It’s a process…

We keep reminding ourselves — sometimes more effectively than others — that our adoption journey with Li is a process rather than an event.

Surrounded by booksIt has been quite a while — too long, probably — since I posted anything of any significance on Li. She’s doing really well, for the most part, and she continues to amaze us each day, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in large ways. Physically, she’s healthy, she’s eating well, she’s growing, and she’s continuing to blossom. She loves books — can’t seem to get enough of them, in fact — and will sit in her room or in the living room and “read” them to herself.

There are still some areas, though, that seem to be roller-coaster rides for all of us: sleep is one (and it is a big one, because if she doesn’t sleep well, at least two others of us also don’t sleep well) and dealing with situations where she doesn’t get exactly what she wants is another. She hasn’t slept well the past couple weeks, either at night or during the day in the form of naps, and that has made for some very trying days (and some very exhausted parents, at times). In addition, there have been some days where every little thing has resulted in a temper tantrum (either grande or petite, depending on how tired she is and… oh, how we wish we knew what it depended on).

Both of those — sleep and behavior — are the two areas where, given that we are working with a little girl who has 14 months of pre-history to which we are not privy, this is a very different journey than we’ve had with Ian and where we do have to keep reminding ourselves that this stuff isn’t going to just work itself out overnight or even over the course of a week or two…

The other thing that factors in to some of this, too, seems to be that she is still getting used to me being gone all day during week. Where I was home from work for a full two-plus weeks after we got back from China, and then was only working part-time for the next two weeks after that, my going back to work on a full-time basis has been pretty hard on her.

It has been a full month or so for all of us. The soccer season reached its conclusion over Memorial Day weekend with a tournament down in Utah, preceded the weekend before with the President’s Cup tournament over in Twin Falls. The trip to Twin was Li’s first road trip, and we really weren’t sure what to expect. She travelled OK for the most part, and actually slept fairly well both nights in the motel. Utah was a little different story — she travelled fairly well, but really didn’t sleep all that well.

(Our team played well in both tournaments, and squeezed a great game against our primary local rival in between the tournaments, but that’s fodder for a separate post, I think.)

Our little gardener working in strawberry patchWhile in the Salt Lake area, we squeezed in a trip to the Hogle Zoo with Li on an off-day during the tournament. She liked the elephants and giraffes the best, with some of the monkeys a close second. Some of that seemed to be because those exhibits were the easiest for her to see from her stroller; she was in one of those moods where getting her into (or back into) the stroller was pretty trying, so we did quite a bit of drive-by viewing of the animals. It seemed to us, too, though that many of the fences around the exhibits really didn’t lend themselves to stroller-level viewing, which seemed to factor into her experience.

Since getting back from Salt Lake City, Li and Deb have spent a fair amount of time outside, getting out to work in the garden off and on, with a big stretch there this past Saturday. The weather has been a bit cooler than normal this spring, so Deb is just now getting stuff in the garden going. By all appearances, Deb may have a little gardener on her hands, as Li seems to love not just being outside but being in the dirt (Deb would call it soil) as seen here. She has her own little set of gardening tools and watering can, and really has no qualms about getting her hands dirty.

Deb and Li blowing bubblesOther highlights of the past few weeks, in no particular order:

  • Deb and Li blowing bubbles in the evening sun outside the hotel in Salt Lake City.
  • The skin condition I touched on in a previous post is finally clearing up. She has a couple spots (we call them Harold and Maude, because the first spot is called the “herald patch” and these two spots have been around long enough that we’re kind of on a first name basis). Harold is getting smaller and smaller each day, and we’ll be glad when he’s gone completely; Maude is close to fading into oblivion.
  • Li getting to see and feed the animals at our friends Tony and Kristi’s house (chickens, turkeys, lambs, sheep).
  • Li getting to see the animals at our friends the Beller’s (chickens, goats, horses).
  • The parents and families of our soccer team this year: they will likely never know how much of a blessing they have been for Deb and me in accepting and welcoming Li into like in Idaho Falls this past season.
  • The sheepish look on Li’s face in the bath tub Sunday evening when she got her face wet accidentally, along with the look of surprise and anguish a few minutes later when she did it again (except that the second time, she inhaled some bath water).
  • Reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Eric Carle four straight times the first evening after our neighbor Chris gave it to Li; her love of books and curiosity about them just shows no signs of slowing.
  • Watching Li dance to Dave Matthews; we first saw signs of this when my friend Kathleen from work finally got to meet Li one evening a couple weeks ago when Kathleen was in Idaho Falls on a work trip.
  • Watching Li shovel Chinese noodles into her mouth with both hands as fast as she can; she does like her noodles.
  • Watching Li wake up on a Saturday morning, when we’ve tucked her into “the big bed” between us at 5am because we all need another couple hours of sleep, and she’s fallen back asleep until 7.

She’ll hit 17 months old here in a couple of days, and I still can’t believe it has been two months since we got home…