Happy Holidays!

So, it's already the 26th... Merry belated Christmas to all!

What a difference a baby makes on Christmas... This was definitely the busiest, sweetest, happiest, most fullfilling, most chaotic Christmas ever! Heck, I'm a mom!!! THAT is still sinking in... Even after preparing Christmas Eve dinner with a baby hanging to my pants, which was definitely a challenge. And sipping champagne on Christmas night with a hyper, curious, determined overtired little one was definitely not the same... Still, I wouldn't change anything! October 8th was the day I received the best present ever.

Yummy turned one year old on Chrismas Eve, and decided to offer us a good night sleep. Hurrah! She's also officially entered the toddler phase, with a few (small) tantrums when refused something, and a definite mind of her own. We've got new challenges ahead! :o)

We're in Quebec City right now, for a few days at my father in-law's. Hello walks in Old Quebec and on the Plains of Abraham! And hello good wines, foie gras (we're French, it's not illegal here...) and relaxed afternoons.

Enjoy the holidays!


Survivor China

So, she went to sleep without a peep last night, even if she was having tons of fun 15 minutes before. I knew it was too good to be true...

Comes 3 AM. Mwaaah! Mwaaah!

Get up.
Give her a rag.
Go back to bed.

Mwaaah! Mwaaah!

Huh? What now? She usually goes right back to sleep!

Well, she didn't this time. Just stayed awake. And had to be in my arms. No play, no interaction, no trying to get my attention. Just wanted to be in my arms...

So, I rocked her standing, the usually most efficient way to calm her down. For a good hour... She still had her eyes wide open and the screams ready to go if I so much as put her down in her crib, thinking she had finally dozed off. My arms were hurting so bad, I started thinking about that challenge they had on Survivor once, where they had to hang on to a big pole with a bear-like hug until they collapsed. But it's now 4h30 AM and I can't do this much longer!

So, I bought myself a little immunity: I took her to bed with me.

She was out in 5 minutes flat.

And the smile this morning when she saw me! As if I had given her the world.

Got to do some serious rethinking here...


The "S" post


The one nap a day seems to be helping going to sleep: no big crisis in the last few days! Yay!
And I only had to get up ONCE last night! At 2h30 AM. I can definitely live with once...

Afternoon update: OK, maybe a little crisis here and there...


Sooooo much snow outside! And of course, this is THE year we won't ski as much... :o(((
I went for a walk yesterday and today, with Yummy in the backpack as they have yet top clean the sidewalks here: I had never seen such big snowbanks in Montreal! It's crazy! We walked on a bike path that also serves as a sidewalk (which was thankfully cleaned), and the snowbanks were up to my hips!

After Sunday's storm, my poor car was buried, and we had to move it this morning: the snowsuit went over the pyjamas, and we sat Yummy in a snowbank while we shovelled. She was fine, and got a treat after, as I took her for some wild spins in the in the small sleigh we got her. Even with the mitts and the 3 layers of clothing, she managed to sign "more" and "more" and "more"!

Afternoon update: we got the car out for NOTHING: there was no snowplow in sight all day! And S couldn't even leave the island this morning, the traffic was just too horrendous! This is getting ridiculous: if there was an emergency, an ambulance couldn't even make it here, as there is only one way in or out...


She has recently started to cuddle up to us when we say "collé-collé", and is doing it more lately. THAT is worth many, many sleepless nights... :o)))


Got to write down the recipe for the cookies I'm taking to my very first cookie party tonight! We'll even get to taste them all: let the holiday weight gain begin early this year! :o)

For years now, I've been making the family recipes, doubling and tripling everything to give boxes to everyone. I started it the year my mom decided she had done enough, which I think was back in 87 or 88... So I made this one kind, thinking that it was a great idea to make just one and exchange. But now, I'm thinking I might make a few of the most "famous" ones... Single recipes...


There has been so much more of those in our house since we came back from China! Oh, we had a great life "before baby", but now, she just cracks us up with everything she does, and the sometimes overwhelming cuteness she shows... Love it!

One of her cute things now is to go "wouf" whenever she sees a dog, stuffed, in a picture, or real. She actually does it with the cats too... Too cute! We were at the grocery store this afternoon, her in the backpack, and I suddenly heard "wouf-wouf": there was a huge display of stuffed dogs! There was a mini-meltdown when I walked away towards the cashiers...


That all we want to do... Stand-stand-stand!!! In the living room hanging on to the couch, in the kitchen hanging on to my legs, in the dining room hanging on to the table leg, in the bathtub hanging on for dear life, it doesn't matter... Standing rules! We've had our first tumbles... and she still doesn't really crawl efficiently!

Speech and sounds

The girl wants to talk! And she does, oh does she ever... No one really understands anything, but the sounds are actually quite funny! Hence more smiles... :o)


Gotta go: time to get dinner ready!


On sleep, change, questions, and the wisdom of other moms

Well, we've seen a week of changes, that have mostly kept me away from the computer, or too tired to type at night...

The most brutal (and not expected and definitely not hoped for so soon...) has been Yummy going from 2 naps a day to only one: bye bye free time... And hello whiny lunch time, as we now skip the morning nap! I put her down after lunch today, and of course she resisted being rocked, and cried, so in bed she went and I left the room. Not 3 minutes later, she passed out smack in a middle of a cry!

We've also seen changes in her nights, as she doesn't wake-up quite as often as she used too. We live in a not-so-big-but-great condo (which we obviously bought before we decided to adopt... and still would probably buy again!), and her room is on a mezzanine and ours is on the main floor. Ever since we came back from China, one of us has slept on the guest bed upstairs, just outside her room, which guaranteed the other a good night sleep downstairs every second night. At first, she would wake 7-8 times a night, mostly because she had lost her beloved rag. Giving it back to her sent her back to sleep just about every time. We got so good at it, we now have 2-3 rags hanging at the end of her bed, and just grab one and aim it at her in the dark, when we are half-asleep at 3 AM: works great! She was also taking a bottle at around 2 AM, which she stopped on her own almost 2 weeks ago. A bigger diapers at night really do the trick...

So, we started noticing a pattern in the wakings. Mainly, she would sleep much better and wake-up less if Dad was on duty, and still wake-up crying 4-5 times when I slept upstairs, especially on the (very) occasional times I took an evening off and went out and Dad stayed home. And it didn't matter who put her to sleep: it's as she knew who would be there later! So Dad decided to experiment, and spend 3 night in a row upstairs: she only cried enough for him to have to get up once or twice for the 3 nights!!! Guess what happened when my turn came back? Two times, which is still better than before. So, we are seeing improvement!

And the one nap a day is kind of helping going to sleep at night, as she is so tired by then. We haven't seen any big dramatic production of crying, screaming and kicking in a few days... Those are the worst! Man, the girl can put up an angry fit!!! It has taken us as long as an hour to finally get her to sleep sometimes, and it was not fun for anyone...

With all those sleep issues, I've been trying to find good books to help us decide what to do: to let cry or not? to pick up or not?... I've realized with quite a bit of surprise that the adoption books barely talk about sleep, and the sleep books, if they mention adoption, will say something like "adopted children might require a few months before you can attempt these methods" and blablabla... Yeah, but still, what do we do NOW? How much do we let her cry??? We tried rocking her until she slept, thus avoiding the big traumatic tears, but she would then cried more during the night, up to 3-4 times an hour. Not good... Even if we've gotten pretty skilled at recognizing the angry cries from the really distraught ones, and act acordingly, the questions of how to handle sleep always stay.

Attachment is such an ongoing process, back and forth, back and forth. And because of the adoption, I tend to question a lot of her behaviors which would probably seem perfectly normal for a mom of bio kids. For example, Daddy now gets a very excited welcome from Yummy when he comes back from work at night: she wiggles, and squeals, and claps, and it's the cutest thing ever! I was out most of the day last Thursday, getting my hair done and Christmas shopping. I came back just after her dinner, and was basically ignored for the rest of the evening... No clapping for Mummy, let's give her the cold shoulder! Hard... It took her a few days to really look and smile at me again. On Friday night, we had some friends over for dinner, with their kids, and dear Karen so reassured me by saying her kids have done the exact same thing, "punishing" mommy when she leaves them, even for a short period... OK, so I guess I didn't traumatize her for life by getting some hair highlights and buying her presents! Yay! Because that half hour in the middle of shopping, alone in a coffee shop with my book felt just too good...

There are definite differences in the challenges involved with adopted versus bio kids. But there are also many, many similarities. And with a first child, I think it's often tough to figure out what is what. And you want to give them all the best. And sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you loose your patience.

And then other moms will tell you everything is fine.
And tell you they've been there.
And done it.
And reassure you.
A lot.



Twenty Pounds of Joy

Yummy has been so yummy lately, it's more fun to play with her than to update my blog!
(Or to finally read the 7th Harry Potter while she's napping...)

We've seen so many changes since we've been back! I knew we would gradually see those changes, and I knew that it takes a while for these amazing babies to show their true personality, and to let it shine. However, I didn't know how good it would make me feel to watch her grow, and change, and learn, and trust. Every new step is like an incredible gift, and lately, we see changes daily!

She is understanding so much, and she started to purposely use signs, "more" being her favorite one. "More" food, "more" music, "more" toys, "more" play... She does it in the most enthusiastic, determined way a not-quite-one-year-old can, and it's quite funny to watch! She's even combined two signs, her pointing (to the bowl of egg yolks, a favorite food) and signing "more".

More music mama!

Also, last night, something clicked, and she realized the power she had over making us laugh at the dinner table. She was funnier and more charming than we had ever seen her, and it continued today. For two weeks, now, I've been trying to get her to make "beaux yeux" (literally "beautiful eyes"), squinting my eyes at her, and all of a sudden, she started doing it last night, scrunching her whole face in the cutest way. These pictures don't even do her justice, but that's the best I could do!

The weather being so nice after this week's storm, I bundled her up and took her on a walk, with a stop at the coffee shop where she proceeded to smile and play and sign "more" for cookies while I was able to enjoy my latte and a few pages of my book. "Before baby", it was one of my little pleasures to go out for coffee in the afternoon, and I see no reason to stop, so I'm training her! :o)

Walking back in the sun, with everything so nice and white, big lazy snowflakes falling out of nowhere, and my smiling, happy baby making cute faces and sounds at me in the stroller, I thought about the Long Wait, which seems so long ago now, and how I had yet to fully understand what was coming up, the hard stuff as well as the wonderful stuff. And it's a good thing, because the wonderful stuff still outweights the hard stuff by about 1000, and The Wait would have been that much more difficult.

A few weeks before we left for China, a good friend of mine had told me that we think things can't get better, and then they do. And then you think they can't possibly get better, and they do again. So true...

Twenty pounds of joy.

And she keeps growing... :o)