Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Monday, I took the girls outside to play with bubbles... I bought a bubble machine over the weekend (at their urging) thinking that I wouldn't have to hyperventilate any more blowing bubbles for them to chase.

They lost interest in the machine after about 3 minutes. Some kind of record - for their attention span.

Kenzie began picking dandeliions - or rather the stems that are left over after the flower has gone. They either had lost their seeds or were about to go to seed, and Kenzie just couldn't resist. I was amazed at how hard Kenzie was working, and said, "Wow Kenzie. Daddy should be paying you for picking all those dandelions."

It was said as a joke. I had ignored what she was doing for awhile, then noticed there was a huge pile of dandelion stems on the sidewalk, and Kenzie was furiously picking dandelions.

I asked her why she was picking so many - and she said "Because you said daddy was going to pay me money."

Let this be a lesson to me - no joking about money around Kenzie.

I didn't think anything about her picking the dandelions. She'd only done it in very small quantities previously, so it didn't occur to me that there might be a problem. However, because both Kenzie and Jia were working hard picking the stems, I promised them $5 apiece when they were done.

I brought the kids inside and had them take their clothes off, had them wash their hands and I wiped them off with washcloths. I didn't have them take baths or wash their hair. However, I noticed by that evening, Kenzie was broken out on her back and some on her arms... with a small spot under her eye. I put a prescription topical steriod lotion on her to help with the itching so it would settle down... Jia, on the other hand, didn't have anything wrong with her. She's a Mack truck with an air horn for a voice and nothing stops her or gets in her way.

However, when we woke up the next morning, she had swollen, red patches of skin on her arms, and her right eye looked pretty bad underneath, as well as slightly swollen. I put more of the topical steriod on her, got her ready for school and let her ride the school bus.

By the time I came to pick her up, she looked like someone had beaten her senseless - her right eye was red and almost swollen shut, big bright red splotches on her face, arms and legs. We've since bathed her, washed her hair, changed bedsheets, and literally slathered on the medicine, and plied her with benedryl (not more than she is allowed, of course.)

Today she woke up looking almost human. I hope she looks fairly normal by Saturday for her dance recital.

Poor baby.

But I promise - no more dandelions.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My budding artist

Kenzie had a video that showed how to draw the Larry Mobile (check out Veggie Tales and the Larryboy videos). I have the final product here.

I think it's time to get her a drawing pad she can work with.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stinky little girl

Can I ask a question? Well, actually, that was a question asked, so I need to ask another, or two or three. Duh!

I don't know if anyone knows what's going on, but Kenzie has stinky underarms. I mean, adult level smelly armpits. I hate writing this - but it's so noticeable and strong. I would have expected something like this if she was in her tweens, just prior to puberty. But she's only 6 year old.

She eats very healthy, so it can't be due to junk food.

What gives? Is this normal for a child of this age?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What did I just say?

As a friend and reader pointed out to me, I may have written something that would be confusing to those who don't know about international adoption from China. Not to mention that it just plain didn't come out right... Yeeesh! And thanks to Gail for pointing this out to me... it never occurred to me to proofread my post yesterday...

OK, what I meant to say in my last post was, we're preparing for our first home study since Jia's return home. For international adoption, the Chinese officials require two home studies, one at six months and one at one year, to make sure everything is progressing and the child is being treated well.

I also may have spoken early with Jia's behavior. We've been having some issues with one of the kids touching the thermostat and either turning it waaaaay up or waaaay down, either making the house uncomfortably warm or freezing cold. However, yesterday was the worst.

I took Kenzie and Jia to Kenzie's dance lessons, then Roy met us at the classes, and then we went out to eat. On our return home, we walked into the house and it was like a furnace. I went upstairs to find the thermostat had been turned up to the highest level it would go. Of course, neither kid did it... so I guess we have a gremlin in the house. Jia was particularly adamant that she couldn't reach it, even demonstrating to us how she can't touch it. Kenzie began to cry when she thought we were looking at her as the suspect.

How does one tell? For fifteen years, we've never had a problem with our thermostat. Now, it is magically moving on its own. Perhaps we have a poltergeist, or a dispirited spirit. Or a kid who doesn't comprehend the phrase "Don't touch."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things have changed

Wow, I've been off of here for a while now. Seems strange that I haven't written much, but here at the house it's been chaos. We have to prepare for our first home study for Jia's return, and there is so much I need to accomplish. We have TOO MUCH STUFF - and I'm trying to either throw things out, donate to goodwill, or figure out what I can sell (either on Ebay or to a local store that buys children's clothes... believe it or not I have about 8 huge tubs - and I mean about 3.5' x 2' x 2' in measurements - crammed full of clothing that Kenzie wore and Jia will never be able to.) Yeah, I bought a lot of clothes when I had Kenzie - and most of them she wore possibly a handful of times. I have fancy fru-fru dresses that she never even got to wear because I couldn't schedule a photo shoot for her - and the others were worn once or twice at the very most. I hope I can recoup some of my money back.

The really good news is that things have gotten so much easier with Jia. In the last 2-3 weeks, she's had a bit of a turnaround... and is behaving so much better. She's finally "getting it" when it comes to what it means to be in a family. She takes it to heart when we punish her, instead of just being mad about being made to sit somewhere for a period of time. I hate to hear her cry when we give her time outs - her little heart is breaking - because she wants very much to be a good girl - but there is that part of her that still has to push us as far as she can to learn what she can and can't do. But the pushing is a lot less, and not as drastic as it was previously. We're finally looking at more normal sibling arguments and exchanges of what is "fair", and who gets to do what when. I love it.

I can honestly say that older child adoption isn't for everyone - and it probably would have been much easier had Jia been our only child, not our second. I could have spent far more time with her, and she would have immediately felt "special" without having to compare her situation with Kenzie's . It's amazing how smart and self-aware she is, and always looking to find where she is being treated "the same as" Kenzie. And overall, I think we actually had it pretty easy in our adjustment, now that I look back. It only seemed extremely difficult because we had it so easy when we first adopted Kenzie. But my husband has many times nailed the situation on the head, especially when he has talked to some of his clients about childrens' behavioral issues and what was going on with us. Yup, we had it relatively easy. I was exhausted and bewildered at first, but now, 5 months of being home and I couldn't imagine a life without Jia. She brings a lot of excitement into our life. And as Roy said, we were probably taking Kenzie for granted because she was so easy to take care of. Now, we have an appreciation of both kids for what they bring to the family.

I can say that all my concerns about Jia were pretty unfounded when it came to whether or not her behavior was truly a problem or was a kid who was a bit out of control. The other day one of Kenzie's friends at her Kindergarten asked her daddy if Kenzie could come over that afternoon to play, and when her daddy told her no, that there was something he had to take care of before Kenzie could come over, perhaps they could do it next week, the little girl began crying and then kicked at her dad and began hitting at him. My my whole face did this:


He had to pick her up and carry her down to his van so he could calm her down. I turned to Kenzie's teacher and said, "I will NEVER, NEVER again complain about anything Jia or Kenzie does again." And I meant it. NEVER. They have their little hissie-fits, but NOTHING that compares to that little girl's temper tantrum. Kenzie had never tried to hit out at me except for once, and it was half-hearted. A talk with her about that and it's never happened again. Jia has kicked out, but it was on the bed when she was laying down in a time out and she wasn't really trying to kick anyone, just kicking on the bed because she was so frustrated and mad. She has since calmed down, and doesn't do the kicking thing. She really doesn't want to hurt anyone.

Kenzie is getting ready for her dance recital. We've been having her practice her dance steps 3-4 times each day. I had to threaten her that I wouldn't video tape it if she didn't practice. And she's improving tremendously as she does it every night. Looks like my evil plan is working. Her recital is May 2nd, and I expect that once we get to that night, she'll know the routine very well... However, just like last year, I'm sure there will be something that will draw her attention away from her dance... Oh, well... she's only 6 years old.

The dance studio we take the kids to is going to have lessons in theater (singing, dancing, acting) next year (the 2009-2010 school year). I would love to get both of the kids in that... but will have to find a way to come up with about $225 per kid AND afford the costume fees. But I think it would be great for both kids to get involved. I can especially see Jia excelling in it - she LOVES to act and entertain and sing. However, I have found that Kenzie has a sweet little voice (and she can carry a tune really well - but her voice is so soft that it's hard to hear her sometimes). When she first started "singing", she was waaaaaaay off key. I think Roy's hopes that she would be the next Christina Aguilera or Brittany Spears was dashed at that point. Me? I don't think I want her going the rock star route. Very few people can handle it without getting into drugs, sex, and being surrounded by leaches who only befriend you so they can live off of your wealth and fame (or notoriety).

Well... I've gone way overboard for this post. More information than what anyone really wanted to know. I hope to be able to post a few pics soon. I've been horribly lax at taking them here lately. Bad Mama!