Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Xin Nian Kaui Le!

Our local FCC group had their Chinese New Year party for all our girls (and boys) adopted from China and Vietnam. Here are some pics of Kenzie and Jia. Been trying to get a video completed, but something's wrong with my Pinnacle Studio.... AAAAUUUUGH! I'm so frustrated right now.

I am so happy that both the girls love being Chinese and love the silk dresses. Jia wants to wear hers all the time... a little cold for that, though.

And yes, I put makeup on them. C'mon - it's once a year and they had a blast. They truly felt like little girls and loved being "all dressed up".

Friday, January 23, 2009


Jia has been afraid of climbing to the top of the "grapevine" - but this time she did it (with help from Kenzie) and she was so proud of herself. So was Mama. It really doesn't look very easy

Like any baby, Jia goes to sleep every time we are in a vehicle and travel for more than 10 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Jia has informed me last Friday that she wants a computer like her Jie Jie.

Um.... Okaaaay.

I explained to her that a few things needed to happen before she could get one.

First, she had to be older. She not only had to grow up taller, but also not throw fits or take her frustrations out on things. (Such as last night... she broke some kind of glass? acrylic? plastic? figurine because Kenzie was using a hairbrush she wanted to use.) She also had to be able to do what was asked of her and to stop saying no to us as if it was a game. If we tell her to get ready for bed, then she needs to go upstairs and get changed for bed, not say NO and then do something else. Also, she had to stop throwing tantrums - crying every time she didn't get her way. I told her if she needed help, to come to mommy or daddy and we'd help show her a better way to express herself. And finally, I told her she needs to be able to speak more English, like mommy and daddy, so she could tell us what she needed to, and we could understand what she needed better. She was probably learning one or two new words every three to four days at this point.

Every day now, she holds her hand up above her head as if measuring herself, and says "Grow up, computer!" And she is wanting to name things now, learning the words for what is around her.

She's working toward her goal.

Funny thing, originally, I used to understand most of what she said. Now, when I can't understand it, Kenzie will pipe up and say, "OH, she's saying she blah blah blah." Miss Smarty Pants. I guess since she plays with Jia all the time, she gets used to what she is saying faster than I do.

And as I dropped off Jia today at pre-school, she says "Mommy, I go 'chool. You go home."

So good to know I make a difference in her life. LOL!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Two steps forward, five steps back...

Yesterday wasn't one of our better days.

First, there was no school for Kenzie. She had mixed emotions about that. She loves school and she loves staying home with mom. So which was she going to whine about? Still trying to figure that out.

Then, I had to go to the Social Security office to apply for Jia's social security number. The last time I was there, I was told the only other thing I needed was her Certificate of Citizenship. So, with that in hand, I go back and what does the clerk say this time? "You need to have her Indiana birth certificate before we can process her social security number."

I blew a gasket at that point. Doesn't anybody in government know what the $&%@ they are doing anymore? No one understands the rules, and they certainly don't understand how long it takes to go through the process of getting the Indiana delayed birth certificate for a child adopted internationally. AAAAUUUUUGGGHH! We need to do our taxes.

Four and a half years ago, when we got Kenzie's SSN, this wasn't a big issue. They took what we had and got us her number.

The man to whom my WRATH was directed said he'd go talk to his supervisor. Which is exactly when Jia decided to break out with all holy hell...

She decided that it was time to touch everything she could, try to run off with stuff that she had no idea what she was taking, and throwing Kenzie's coat on the floor over and over and over again while Kenzie is telling her to stop.

I picked her up and sat her down, to which she SCREAMED and slid down off the chair. So I picked her up again and put her on the chair... over and over again until I finally picked up her feet and laid her down across the chairs so she couldn't slide off. She screamed bloody murder the whole time. I never raised my voice, and simply told her "Jia, you need to calm down. Calm down, Jia. You want down? (nodding with screaming) You need to calm down. Mommy needs to talk with you."

I finally leaned down to her ear and whispered "Do you want to get done here and go eat?" She stopped screaming and brought it down to a whimper. She then began to calm down. I again whispered to her, "You cannot throw Kenzie's or anybody else's coat on the floor. You must not touch anything here except the toys we brought in. You can play with either toy we have. Are you ready to get down now?"

Nodding... no screaming. No more whimpering. Quiet.

I stood up and helped her get her boots back on (she had kicked them off in the fit she had thrown. Then she got up and behaved a little better. All I was going for was some sense of control so she wouldn't tear up everything.

I don't know what people thought of me, Jia, or the whole scenario. I'm sure some were horrified at her behavior, and others horrified at mine. I kept expecting to see the police pull up and enter the building because someone complained that I was abusing her. The other half of me wanted to apologize to everyone for the whole scene. I'm pretty sure everyone was thinking "Glad it's HER and not ME!"


I keep wondering what the hell am I doing wrong? I wonder if the austerity of the office reminded her of the orphanage.... and she reverted to what may have been her typical behavior she had displayed when living in the orphanage. Out of control.

How do I help this child learn how to regulate her emotions and actions? I am so ill equipped in this area. Roy and I knew that we wouldn't get as lucky as we did with Kenzie... Kenzie is easy going, and easy to discipline. Jia - totally out of control. She just doesn't seem to "get it". I can't let her run around destroying everything in her sight with the idea that "she just doesn't understand." She is a really smart kid. Really smart. But she wants to do what she wants to do and she doesn't want anyone to tell her NO. We can see she has a good heart... she wants to be a good little sister, and she loves us and wants to help wherever she can. She will out of the blue hug us and say "I love you" and generally be affectionate. And we have our good times... teasing and laughing and tickling and the gentle touches (me to her, her to me). So it's not all bad.

But the short bouts in-between when she is out of control takes so much energy. And yesterday left my right hand with a pinched nerve or tendon - something got twisted and now all I have to do is move the wrong way and I'm in pain.

Anyone with any book suggestions that can help here - or any suggestions from the BTDT crowd - feel free to jump in and tell me what I'm doing wrong. I just don't know anymore. I always thought I was a decent mother... NOT perfect, NOT exceptional - just good enough that I could at least make sure the kids made it through the day without killing each other. And perhaps we'd have peace MOST of the day. I am hoping that yesterday was just one of those days and it doesn't happen again. But if it does.... I am begging for insight.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Jia's first day of pre-school

Roy thought it would be a good idea for Jia to go to a pre-school, for many reasons.

First, she wouldn't be cooped up with me all day. Even going to a fun place like the children's museum or the library would still be "mom" related activites.

Second, I wouldn't be cooped up with Jia all day. OH, YEAH.... a little space is good for both of us.

Third, she was in a pre-school in China, so she probably was wanting to continue that.

Fourth, it would give her a chance to interact with other children about her age and it would probably help facilitate her learning English.

And last of all - and we found this out just yesterday - she WANTS to go to school.

I was holding her beside me at the table and asked if she wanted to go to school. She gave me this wide-eyed incredulous look as she shook her head yes. I told her she was going to go to school tomorrow. I then said (to put it in a perspective she understood) "Go to sleep, 'CHOOL!"

That's all Jia talked about every time she started a conversation. Before she'd ask for a drink, say she was hungry, or talk about coloring or watching a video, she'd say "Go to sleep, 'CHOOL!" just to confirm her understanding.

So today, she could hardly wait. It made her angry when we had to wait awhile before dropping off Kenzie at her school - the roads were nothing but ice under snow, and the school bus was stopped on top of a steep hill. I think there had been a car that slid sideways in the road and they had to remove it. Finally we got Kenzie dropped off and to her school.

We walked into the church where the pre-school is located, and she took off her coat - and before I could even get her to her class room, she was waving good-bye to me! Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not sure how to take that.

But she dove right in and was excited to be there. I had paperwork to fill out while there, and she kept saying, "Bye Bye Mommy!" So after filling out what I needed to and giving her a kiss, I left.

I went to a deli & coffee place that had free wifi. Aaaaaaahhhhh... uninterrupted computer time and a cup of coffee. Seems I've been missing a little free time to myself.

When I came back, she looked disappointed. YikeS!!!! But I got her going and we went to pick up Kenzie. All she could do was say "I like 'chool mommy!" and "Go to sleep, go to sleep, 'CHOOL!" (The school meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)

I think we're both going to be happy in the long run.

Thanks to Jill for suggesting this pre-school. It is probably going to be a good thing for everyone involved.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The weekend - sneeky mama and having fun

Well, first I'll start out with Sneeky Mama.

You know, with Kenzie, veggies were never an issue. She ate them. I remember when we first adopted her, I'd go to a McDonald's and order a salad, and she'd eat the salad I had bought. She loved veggies.

Not Jia. If it isn't starch or meat, she won't touch it hardly. We got her to eat steamed cauliflower once - she dipped it into spaghetti sauce. But that's been it.

So, I decided to get sneeky with veggies. I cooked a large carrot (chopped into very small squares) in water in a small pan until it was almost mush. Jia happens to love Cream of Chicken soup by Campbell's, so I made that as well. Once the carrots were soft enough, I took them out of the water that was left and mashed them up really well. I added the water to the soup can and added enough water to make the soup. Then once the soup was mixed so it wasn't lumpy, I added the carrots. Yes... the carrots were bright orange in the soup - but Jia didn't notice anything funny... thank goodness! I also added some baked chicken and some rice to her bowl of soup - and she gobbled up two bowls of it.

I did basically the same thing to spaghetti sauce she uses for spaghetti and her chicken. Next, I'll do mashed peas. When you got a kid that hates veggies - you gotta be a sneaky mama to get the good stuff down them.

Having fun? Well, January 1st, we always travel to a mall that we like and go shopping. Of all the years I didn't have any money - and the bargains were huge - I could kick myself. But we took the kids to a little play area they had for the little ones. LOL! Kenzie was sitting in a small space ship that barely held her - and Jia decided to get in beside her.... as you can see, Kenzie wasn't so happy about it. Jia was oblivious to it all... or maybe she thought it was funny that Jie-jie was whining about having no room to sit... No matter what, you can see Kenzie wasn't all that happy with the situation, as you can see...

Here's where some people might say we're bad parents... Roy and I laughed at these pics and the situation. Kenzie has been such a princess all her short little life, she can't imagine that the world doesn't revolve around her wishes and whims... Jia is a wake-up call, and Roy and I have both agreed that she is going to give Kenzie a perspective on life that she otherwise wouldn't have had if she had been an only child.

Yesterday, we went to an IU women's basketball game. I gotta say - the women play really well and are exceptionally entertaining. IU really should be proud of their women's team. The shame is that not very many people attend these games - and more people should. The women could use the support and they play their hearts out - they play to win. They have an exceptional coach, too. Yesterday they played Iowa, and beat them handily. I don't know if Iowa is a mediocre team or if IU is an exceptional one, but I dearly love the games and Kenzie does, too. Yesterday was Jia's first IU game, and she was getting into it. I wish I'd had video of her shaking her poms and cheering the team on! She mimicked everything I did, including holding her fist up in the air when they'd make a basket. She's mama's girl.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Looking forward to celebrating the lunar new year later in January. The year of the Ox!

We went to bed early. Every New Year's day we take a short road trip to go shopping and have lunch at a restaurant we like. No reason to break tradition just because we adopted Jia.

Personally, I think she'll like it. We'll end up getting ice cream at some point, and then she'll be happy as any little kid can be.