Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tootsie's Progress (and more)

This past week we celebrated being home for three months. YAY! We also sent in our second Progress Report and our $$ to begin the Finalization process. In the County we live in you don't have to have all three Progress Reports in to finalize, in case some were wondering. We should get a call with our Finalization date soon. Yay for THAT! It's just a piece of paper, which says what we already know - Joye is ours forever.

There is also something that I have been wanting to share for a while now, but haven't had the time. We are making BIG progress with the sleeping issue. Let me give you a little background first:

When we first brought Joye home, I was planning to parent just like I parented the boys. Same rules, same expectations. Although I had read MANY books on adoption and what to expect, I still had it in my mind that it all was the same. Relatively. I mean, I didn't expect her to be left with a stranger and be ok. I knew and planned for adoption-related issues and was planning on dealing with them as they arrived.

One thing I did NOT plan on was sleeping issues. I don't know why, I just never thought much about it. (I must have skipped that chapter in the books ;) I expected sleeping problems for the first month, when we were getting used to her and to allow for Jetlag. By month two, I was stumped and frustrated. "Sleeping and getting tired are an INSTINCT, like hunger and the ability to fill a diaper!" I told myself and others. What is the big deal?!
I was expecting her to be independent, fall asleep on her own, and be able to be secure when I wasn't in the room. Just like the boys were at 15-16 months of age. The boys didn't go through the loss that Joye has, and I began to realize other specific things that helped me be more compassionate.

I bought a book while we were waiting, "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" by Patty Cogen. I briefed through it and read a chapter here and there. I found it incredibly depressing at times. I put it down and decided that it wasn't positive enough, and my daughter was going to different than the child/children that she describes in the book. (To some point I still believe this, some of the material is pretty bleak, but the majority of it is very helpful)

After I fought Joye to sleep for an hour-and-a-half one night, I decided to crack it open. Turned right to the chapter about sleep. My eyes were opened. The reason why she cried 15 minutes after I put her down, was because she wanted to be near me and was getting attached to me. Never thought about that.

It's apparent that she had sleep issues in Korea, as well. She had NO nap and went to bed at 11pm and woke at 8am. FM said that she didn't like to go to sleep. I also think that she dreams about FM and Korea too. This is where she grieved.

"She needs to self-soothe!" I would tell myself. Then I read the chapter on self-soothing. After reading, I found that Joye didn't know how to self-soothe. She needed help to know what were good pre-bedtime habits and what were not. Pulling hair - NOT a good habit. Pinching herself - NOT a good habit.
I was told that Joye DID NOT accept "fake nipples" or pacifiers. However, I have picture from Korea with one in her mouth. ???? I never got a pacifier from FM. If it was vital, I KNOW FM would have given it to us. I think maybe she had one, and then weaned herself off and then maybe regressed a little when she came home. I don't know, just guessin'.

After she fell asleep (which took a while), she had the suckle thing going on. Well, she fell asleep with bottles in Korea, which I eliminated shortly after arriving home. Because once they were gone and out of her mouth, she would wake, FLIP OUT and scream because it was gone. It was making the sleep thing WAY WORSE.

I took all these pieces of the sleep puzzle and started putting them together.

For the record, I was adamantly opposed to introducing a pacifier at 16 months of age (before I read Cogen's chapter on self-soothing, and realized that she *might* have had one in Korea). I would have NEVER introduced a paci to the boys at 16 months! Neither of the boys had paci's past 12 months. Because they didn't NEED them. Joye needed something to help comfort her and put a different spin on falling to sleep.

So I relented, and busted a puggy out of the archives. Let's see what happens?

I *showed* her the pacifier and she pointed to it and went "uh, uh, uh!" She knew exactly what it was and wanted it REALLY bad. Ever since, we have absolutely NO problems going to sleep. I followed Cogen's advice and give it to her when we start the pre-sleep process. No fighting, no crying, just peaceful drift into restful sleep. !!!!!

She wakes up fewer times in the night (hardly ever). Rarely wakes from her naps and is sleeping 1.5 hours almost everyday! It's like a magic button! When she wakes, she hands it to me as if to say "here, take it, I'm done, for now."

The purpose of this post was to remind myself that sometimes I have to be more open-minded as a parent and as a person. I want to do what is best for Joye. If she needs a pacifier, then she needs one. Right now she needs A LOT. And I am totally ok with that. My expectations are more aligned with what is best for Joye and what she needs right now. I'm finding that parenting her is pretty different from when the boys were her age. But then the boys were (and still are) very different from each other and parenting them is still different.

Having Joye has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned SO much from her. She's made me a better mom (not meant to be a compliment to myself, just that I have had to think outside 'the box' and it's been good for me).

Another thing is that we have been home for only 3 months! A lot of progress has been made in this short time! Our Heavenly Father has taught me a lot about finding the good in the trials. As hard as it is to look past the bad, it's really encouraging to see the good.

- - - - - - - -
In other news . . .

Tootsie started standing, from a squat in the middle of the room, for the first time today! She will be walking VERY soon. Yikes! I'm not sure I'm ready for this! Batten down the hatch!

She caught her first cold, and the poor little thing is a trooper. Not much seems to get her down. That and she has the tiniest little nose on the planet! Where does all the green gooey stuff come from? (Probably TMI)

She can say "poo poo" which is our nickname for the dog.

She says "ow" for when she gets hurt, but says it when she's not.

She says "uh-oh" when something falls or drops.

"da da" for belly button.

When I hand her the prune juice bottle every morning she says "deet, deet" for thank you. Doesn't say it again until the next morning when I give her the same bottle.

When I look at her picture that we got from Korea, before we went to get her, I see a different baby. Even the pictures of us together as a family for the first time. She has changed SO much. Some good, some bad. The good is that she's growing like a weed and doing more things. The bad is that I feel her culture, language and a part of her is leaving. As she adapts to America, I feel less of Korea. It breaks my heart. It's inevitable, I guess. But it still makes me sad.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

16 months!

Would you believe me if I told you that our baby girl will be 18 months is just another two months?

Where did the time go?I see more and more of her sweet personality every day. We're coming up on being home for three months, soon, and I can't believe it's been that long. Like I said in her 15-month-old-post, sometimes it seems like she's been here longer than just three months.

Things that are new; well relatively new as we go into her 16th month of life.

- The sippy is her new friend. We had a hard time adjusting her to the sippy and now she LOVES it. She still has a small bottle of formula at night and then a bottle full of prune juice/water in the morning. She just needs that bottle time still. It soothes her soul.

- I saw her putting big lego's together and so I busted out a block bin (that I put away when the boys got tired of them) and she plays with those blocks all. day. long. She can already stack them!

- Sleep is getting better. She sleeps harder at night and doesn't wake up as often during her nap. It's just getting her to sleep that's hard. Working on that still. That's a whole 'nother post.
-She can say "dog" and now knows the difference between the dog and the cats. In her defense, Sadie is a Yorkie and does kinda resemble that of a cat. KINDA.

-She's not as needy, but still has needy moments.

-She goes to family members easier.

-She knows what a snake says. (Working on other animals because snakes are creepy) When you say "what does the snake say?" She will put her little tongue against her front teeth and make THE CUTEST "sssssssssss" sound. It's extremely adorable. Picked that up in about a minute. (So why doesn't she get the sleep thing, you ask? GREAT question!)

-She and Abram play really well together. Every morning when Kaleb and I are getting his heavy-duty 4th grade stuff done, Joye and Abram play. It's really cute. He has grown to love his little sister SO much. He loves on her and kisses her and tells her he loves her the whole time. My heart just melts.
-She cuddles more. She gets more satisfaction from me and I see her settling "into" me more. She's always been lovable and snuggly, but I see more of that as time goes on.

-She still isn't walking, but I am confident that she won't be 5 and not walking. She'll learn it and do it in her own time and we are not forcing it right now. (For the record, she totally could walk, she just doesn't know it yet. She's very stable, has her balance, she just doesn't have the whole mobile balance yet.)

-She's a pleaser. She listens VERY well and knows what she's allowed to touch/do and not allowed to touch/do. She's a really good girl. (it took time to get here, but she realizes who's boss now. YAY for that!)

-She giggles more. It's really cute*. (*I'm pretty sure I have used that phrase many times)

-She loves to play, explore, find new things, pretend to cook, put lids on things, wrestle, dance to music, throw the ball for the boys, laugh at herself, EAT and mimic the dog and everyone else.

Her name fits her. She brings so much joy to everyone she's around.

Happy Sixteen Months Baby Girl!!!! We LOVE you!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday {Working with Daddy}

{He's MY Daddy, just so you know. That way there's no confusion - on your part. *glare* See the awesome pen that he gave me?}

{I'm helping, right Daddy?}

{Of course! I couldn't do an Estimate without YOU!}

{Let me make sure that this blue stuff is ALL OVER both of my hands!}