Sunday, September 13, 2009


Last time we saw each other, we were blurry-eyed with jetlag, ending a 30 hour journey home with our new daughters who were clinging to us with no idea what was coming next in this madness. Today, three months later, our babies are toddling all over the playground, quite clear on who their moms and dads are. All of the kids have grown, but it is the ones who arrived the smallest that are the most amazing. There is one child-- a smart little thing with so much character!-- who couldn't sit up alone at 14 months, and today I watched her take a few steps between her parents' outstretched arms. In three months! Their faces have filled out and their legs are chunky. These children have found their families, and it is very clear that the parents have found their children, too. It's funny, we were just folders in the Matching Room a few months back, but somehow we ended up paired the way we are. I just can't imagine Liam with us, or Phoebe with Liz and Andy, or the twins with anyone other than the parents who got them. Everyone seems to be just exactly where they belong.

This past week Phoebe had her follow-up appointment at the International Adoption clinic. They re-evaluated her development with a full assessment. At 18 months of age, she officially scored at 18 or 19 months for everything except gross motor function; for that, she is still at 16 months-- but that's just 2 months behind now, up from 4 months behind before, and 2 months behind is pretty much right on target. OK, I think we can officially count her as caught up now. An average kid. Just learning and developing and exploring as all kids do, from here on out. I promise to back off on the monitoring and asssessing and grading her progress. It's time to just let her do her own thing, as all kids do if you love them and let them.

Even more thrilling than the numbers is watching Phoebe in a crowd now. She was at church with us this morning, and now she is relaxed and curious, no longer scared and threatened. It is so good to be 3 months into this, when we are no longer asking "Do you think she's up for it? Is she ok? How's she doing?" She just settles in.

At the same time, I know our work isn't done. At the IA clinic I was asked "How's attachment going?" and answered very positively. The response I got was more cautious than congratulatory: Keep doing what you are doing, they told me. Hold her, kiss her, hug her, make eye contact, tell her you love her. So far, so good, but don't let your guard down.

Words of the week: sit, giraffe, boo-boo, poop, hi-kitty, stuck (so many applications for the word stuck!), hand, toe, oh no. She's a good little talker!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ah, Sisters

Every day now I come home and find a list of new words that Phoebe is saying. One day it said "Tickle, Truck, Juice" and another day it said "Bubble, Down." Her day is peppered with words now: Ergo, Elmo, Look, Apple, Bottle, Milk, Yes, No, Music, Knock, Boo-boo, Book, Peek-a-Boo, Gotcha, Trolley, Yellow, Thank you. She's starting to put two words together, like "Hi, Kitty" and "Nite-Nite, DaDa." As of last week, she answers yes and no questions with enthusiastic and appropriate nods and shakes of her head. She knows her body parts, and can shake her sillies out, jump her jiggles out and do all the other Raffi verses with only verbal cues. Her Early Intervention teacher was away for a three week vacation and was thrilled when she came back. She eyeballed the developmental milestone list and said that now, three months after arriving in our arms with pretty significant delays, little Phoebe is right on target for all her 18 month milestones. I can't tell you how proud I am of that kiddo.

On the sibling front, we are feeling more sibling adjustment now than we did during the first 2.5 months of our family of four. Phoebe has a yell (like "Ba! Ba! Ba! when the cat gets too close) that, to quote Mark, "makes every rock concert I've every been to seem like low volume." And some mornings it seems like an unstoppable chorus of whining and shrieking with no off button. Baths have become an issue (about 25% of the time, and no problem the other 75%), and neither one is sleeping the night. I came home one day this week and our superstar nanny looked beat, saying in a very tired voice, "Oh, it was a long day." The pleasant days are so pleasant, with laughter and girls chasing each other around and quiet happy play, but it seems like there are more difficult days now than there every were before. I think part of the problem is that Miranda used to be the world's easiest toddler, and no she's, well, a typical two-year old. Her parents are adjusting.

At the suggestion of a parent-friend who does a great job with her kids, I'm trying to spend more time one-on-one with kids, especially with Miranda. When we are out together I say, "Miranda, look at this, it's just two of us, out together!" She says, "Phoebe not out with Mama. Just Miranda out with Mama." By the end of our sojourn she starts to say, "Miranda miss Phoebe. What Phoebe doing?" And when they meet again, it is always a happy reunion of long lost sister friends.