldn't understand.  I made out 2 words:  Meiying and Ava.  Finally, I figured out and she confirmed many times to me, that what she said was that she doesn't want to be called Meiying anymore.  She wants us to call her Ava.  Derek and I tested this through out the day and everytime we'd call her Meiying or even Ava-Mei, she'd yell NO and say Ava.  Huh!?!  Any insight on that from you BTDT's; what brought that on; disassociating or detaching or accepting?  She definitely seemed more interested in my requests or directions after that.

We stopped by our Chinese restaurant so that Derek could convey, through their translations, that he has to head out of town for work; and also that she need not be afraid of our passive dogs.  She nodded yes to both, but I think she'll be in a shocker when she realizes that Daddy is gone for a few days each week and she'll be STUCK with mommy.   (He's been home for a month, so he really needs to get back on the road.  I wish he could finish the week out at home.)  And we'll see if she is less afraid of the dogs.  Doubtful.  Even though she's watched Eliza practically stick her entire hand in their mouth and mount Hogan like he's a horse.

We had a good day overall.   I think things were clicking a little more today for Ava.  She gave me some gentle and unsolicited hugs as the day went on.   By 7:30, both girls had their baths together which they enjoy and were snuggled into their  beds ...ASLEEP.  Yes, by 7:30!  Eliza would normally be awake until 9:30 p.m. or so.  Also, this is the third night of Eliza actually allowing us to tuck her into bed in her "old" bedroom and staying up there all night!  I'm resting much better, but am missing those hard-as-a-board China beds.  Seriously.  They were so good for my back.  I'm probably the only person who actually like them. 


The Montieth Family said...

Oh so many things to comment on! I'll just take on a few for now and email you later. :) I adore the picture of the girls eating adorable! And, I love that she wants to be called Ava! I love that they are sleeping upstairs together and you are CRAZY about the China beds! ;) Oh and Sophie is not crazy about cheese either! She is getting better about it now and will eat it once in a while! Ha.

Jean said...

She wants to be called Ava because she wants to please you and she wants to fit in here- her new home. She is a survivor! She probably will go thru periods of wanting to be Meiying, missing her past and who she was. Sarah did- then we would call her Ming Ming- then we would forget and she would forget and it was back to Sarah!

First she did not like cheese, then she loved cheese, then she did not like cheese now she kind of likes cheese! ;-)

Rachel said...

I just caught up on the last few days of your trip and coming home. While Ava is challenging you, it sounds like she's going through the right emotions and you are doing an amazing job! I'm happy that she is settling in and trying to find her place in your family.
Could you email me your address - I would love to send Ava a gift.


Reena said...

Hi Sarah,

It is so amazing to read your blog and how Ava is changing day to day.


day by day said...

Oh, I love hearing how the girls are adjusting so well to one another!! And E sleeping in her own wonderful!!!

I just read the post below...when I had mentioned I was going to e-mail you...that front seat thing was exactly what I was going to mention about, too. Our kids with attachment challenges are all so similar in many, many ways. One thing for sure...they are super smart and always trying to be one step ahead in their planning of so many things.

So glad to hear you are all will take time...for all of you. But sounds like things are going well. day at a time.


McKayGreenFamily said...

hey! I just popped in and saw 2 posts! Things sounds very "normal" (haha... normal for adopting older kids!), yes, the triangulation... we had that too with seats at supper (still get that behaviour from time to time, we support eachother always infront of H). For Hannah, she was also trying to push Josh out of the picture too, so we had to watch out for that...

B-P days up and down at breakneck speed sometimes, yup... super smart and trying to stay one step ahead... you can see Hannah's gears always turning, trying to predict/anticipate/ensure events work as she believes they should... she gets what she wants... expects...

I think the name thing though is that she wants to be YOUR family, having a chinese name makes her different from "you". Hannah completely rejected XingJuan but just last night we were practicing some mandarin homework (huge advance, she rejected it before) and she happily said, "My name is XingJuan"(in mardarin she said refered to herself as XingJuan on her own) and was very happy about it....

gotta love playdoh! H loves to do the same.. .and help with cooking/dishes/shopping too!

ahhh I love the visual of the 2 girls coming to your room together! :0)
Love the photos!!!

TanyaLea said...

It's so interesting following along as A-M adjusts to her new life. I think it's so cute that she wants to be called 'Ava' now. I would guess that may come and go in phases as she grieves her old life in China, but it's wonderful to see how well she is adjusting and 'learning' (rules and boundaries) at home. Praying that her appetite adjusts some, too!!

Love the photos of the girls together... truly priceless!!

Elizabeth, David, Katie, &Chloe said...

This sounds just like Chloe when we brought her home. She will not like cheese, bread or potatoes. They are all dry and they don't like that or at least that is what a chinese lady told us. Chloe still doesn't eat any of those. I invested in a rice cooker and gave Chloe rice for every meal for a while until she could get used to our food. Breakfast was always hard to find something for her to eat. She did want rice and noodles but I didn't want to give noodles for breakfast to. I made her hard boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast and she liked those. For lunch you could try sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob. Those were all Chloe's favorites when she came home. Also in the freezer section you can buy a lot of pot stickers and that is what Chloe ate for a while. I did feel bad for Chloe not knowing what to feed her but she showed me in the store what she liked. They must have ate corn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes a lot in China. Also fruit she would enjoy.