Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Gotcha-versary, Baby!

On February 2, 2007 I nervously opened
a picture attachment on my computer
and laid eyes on the
the most beautiful little girl that I had ever seen.
On March 29, 2007,
 in a hot little room in Guangzhou, China
I became the mother of
the most beautiful little girl that I had ever seen.
I still get tears in my eyes looking
at the picture of a nanny
placing little Guan Hai Yan in my arms.
And as you can see, she has grown
even more beautiful, both inside and out.

For Molly's 3rd Gotcha-versary we met up
with Molly's best friend Mia
at the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Molly originally chose a boring brown bear,
but with some pushing a gentle suggestion from me,
Molly decides upon a cute
little flowered bunny, just like Mia.
Molly covering her ears as
she presses the pedal to stuff her bunny.
Selecting just the right heart for the bunny.
Giving the heart a kiss before
placing it inside the bunny.
And voila, the bunny is done.
Now what to dress her in?
Look, they have princess dresses!
Molly and Sleeping Beauty Bunny.
Too much cuteness!
After Build-a Bear, the girls spent some time
playing at the mall playground.
Of course, they never pass up an
opportunity to create their own fun.
So Happy Together.

Now if I would have been on the ball,
I would have asked someone to take a picture
of Molly and me.
Then I could have posted it here and titled it
So Happy Together.

But I wasn't on the ball,
so you'll just have to trust me.
The feelings are there:
Molly and Mommy,
So Happy Together!

Happy Gotcha-versary, Baby!
I love you!
Wo Ai Ni

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Please Pardon the Interruption

How many times in the past few weeks have you clicked here hoping to find a new post only to find the same old post about Molly's last party? Well, your click-n-hope for a new post days are over. Here is a brand new one just for you!

I have to admit that I have been an apathetic blogger as of late.  At the end of the day--or the beginning--or the middle, the last thing I want to do is sit down at the computer, stare at a blank screen and figure out what to write....even if the computer is shiny, new and wicked fast. Which it is.

Maybe is has to do with my reaction to Molly's current state.

Everyone warned me about the terrible twos. "No," I said, "not this sweet little child who has never thrown a tantrum in her life."  But she did. Oh boy, she did.

Some people claimed that their kid went through the terrible threes. "Whew," I said, "good thing Molly got it all out of her system at during her twos." Right. Imagine my surprise when her third birthday rolled around and Molly went into the throws of the terrible threes.

But nobody, NOBODY warned me about the terrible fours. I was blind-sided.

The terrible twos were all about getting what she wanted. The threes were all about rebelling against authority, namely Mommy and Daddy. The fours are all about wanting power and control. A lot of power and a lot of control. Molly wants complete control over everything in her life and in ours.

I know that most kids go through these stages, but Molly has the unique ability to take a normally difficult stage and crank it up to monumental proportions. And to top it off, she is loud. Ask anyone who has ever been around Molly to verify that for you. You will find them at the local Beltone hearing clinic.

What does Molly's quest for power look like? That can be summed up in one word: ugly. If you do something for her, she undoes it and then does it herself. If you tell her to sit down at the table she has to stand until enough time has elapsed so that the decision to sit is now hers, not ours. Everything from the moment Molly gets up must be on her terms, her idea. 

It would be one thing if she wanted to control all things related to her, but Molly wants to control our world as well. She comes unglued if we get in the car before she is ready for us to get in the car. She comes unhinged if we walk downstairs without asking her permission. She is a complete control freak. I know because I am a control freak so I easily recognize control freak behavior.

And did I mention that she is loud?

The terrible fours are not pleasant for Molly. They are not pleasant for me. There are days that even an all expense paid trip to Hawaii--alone--would not ease the stress. (However I would be willing to give it a try if anyone is willing to give me the all expense paid trip.) But this stage shall pass; it always does.

The weird thing is that the more that Molly makes life difficult, the more I love her. We will have a huge power struggle at bedtime but before I leave the room, I'll bend down to give her a goodnight kiss. Somehow my heart completely melts, the breath is sucked from my body and I don't know how I could love anyone any more than I do her. Strange how that works.

Anyway, that's the "typical Teri," long-winded explanation. It's cathartic just to write it all down. Probably not so cathartic for you to read it. Sorry.

And now here is what we have been up to in between all of the tantrums.

Sweet little Abby had her 4th birthday!
She celebrated at a Kids Cooking Kitchen.
So much fun!
Molly rolling out her pizza dough.
The junior chefs getting ready to eat cupcakes.
The whole gang.
Love. these. girls!
Molly got to dress up for this shindig.
She was so excited to wear this beautiful velvet dress
lovingly handed down by cousin Allison.
Here is princess pose #47: hands clasped under chin.

Spring has arrived...sort of.
Time for a trip to the zoo with our friend Mattie
and her mommy, Tressa.
Mattie ALWAYS has the best facial expressions!

Taking an art class at the local toy store
with Mattie and Tressa.
Molly is copping an attitude and
 I am taking the picture with tears of frustration
 in my eyes. Ho hum.
Attitude over, for the moment.

Another trip to the zoo.
When you have a season pass and 
the zoo is a few miles from your house,
you go a lot.
Molly and Abby run to the fish pond.
Cute picture #1 stolen from my friend Faye's Facebook.
Cute picture #2 stolen from my friend Faye's Facebook.
(Love ya, Faye!)
The fantastic four.
Caught Molly before she could give me a princess pose.
End of a great day.

Friday, March 12, 2010

#3 A Week Later and We Are Still Partying!

Sunshine and puppy dogs.
I promised you sunshine and puppy dogs.
So here's the post.
Not a tear in sight.
Actually, there were tears once,
but were not going there today.
Today is sunshine and puppy dogs.

Molly had her Fancy Nancy party
 that morphed into her princess party.
Molly had her actual birth day celebration.
But Molly had yet to party with her extended family,
so another party was added to the calendar.

Luckily it was the week after the other two celebrations
so I could just keep up the original decorations!
It's the little things in life that make me happy.

So, let's get this party started....

That's what you experience when you are four
and you are launching ballons from the second floor balcony
onto unsuspecting guests.

That's what you experience when you are eating dim sum.

That's what you experience when you are opening birthday gifts.

As you can see, Miss Molly was once again lavished with
a bounty of beautiful birthday booty
 from her family.

Leapster Game
(I am still trying to justify to myself that this is not a video game
because my kid is not going to play video games!
 Leapster is not a video game, right?)

Princess Gear
(just look at that smile!)

(Molly especially loved the shirt because
 it was full enough to pull out just like a princess does!

Princess Puzzles
(Walt Disney must have died a very rich man. Just saying.)

Another Leapster Game
(This is not a video game,
This is not a video game,
This is not a video game.)

(Molly just loves to make projects,
so guess who else loves projects?
At what age does that independent, do-it-yourself stage start?)

(Be still my heart.
See my kid on a bicycle-my passion-brings tears to my eyes.
Is there anything more beautiful?)

That's what you experience when you bite
into a white chocolate mousse cake covered in fudge.
The Chinese bakery seriously rocks!
As you can see, Molly agrees:

That's what you experience when you take your first pedal stroke,
each and every time you throw your leg over your bike.
Believe me, I know.

See, told ya.
Rainbows and puppy dogs.

Happy Birthday Molly!
(now stop growing up so fast)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

#2 The Actual Birth Day Birthday

February 27th was Molly’s Fancy Nancy/Princess party.
 She was over stimulated for hours on end,
given a big pile of new toys,
allowed to eat sugar and junk food all day and
then had her sleep schedule completely screwed up.

February 28th commemorates the day that my
 charming, charismatic, loving child was born.
 It’s a day of beauty and pureness. A day to celebrate.

And for some reason I thought that this February 28th would be
a day of beauty and pureness. A day to celebrate.
 Even after what transpired on the 27th. Silly me.
This is the tired child that greeted me first thing in the morning.
It should have been a sign that the day
might not be all rainbows and puppy dogs.
Everything really did start out innocently enough.
Molly asked to wear a princess dress.
“Okay,” I say. It was her birthday after all.
On to breakfast, which was cooked to order:
 eggs, hash browns and toast with sprinkles. It was all good.

But then I asked her to take off her princess dress
 so that we could go to the local kid’s museum.
Tantrum ensued. Followed by a timeout.
And another tantrum. And another timeout.
Now I am feeling horribly guilty for putting my daughter
 into timeout on her birthday. Twice.
Yes, I am catholic so feel guilty for just about everything
 that happens in my life but good golly, I put my daughter
 into timeout on her birthday. Twice.

As a result of the timeouts we decided to forgo
 the museum and hit the playground instead.
 Living in the Midwest during the most horrible winter on record
 (according to no one else but me)
 the only playground not buried
under a foot of snow was the mall playground.
 We weren’t the only ones with this idea.

But Molly had fun…until she had a meltdown
 for no apparent reason. She was crying uncontrollably
because she “stepped on a little kid.”
 She was the one who did the stepping,
not the one who got stepped on.
So why was SHE crying? Who knows.
Back home we go for some lunch reheated cooked to order.
Yes, I was somehow talked into another princess dress.
Just trying to salvage the birthday here.
 Just wanted my kid to be joyful.
Silly, silly grown ups.
 This decision eventually led to more tears,
but let’s not go there.
Naptime and dinner were fairly uneventful and I was lulled
into the false belief that everything was going to be okay.
So, for a third time I okayed the princess dress.
 And everything was great.

Until we got to the cake.
 I sliced up a piece of the left over expensive cake,
scooped out some ice cream, and lit some recycled candles.

Then it happened.
 I’m not sure I even remember what it was
 but it landed Molly in timeout. Again.
During her birthday song.
Yes, it did.

After everyone calmed down, and the princess dress was
 locked in the basement  neatly stored we tried the cake again.
Click on the picture to enlarge. You can still see
 the glint of tears in Molly’s eyes.
 But she managed to strike a princess pose
and we ate the expensive cake.
Happy Birthday? Not sure I’d call it happy.
Molly got cake and ice cream
 for the second day in a row, so she was pretty happy
but it was not what I expected. At all.
I expected puppy dogs and rainbows.
But you get what you get.

And it doesn’t change the fact that
 I love my girl more than I ever dreamed possible.
I celebrated her four years on this Earth with an
overwhelming appreciation that she is our daughter.

 Each time I climbed the stairs carrying
 a kicking and screaming princess to timeout,
 I was thanking God that I had
 this kicking, screaming princess to carry upstairs.
She is everything a parent could want and more.
Well, not the tantrums, but pretty much everything else.

So happy birthday my sweet child. Enjoy being four!
 Stay tuned for Birthday blog #3.
I promise much more sunshine
and many more puppy dogs than you got today!