2 Days after Christmas a small milestone was reached: we had been a family for 6 months. While it doesn’t sound like a long time, there are days when we joke that we feel as though we came out of the womb with Tenley. Still, it’s truly amazing the changes we’ve seen take place in these first 6 months. Here’s the recap:
On June 27th we stepped out of the over air conditioned lobby of the China Hotel onto a bus that wound through the crowded muggy streets of Guangzhou to the civil affairs office where we would meet our daughter for the first time. I remember being nervous, and questions racing through my mind: what if they handed us a different baby? What if she just screamed? What if she was sick? Would the care takers cry when they gave us their children?
Sometime around 3:30 my questions were answered. The orphanage director came in carrying a 9 month old baby girl who was definately the kid in my pictures except for the utterly vacant look in her eyes and her legs being completely stiff with terror. No, the director didn’t cry- she was new and didn’t really know our girls, in fact they had their names scotch taped to the front of their outfits so they would know who they were. Tenley didn’t cry either- she was so overwhelmed that she put her thumb in her mouth and fell asleep on my shoulder. I kept pressing my nose to the top of her head wanting to get that baby smell, but since she’d never had a real bath, she stank to high heaven. She weighed only 16 lbs, and was 27 inches long; she was long and skinny with toothpick legs, ribs that stuck out, and a bad haircut.
Our first few days with Tenley revealed that she was a hearty eater, a reluctant but heavy sleeper, really busy & interested in everything, couldn’t really sit up- she flopped to the side in a mermaid type pose, scooted army style on her belly loved to be mobile. She knew her name, and would respond to it, but hadn’t said any words yet.
A half a year later:
She weighs 20 lbs. (still the 5th percentile) and is 31inches long (in the 75th percentile up from the 10th!)
She is a definate toddler- she toddles everywhere. She’s starting to do the toddler run and beginning to climb up onto the furniture- she already knows how to climb down off it.
She speaks! Mama, Daddy, up, and octopus are all clear and associated with the correct people/object/activity. She has randomly said hi, bye, and out and associated those correctly as well- she just won’t say them consistently. She’s trying to say nap, banana, Meg, and Gramma. She understands almost everything that is said to her and can respond positively or negatively to nap, bath, eat.
She has started cutting her 7th tooth, and her hair is growing in nicely.
She loves music in any form and will dance along to it even if it’s a commercial jingle. She likes pianos, and daddy is looking forward to teaching her to play.
Her favourite movies are Disney’s Hercules (she loves the music) and the Joy Luck Club (nothing better than a movie full of Chinese women talking). She adores Moose A. Moose who does the bumps on Noggin, and likes to watch Jack’s Big Music Show, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues & Sesame Street.
Her father and I can currently recite “There’s a Wocket in my Pocket”, “Go Dog Go”, and “Put Me in the Zoo” because we have been asked to read them so many times. I am about 5 minutes away from knowing “I’ll Teach my Dog Alot of Words” and “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb.”
She eats like a horse!!! It’s a good thing she’s so active because if she wasn’t she would be as big as a house. Banannas are her #1 choice currently but she loves animal cookies, hot dogs, mac & cheese, oatmeal, tuna salad, fruit...and just about anything else we’re willing to give her. The only thing she isn’t too fond of is carrots.
She’s gearing up for her terrible twos- she already has a small fit when you tell her “no” or she doesn’t get her way. We knew she had a temper, and she occasionally demonstrates just how nasty it can get. Some of it is humorous: stomping and kvetching in baby babble while clapping her hands fiercely; some of it is not humorous: throwing things, screaming and kicking, and even biting once or twice.
She loves to be outside, go places, and meet new people. She’s a huge flirt- young, old, cute, ugly, gay, straight, - any man will do for practicing her smiles and batting her eyelashes.
Somewhere between Thanksgiving & Christmas she decided to keep me. There was a change in her attitude towords me. Don’t get me wrong- she is still Daddy’s Little Princess all the way- if he’s around I am still chopped liver and he is the only one she wants to carry her/feed her/ dry tears etc. On one hand I am thrilled that Tenley loves her Daddy and is so well bonded to him, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to occasionally being crushed when I am rejected in his favor.
She gives us those fabulous full body toddler hugs- and there’s just nothing better than when she comes up and spontaneously gives you a hug and kiss and lays her head on your shoulder.
Being Tenley’s Mom is without a doubt the hardest and most exausting job I have ever had...but it is also the most rewarding and amazing endeavor I have ever undertaken. My beautiful daughter continues to amaze me with exactly how smart and clever she is. We are so lucky that this little girl was chosen for us – and my heart breaks for the woman who had to give her up because she’s missing so much.
I can’t believe we’ve been together for a half a year, and I can’t wait to see what the next half a year will bring.