Sunday, October 4, 2009

I realize at some point I'm going to have to merge my blogs, E and A-M's, now that we're home.  So, speaking of E and A-M, they are becoming sisters a little bit more with each passing day.  The first few days, Eliza seemed to have this look on her face like "ugh, she's still here" and Meiying would watch Eliza, but didn't seem real enthused either.  Eliza has really come alive in the last 2 days though.  She's babbling more than ever, she's watching everything that Ava-Mei does; everything; and they're sharing the same bedroom!  (Remember, Eliza's been sleeping w/ dad and mom since last May.)  Meiying has made sure to tell us that she wants Eliza sleeping up there in the other bed too.  Last night was the first full night that Eliza didn't come downstairs in the middle of the night.  I heard her wake up, but she quickly went quiet again and they both slept until 8:15 a.m. when they showed up together at our bedroom door.  What a cute, cute site that a dream seeing my 2 little girls standing side-by-side at our door with happy morning faces on.

So, yesterday was Derek's day #3 with A-M.  If you remember, my day 3 was the start of the rejection.  Ava-Meiying was certainly testing, rebelling, triangulating (*see more about that) and pouting and mixing some happiness in there too.  We called it the B-P day (bi-polar) because her moods were all over the place.  Today, she woke happy though and stayed happy all day...less busy...less chaotic in her playing with toys.  She enjoyed being a big sister to Eliza today, even picking her up a few times and Eliza would giggle with delight; helping Eliza reach for things that she couldn't get to and giving her kisses on the cheek.  I'm watching her carefully.  She tried to reprimand Eliza about something Eliza was getting into and Derek and both told her "no"; that's mommy and daddy's job.  Also, right now, I don't think she's perceiving Eliza as a threat because I'm Eliza's primary and so that free's up Derek to her.  I'll continue to keep a watch though.

We met our friend Marisa and her 3 kids at McD's playland then all went to Harris Lake Park for bikeriding and playground time.  Marisa's son, Jordan, is the same age as Meiying.  They had a good time racing around the paved path on their bikes...even though he's a boy and she's a girl...ewww.  She is picking up english very quickly (more translating then actually speaking it still), but she does repeat english very well.  We bought her a V-tech laptop that she's already mastering (counting, letters, etc.).  She and I have played a memory game that she enjoys and is very good at.  She also had to put on an apron (to match me) and stood at the sink washing dishes while I made dinner tonight.  She really seemed to enjoy helping out.  She's been a joy today and seemed very settled in...the most today.   She can get wild at times and whiney when we tell her she has to put something away before getting another thing out, but she's starting to get it.   We topped off the day by going to Dairy Queen after dinner.  It's 8:30 p.m. and both little girls are sound asleep already in "their" bedroom!  Hip hip hooray.  What a treat that is and what a beautiful site to see them both snuggled down in those beds in the same room.  I love it!

So, my Guilin-family friend, Adriana, has been so good at sharing her experiences with me and the behaviors of older adopted children.  She commented about triangulating when I mentioned that I was chopped liver and Meiying was now sitting in the front passenger seat.  I knew she was right in what she was saying and quite honestly, you can tell that it's more than just a child interested in sitting up front to "see" everything out the car windshield.  I knew that before I even read Adriana's e-mail to me.   It was an obvious "honing" in on my space.  (I don't mean for this to sound cruel; there were some other things that she was purposefully doing to try to move me aside for Dad's attention.)  The first few days, she made sure to sit at the same place at the table that she sat for her first meal at home.  Then, out of the blue, yesterday morning, she walked over to my seat while I was eating, holding her own plate, she gestured for me to switch seats with her (I sit next to Derek, of course).  I told her no.  Oh boy...she tried to nudge me out of the seat and tried pushing my plate out of the way.  (Derek and I had already talked about not letting her do some of these behaviors just because she was new to the family; that it was more important to establish the dynamics of the family right up front.)  So, Derek then spoke up and told her that was my seat and she needed to sit back down at the table at her seat.  That was the start of the B-P day!  The next issue was when we made her vacate the front passenger seat in the car and explained that was Mom's seat (which she already knew).  She went rag-doll on Derek when she refused to budge and he had to physically pick her up and move her to the back.  He felt awful, I could tell and I know my husband, he'd rather not deal with it, but I insisted that we stick to our guns about this.  So, the rebelling began.  She kept taking her seatbelt off while we were driving and stuck her tongue out at me when I told her to put it back on...oh yes (and it wasn't a sticking out of the tongue like you'd imagine, it was more like a throwing-up kind of sticking out of the tongue).  It was a joyful day for me.  She then started making Derek carry her everywhere.  I won't go into all the details of the day.  We certainly picked our battles and more importantly had to stick together like glue on some of the issues even though Derek thought more compassion was needed and all would work itself out (that's him).  Today was better and she "took her place" in stride and without any issues.  So, my recommendation is nip things in the bud right away and you'll have a more secure, happy child because they'll know what to expect and they'll understand the dynamics and how/where they fit in.  I'm sure there will be more to come.  In fact, she wouldn't share a piece of her candy with me after "lovingly" sharing it with her dad and dad took it away from her.  He started understanding what I was explaining to him as things happen.  She will still ignore us and more me, when she doesn't want to do something, but like parenting Eliza, I just "take away the distraction" and redirect.  It's tiring, but she started coming around today.  She is truly a blessing to the family and we're all enjoying the addition of Meiying (aka Ava-Mei, Mei-Mei, just Ava, just Meiying, etc.)

She was also very upset that she wasn't going to school yet like Allie and Eliza.  So, on the agenda for this week, a visit to our pediatrician to make sure she's current on her immunizations needed for school and then getting her registered.  She's really enjoyed going along when we pick up Eliza from school and I truly think she's ready to be be around kids again and learning.  She seems to be craving the knowledge in everything we do, write, say, etc.  I had even bought some Kindergarten and 1st Grade work books for counting and alphabet and she's loving them.   Anyway, I've uploaded pics to Shutterfly and some video too.  Thanks for continuing to follow our journey and commenting!


The Montieth Family said...

Hi Sarah!

I love the new pictures, especially the one of Derek napping with his girls! :) Sweet!

It sounds like Meiying is finding her place in the family & I love the way that you and Derek are handling the transition. You are SO GOOD!

I know that it is not funny, but I was dying laughing about her sticking her tounge out at you all bratty like! UGH. :)

She is beautiful. Hang in there and know that I am thinking about you all.

Love, Megan

Jean said...

Hi Sarah-
When I read your last post about Ava sitting in the front seat- a fed flag went up with me. Sarah has often tried to get between Jim and I and we make it very clear to her that is not okay.

Just for the future- she may start to take care of Eliza- which sounds very nice BUT she is doing it so you do not- in other words she doesn't want you to give the love, care, the time and TLC to Eliza so she will do it in place of you.We have to remind Sarah that we are Anna's Mommy and Daddy and we do the cares for her.

Our Sarah is an incredibly wonderful girl but all this is just part of older child adoption.

I can hardly wait to get my guilin girls home! We are thinking that May will be the month!!

Lori said...

Wow Sarah, sounds like things are going great at your house! I'm so amazed at how Meiying has adjusted...even with that very rough beginning! Yay!!

babyarnie said...

Hurray!! You are home! I'm so glad for you guys. We prayed and prayed for your journey and constantly followed it. Can't wait to hopefully meet one day for lunch and swap stories. Hang in there.

Reena said...

HI Sarah,

It sounds like you and Derek are on a good path! I remember Josie at 16 months, use to get mad at Wim if he touched me or even sat too close to me. She would smile sit on my lap, smile at him, pick up his hand that was on my knew or whatever and put his hand back in his lap. Then plop her her thumb in her mouth!

It was a process.

How is your stepdaughter handling the transition?


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

I am glad you are home at last. I remember Chloe doing these things at home as well. I remember having to get on to her and putting her in time out less then a week when we got home. You do need to put your foot down and she will respect you more. She has probably not had any dicipline and has always gotten her way. Chloe would take things from Katie and spit at her and try to bite her. She would then take things and hide them in places so that Katie couldn't find them. It was tough at first but it got better after about 3 monthes.

Truly Blessed said...

Start as you mean to go on

That's a phrase I heard once long ago. It's one of my mantras as I go about doing things with my girls. You and Derek are wise to "nip this in the bud" right now with your sweet, smart and crafty 7 year old! YOU are the parents, SHE is the child. She may not want to be the child, but she is. Keep strong, and work as a team...she can't win this one if the two of you are cemented in how you're going to deal with her in these issues.

Say "yes" as often as you can, but say no when you mean it!

But, I'm SO glad to hear that things are going well with your two daughters! That they're becoming sisters, that Eliza is sleeping in the same room, that Meiying is becoming protective and helping Eliza - what great news to hear!

Good, good, good!

Billy & Nikki said...

Well...I could blabber on and on in detail about how I am so impressed with every thing you are going through and how you are handling it with such will with your research resources and seeking out other's experiences to broaden your wisdom and adjustment for your family and especially Ava Mei but I will shorten this and just say how proud I am of you. Also, I think it takes very special people to do what you have done. Not everyone can do this type of thing. I personally do not think I could get through what you have been through and the journey you still have set before you but love obviously has given you and Derek the strength to take this on and I really admire you greatly. You are a great example of what a parent should and could be when you truly have love in your life. How blessed Ava Mei and your family will be for your decisions you have made. May God bless all of you and keep you safe and may the days that follow be full of love.

TanyaLea said...

I am so glad that you have been blessed with 'honest' friends...the kind that aren't just about pretty words and a bunch of fluff...but the true kind that can see the red flags and share their honest feelings with you. I'm SO glad that you have seen things for what they are and that you've nipped them in the bud early on...this will make for much stronger relationships for all of you, all around... and the sooner she learns her boundaries, the better and the happier she will be. Sounds like you are off to a GREAT start! You are one very WISE mama!! Glad to see you have such a wonderful husband standing by your side... God is GOOD!! <><