Sunday, March 29, 2009

2nd Gotcha Day Anniversary

Amazing. It has been two years since a nanny from Molly’s orphanage placed little Guan Hai Yan into our waiting arms and she became Molly Michelle HaiYan.

So much has changed since then. We’ve gone from:

  • crib to big girl bed.
  • baby bottle to a drinking glass.
  • formula with rice cereal to tacos with refried beans.
  • bald head to long hair and pig tails.
  • crawling and falling to running and tumbling.
  • disposable diapers to Tinkerbell underwear.
  • a child who didn’t want to look at us to a little girl who loves to shower us with kisses and hugs.
  • a few little babbles to a chatterbox who talks nonstop.
  • a little baby who cried and screamed when they placed her in our arms to a toddler who, well….still cries and screams! But fortunately she also laughs and sings and dances and cracks jokes and is very, very happy.

It is a miracle that such a perfect little soul found her way into our lives. She has turned our world completely upside down and we love every minute of it.
Thank you, God. Thank you, China. Thank you, Molly!

Now for a little stroll down memory lane...

Our Family 2007

Our Family 2008

Our Family 2009
Mommy and Molly 2007

Mommy and Molly 2008

lMommy and Molly 2009
Daddy and Molly 2007

Daddy and Molly 2008
Daddy and Molly 2009

Molly 2007
Molly 2008
Molly 2009

Now, how did Molly spend her day? Exactly the way she wanted. ;
She selected her favorite outfit: The girl shirt and pink leggings.

Played for hours with her Thomas the Train set, handed down to her just last night from her cousin Matthew.

And ate all of her favorite foods.
For breakfast she requested hotel eggs (scrambled eggs—I’m not quite sure how it ever got that nickname, but that’s what Molly calls them!), hash browns, cantaloupe and a yogurt smoothie.
For lunch, she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, cauliflower, an apple and a glass of milk.

And for dinner it was all about the tacos. Oh, and chocolate, lots-o-chocolate!

At the end of the evening she opened gifts that we brought back from China two years ago just for this occasion:

Hello Kitty’s dressed in Chinese silk outfits (who knew that she’d be such a Hello Kitty fan when she got older—happy coincidence!) .....

.....and Chinese language books.

It was a special day that was all about Molly, just as it should be.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Big Bad Three

When I was teaching, I was fortunate enough to work with the best guidance counselor in the world. Seriously, the best. She taught me so much about how to educate for character with children.
The first time that Mrs. Moore came into my 3rd grade classroom, I must admit I was more than a bit skeptical. She entered the room pushing her Magicamobile, a shopping cart painted blue and filled with interactive props and materials used to teach her lessons. She walked to the front of the classroom, looked at the boys and girls, clapped her hands and said in an over-animated voice, “1-2-3-4-5-6, Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty. Repeat it with me boys and girls.”
At this point I thought, without a doubt, that she would be laughed right out the classroom door. Instead, with wide eyes and mouths hanging open, the kids dutifully clapped their hands and repeated, “1-2-3-4-5-6, Re-spon-si-bil-i-ty.”
From that moment on, I was hooked. Instead of slipping out of the room to make Xerox copies for my next lesson, or heading down to the teachers lounge for a cup of coffee, I stayed in my classroom and participated in Mrs. Moore’s guidance lessons. I learned so much about how to teach for character and how to become a better person myself (I am still working on that stop-think-think again-before you do or say lesson, Mrs. Moore!)
As I parent, I find myself using many of Mrs. Moore’s lessons with Molly. Even though she is only three, I still use the language and hope that some of it sinks in. I now have proof that indeed it has.
I’ve started to talk to Molly about the Big Bad Three, but thought that it may be a little over her head. Guess not….The other day I put Molly in a time out. She was angry at me for taking away a toy so she knocked over a kitchen chair (She actually dragged the chair across the kitchen and pushed it over on the carpet as to not damage the chair-God, I love that girl!). Anyhoo, after her time out, I was processing the incident with her. Here’s our conversation:
Me: Why were you in time out, Molly?
Molly: Because I did a Big Bad Furee (three), Mommy.
Me: (shocked-this is the first time she has verbalized this) Oh really? Which one did you do?
Molly: I hurt pop-ter-tree.
Me: What property did you hurt?
Molly: The chair. I pushed over the chair.
Me: Yea, you did. That wasn’t very nice, was it?
Molly: No, it hurt the chair.
Me: Do you know all of the Big Bad Three?
Molly: Yep. I can’t her myself, I can’t hurt other people, and I can’t hurt pop-ter-tree!
Me: That’s right. You can get mad if that’s what you feel, but you can do the Big Bad Three. What can you do instead?
Molly: I can hit a piw-woe (pillow).
Me: Yep, that’s right. It’s okay to hit a pillow if you are mad. Why don’t you try doing that next time instead of knocking over a chair?
Molly: Okay, Mommy.
Let me tell you, I was one proud momma. And I think Mrs. Moore would have been proud, too. God love ya, Mrs. Moore. Your reach is farther than you’ll ever know.

You have the right to get angry.....

but you don't have the right to do......

The Big Bad Three!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Natural Born Dunker

This succinct bloggy thing is kind of liberating. Get right to the point. Add some pictures. Done. It's so easy that I thought I'd add another post for you all....
Late last week we made cookies:oatmeal chocolate chip-yum! Molly loved making them, as well as eating them.
Come to find out Molly is a NBD...a natural born dunker. I didn't show her how dunk. Tony didn't show her how to dunk. She doesn't watch TV so she didn't learn to dunk there. No real dunker role models to follow in her little sphere of influence.
I guess if you were meant to be a dunker, it just spontaneously manifests itself. An instinct. Take one look at the pictures. The girl was born to dunk!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Trip to the Zoo...Not Just Another Stroll in the Park

As promised in my last post, I am going to attempt to be more succinct with my blogging. So here goes....
It was a beautiful day and we had nothing planned so Molly and I grabbed a few snacks and headed to the zoo. It's close, we have a season pass, we go a lot. When we got there Molly insisted that we leave the stroller in the car. She would walk. The entire day. Yea, right.
By golly, she did just that. Three solid hours of walking and not once did Molly whine or ask me to carry her. She even held my hand without so much as a request on my part. Let me just tell ya, the zoo was a blast without a stroller.
We had fun running from place to place, climbing on things and interacting with animals. Without having to negotiate the stroller there was so much more interaction between the two of us, as well. Bonus!
With all of this quality Mollytime in one day--my heart is about to burst right now. I just love my little girl...who, by the way, is growing up way to fast.
There's so much more that I am itchin' to write, but I'll stop right here. Succinct enough?

On with the photographic evidence of the day....We pretty much climbed every sculpture in the zoo.
Molly thinks the Tiger looks like a big kitty...
The tiger thinks Molly looks like lunch!
Yep, another sculpture.
The flamingo pose.
How do these things get so big by just eating lettuce (the manatees, not the kid)?
Molly's favorite part of the day.
Molly could have rode the Carousel 100 times, but at a dollar a crack and a very long line, once had to suffice for today.
Capturing our picture in the mirror.
Ah yes, another sculpture.
Ever since reading Goodnight Gorilla, this is Molly's favorite exhibit.
Checking each other out.
Monkey watching.
The end of another fun day.
Enough energy left to walk the balance beam all the way back to the car.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Good Golly Me, Molly at 3!

If you don’t know how old Molly is, just hang out in her vicinity for five minutes and she is likely to seek you out and inform you, “I’m feree (three)!” And most times, the next words out of her mouth are, “I have a big girl bed!”
Apparently when you are three, the big girl bed is the center of your universe. We recently met some neighbors down the street. They have twin girls. I asked one of the girls how old she was and she replied, “I’m three. I have a big girl bed!” Gee, that sounds familiar.
Molly loves her bed and the new found freedom that comes with it. She can look out the window, reach her water cup and tissues on her nightstand, and turn her bedside lamp on and off all by herself…even when we are not in the room. She totally digs that.
She actually has a lot more freedom than she realizes as she is able to climb into and out of her bed on her own; however, she still thinks that she needs to call me to get her out. I intend to keep her in the dark about the reality of that for as long as possible.
Big girl bed aside, Molly has grown in so many ways over the past year. Physically speaking, she is 37 inches tall and weighs 27 ½ pounds. That puts the in the 50th percentile for height and 20th percentile for weight…a string bean. Yes, buying pants or any other garment that is fitted at the waist a real challenge. Molly fit perfectly into a size 2, but 9 and 12 month pants still fit her in the waist (but definitely not in length). Thank goodness for elastic waist and adjustable waist pants!
Since the terrible twos ended about six months ago, Molly no longer feels the need to micromanage every single detail of her life and the lives of those around her. This is good because she only needs one micro manager in her life and that would be me! Since she has grown up a little, she seems to have accepted the fact that she doesn’t get call the shots on every aspect of her life.
Don’t worry, she is still fiercely independent and is so pleased that she can do things for herself. She is extremely proud of the fact that she now attends classes and activities all by herself, without Mom in the room. She is giddy with excitement before each class begins…she is such a grown up girl. I shed a little tear before each class begins…she is such a grown up girl.
Ever since the transition to the big girl bed/ big girl chair at the dinner table, Molly has recognized that her status has changed. She loves being a big girl, but is hesitant to give up her baby status. She flip-flops between total autonomy and crawling around on the floor saying, “Mommy, I’m a baby.” I try to reassure her that she will always be my baby, no matter how old she gets.
At two, Molly was adept at two-word phrases. I couldn’t wait for her to develop more sophisticated speech, so that we could have more meaningful interactions. You know that phrase be careful what you wish for…?
Well Molly talks so much now that there are days that I would like to shout, “WOULD YOU JUST SHUT UP FOR TWO MINUTES PLEASE?” Of course, I have never said this to her, but in all honesty, it crosses my mind at least once a day. It seems that whatever thought pops into Molly’s head comes pouring out of her mouth. And new thoughts pop into her head pretty much every waking minute of the day. My favorite is when she repeats the same question over and over despite the fact that I have answered it 10 times already.
I have channeled some of her enthusiasm to speak in some positive ways. Molly knows her complete name (including 2 middle names)and can spell her first and last name. She also knows her phone number and address. She has a little speech that she recites:

  • My name is Molly Michelle HaiYan XXX.
  • M-O-L-L-Y X-X-X.
  • My phone number is XXX-XXXX.
  • My address is __________.

Of course the X’s are just there to protect our privacy. She knows that her last name is not XXX.

Molly also knows her alphabet and can name all of the letters upon request. She can count and can name her numbers, as well. She also is fluent in French, Mandarin, and Latin and can solve quadratic equations. Okay, okay. The part about the foreign languages and algebra is fabricated, but we do think she is a smart little girl. We sit in awe as she takes information from several different facets of her life, combines them, and then applies them to a completely new situation. How do kids learn to do that? Amazing.

Molly has grown is so many ways, but has remained consistent in others:
  • She is still a daredevil, willing to take on any physical challenge. She is master of the playground and the high flyer at Little Gym. I am still on my aspirin regimen to stave off possible heart attacks.

  • She still sucks her index and middle finger, especially when she is tired. Not sure that will ever go away. Doesn’t bother us. It is the way that she has soothed herself since her days in the orphanage so if she needs it, more power to her.

  • She still loves dramatic play, especially with her dolls, pretend food, and homemade cardboard kitchen set (which was loving constructed by her mother so that we could avoid big plastic things from consuming our house). She has also added a doctor’s outfit to the dress up box and that is a favorite as well.

  • She still sleeps 10+ hours each night and naps for 3 hours each afternoon. Yes, I do know how lucky I am. I live in fear of the day that this sleep schedule changes.

    And finally here is a list of Molly’s favorites at 3:
  • Favorite Fruits: Mandarin oranges, bananas, melons.
  • Favorite Vegetables: Broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Favorite Foods: Cheese or anything made with cheese, dumplings, noodles, rice, rotisserie chicken, smoothies.
  • Favorite Dessert: Suckers, ice cream, and chocolate. She rarely gets treats, honest. But apparently, you don’t need to eat chocolate very many times before you discover that it is as close to Heaven-on-Earth as you are ever going to get.
  • Favorite Music: Anything by Laurie Berkner….a lot more entertaining and far less annoying than the Wiggles.
  • Favorite Books: I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket , Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, Mommy Mine, Peek: A Thai Hide and Seek, Good Night Gorilla. There are many, many others. We could fill a library.

  • Favorite Shoes: Pink Crocs.
  • Favorite Toy: Baby, her baby doll.
  • Favorite Item of Clothing: The girl shirt. A long sleeve tee shirt with an appliqué of a little girl with pig tails.
  • Favorite Places to Hang Out: Outside--park, backyard deck, zoo, playground.

  • Favorite activity: Playing with friends and riding her tricycle (a girl after my own heart).
  • Favorite saying: “Silly Daddy, don’t go to the mall, go to work!”
    Don’t ask me how this got started, but she says this phrase multiple times each day. She can even vary it to fit her needs: “Silly Daddy, don’t go to the mall, come play with me.” Silly Daddy, don’t go to the mall, take me to the park.” Hey, I’m just glad she’s not saying, “Silly Mommy, don’t go to the mall.” What? No mall? That would be a tragedy.

I could go on and on describing Molly at 3. My little girl is growing up fast and there are so many behaviors, habits and personality traits that have been abandoned and replaced with new ones. I want to capture as much as I can in print so that I don’t forget. I hate that I can’t remember every little detail of her life. The older I get, the more I forget and so I write. I hope that you are still with me, but I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped the text and went straight for the pictures. I promise that I will try my hardest to be more succinct in future posts.

Have fun being three, my big girl. And remember, you’ll always be my baby!