It's taken me all day to write this, but here's what we've been up to. It's not in any order.
Obviously Maggie still doesn't like to be put down. She has her moments where I can move around the room in her eyesight where she is fine. But often the screaming happens. It's cute and funny and a good sign of her attachment to me, but honestly sometimes I want to pull my hair out!
Overall, though, Maggie Fei continues to make great progress. She's getting more solid and heavier feeling, and has gained about 1 pound since we got her! She's up to 17.8 pounds! She's eating enormous amounts of baby food, Puffs and Yogurt Melts. I've discovered that sugar is one of the main ingredients in both of those (really?? in baby food? c'mon people), no wonder she is so willing to eat them. So we've switched to the organic, twice-as-expensive kind. I just can't put sugar in her tiny little body. Anyway, she does a great job feeding herself those things, but absolutely refuses any other kind of table food still at this point. But she takes about 28oz of formula a day plus all the baby food, so I'm thrilled with how much she is eating and hope she continues to fatten up!
Feeding herself Puffs.
We've had some odd, unexpected health issues with her. She was diagnosed with thrush right after we got home, we went thru the 14 day treatment of both oral and topical meds for that, only to have it still be there. It's actually whitish-yellow gunk up in her palate. So our adoption Dr referred us to her dentist, who we were seeing last Tuesday anyway. He wasn't sure it was thrush so he sent us to peds for patch to be cultured. Peds couldn't culture patch (??) but she doesn't think it's thrush anyway, but suspects it's a bacterial infection. So we started antibiotics for that to see if it helped. Crazy.
Thankfully, I requested to get a naked weight on her, during which the nurse noticed a spot on her back that was concerning and not there before. It almost looks like a wart on her shoulder blade. The cultured it (not sure why they can culture that but not what's in her mouth) and we waited a couple of days for the results. Turns out it's a staph infection. Ugh! Really?? No one seems to know if the mouth and the staph on her back is related or not. But after being on antibiotics since last Wednesday, the spot looks better and the smell coming out of her mouth is much better too. But the white patch is still in there! At this point we're continuing the antibiotics to see how she does. I wish I have kept track of how many times I've called the doctor since we got home!
In the meantime, Ben had his appointment with the same ENT who will do Maggie's ear tubes. After seeing how large Ben's tonsils are when they're not infected, plus hearing that he's had 4 infections in 6 months and missed 5 days of school so far this school year, he recommended removing his tonsils and adnoids. Currently that surgery is scheduled for January 2nd. And Maggie's is February 6th. Seriously. Not sure if my heart can handle my oldest and youngest going thru surgery within nearly a month of each other.
I'm not totally decided on Ben's surgery. He has his pre-op appointment later this week, so I have to decide by then. He has big, easily-infected tonsils like me, and I so wish I had had mine taken out as a kid. They still give me heck. So long term, I want this for him so he doesn't have to deal with throat issues into adulthood. But I'm questioning whether now is the right time. Technically he has plenty of time to recover and get back in the swing of things before Maggie's surgery. But Maggie is still very demanding of my time and attention. I haven't left her with anyone yet besides Jeremy... so leaving her for his surgery plus needing to give him more time and attention as he recovers will be very hard. Not to mention the other 2 kiddos thrown in the mix!
But I also love the idea of getting it done and out of the way. We're already stuck in the house. If I postpone it, then we risk more doctor's visits and more time off school. Plus we could have both their surgeries finished by spring and we can enjoy life. So stay tuned for what we decide to do!
Sleep is going well, especially at night. She's sleeping a solid 11-13 hours, totally awesome. Naps she is tending to wake earlier than I think she should, thanks to poo in her diaper. But luckily it wakes her up now and she demands to be changed, which is so much better than her being content to sleep in it before and not ask for help.
She is also little miss Chatty Kathy. Seriously she talks ALL the time, despite having no real words yet. She tells me all kinds of things, complete with head bobs and nods, and eyebrow raising and infection in her voice. This girl has all kinds of things to say. Many times she says it VERY loudly. While everyone else is talking. Someone buy me earplugs!
Our biggest challenge lately is logistics of four kids. Bedroom arrangements are tough. We live in a 3 bedroom ranch with SIX (Jeremy pointed out I originally had this at 5-ha!) people. Boys have been sharing a room forever and do pretty well most of the time. Sometimes we have to separate them at bedtime due to shenanigans, and we just put one in our bed until they're asleep. We've successfully transitioned Maggie into her crib in her room instead of the pack-n-play in our bedroom. Hallelujah! Except transition isn't the right word. She just did it. She cries a bit when we lay her day, but lately she has been able to put herself to sleep after just a minute or two, which is huge progress over the constant pat-pat-patting we used to have to do to get her into a deep sleep.
BUT.... we now have a one year old sharing a bedroom with a 3 year old. Said 3 year old is VERY verbal and loves to sing loudly and talk before she goes to sleep and when she wakes up. This makes things very tricky. Telling a girl who is born to talk NOT to talk when she wakes up is not going over very well! She just can't help it! But she has also woken up her sister on occasion. Plus we haven't tried putting them to bed at the same time yet... we usually put one to sleep first and once she's asleep, we lay the other one down. Depends on whether Allie napped that day who goes first. It's a constant shuffling game. The boys were almost 3 and 5 when they started sharing a room... this is a whole different mountain to climb. I know we'll get there, but sleep is SO important right now for all of us, so it's tricky.
Maggie's very favorite thing to do is have me be on the floor with her. She climbs all over me and laughs and laughs. She just craves the attention. No toys necessary when Mommy or Daddy is around! She loves playing with her siblings too.
Climbing on Mommy .... and Ben.
I was so excited to have her be home in time for the holidays, so we "could all be together". Sigh. Well, we've had a whole lot of togetherness thanks to Thanksgiving break, sickness and snow days, not to mention 2 weeks off for Christmas coming up! It's tough trying to give Maggie what she needs while still wrapping, baking, etc. Needless to say, we've had to give up a lot of what we normally do. No trip to the zoo to see the lights. No outside lights up here at our house (much to the boys' dismay), limited amount of cookies being baked (much to my dismay because I can't snack on them until Christmas!). We've tried to explain to the kids that there are more kids now with the same number of adults, so we can't do things the way we used to. To which Sam replied, "Well, why can't we just get another adult, then!!!" I wish!!
Love that boy Sam. He has been so clingy to me since we got home. He has to be touching me often. He hugs and kisses me throughout the day and will come grab my hand to cradle on his face. He told me, "Mom, I just can't resist you when I'm not with you." Okay buddy. I think you got that a little twistered, but I get it. I missed you too. :)
Baking with 3 "helpers" and one fussy watcher:
We had meals delivered daily for nearly the first 3 weeks we were home. It was such a blessing and we got really spoiled. We're so grateful to those dear friends who kept us fed and kept me from having to cook for so long!
We had our first post-adoption visit with our wonderful social worker. China wants to keep updated on us and how Maggie is doing long-term, so we'll be having to do regular updates for them until Maggie is at least 6! Much longer than the requirements for Allie's adoption from Korea. It's really not a big deal, though. Our social worker is the same we used for Allie as well, so it's more like having a friend come to visit. She writes up a report and we email our agency some pics and that's it.
We've had more snow than we know what to do with, and it's not even officially winter yet! Very unusual for here. The boys especially are thrilled about this.
"Snow" much excitement!
Allie being silly with her shirt on backwards. Indoor picnic on a snowy day.
Cousin Ethan rocking his cast. He's doing much better! And beautiful cousin Izzy at her recital.
I think it's really important to be honest about how we're doing. We've only been home a little over 3 weeks. We were gone almost 3 weeks to a foreign country and came home with another human being. It's a lot! When you have a 3 week old biological baby, it's hard to keep a straight thought and function. We're not quite that bad since we are sleeping at night, but close! It's a lot to juggle and figure out and we're still in the trenches.
I think sometimes there's a misconception that international adoption is "easy" because the kids are a little older when they come home, so you don't have to go thru all that newborn stuff. But it's almost harder in some ways, because they're already a little person who likes and dislikes and then we ask them to forget all they know and dive in head first to a brand new life. It's hard on all of us. But don't take that as regret for one second! This girl is MEANT to be mine. I feel it to the core of my being. I can't imagine my life without her.