Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wow last week was a busy week! We are really getting into a sleep and daily routine. This makes Mama feel better and as such – everyone is happier. What is the old adage… “If Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy” ;) Being able to sleep at night has been the best thing for everyone, I think we are all finally over the jet lag!
This weekend was full of company. Grandpa Cliff and Grandma Dianne came up for a visit on Friday afternoon and spent the night and morning with us. If was a wonderful visit and Sylvie did wonderful playing with her grandparents. We also put a swing on the deck, and grandpa spent a lot of time pushing her in it. Her love affair with the swing continues…
As it was Father’s Day weekend we had two families over for a Father’s Day BBQ on Saturday. It was great for Sylvie to have the other small kids around. One of the kids is only 6 weeks younger than her so I was able to ask the mom a lot of questions about feeding, language development and sleep routines.
We are amazed at all the things Sylvie is learning. She is now signing “more”, when we are eating, but she is doing it a lot, so not really sure if she “gets it” yet, but she is happy doing it and looks as us, so we are happy. We are now also working on ”all done”.
With her toys, I am still astonished at how quickly she can remember which toys make noise, and what to press to create the sound. She might not be able to do the first day I try to teach – instead she sits back and watches seriously. Then the next day or day after I look over and she is doing it independently.
Today I watched her as she discovered how to walk backwards. We were in the bathroom getting ready to go out to the doctor’s appointment, and she walked forward to the end of the bathroom, then walked backwards, then forward and backwards again. It was interesting watching her face during this, so serious, concentrating on the task – then a big smile when she made it all the way to the tub backwards.
Sylvie is continuing to be an excellent eater. She is still willing to try any food we are eating. I am trying my best to make sure that she is eating different fruits and vegetables, but her favorite foods remain cheese and toast (if we don’t count the bottle). She is slowly learning to use a sippy cup, she doesn’t ask for it, I’ve tried water, milk, juice – but no real luck. I worry, living in the Okanagan with our beautiful summer weather about her dehydrating when we are out and about during the day – so we will continue to work on the sippy cup. Any suggestions?
Today we went to our family Doctor for our first appointment. Sylvie was weighted measured and had an overall check up. She did great at the doctors, hopefully this continues. Our doctor was unable to hear a heart murmur at all, but is getting us an appointment to have an echocardiogram completed. Luckily KGH has the equipment and trained personnel so we do not have to travel for this upcoming appointment. I also took my list of typed questions in and was able to get them all answered, so I feel better now too!
When I think of the last four weeks, one of the most significant developments has been Sylvie’s bonding to us as her people/family. Remembering back to our time in China, when Sylvie would wake up from her nighttime sleep or nap time, she would look at us so solemnly and study us seriously. We could just imagine what she was thinking “Oh…these people again”. Now when we go into her room to wake her up or get her up, she is all smiles and giggles when seeing us while bouncing to get picked up. When we played with toys in China, she would mostly play independently, she would occasionally look to us and giggle, but play was mostly side-by-side or parallel play. Now, although there is still parallel play (as is developmentally appropriate for her age) she is constantly bringing me toys when we are playing on the floor together, or simply coming over for a quick pick up, hug and kiss. While I love this interaction, I am grateful for all the frozen dinners that have been lovingly prepared for us by family and friends – I’m still not sure how we will ever get dinner made again!
I also have to say a big thank you to all our family and friends who are accepting our need to bond together as a family and are respecting our decision to have only Mama and Baba pick Sylvie up and carry her right now. It is understandable that everyone would want to hold and hug this perfect cutie – how could you not!? We are pleased that we are bonding as a family and hope this develops into a strong, secure attachment for Sylvie.
I have included a little movie taken of Sylvie on the swing – one of the sure things to make her smile.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Home for One Week…
We survived our trip home with Air Canada, however, 27 hours of travelling (if we count when we woke up the day before – and I DO!) without sleep has a tendency to make one a little squirrely. I think this is one of the few times I have broken down in public sobbing - when I realized we weren’t going to go home Friday night. By that point, exhaustion had finally taken its toll. I am lucky my husband still was calm and collected and thus able to talk to the Air Canada customer service staff about securing us a hotel room for the night. However, we needed to wait until the next flight left in order for them to obtain our luggage that was already checked for our flight home. Apparently they couldn’t just keep it overnight and load it the next morning. Sigh… so finally, finally, finally, we were able to take the airport shuttle to the Delta for the night.
We arrived home Saturday morning at 8:30 am in Kelowna. Jet lag however, had the family awake at 1:00 am, with Sylvie fortunately going back to sleep from 3:00 – 5:00 before heading back out to the Vancouver airport. Our flight was nice and short, and the airport gate was relatively empty so early in the morning so lots of room for Sylvie to walk around and explore in. Upon arriving home, we were met at the airport by Cory’s Aunt, Uncle and our friends. It was so nice to be greeted and warmly welcomed home. Kudos to our welcoming committee for showing up Saturday morning after spending a couple of hours waiting for us to arrive the night before. (And yes, we did try calling to let them know, but only had some phone numbers in our memory so left messages at home voice mail as the cell phones did not have voicemail).
Our first nights home have been both easy and challenging. Sylvie adapted to BC time remarkably well, and we suppose not having a proper sleep for two days helped her over the adjustment. She slept 13 hours Saturday night, after going down peacefully at 7:00 pm. Her parents however, continued to struggle with jet lag for most of the week which was challenging with Cory returning to work Tuesday, and Joyanne trying to stay awake and take care of Sylvie during the day.
Sylvie has been doing amazingly well during these past few weeks. We feel she has definitely bonded to both Cory and I, and we are working to making her feel secure and loved. She now comes to one of us, but mostly Mama, when she is upset and will put her hands up to be picked up. The first time she sought us out for comfort was so memorable. During the day when we are out and about or playing at home she is regularly putting her arms up to be picked up and hugged. When I (Joyanne) was giving her the bedtime bottle tonight, I leaned my head back and closed my eyes while rocking her, the next I knew, a little hand was stroking my cheek to get my attention to look at her again!
Cory and I are amazed at all the different things Sylvie can do. When we first met her in Nanning, we were unsure if she knew how to walk or crawl – when we sat her on the bed or floor she would stay in one spot. We did not think she could hold her own bottle for feeding or feed herself finger foods. Over the first week with us, she slowly trusted us enough to show us she can walk, in fact she is working on running, and she can hold the bottle to feed herself. Once home, she showed us she is quite adept at feeding herself cheerios, cheese, peas, and Gerber puffs with her fingers – still not sure if she will be a lefty or a righty she is adept at both. When we feed her foods that that stick to the spoon (mashed potatoes and/or bananas) she helps guide the spoon into her mouth quite willingly. She has also shown us she knows how to cry! At first she would only whimper quietly to herself (heart breaking to hear) but know we know she has a set of lungs and knows how to use them when she wants something! She is still vocalizing baby talk, mostly one syllable words repeated over (ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, or ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, or da-da-da-da-da). She is able to make many sounds with her tongue (clicking noises) and can smack her lips and blow bubbles. If we start, she copies us in response. When in the car seat, if she is seeking our attention, she will start the lip smacking and we response. We have been trying to teach some baby sign language (more, bottle, all done) but have not been very consistent with it and will probably need to focus more on it in the next few weeks so she can show us what her needs are and we can meet them quickly.
One of the best advancements Sylvie has made in the last few days is her willingness to try new foods. If you remember previously, her diet was limited to rice congee, steamed or fried rice, rice cereal, cheerios, and Baby Mmm Mmm’s (rice cracker), and bananas. She is now accepting new foods we are introducing to her and shows immense interest in what we have on our plates. If Mama takes a bit first, she is all ready to try it herself. We are pleased with her curiosity in food, and hope this will continue.
Foods Sylvie eats now:
· Mashed potatoes
· Apple sauce
· Gerber Sweet Potato Puffs
· Peas, corn, carrots
· Scrambled Eggs
· Arrowroot cookies
We have received so many emails, phone calls, and cards this week – they are all welcomed and appreciated. We will need a bit of time before responding to each one, but please know how much of an impact each act has had on us.
We would like to sign off by acknowledging the tremendous support we have received this last week. Our families have been wonderful, offering to help in numerous ways, cooking a month’s worth of meals (a necessity during the jet lagged week), filling our fridge with groceries, and providing support and encouragement. Our friends who made our home tidy, clean and welcoming (thanks for all the balloons and champagne – might be awhile before enjoying the latter), and also filling our fridge with groceries! You have made the last week home easier and allowed us to focus on Sylvie and helping her to feel secure during this transition. THANK YOU!
I have added some pictures taken this week and a short video of Sylvie walking around the hotel lobby when we were in Beijing. It seems weird posting our own pictures with the blog entry – Thanks to Kim for adding our pictures for us while we were in China!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Our little princess didn't fare too badly on the trip - considering we were couped up on that plane for so long. We managed to get three seats for the trip home, so we made the best of it to setup a little "tent" for Sylvie to try and get some sleep - I think she was the most rested of the three of us after all was said and done. (It is amazing what you can create with some airline pillows and blaknets and a little enginutity) :)
After we touched down at YVR, we hustled through the masses to try and deal with the "dreaded" immigration and collect our bags to be received into Canada. Let's just say for all you people going through this in the future - Find a rep when you hit the bottom of the escalator and are staring at the reams of people in the immigration lines (There are MANY people... M.A.N.Y...) After we asked the rep we found he said
"You are Canadians returning with an adopted child?"
"Okay - You don't need to go through that gong show... Over here please..."
"You lead the way..." :)
Suffice to say - The line we got put in had significantly less folks around - We were just about to settle in to some seats when another agent approached us -
"You are returning with an adopted child?"
"Yes we are"
"Come up here and we will get you through next..." :)
Chop Chop... We didn't have to poke or pinch her to start her crying - We just got the fast track because we had the baby - Oh yes. Got the paperwork looked at - Everything was in order so we got that signed off and were on our way... Immigration - check. :) We collect our bags and headed for our connection flight - This is where Friday went a little sideways...
Let's just say that after M...A...N...Y... hours with Air Canada (we flew AC from Beijing where the trouble started) we still had to deal with them to get home. When we landed we were told that all of our connections were taken care of - which I took at face value knowing that we still had to deal with immigration... We started through YVR to get to the domestic travel area to catch our connection (which had been bumped because we were two and a half hours late). Dealing with some of the staff there almost had me coming out of my skin - and I am a pretty reserved traveller.
"Oh sir - YOU seem to have missed your flight"
"Uhh... NO... YOU seem to have missed our flight for us..."
"Well, we are oversold on the flights tonight now, so we can put you on standby..."
"Uhhh.... NO... You can bump someone else and get us home... Thank you very much..."
"Ooooo... No sir we can't do that - You will have to go standby..."
Do you see where we are going here??? At any rate - After we did not make the next standby flight because it was full - I spent some nice quality time with some of the AC customer service staff and they arranged for us to hit the Delta and get some eats and some sleep. We were confirmed on the next flight first thing Saturday. .. Which after our day Friday (two Fridays actually - because we crossed the date line again) was a quiet blessing... Early to bed to get some shut-eye and we were still up at 1:00am (time change licks...) Got our stuff repacked and back to the airport at 5:00am... Quick flight home and here we are... (well, several loads of laundry later and much unpacking, but you get the point...)
So, we are night one in at home and we will see how we all fair over the next while with time changes and schedule shuffling... Stay tuned for the next instalment which should be coming soon.
C & J & S
(and the kitties now too...) :)
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Remember the Pearl Market?? Yeah... Z...O...O... I could have spent an entire day there hassling the locals - You too cheap! A little bit more! As a people watcher I thoroughly enjoyed watching these artists try to fleece the obvious tourists - The price for the locals is a pittance to what they start the bidding at for the tall Norseman... Sound advice all the way home - 10%... If that is where you start, you will end up with a pretty good deal - But you have to endure some criticism for being a cheap funnyman. :) I have broad shoulders... The place was also a five or six story department store that was laiden with shops... Different levels for different stuff - The distinction that I could make was that the Silk Market was more clothes and bags and such, and the Pearl Market was more antiques and electronics and well, pearls... If you only had the chance to hit one, you could certainly find what you were looking for at either. I think the Silk Market was bigger after all was said and done.
We did NOT exhaust the little one during our stint out, which ws a good thing, so we opted for some dinner out. We caught a taxi back to the hotel and then played and started to organize for the trip home tomorrow. If you know my lovely wife, you KNOW how much stuff we packed... Let's just say that we are coming home with more, but we will know what to expect for next time... :) As a sidebar - You can get REALLY cheap (if you fight for it) luggage at the markets - Nice Swissgear carry-on $22 (Sure it's fake, but it rolls nice and just needs to last till we get home...) :) You should have seen the sales lady when I was looking at this piece - even went as far as having me pull her around on it to show how tough the wheels were... :) (Not to mention she showed me that it would not burn with a lighter..... That's right lady - I am concerned if my carry-on luggage will survive the FIRE...) Points for her effort though I will give you that... :)
Anyhow, we are basically packed - Have all of the trinkets and baubles and toys and stuff tucked away in our luggage. Just have some final cleanup to do in the morning and then we are off to the airport. We check out of the hotel at 1:00 and should be at the airport by 2:00... We check in to get our flight, and I belive it departs Beijing at 4:00... Through the miracle of modern time travel (well, crossing the date line helps) we will arrive in Vancouver at noon. With hopefully some expedited immigration (it is amazing what a crying baby will help get you through) we should be on the flight to Kelowna at 1:20 or so to arrive home sometime around the 2:00 mark. We will see if things go that smoothly, but here's hoping... :) So, until then, we will continue the story when we arrive (which I am hoping is tomorrow...) :)
C & J & S
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
After our military mall experience, we headed back to the hotel for some naps all around. I was supposed to meet Jennifer downstairs to head off to the Canadian Embassy to collect Sylvie's visa at 12:30 and we had a tour of the Temple of Heaven planned... Let's just say that the sleeps prevailed for the girls for some extra time and we did not bother with the tour. I did go to the Embassy with Jennifer to pickup the visa and immigration documents that we will require to come home (and leave I guess... Visa to leave and immigration forms to enter) The Embassy visit again - 6 minutes... Got to go inside this time though - Check the forms and spelling of everything - Everything correct? Yup. OK Thank you. Done... Again - very nice... :)
So we got to make plans to get together with the other families that were in the group that was here (we had booked with a different travel facilitator earlier so we were not in the group) but they invited us out anyway for a "Goodbye China" party. We had met a couple sets of parents who were adopting when we were in Nanning - got to catch up with one of them here. The other were Americans, so their Embassy is not in Beijing... There were 9 families in all who were in the group - what a blast! We all met at their hotel and headed out on the bus to go for a big Chinese farewell dinner - We ate like there was no tomorrow. I have to say that after this trip I am even MORE hooked on dumplings... :) Sylvie LOVED it - got to interact some more with the other kids and everyone had a ball. The kids got gifts at the end (large scrolls with their Chinese names on them) and everyone got entertained by a little clown magic show and Chinese dance. Very very nice time. Got to get together with people we have only typed with online and meeting and talking with everyone was a nice "grounding"... Don't get me wrong, we are having a great time, but there is something about being to talk to others who are going through the same things you are that is very helpful - almost relieving. It was fantastic to meet you all!
Got back to their hotel on the shuttle, and caught a taxi back to our hotel... Prepared for another evening of baby torture - I sharpened some toothpicks in lieu of bamboo chutes... and poof! Finished her bottle and asleep in the crib - 8 minutes... Booooya... Not complaining - No sir.. not one bit... :):) This little girl is a bundle of surprises... :) Working on new foods though, which sometimes she is very particular, and sometimes she will eat whatever... Things we know she likes so far:
- Formula (duh? - It's like crack for kids...)
- Rice (fried, steamed, crispies)
- Rice Cereal
- Congee (which we will have to get some more recipes from Kay...)
- Cheerios (what kid doesn't like the universal snack??)
- Baby MMmm MMmm's (Basically a rice biscuit - she actually JUST started eating those today...)
- ...Do you SEE the "rice" theme here?... We will have to diversify some when we return.
These are the top contenders for her palette so far. That about sums up the day today - Got all of the required travel documents now and we are off to the airport on Friday... Leave the hotel about 1:00pm and depart about 4:00pm if my schedule is right. Tomorrow is another free day, so we are hopefully going to sleep in a little and relax for most of the day. I think we are going to try the Silk Market tomorrow just to see what it is all about, but that's about it. You will certainly hear about it for sure... :) Until then...
C & J & S
...Winner winner - Chicken dinner.....
Three hours later (for some of us... I will let you figure out which... ) :) and we got geared up and headed downstairs. Asked our concierge where some good shopping was to be had, and he had suggested either the Silk Market or the Pearl Market. We opted for the Pearl Market on this day, for no particular reason than it is 5 floors of shops where they EXPECT you to haggle... If you pay what the sticker says (IF there is a sticker) than I GUARANTEE you have paid too much. (George Foreman Guarantee, not the Men's Warehouse...) :) The concierge questioned whether or not we wanted to go to such a place - grabby loud people who want to push things on you at every turn - A lot of the stuff are knicknacks and dust collectors and such... Yes, yes we do... Okie dokie - in a taxi and we were off.
Now for a little scene-setting of the Pearl Market... I would loosely describe it as a department store where there are different sections on different levels - which it was, but only with what I could attach a zoo or mob mentality to... WOW!! (Don't get me wrong, I loved every second of it... but WOW!) :) If you wanted something there, you could almost be certain that someone had it (or would get it)... It was fantastic shopping for everything. We were there for a couple of hours and tuckered the munchkin out, so we caught a taxi with all of wares in tow back to the hotel.
Mid trip we changed routes to head off for a quick dinner (someone was letting us know that she was hungry) so we hit a little restaurant near the hotel so we could walk back. Got some dinner in (quickly - sometimes there is no pleasing this one) and hustled off back to the room so we could unpack and unwind,,, Well, unwind was the PLAN... Let's just say that missy here is cutting a couple of big teeth (she turned her stroller into a giant teething ring - thought she actually might knock out some chick-lets on the bumpy sidewalks, but nope) So to say putting her to sleep was "eventful" :) Thought we might have someone call security thinking we might be breaking her limbs she was howling so hard... E.V.E.N.T.U.A.L.L.Y... she quieted down after many tears and drifted off... I think we were actually in shock of how quiet it was for a bit... :) So, no blog for you last night, but you get the goods today... :)
C & J & S
...Second Floor - Hardware, Children's Wear, Ladies Lingerie...
Monday, June 1, 2009
Filled out some required paperwork - name, sex, birth date, blah, blah, blah... Any health issues - yes - History of heart condition... To be quite honest, the Immigration forms were harder to fill out (for the Canadian government - go figure...) than the health questionnaire. In to see the nurse, got her highness weighed and measured and back out to the play area to wait for the doctor. There were a couple of other kids in there, so we got to watch her interact with other little people... A bit reserved at first, but then one boy (about 16 months or so) made his way over to her toys and started to trade with her... Some baby babble and between them (probably some highbrow conversation that we just don't get...) Seemed to go OK. We were told when we received her that she liked to play with the other babies at the orphanage, so we were not REALLY worried about it, but hey, you never know when you kid is going to clock someone... :) Good Girl... Thumb outside the fist if we need to practice that too...
Wait for the doctor took about ten minutes, and we got in to see her. Very nice lady - Canadian, from Montreal - was very polite and knowledgeable - I get the impression that she gets to see quite the laundry list of things... Answered all of our questions... She gave Sylvie a thorough look over and was very pleased (and naturally, so were we...). Sylvie is right on target for height - a little underweight, but that is apparently not unusual... (Like she is not going to get spoiled rotten... There's sure to be a pound or two gained there I am certain...) :) Eyes, ears, lungs, development - all good. She actually mentioned that if we had not written down that she had a heart defect that she probably would not have even heard it... Just the quietest of murmurs if you listened hard enough... YAY! To say we are pleased is an understatement... :):) That visit lasted all of about 20 or 25 minutes and we got the paperwork from the clinic for the Embassy... Jennifer was quite surprised when we told her that we did not need to get any medication or any further tests... We are aparently her first family that required NOTHING... Very nice... :) With that knowledge in hand, we prepared for the Embassy.
Let me sum this up...
- We showed up at the Embassy...
- They met us at the entrance...
- They took our forms...
- They said "See you Wednesday..."
- We left
Now I don't know if that is normal, but that is NOT what we were expecting... This "summary" is really not leaving any details out - the visit with the Embassy agent took like 6 minutes... Jennifer was listed as our representative, so she can collect the Visa on Wednesday for Sylvie and that, as they say, is that... Who knew??? Again, Jennifer had mentioned that in times past, she had to make NUMEROUS trips with families whom had forgotten one form or another or not brought the correct ones... Maybe a good thing we had the "Organizer" in our corner... (I have other names for her - and so do some of you, but we will keep this "G" rated... Her reputation precedes her) :) With that, we headed back to the hotel for a quick pit stop and then off to LiuLiChang Antique Street - One of the local tourist traps... er... markets :)
You can find a whole lotta stuff (read - junk) at the market, but there are some cool things to be had. We were on the lookout for some nice art (scrolls, hangings, that sort of thing) and you can get them EVERYWHERE. "This one was painted by someone with ties to the royal family..." Don't care - The one next door looks EXACTLY the same and is 10% the cost.... The guy in the back over there is a pretty darn good painter and he's hammering them out at 150 and you're trying to charge me 1500... Uhhh... NO I don't think so... Many deals to be had and many Yuan to be haggled... Good fun. Might be Smiling Buddha's for everyone... :)
Finished at the market and had a quiet dinner... Decided to try something a little different... Tracked down a Pizza Hut this evening and tested that out... :) Not too bad if I had to say... The fast food culture is raging here with the youth... Everything is open 24 hours (Rotton Ronnies, The Colonel's, The Hut...) and pretty much EVERYONE delivers! Tested that theory in Nanning with some Mickey D's and two double cheeseburger meals did in fact show up at our hotel room door... :) Walked back to the hotel and got the little one into a bath. The stacking cups are quickly becoming her favourite I think... She certainly loves to play with them... Not just for bath time anymore. :) Anyhow I am off to hit the hay - Tomorrow is a free day, so we might go exploring at the markets some more... Will see what kind of trinkets we can get a good deal on... Hey - everyone loves shiny baubles right? :)
C & J & S
- What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?
...An African or Eurpoean swallow???...