Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Please Do Not Feed the Monkey:

So, it turns out that the "easy" way out in feeding Tenley is to just do what she wants: let her feed herself! Here is a picture of tonight's kitchen disaster. There was rice stuck to everything. Especially after she discovered that dropping it on the ground attracted cats, and that there was a ceiling fan right over her head. As I speak there is rice stuck to my shirt, and I've already fished a chunk of it out of brassiere that I'm still not sure how she got in there.
The good news is that she's a hearty eater! The bad news is that Kraft Mac& Cheese from the box has become a staple at my house because this kid loves macaroni & cheese!

Misery Loves Company:

In an effort to preserve my already questionable sanity, I have joined the Mom's Club in town so I can find local age appropriate playmates for Miss Ten, and other stay-at-home Mommies to talk to (ask questions of, whine to, drink with). I met a few of the Mom's at a nearby park yesterday and they were all really nice... and already a huge help- they all resoundingly recommended the Pre School at Temple Beth El - and advised I get her on the waiting list pronto (which I did today)!

Legal Eagle:

Tenley's Social Security card arrived in the mail this week! (ha-ha-ha: as it currently stands, I'm only going to get to collect for the first 3 years of "retirement") That's one item we can check off the Post-Adopt checklist. Now it's on to the US Passport! I picked up the application at the post office this week, and found out from talking to the nice (non aggressive) postal worker that we will have to send in our original copy of Tenley's Certificate of Citizenship...which happens to be the only copy we have (and we have no idea how we'd get another one if someone lost it!). So, I think we'll just make a little field trip to the Government bldg. on Wilshire in LA: if we apply in person I think we only have to show it and not surrender it.

Papa Can You Hear Me:

We received e-mail from our local FCC chapter that Harvard University is doing a study on how infants learn language, and why our ability to learn a 2nd language diminishes with age. They are looking for children adopted from China and Eastern European countries to participate. Tenley seemed to fit the parameters, so we applied and got chosen to participate! We've filled out our first set of surveys about Ten's language & gestures, and we'll be doing those once or twice a month as well as submitting an hour long video tape once a month so that they can see and hear her babble and watch for a progression.

You're Going Down:

Well, it looks like Grandma Suzie might have diabetes! Yuk! Sucks to be her!! On the bright side, it means that I'll only have to worry about Daddy and Aunty Meg introducing Tenley to dingdongs, oreos, rolos, etc. (...Grandma Suzie has already made the monkey a Diet Coke least she tries not to give her any when I'm present, but I'm pretty sure they both mainline it as soon as I leave the room!)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Comments Part II

Hello everyone reading the blog...

I hate to do this, but now we have had to add word verification to post a comment. After I posted a really nice quote this evening we got 7 spam ad comments within 10 minutes. This is completely unacceptable. These are usually computer generated and are automatic on random blogs.

From now on if you want to post a comment, before your comment will be official you will have to type in the word you see in a verification box. For those of you who really want to comment I apologize for the inconvenience. My blog will not play host to other people's business advertisements.



"Your life, as you know it …is gone …never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, …and you wanna be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you'll ever meet in your life." - Bill Murray in from Lost In Translation

A New Friend

Yesterday at the Green Hills Anniversary Tenley got to meet one my longtime friends, Yolanda Clark. As you can tell from the picture, both of them are delighted to meet each other. Yolanda has known me for a very long time and we have had many good times together. Now she meets my daughter and I know that the good times are only beginning.

Yolanda looked as happy as my mom to see Tenley and Doug's baby James. It was a fun day and I'm so glad that Tenley got to meet my friends.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Green Hills Baptist Celebrates 40 Years!

Pictured at left is Jeff's Mother in a moment of pure bliss: a baby in each arm! Tenley in the right arm and Doug & Tina's cutie pie James in the left.

This fabulous moment came about because the church that Jeff and Doug grew up attending, Green Hills Baptist Church in LaHabra, was celebrating it's 40th Anniversary and had a huge reunion.

We got up early, made Tenley cute and drove 45 minutes so she could meet all these nice people who have known her Daddy since he was a small fry- and many of whom have been reading this blog! (Hello GHBC!!!)

The church crammed 300+ of it's current and former members into the sanctuary to reminicse and celebrate the last 40 years. Several people came up and shared stories about how they came to the church, one of the former pastors spoke of how the church came to be and many of the people who helped to make it a reality. David Krake played the piano, and did his late mother (Jeff's piano teacher) proud.

Jeff and Doug had a fine time visiting with all the people they hadn't seen in years and showing off their new children. After we finished visiting, we trotted off to Red Robin for some lunch before we all headed for our respective homes.

It was a big day for Tenley: today she was left alone with complete strangers for the for the first time since they handed her to us in China. Bill & Fan, whom Jeff has known for about 15 years, were working in the nursury and assured me they would take great care of her and not to worry. I assured them it was not them I was worried about. Fan promised to come and get us right away if there were any problems. I confess that I expected to see her at any second, but no! Apparently Ten did just fine and had a grand time playing with her reflection in the mirror... although she was happy to see us.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

It was hot today. It was Guangzhou, China hot!! I needed an Ice Blended from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Apparently Tenley thought that sounded like a good idea too! Without hesitation she dove right in and started sucking down my Malibu Dream like there was no tomorrow. I kept telling her that she needed to leave some for me but every time I took the straw away from her and took a drink myself she would come unglued.

Now, for those you about to come unglued yourself thinking I am giving my 11 month old daughter coffee; it should be noted that I don't drink coffee in any way, shape or form. What I was drinking was a strawberry/banana smoothie that Tenley really likes. So she had a couple of sips before I strapped her back in the carseat and we took off for home.

Diaper Disaster !!

*You knew that someday, sometime there would be a post on this blog about poop. Today is that day. There are no photos to spare you the nasty details.

Tenley was supposed to be taking a nap. Mistake #1 - It was hot so when I put her down I took off the dress she was wearing and left her in her diaper. Big Mistake #2 - Also when I put her down, I thought I smelled something not right but figured she was a little gassy, she would go to sleep soon and I would change her when she got up. Huge Mistake #3 - She never did go to sleep. She screamed a lot and played with her toys and babbled. After a few minutes she was back to screaming. I thought she would get tired and go to sleep. After an hour of this I decided to go and get her. It should be said that during all of this Michelle was taking a nap as well so I was trying not to let Tenley wake her up.

I walked into the room and noticed something was not right not to mention a little smelly. I turned on the light to see a little better and there was my little beauty standing in her crib with nothing on and a big smile on her face. Her diaper that she had filled with toxic waste and removed was on the other side of the crib. That was when I noticed that the toxic contents of her diaper were all over her, the crib sheet and the crib. Apparently while I thought she was being just a little cranky I should have gone in to check on her and could have possibly avoided the hazardous materials clean up that would come later. I looked around for rubber gloves but never found any. So I grabbed my Lysol wipes, baby wipes, a new diaper and dove right in. It was down right nasty. Tenley just smiled bigger and bigger at me during this whole time like she knew what she was doing and was enjoying the moment.

I know that these moments come during parenthood I just hope they don't come along too often.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fashion Island

Since it was supposed to hit 101 today where we live, we decided to make tracks 50 miles SW to Fashion Island in Newport Beach where it was only 80 degrees.
We used to live in Costa Mesa (which is just down the road from FI) and both Jeff and I worked at stores in the Island at one point or another, so it's a fun place to go back and visit now and then. For those who may never have visited, it's a nice open air mall built so you wander down little "streets" and there are various open areas where the mall has happenings. The open areas have fountains - my favourites are one that mimics the sound of ocean waves crashing, and another one for the kids to play in. It also has stores you'll find in every mall like Victoria's Secret and Express, and some that aren't quite as common like Betsy Johnson, Restoration Hardware, April Cornell and This Little Piggy Wears Cotton.
Tenley enjoyed being outside, and seeing all the doggies that people bring with them. We took her to the pet store, and she was very excited by the bunnies and an African Gray parrot. She also got very excited by the large koi pond at the Island, and I think she will like it more when she is walking and can get to the center platform (I also think I would be smart to bring extra clothes, as my kid is definitely the kind that would take a header into the pond while trying to pet/catch the fish!). We ended the day with a ride on the carousel, which Daddy got a picture of while Tenley stoicly waited for the ride to begin.
And then, worn out from the excitement of the day, she slept all the way home.

PS: Each year FI hosts Project Playhouse: a great event where architects create children's playhouses that are works of art which are then auctioned off to help build and renovate transitional homeless shelters in Orange County, CA. For a schedule of when you can view and tour and bid on the playhouses, visit and click on "Events". For more information on Project Playhouse, please visit

Friday, August 26, 2005


Jeff's parents are in town this weekend, and they came over on Friday afternoon to spend some quality time with their new granddaughter. They had a great time playing, and brought Tenley some fabulous gifts from the super-nice people that Grandpa Dave works with...and Grandpa brought her her 1st football jersey- bring on the Football Season!
After Jeff got home we headed over to The Plaza to have some dinner. Now most people want a nap after dinner when they have a nice full stomach, but Miss Tenley opted for a pre-dinner nap on Daddy while we waited for our food to arrive at The Citrus City Grille.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Write Your Congressman

Tenley still doesn't like her carseat very much and we tell her it's the law and if she wants to change it she needs to write her congressman. Here she takes us up on that offer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Frolicking in the Fountain

Nice Lesbians & Minor Mayhem

Daddy agreed to take a shift at Disneyland today since Mr. Eddie couldn’t be there, so that left Aunty Megan and I to our own devices (which usually means lunch, and perhaps shopping) for an obscenely long amount of time.

Feeling no need to expand our horizons, we took advantage of the nice day and headed off to Victoria Gardens. Now for those of you who don’t live out where we do, I should explain that VG, which opened in Rancho Cucamonga in Dec. of 2004, is a nice outdoor mall built to resemble an old downtown district of the 50’s. It has good stores for shopping, good places to eat, a big grassy square area, a playground, a choo-choo train to ride, and a play fountain- which makes it a great place to take the kids and go for a stroll.

Tenley happily nodded off in the car on the way there and continued her nap in the stroller, so we took that opportunity to pop into some places we don’t usually get to like Williams Sonoma, Coach and Pottery Barn. She woke up in Pottery Barn and I bundled her into the Baby Bjorn (thank you Doug & Tina!) and we continued on our way.

That’s when we became lesbians. Or, that’s when we began to look like a nice lesbian couple to the general public. Megan is usually fashionably dressed in linen capris and a top from Ann Taylor or April Cornell, and always has make-up on, cute sandals and a cute handbag. I currently exist in nylon capri track pants, a t-shirt or tank top, Tevas, minimal make-up, and I carry a diaper bag or back pack. We’re carrying an adorable (and obviously adopted) Chinese baby, we both wear wedding rings and so people just assume that we’re a nice lesbian couple who adopted. It doesn’t help that when people ask about her I automatically say things like “We went to China in June” and that Megan jumps right in with her age, a birth date, or recent milestone and can answer all their questions too. People always beam at us and tell us how happy they are for us. Most people don’t know that China does not allow gay couples of either gender to adopt, so unless one of us had adopted as a single mom, it would be an impossibility. But, if I was a lesbian, I’d be proud and honored to have Megan as my partner, so we just smile and thank them for their good wishes.

Our goals for today were to: purchase some shower gel and lotion for me, get Megan some more lip plumping gloss, and take Tenley to the fountain. Megan & I’s respective trips to Bath & Body Works and Sephora are of little interest....but Tenley is a different story.

Tenley loves the water. The last time we were at VG she saw the play fountain and leaned toward it and began smiling, flapping her arms and grunting excitedly. She was extremely put out that we didn’t take her over to check it out. So, since today was nice and hot, I packed extra clothes and a towel so we could let her at it. She was not disappointed. I first introduced her to the mosaic water table by the playground. Tenley dove her hands right in and began splashing wildly, completely soaking me in the process. After a few minutes, I decided to take her over to the big fountain and turn her loose. I set her down on the wet pavement and she crawled right in. She happily crawled around to the water jets and put her hands, face and the rest of her body in them. A nice little Hispanic boy and his sister were fascinated with her and kept coming over to sit by her and play with her. Eventually the wind kicked up and she began to shiver so it was time to get out and cause mayhem!!

I stopped into NY & Co to check out the sale, and Meg took the Monkey Princess (now dry & changed) to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to get us some iced teas. Tenley loves iced tea (proving once again that she is definitely my daughter). Now Megan knows this, and took temporary leave of her senses and decided to continue to carry Tenley instead of putting her in the stroller when she went to retrieve the iced teas from the counter. Bad idea. Turns out that Ten was thirsty too, and would much rather have our iced teas than her lemonade. So the nice clerk handed Meg the first tea, and Tenley lunged for it sending it sliding out of Megan’s one available hand and crashing to the floor in a huge geyser that soaked Megan and 2 other patrons from the knee down. Poor Meg was so embarrassed and offered to clean it up and buy another tea, but the nice CB&TL people assured her it was fine and happened all the time and cheerfully re-made the tea.

I caught up with them on a bench on the corner, heard the tale of horror, and we headed for the car. But Megan needed to stop in Ulta (cosmetics, shampoo, etc), which I was only too happy to do since I love make-up. I was immediately derailed by a display of OPI nail polish showcasing new colors that I had recently seen in the 3 minutes I had to flip through a magazine at the supermarket checkstand. I picked up the color I had been eying (“The Grape Lakes”), and Tenley happily began gnawing on the lid. I headed to the nail polish aisle to see if there was something I liked better. Tenley became dazzled by the array of pretty colors and dropped the bottle into the hand I had placed under her chin knowing she would do just that. As I sat there debating between “Toron-toes Rose” and “Mother Road Rose”, Tenley seized my moment of distraction to grab the bottle of Grape Lakes from me and fling it to the white tile floor where it shattered into a bazillion pieces and left pool of metallic purpley-mauve oozing into the pale gray grout. She giggled with delight and tried to climb out of my arms to go play in it. Now it was my turn to be embarrassed as I went and found a nice salesman and confessed my daughters destructive behavior. He just laughed and whipped out an industrial size bottle of nail polish remover and a roll of paper towels. I offered to clean it up and pay for the bottle, but he assured me that was not necessary. I bought the Grape Lakes and Toron-Toes Rose anyway, and having now caused enough destruction at the mall for one day, we headed home.

Friday, August 19, 2005


We have decided to disallow Anonymous Comments to our blog. We are tired of people hiding behind "Anonymous" to make hurtful and lame comments on something they obviously don't understand. If you want to make a comment you will have to step up to the plate and tell us who you are. We let you know how we are feeling and you know who we are. If you want to know why we are doing this, please read this lovely comment from Anonymous...

After having read your blogs, and the manner in which you refer to your new daughter, I am appauled at your attitude!! Just because you were neglected and ignored as a child does not give you license to ruin a life: especially that of your new daughter!! I know, I know you will hide behind the thin veneer of sarcasm to defend and rationalize your inappropriate attitude toward Tenley. What does Jeff think about your "cutting" ways, or have you "cut" his off years ago. He must surely have learned by now to go with the flow, and not to argue with you, for your Borderline tendencies surely surface with rage, chastizement and dismissiveness. Oh, and by the way Tenley is not a monkey!

Clearly this person is totally deranged and unbalanced. The post he/she left this on was written by me (Jeff) and was in the most random place way back in July. The only reason we know about it is that I had all comments emailed to me. If they had bothered to read all of our posts they would know that Tenley is indeed a Monkey as she was born in the year of the Monkey just like her Father. They would also know that we love her more than anything in the world and would never let anything bad happen to her.

While any of you who know me personally know that I enjoy angering people and love watching them implode over the littlest things, since these comments were anonymous I couldn't have any fun with them at all. How boring. This just reinforces my belief that the general public at large are the biggest bunch of uneducated morons on the planet.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tenley Meets Guest Talent Friends

Today Michelle, Aunty Megan and I took Tenley over to Disney's California Adventure to meet some of the Guest Talent folks who have known about our adoption since the beginning and have been following our blog. In the picture are (L to R) Kaye, Lori, Daddy, Tenley, Shawn, Kevin, Norma, Brian and Bethany. (Look guys, you are now famous on Tenley's blog)

Tenley was very happy to meet all these new people who were very happy to meet her. She had big smiles for everyone and was really happy to see the sparkly mouse ears on Kaye's lanyard. Anything shiny will impress Tenley. Shawn was the big hit with Tenley because as a relatively new dad himself he knew all the right baby games to play with her. During this time Mr. Incredible came by to see what was going on. He came right over to Tenley and made friendly overatures, and Tenley gave him the serious fisheye. He stuck out his hand and tried to touch hers and was met with subdued hostility. Finally Tenley reached out and touched his glove and gave us the look of "If he doesn't leave soon, I'm going to scream."

Soon everyone had to get back to work and we were off to find Mulan. We found her in the Pacific Wharf area and she came right over to see Tenley. Mulan did not get the same fisheye look that Mr. Incredible got but she eyed Mulan's jade necklace with a certain sense of larceny. She was very excited and happy to see Mulan and wanted Mulan to hold her. We posed for a couple of pictures and then Mulan had to go see her other fans. As she waved goodbye we were already making jokes about Tenley thinking Mulan had come to save her from the crazy people and take her back to China.

We took her A Bug's Land and she rode a couple of the rides made for little ones and got all wet in one of the play fountains. While Michelle and Megan rode Soarin' Over California, Tenley and I watched the Block Party parade which she enjoyed tremendously. The loud music and the colorful floats kept her attention through the whole show.

After a long day we decided to make the trek back to the car and go home. She got in the car and nodded off in the first five minutes of the drive home. Tenley really enjoyed her first time at DCA and it was a good introduction to amusement parks.

Daddy's Note

People are rude everywhere you go but nowhere are they more rude than at an amusement park. It's usually quite fun to watch people as they shove through crowds or run over people with their strollers. For most, it's not a fun experience to meet one of these rude idiots. For me, it is pure entertainment.

Tenley and I were watching the Block Party Parade minding our own business when a family walked right in front of us and the woman parked her double wide stroller right in front of Tenley. I hadn't noticed right away but I did notice when her husband said something to her that I couldn't hear. She looked over at me and then looked at Tenley and said "It doesn't matter, she's too young to care." Well that I did hear. Now it was my turn. As I shoved her massive stroller out of the way I said to her that I would decided if my child was too young to care and she could get her stupid kids out of my way!

About this time, I saw a friend of mine who is a parade lead who motioned for us to come up closer to the front. As he cleared a space for us down front I turned my head, caught the woman's attention and stuck out my tongue at her. The point had already been made so that last part was just for my fun.

She won't think twice about being rude to someone else in the future and I only hope that whoever it happens to next time will have the nerve to say something to her again.

Mr. Seahorse

Tenley chose the purple seahorse on King Triton's Carousel for her first merry-go-round ride. She really like sitting on the seahorse and was laughing and kicking. Once the ride started she suddenly got very quiet as everything was moving. It only took a moment for her to relax and enjoy the rest of her ride.

Chinese Takeoff

Tenley rides Flik's Flyers at Disney's California Adventure.
Mommy & Daddy were sterotypical and picked the Chinese takeout box to ride in.

New Hat Part II

Grandma Susie didn't like the last hat mommy & daddy bought me.
"Is this hat better Grandma?"

Are You My Mommy?

Tenley meets Mulan and thinks "Thank Buddha, I'm saved. Back to China!"

Miss Unimpressed Meets Mr. Incredible

"Okay, I've touched his hand, now make him go away!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

1st Portraits

Aunty Jen gave us a gift card to the Sears Portrait Studio so last Saturday we put it to good use.

Tenley becomes very solemn when she's thrust into a new environment with strangers, so this is the only shot we got of her smiling!

Despite the lack of smiles, the nice photographer still got several cute shots, and we still shucked out over $100 for pictures of our precious baby. We also signed up for their portrait club so we can go back again and again and spend hundreds more as our daughter grows ever cuter - but we won't have to pay a $15 sitting fee for 2 years!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Tenley Meets Dr. Mink

Yesterday was Tenley’s 1st doctor’s appointment in the US! Although we live in the Inland Empire, we drove to the Harbor UCLA Medical Center so Tenley could be seen by Dr. Mink who sees specialty pediatric cases- among them adopted children...which is great since Dr. Mink is also an adoptive Mom.

Ten’s last doctor’s appointment was in China on July 4th: she was pronounced healthy and weighed 16 lbs and was roughly 27 inches long. As of yesterday she is officially 17.9 lbs and 28.5 inches long. So she is continuing to grow and gain weight at an acceptable rate, and is in the 10th percentile for height, and the 5th percentile for weight. (For those who might not know percentiles: the 50th percentile would represent the “average” child. 100 is the top and 0 is the bottom. In Tenley’s case it means that 90% of children the same age are taller than she is, and 95% weigh more.) She had no fever, and we never did get a blood pressure reading because she wouldn’t sit still long enough for the auto cuff to get a reading!

We came to the appointment with a list of foods and drink Ten had consumed, and a 3 page list of questions. Everything she’s eaten was fine, and we were cleared to start cheese and yogurt, although whole milk, nuts, shellfish, and citrus remain on the “not yet” list. Since Tenley is happiest feeding herself, Dr. Mink told me to load up her highchair tray with anything she’ll eat and let her go for it! We are supposed to strive for 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, work to discontinue her middle of the night feeding (since it’s probably more for comfort and she should be eating enough during the day), and continue with formula since she’s small and it’s a good way to get iron & nutrition in her diet.

Since they tend to resemble bruises, notes were made about the Mongolian Spots on her back, hips and rear end so that should someone ever think we are beating her we have medical documentation that we’re not. The scar on her face is not severe and will fade as she ages, and we will be applying a topical cream to help the skin. The doctor was unconcerned about the way her feet pronate since they can be held straight, and Ten has no trouble getting to her feet and standing – she says most kid’s feet correct themselves as they start walking. The small lump we found under the skin on her left hip turns out to have a smaller one in the same location on the right and is most likely a calcium deposit from where she received injections in China...unless they suddenly grow or cause her pain, they are of no concern. (It was during this portion of the exam that we found out the hard way that we had left Tenley’s diaper off for too long as she peed all over her father and the exam table, and then promptly sat in it herself!)

The flat spot on her head is of concern. While it is likely that her hair will eventually hide it, one cheekbone juts further out and one ear is higher than the other...while these are aesthetically unpleasant and might dash her hopes of winning the Seventeen Magazine Cover Model contest, they aren’t really a problem....but if the flat spot is too big, it might prohibit her brain from growing properly, and that is a problem. So, we will have to visit a pediatric neurosurgeon to get the expert opinion, and Tenley might have to be a helmet baby...or have surgery if the bones in her head are too solid.

The doctor is very pleased with both her fine and gross motor skills, as well as with her mobility. Tenley happily demonstrated her ability to pick up and gnaw on objects large and small, and to scoot army style to a destination, stand up and sit down. She also got up on all fours and crawled in the traditional style, but the doctor said that her scooting was fine and that there was no problem with her walking as soon as she was ready to do it.

She wasn’t as happy with Tenley’s language development. Yesterday we learned that baby’s minds are “programmed” with their primary language by 6 months... so Tenley has been programmed with Cantonese and we’re going to have to un-do it and re-program her with English. Dr. Mink was pleased that she has continued to babble, but says that she isn’t babbling enough for a child of her age. We talk and read to her everyday, and I leave educational children’s programming like Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and Between the Lions (all shows that emphasize language, speaking, sounds, and reading) on while we play so she continues to hear English. The doctor felt that that was a great start, said to talk and read more, the TV shows were great and get her more touch-and-feel books to hold her attention while we read to her. If she doesn’t see significant language improvement in the next couple months, she will refer us to a language specialist to help us jump start Ten’s English skills.

The last part of Tenley’s visit was the one I was dreading- vaccinations. I’ve read other parents horror stories, and I was prepared for the worst. A nice nurse held her feet and legs still (very important since they get their shots in the thigh), and Jeff held her torso down. I got to hang over her head and hold the one little hand that was free. Just as expected- there was alot of wailing... really loud angry guttural why-are-you-people-holding-me-down wailing, which began long before the needles came anywhere near her!! There was about 10 seconds of “ouch!” crying at the 2nd injection...and that was it! She was just mad about being restrained on her back (remember, to Tenley laying on back= no mobility), and as soon as it was over and Daddy picked her up and dried her tears she was smiling and holding Daddy’s hands and jumping up and down. Clearly, her thighs didn’t hurt, and she picked off one of her band-aids before we left the office.

All in all it was a good visit! We have to go to a lab to have some blood drawn for a baseline and to check for things like anemia, they’ll also take enough blood to re-check her to make 100% sure she is HIV and Hep negative. We also have to have a stool sample taken and a chest x-ray done: we know that she was vaccinated for TB (we have records, and she has the scar), but because of that she will test positive for it for up to 2 years; so the only way to be perfectly sure she doesn’t have it is by chest x-ray. She’ll also get more vaccinations at her next appointment after she has turned 1.

Our appointment was a great experience and I’m really glad we chose to take her to someone who has experience with adoptive children for her first few appointments. It was nice to have a physician who understands about issues like bonding, language delay, foreign vaccinations and the behaviors routinely seen with children who have been institutionalized, and has dealt with them previously.

Tenley came through her 1st doctor’s visit with flying colors, and for this moment I will cling to the unrealistic fantasy that all her future appointments will go so well!!

Diminished Language Skills

Yesterday Tenley had her first appointment with her pediatrician. One of the items that came up was the middle of the night feeding and how we need to get her off of that. Another thing that came up was delayed language skills. This was totally expected since all she heard for 9 months was Chinese. Her language skills are behind as is her understanding of English. Then this happened…

Tenley went to bed last night a little later than her normal time and had eaten quite a bit throughout the evening. She didn’t even finish her before bed bottle. So it wasn’t surprising that she woke up at 1:30am and was crying. It was definitely earlier than she has been waking up and Michelle suggested that maybe she just woke up with a jolt and needed a little comforting and she would go back to sleep. In my very asleep state I agreed and went in to see what the little monkey wanted.

When I got into the room she was standing up in her crib looking at me and when she saw me she smiled really big because she knew that I had a bottle for her. As I approached the crib she looked me up and down and looked at both hands. Nothing. Then the look of total disappointment came across her face and the wailing began. There was no comfort needed here, what she wanted was the bottle and she wanted it now. What was I thinking entering her room without the food that was ordered? Surely she had made her intentions known by the crying that had stirred me from my deep sleep.

Needless to say, I ran from that room to the kitchen, leaping over sleeping cats on the way. As I was making the bottle the real wailing began. This is the kind of screaming that wakes the dead 50 miles away. Being 1:30 in the morning I’m sure the neighbors were not our biggest fans! While I was making the bottle, Michelle got up and tried to calm Tenley down. By the time she got in there Tenley had resigned herself to the fact that she would have to settle for her thumb and began sucking it and crying. I got the bottle made and brought it in to Michelle and the feeding began. After a quick diaper change everyone was back in bed and asleep in no time.

Four hours later, it started again. This time I was armed and ready to go. No comfort needed, just a bottle. She saw me come in the room and smiled real big then her smile grew as she saw that this time I had read the signals correctly and brought a bottle.

I think Tenley understood everything that the doctor was saying in the office yesterday and when she heard her tell us to get Tenley off of the middle of the night feeding. She understood completely and had other ideas. “I’ll show them…I’ll wake up every four hours and see how they like it.” Diminished understanding of language, I don’t think so!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Little Clarification

Okay, okay. I guess I’m going to have to wade in here and explain since we’ve received some less than nice comments and e-mails.

First things first: Tenley has 2 main issues when it comes to eating in her highchair – 1) she doesn’t like to be restrained in anything for very long, and 2) she’s very busy and easily distracted.

When we first started the switch to solid food (cereal), we would wait until she was hungry and then try to feed her. This was mistake #1. Ten has this tendency to not let you know she’s hungry until she’s starving and by then she had no patience for a spoon and wanted the instant gratification of a bottle. So, we learned- and since she usually wanted to eat about every 4 hours, we started putting her in the high chair at 3.5 hours so that she was willing to eat but not so ravenous that the spoon was frustrating for her. This worked.

But Tenley evolved, and I missed it, so the pictures and the story (which were posted by Jeff – who was not even there when it happened) are from me making mistake #2. See, apparently Tenley got used to eating with the spoon, and I was trying to feed her before she was starving... which was not working for her because she was still too busy playing and exploring to think about eating. This was only the 2nd day of baby food, and I had learned from the previous days’ experience that she was hungry, but if you didn’t coax her into eating enough you would get to repeat the experience every 2 hours. Hence my sneaking the bites of oatmeal & mango (which she normally loves) into her mouth in mid wail....the side effect of which was that the wailing would momentarily cease while she swallowed. I wasn’t bitter with her, mostly just frustrated at the thought of spending another day with her being perpetually hungry and therefore cranky because she would never eat enough at one sitting. Clearly I wasn’t too worried in general because I got the camera to capture the bitterness so I can humiliate her when she starts dating. By the time I was taking the pictures, her temper had taken over and she was just having an angry meltdown. She got over it, drank 2.5oz of her bottle, and fell asleep while playing with her peek-a-blocks while watching Sesame Street. Lunch & dinner went much much better.

We learned from Friday that now we have to wait until she’s hungry enough to start getting cranky, and then put her in the highchair and begin the meal. If we do that, she’ll eat 2- 2.5 jars of baby food with no problem. This morning’s breakfast went just swimmingly with Tenley chowing down 4 oz of oatmeal cereal and a half a jar of pears with not a tear shed.

I truly appreciate the sympathy and constructive advice from others who have been there and done that. It’s always nice to know that others have fought the same battles and lived to tell the tales. The good news is that we will too, and so will Tenley.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cousin Micah

Cousin Micah doesn't quite know what to do with Tenley. She would just as soon as run him over and keep moving. Luckily, Micah pushed back and that was good for Tenley! They enjoyed each other's company throughout the day.

Great Grandpa

Here is Tenley with her Great Grandpa Urie. This was a great picture and I'm glad we got it. Tenley prefers being held by the men in the family. She is such a little flirt!

Welcome Home Tenley!

Yesterday, Grandma & Grandpa threw Tenley a welcome home party. She got to meet a whole new set of relatives. Usually these days are quite stressful for Tenley as she tends to go on stimulation overload, but yesterday she took everything in stride and seemed to really enjoy herself. She even managed a good nap while she was at the party. Among the relatives that Tenley met were her Great-Great Aunt Trudy. I was very happy to see her there and I know she was happy to have met Tenley. There were other kids there her own age and that proved to be very interesting for her. At one point, Cousin Micah (10 Months Old) leaned down and kissed her on the lips. She smiled real big after that. There were tons of presents as well. Everything from baby supplies, clothes, toys & books. Tenley has so much stuff now we might have to move.

All in all it was a very good day for Tenley and the whole family.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bitter, Party of One, Your Table is Ready!

Today, once again both Tenley and Mommy had different ideas on how breakfast should go. This day did not start off auspiciously. Mommy did not get a cup of coffee before Tenley woke up. This is never a good sign. Mommy had chosen a delicious sampling of food for breakfast including oatmeal and mango. We're not sure what Tenley wanted but it certainly wasn't that. Tenley ate about six bites of oatmeal and six bites of mango before the signs became evident. First came the grabbing at the spoon. Followed by the desire to play with the food. After that came the clamped lips whenever the food was presented. Then the kicking of feet and head turning. Then the real fun began. The full on wailing was only seconds away. It was preceeded by Tenley pushing at the tray of her high chair to get away. That was followed up with her grabbing at her hair and trying to pull it out. (She does this when she is angry) Mommy had to grab her wrist to keep her from hurting herself and told her very sternly "NO!" This is what led to the complete yelling fit that you see above. Her food was smeared all over by her grabbing hands.

Determined to actually get food down the child's throat, Mommy took this opportunity to stuff another spoonful of oatmeal or mango in her mouth while she opened it ever wider in the screaming fit. The mouth would open to wail and another spoonful would be stuffed in. What fun! Mommy decided to stop stuffing the food in when Tenley decided to stop swallowing it. At this moment Mommy took a look at Tenley's fingernails and toenails and decided that this was a good time for a manicure and pedicure. She figured it couldn't hurt since Tenley was bitter anyway.

The manicure/pedicure stunned Tenley into a curious silence. "What was happening to my fingers and toes?" This whole procedure went surprisingly well and Mommy took advantage of her momentary good mood and stuffed a couple more willing bites of food into her mouth. However, not wanting to push her luck, Mommy opted to give Tenley the 5oz bottle with formula and cereal that she presumed Tenley wanted. Once again, not on the same page, Tenley showed little interest in the bottle. Thus concluded breakfast on Friday, August 5th.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A Smile At Last...

"Fine, if I smile and look cute for 5 seconds will you get me out of this grass?"


"You people know I don't like grass." "What's the matter with you?"

Tire Swing Physics

"Ok, someone here needs to lose some weight for this to work and I don't think it's me dad!"

Tenley Slides

Tenley took a ride on this big slide today at the park.

A Visit To The Park

Today when I got home from work we took Tenley to a small park that Michelle found the other day. This was a really nice little park in a very nice neighborhood close to Castleview Elementary School. It had three separate play areas, two with wood chips and one with sand. It was the standard playground of todays up and coming toddlers. In the first section was a small swing set for kids Tenley's size that will hold them in place. There were a couple of the bouncing animals on the large springs and a small playset with two slides. The second area was filled with sand and just had a large metal thing for kids to climb on and in. The third area was clearly for older kids as it had normal size swings, a tire swing, and a much larger playset with many slides, tunnels, bridges and things to climb. Tenley will probably like this one a lot more when she is older.
We put Tenley in the baby swing and gave her a good push. She didn't seem to protest but didn't know if she liked it or not. Possibly it was moving too fast or maybe she just wasn't used to that kind of movement so she didn't last too long. I sent her down the slide and Michelle was there to pick her up at the end. Well that was ok but what she really wanted to do was climb back up the slide. We took her on a few other things there and Michelle and I each had a turn on the big swings before we decided that our outing to the park was over. We will return again soon and see if she gets into it anymore.