Most of my posts have been centered around Maggie, of course, and our time here. But I have to give major kuddos to Ben, Sam and Allie at home. They are used to me being at home 24/7 with them. This is a major upheaval to their little lives and I'm so proud of them for rolling with it. And we're so thankful to our parents and siblings for being surrogate parents to them until we get home. We're Skyping every day, but it just doesn't replace being able to have them in my lap and smell their skin. I find myself daydreaming of just smelling their necks!
Today was our last day in Zhengzhou, the capitol of the Henan Province where she's from. We basically had to be here today to wait for her passport to come in, which it did this evening. We took a walk this morning to a nearby park we had heard about, it was a little piece of heaven in the middle of this chaotic city. It was warm enough to not have jackets on and it was so nice to be outside. We also stopped at a jade shop and bought her a keepsake piece of jade (made locally) with a dragon on it, the zodiac sign for her birth year. Funny to bargain with the shopkeeper with just a calculator!
We went to the pool for a few minutes tonight, but other than that we just hung out again. I won't be sad to say goodbye to this hotel room tomorrow!
Maggie is full of ups and downs. She overall had a pretty cranky, tired day. But she sure does love being in her baby carrier on me. She leans her head back to inspect my face and sometimes gives me a smile or lets me tickle her neck. I love those moments when she's just relaxed and being silly. When we get back, though, it's like someone pushed a switch, because the moment we set her down she screams. Loud. Until we pick her back up. I'm starting to wonder if Allie somehow prepped her on how to act, because this is EXACTLY how Allie was. For about the first year. Ugh.
getting a bath (because it means she's not being held)
going to bed
being in the stroller
her bottles of hot formula
oh and she had her first sucker today which was a big hit.
Oh and she seems to only poop when she's supposed to be sleeping, thus once again instigating the screaming while being changed then screaming to go back to sleep routine.
I'm not exaggerating when I say she has literally been down on the ground playing no more than 3 times total since we've had her. She just won't do it. Whenever we try, even if we're sitting right NEXT to her, she screams. I feel like I'm going to leave this hotel with my head hanging in shame, surely everyone has heard how much she has cried and thinks we're neglecting or hurting her! No folks, I just set her down so I could pee. Or I'm just changing her diaper.
Another thing we've noticed is that she's not used to having the freedom to do what she wants with her body. She'll often just stay in whatever position I put her in. When I learn her back for her bottle, her legs just stick straight out instead of relaxing against me. She doesn't know how to be held on my hip and curve into my body. She doesn't feel free to get up from a sitting position and crawl around-even though she is capable. These are all signs that she spent a lot of time in her crib and not out being mobile and getting attention. We're really lucky that she is responding so well to us and is bonding so well despite not being used to this kind of care.
She really does remind me of a much younger baby. She wakes up and wants a bottle. Will hang out on our laps /being carried for 1.5 to 2 hours, then gets fussy for a nap. Wake and repeat. She doesn't have much stamina at all and needs to sleep a lot so far. Which is great except getting her to sleep is a long process that involves a lot of butt patting.
If it sounds like we're getting weary it's because we are. We left home 10 days ago! 7 more to go.
Yet in the midst of feeling weary, she continues to crack out of her shell a little bit more each day. Tonight she didn't cry as much at bedtime and for the first time explored her crib. She normally just flops down to scream until she passes out, but tonight she traveled around the perimeter, played with a toy we have attached (so good to see her actually play) and then she starting cackling out loud!! It was so precious. Big, giant huge cackles. Something was really funny about the wall next to her crib, I don't know what it was but we sure loved hearing that sound.
And the smiles and interacting with us are coming more freely than before. This morning while Skyping the kids, she was babbling so they could hear her, which was so awesome. Up until now she just sat and stared at them.
She's still pretty reserved, quiet and scared. I can't imagine what all she's been through, and tomorrow she'll take her first flight and has to readjust to a new hotel room, crib, etc. But her eyes are SO bright and lively, they don't miss a thing. I can't wait to see her really let go and be free!
There is a little boy at a group foster home here in China named Christopher. I fell in love with him when he first arrived at the home over a year ago (maybe longer?). I follow their blog and Facebook page and he is just precious. He has a very serious heart condition and had a big heart surgery today that did not go well. He is very unstable and very sick. Please send prayers and good thoughts his way. He is a precious little boy and I pray he recovers and goes on to find his forever family.
Her favorite place to be.
The sucker helped her forget she was in the stroller. Will have to remember this trick.
Her poor little body just stays in whatever position I put her in.
First time in a bathing suit! Look at those chunky legs.