Monday, September 12, 2016

One week in

We are nearing the mark of being together longer at home than in Guangzhou. It may just be me, but each time stamp that brings us together for longer than we've been apart/moving around/etc helps to ease the tension of worrying about his comfort. What does he think when he wakes up in this room? What goes through his mind when we strap him in the carseat? Does he feel a little less uncertainty each time? This is my full time job, at least for the time I have at home. I go back to work in less than two weeks, which sounds just awful for attachment until I remember, oh yes, I am off every other week and during the day from the moment he wakes until the late ish afternoon.

At this time stamp, Thomas has shown us the most delightful laugh. We know it can be elicited with rolling him over and over and tickling his neck. He has gone from shaking with fear when the dogs are around to feeding them and holding the leash. His independent spirit has broken somewhat free and he is (like his sister) very interested in latching his own seat belts and going up and down stairs without my hand. It is a far far change from our first couple of days home in which I had to hold him continuously. I think the secret is in the squeaky shoes. Wearing them seems to bolster his confidence.

He loves music, enjoys the little piano tremendously, and noticeably relaxes when we sing to him.

We are working on communication, moving from grunts and wails to "mama help" and "mama please." It's a process.

His cries are guttural and deeply intense. I can't tell if he's grieving, but sometimes I hold him through it in case he is, not trying to suppress or stop the cry.

A day at a time, from moment to moment, trying to breathe, slow down, and see the forest when the trees are being whiny. :)

Watching Baba power wash

discovering sticks and dirt

helping clean out mama's summer garden 

sunday morning 

what are we supposed to be looking at?

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Home for the first time

29 hours, three planes,  16 long lines, a handful of tantrums and very very little sleep later, we made it home. Ah, travel, the end and the beginning really really stink but the actual experience is everything. 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

One last note from China

While I write, Ben is out watch shopping and the kids are snoozing away. We used our last day to explore the "safari park" that is one hour outside the city, which, in a city of 25 million, is saying something. The park was wonderful and well worth whatever we paid to get in! It was kind of like a more open, lush, interactive zoo. There are stations to feed many of the animals and over lunch we watched the Tigers being fed (Serena's favorite). There were panda triplets and toucans and only one meltdown, which we all survived. See photos on the Facebook album :) not of the meltdown, though ben did take pictures of it "to look back on later." I nearly fed him to the tigers at that point. 
We are sad to leave China again but looking forward to returning home. Tomorrow Thomas will board three planes. Let's hope he weathers them the way he has weathered all of his other firsts: short plane ride, paddle boat, escalator, many many elevators, taxi, cruise boat, and subway. All within 1.5 weeks. 
We will be cocooning upon returning home as much as we can for this little guy to feel safe and come to understand love, but do send messages and visit! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Consulate Day!

Means we are one step closer to finishing this marathon. After leaving the consulate our way out was even marked by those metal barricades used at races, so the metaphor was quite fitting. Ben and I raised our right hands to promise to care for our son, did a 5 minute interview, and whoop, we are done with all the official part of our stay. We celebrated with Cantonese lunch surrounded by smoke and aquariums of turtles, snakes, and swordfish for our choosing. We did not but perhaps should have as the beef was mostly fat. Lesson learned. Thomas has been, for lack of a better term, cranky. I'm not sure if he is grieving. He doesn't seem scared at all, apart from the ride to the consulate reminding him of the clinic. In many ways, he very much seems younger than 2, in ways we didn't experience with Serena. He cries when hungry, is content to rock in my arms to sleep, and coos when happy. Mix that with characteristics of a typical 2 year old - keeps us well on our toes! He is not content yet with Ben (reversal of Serena), won't even let him push the stroller, but they have had good moments and it will get better. 
Things that make him happy: Chinese crackers, chasing Jie Jie, being thrown up in the air, and we have quite the water baby on our hands! I'm pretty sure that a few more sessions in the pool and he'll be swimming independently! He loves it and yesterday began jumping off the side into my arms. He began singing twinkle twinkle little star in his sweet little voice and each night echoes back "wo ai nee," which is I love you. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

The days are swiftly moving by in a flurry of touristing, eating, picking noodles off our clothes. Yesterday we visited a Buddhist temple; we were meaning to return to the same temple we visited with S last time but something was lost in translation or perhaps the cab driver thought we'd like this one more, I'm not sure. In any case the visit alternated between peaceful strolling and "don't touch that," so typical parenting adventures. We stopped for dim sum on Shamian island and *i think* it was delicious - there was much toddler angst. He's from Chengdu, they don't do dim sum there. Like his mama, though, he went for the sweet pork buns and we both enjoyed the cuddle fish. We revisited old haunts from Serena's time and I welled up with tears in front of our old hotel; at that time I had no idea whether she would ever accept me as mama. Oh, how our stories can change for the good! 
We ended the day in a boat with all the other families on the Pearl River cruise, eschewing the remarkably bad food remembered from last, this time for pizza instead. The night air was perfect and little T raised his hand to feel the wind. Serena wanted to dance or play "dragons." If you are curious about "dragons," dear reader, just ask her. :)
It is nearly impossible to upload photos from this app, so I think I will create a private fb album for those interested. If you've commented or I know you're reading, I'll make it visible to you. Xoxo

Sunday, August 28, 2016

1 week ago

We were desperately trying to get here after all the plane delays and today, (Sunday), the three are four. This day in Guangzhou was for touring around. We had breakfast and took off to a large family shrine. The Chen family (Serena's given family name) established this shrine in the 19th century. It was peaceful and full of truly amazing carvings. Serena was most excited about the tiger scroll she found and I was attempting to find serenity for Thomas who, as it turns out, was hungry from the moment he woke. We fed him crackers until we ran out. He was momentarily distracted by the animals and creatures at the medicine market we went to afterwards but his mind was never far from food. There were smiles of glee as I threw him up in the air at the shrine, his little hands reaching for the tree leaves, but he grieved yesterday, and we held him through it. 
There was a cool breeze tonight as we walked the streets of Guangzhou, taking in a tea shop or two and buying a little street food (fruit). He opened up and resched for kisses near the end and my heart may have burst. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Today, Saturday, began as no proper Saturday should, with our final trip for the nasopharyngeal swab and ended somewhere right about perfect. T woke up hungry, which was awful because had to be fasting for the test. He rummaged through my bag looking for food which was heartbreaking. Both Ben and our guide explained to him that we would be feeding him and so he seemed to calm, at least until we reached the clinic which of course he recognized. Fortunately, once we reached the clinic the actual test was over quickly. After a better-than-the-day before breakfast (he is 2 in every sense and yells "boo Yao" if we approach with a less than desired food offering, we set out tour a nearby museum that we actually also visited with Serena. Walking through, all I could remember was feeling trepidation; I was carrying her in the Ergo and kept waiting for her to protest and reach for Ben. In mighty contrast, I pushed T in the stroller and we kissed at each other and played peekaboo the whole way through. Both times, Ben geeked out on the Chinese relics and completely missed out on any attachment drama :) after naps and lunch we headed to the pool which is really lovely; I snuck in a few laps before the rest of the family joined and T made big strides! He sat on the edge for a long while, splashing with his feet, and with the help of a bath toy from another adoptive family, he made his way to splashing around in my arms. Joy! 
Tonight we strolled through a local park and enjoyed the night life energy.  We had dinner at a surreal little place right on a lake. We'll have to tell you about it in person. It was wonderful to enjoy good food outside while the kids scarfed their noodles/soup. T demands to feed himself (and we let him- may be the only thing he can control right now) so it takes ages and we take advantage.  There was even a cool breeze in the air and we encountered street karaoke on the walk back to our Guangzhou home, surrounded by others out walking, bicycles rushing by. I'll try to upload pictures but blogger is very very slow here.