Saturday, January 15, 2011


Overnight, I feel like Phoebe has become a "big girl." Yesterday I brought her for her first haircut, to trim off the loose baby ends that have been with her since China. She now has a clean straight line of black hair, big girl. To celebrate, I brought her to the coffee shop for a cup of hot chocolate, served up in an expresso cup with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Then last night was our first experiment with "toddler camp-out" in the master bedroom. Our sleep issues with Phoebe have waxed and waned over the last year and a half, but have never disappeared. After the nightmares of last October and November disappeared, we reinitiated "sleep training," and have finally returned to being able to say goodnight and walk out of the room, at least on most nights. But somewhere along the line Phoebe learned that when she awakens in the middle of the night she needs to shout out for us and cry a little. On a bad night, it is four or five times, and she'll cry hard if we leave the room before she is back asleep. While we've sworn off climbing in bed with her, I often end up curled up at the foot of her bed, or Mark on the floor next to her. This last week has been exhausting, and I'm thankful that Mark and I take turns so at least ever other night is something close to restful.

At the international adoption clinic back in the fall, they suggested this idea of a "camp-out"-- a mattress on the floor in the master bedroom where Phoebe can come to be close to us and feel safe, while still giving us our space. I borrowed a toddler mattress from a friend and set up a cozy space with blankets and a pillow. I walked Phoebe through a role-play of waking up and feeling like she needed to be close, then walking into our room and cuddling up in "toddler camp-out." She snuggled in a declared, "I like it."

Around 3:00 a.m., I heard pitter-patter of feet in our room. It was Miranda, who tested out the mattress for about a minute before deciding that her own bed was a warmer better place. Perfect. Around 5:00 a.m. (a remarkably late first awakening), I heard Phoebe's cry. I went to her room, and she readily accepted my suggestion to climb out of bed herself and get settled in toddler camp-out. No fuss, no crying. She snuggled in, and the whole family of four slept in this Saturday morning until a remarkable 7:00. Could this be the beginning of a whole new well-slept phase of life? Dare to dream!

And then yet another milestone today. . .Phoebe's ballet teacher invited her to step-up to the three year old class that Miranda is in. Up until now, Phoebe has taken the bring-your-adult class, and occasionally has a bad day when she does nothing more than scowl with her fingers in her mouth in her adult's arms. But after some discussion, Phoebe agreed to join the big girl class. She got into line and walked in on her tip-toes, then followed every instruction with joy. In a class of ten children, Miranda and Phoebe sat next to each other every time they formed a circle. When the other children danced across the room one at a time in line, Two Girls took their turn side-by-side; the teacher told us later that Miranda had asked if they could do so. Mark and I stood outside the glass window and marveled at what seemed like a graduation of sorts. There was Phoebe, secure and independent, without us. And those two sisters-- such good friends they are to each other. I hope they stay that way in the years to come!