Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 395

As of today, we have been a family for 395 days. What's the big deal? Why is this statistical fact important enough to warrant a blog post?

Because the first 394 days of Molly's life were spent here:

She has now spent 395 days here:

One day longer than she did in Dongguan, Guangdong PRC.
She has spent one more day in this crib:

than she did in this one:

And that milestone brings more comfort to me than I can explain. Knowing that my sweet little girl has more memories of us than of anyone else, knowing that she has had a family longer than she has been without one, knowing that she is more loved now than she has ever been in her life is monumental. From this day forward, the gap between being an orphan and being a daughter will continue to grow. Miracle do happen. For her and for us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Molly at 2

A two year old. Holy cow, I have a two year old! How (and when) did that happen? Somehow, when you live day in and day out with your child, you don't notice how much they change. Then you do something like dress her in a pair of pants that fit last last month only to find they are 2 inches too short this month. All of a sudden you are smacked in the face with the reality that your baby is growing up. It's kind of bittersweet.

How has Molly changed? Well let's see....
She's got a lot more hair! And she's done some growing, too. A year ago she was 28 inches tall, weighed 18 pounds and wore 9 month old clothes. Now she is 33 inches tall, weights 24 pounds and wears 18 month old clothes.
She's gone from having one lonely bottom tooth on gotcha day to having 16 perfectly crooked pearly whites. She will even let me brush them, too. Three months ago it took two of us to accomplish this task. One person to pin her down and pry open her mouth and the other to do the brushing. Yea, yea, I'm sure she'll have some kind of issue that she have to seek counseling for over this. It wasn't one of our finer parenting moments, but at least she won't have any cavities.
Molly still sucks the first two fingers on her left hand. It seems to bother other people more than it does us. Maybe we should care, but we don't. That's what she did to cope in the orphanage, and now that she has to cope with us as her parents, she'll probably suck those fingers until she goes away to college. Seriously, she does suck them a lot less now and I am sure she'll give them up when she is good and ready.
Molly has blossomed into this wonderful, independent child. We go to toddler time at the library twice a week. Most kids sit quietly in their mother’s laps and listen to the librarian as she leads the activities. Not Molly. No, Molly marches up to the front, stands right next to the librarian and takes over. She leads all of the hand motions to the songs and rhymes. She loudly ooohs and aaahs over all of the books and dances to the music. She has everyone in the group cracking up! About every 2 minutes she points to me (sitting in the back of the room) and loudly says “Mamma!” I pretend to be embarrassed but in actuality, I am probably the proudest parent in the room. That’s my kid up there—the self-assured, confident, funny little girl in pigtails.
On the flip-side, Molly has now entered the era of "I need to control EVERYTHING in my life." She even wants to be in charge of deciding when I can use the bathroom. Everything we do during the day needs to be her idea. If she doesn't initiate it, she has to back up and replay the entire scene so that she can be in charge. If I get her shoes, she'll carry them back to the closet, close the closet door, stand there a few seconds, and then open the door and get her own shoes. Picture this type of behavior for just about every action that you undertake in any given day. (A lot of the time it is pretty cute, but when you are in a hurry, it gets pretty annoying!)

I am drawing so very clear lines for her. She can be in charge of some things, but not others. She tries to cross those lines, of course, but she has a teacher for a mother. I have way more experience in standing my ground! I think that she is learning that she can't mess with the momma as much as she would like!

Molly has now moved into pretend play. She loves to copy things that adults do like sweeping, cooking, and washing dishes. Any ideas on how we can sustain this behavior for the next 20 or so years?
Miss Molly also loves to dress up in her chef outfit, diva clothes or old Halloween costumes. She can spend hours shopping for play food with her grocery cart and taking care of Baby. Hmmmm, why is it that kids can't wait to grow up and adults wish they were young again?
It appears that we have an adrenalin junkie on our hands. Molly is a total thrill seeker. She loves to be tossed high into the air and jump off of anything she can climb. For example: TAKE OFF!
She has an incredible amount of coordination and no fear... a dangerous combination. At the park she will swing on the big girl swings, screaming "more," until she is a lot higher than I care to see her fly. She climbs to the top of a 15 foot slide and slides down 4 corkscrew turns to the bottom and then runs to "do it again!" I have resorted to taking an aspirin a day to stave off the heart attack that I am sure she will cause one day. Good Golly!
Molly's speech is also developing. In fact, you no longer need the Rosetta Stone to decipher much of her language. She has a lot of single words and is now pairing them together into 2 and 3 word phrases. Her favorite phrases begin with "Mamma." Mamma, truck! Mamma, flag! Mamma, puppy! Mamma, baby! She never loses the enthusiasm for announcing every single thing that she see to me. She will also pair words like big truck, or yellow flower, or more chocolate!
I continue to call Harvard using the speed dial setting on my phone as Molly shows moments of brilliance (indulge me here, I'm a first time mom). She can identify and say the names of all of her colors. She understands the concept of numbers--she will point to her eyes and say, "two eyes," or look at the dinner table count the plates and say' "three dishes." It is pretty amazing to see her math mind. Please God, just don't let her be an engineer. I can only stand one of those in the family!
I am happy to report that Molly is a world class sleeper. 10+ hours at night and 3+ hours at nap time. I lay her in her crib, sing a few songs, kiss her goodnight and I'm out the door. I do try to keep her on a sleep schedule, but if I have to deviate from it, no problem. In her mind crib=sleep. If I put her in there, she will sleep. Amazing. I typically have to go wake her when it is time to get up. Yes, I know that I am extremely lucky and I do thank God daily for the incredible sleeping baby.
I'll close with a list of some of Molly's favorites at age 2:
Favorite Song: La La Loo ( a Chinese lullaby)
Favorite Foods: Noodles, rice, broccoli, cauliflower, melon, yogurt, oatmeal and eggs (Gee, things haven't changed much there in a year! She is still a picky eater. I was a picky eater growing up. I hated the hassle of it even as a kid and I swore that I would make sure that my kid ate anything. Guess that didn't work out too well.)
Favorite Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Favorite Toy: Baby, her baby doll and Gymboree bubbles (the Cadillac of bubbles)
Favorite Shoes: Gold Crocs
Favorite Comfort Items: Boopa and Le-le. Boopa is blanket made for Molly by a very special friend. Le-Le is a baby sized pillow made of pink toille fabric.
Favorite Place to Hang Out: Outside--park, backyard deck, zoo, playground. Anywhere but cooped up inside the house.