Thursday, January 29, 2009

Long needles and big tears

Quinn had to get THREE shots today and it did not go well. The first one made him cry the big, sad, open-mouth cry. The second one made him hysterical. And the third one drove him right into despondent. Worse, I was holding him during the whole process and right when he looked up at me for help is when the third shot came. I hope I am projecting, but he looked at me like I had betrayed him. Afterwards he was SO mad and didn't want to let me touch him, but Tom had the good idea to have us both touch him and talk to him, and that calmed him down.

How do other parents out there handle shots? Any ideas to make it go better next time???

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Night terrors - help!

For about the last week Quinn has had bouts of crying in his sleep. They don't wake him up, and he wakes up in the morning fresh and happy with a smile on his face. Still, they are traumatic for Mama and Baba who aren't sure why this is happening or what - if anything - we should do.

You parents out there, did you see this with your kids? If so, at what point? And what did you do about it?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scary Chinese New Year's lions

Today we attended a Chinese New Year's celebration at the Tucson Children's Museum. Quinn did great through the whole thing -- until the lion dance that concluded the festivities. It had BIG lions and LOUD drumming.

He watched pretty happily while all the girls on the mat at the front of the room shrieked and ran screaming to their parents in the audience. Then about halfway through, the tears started, poor little guy.

He calmed down pretty quickly once Tom did some fun air lifts.

Happy Kiss Kiss Day!

Quinn is starting to learn a few English words, and one of them is "kiss kiss." Say it when he's a good mood and he'll plant one on you. Today we took him to a Chinese New Year's celebration at the Tucson Children Museum and he was a little kissing machine.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Helpful tip from DiGiorno

Cooking our weekly Friday night pizza, I just learned this from the first step on the DiGiorno Pizza instructions: "Do not eat pizza without cooking."

My first though: Is anyone really that stupid? My second thought: They probably have a good reason for writing that. I bet if I did some research I'd find some idiot who sued DiGiorno after breaking his tooth on a frozen mushroom. Amazing.

How do you know what's right?

There's been a lot of chatter on my various Yahoo! groups this week about doing right by our kids.

One thread hotly debates whether it's smart to read everything there is to read about attachment disorders or whether doing so makes us see emotional wounds where there are none and encourages us to over-dramatize every tear shed and every toy hurled as signs of bonding issues.

Another discusses whether it's better to let your kids sleep in your room or whether you should sleep in their room.

One mom said that if you think your kid doesn't need to be in therapy to deal with his attachment issues you probably shouldn't have adopted from China. Another wondered -- seriously, I think -- whether it hurts kids more to be adopted or to spend their entire childhoods in orphanages.

I read them all. And they all leave me wondering whether I'm doing the right thing. For example, Quinn sleeps alone in his room with no issues - he goes down easily, sleeps through the night and wakes up with a smile. But is that traumatizing him in some way? Am I doing him harm that will manifest itself down the line? If he's crying for a bottle, I ask him to calm down before handing it over. It works, but is it doing him damage? He can now stand up on his own but cries to get down; the last few days I haven't rushed right to his aid, hoping he'll learn to get down on his own. But am I really helping him learn a skill or making him flash back to times in the orphanage when he cried and nobody came?

For now, I trust my gut and Quinn's responses more than I trust posts from other parents or even books by experts. But I can't help but wonder: When it comes to parenting, do you ever really know what's right???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Walking, wheels and wagons

Quinn got this slick red wagon from his Granddad Bill. He stood up behind it and used it as sort of a walker - he walked as he pushed the wagon for support. A gaggle of grownups stood around him to make sure he didn't fall, and he didn't.

Smiles, smiles, smiles

Our biggest concern about Quinn when he met him was his refusal to smile. For weeks the only thing that would make him smile was his reflection in the mirror. Then he would smile when I tickled him, but not without prompting.

Well, worry no more - this kid has become a regular smile factory. They come fast and furious, and - best of all - often totally unsolicited. He smiles when he sees one of us, when he's tickled, when we play a game, when he teases me and most recently when he's done something he's especially proud of, like picking up and putting down his sippy cup like a big boy.

When smiles were once so fleeting, every one is now a huge, priceless gift.

But I don't like the penguin hat!

No explanation needed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Okay, pictures!

Just when I thought he couldn't get any cuter:

Punk rock baby bath!

One sock, one upside-down boy (that's the refrigerator he's reverse-scaling).

What was supposed to be a sweet picture is instead a hilarious one. Wouldn't you love to know what he's thinking???

And finally, I know Christmas is over, but somehow I neglected to post my favorite picture from our holiday in California. This one is called, "Christmas dreams."

A day in the life of Quinn-Quinn

Today started with Quinn in hyper-alert status. He was watching EVERYTHING and trying it out. It seemed like he was learning something - usually something I didn't want him to learn - every second. After breakfast he watched Buttons zip out the doggie door and decided to give it a try.

Next he saw me put a bottle of wine away and decided to open the wine cabinet (thank Goodness it has a lock!)

Then he noticed me taking pictures of him and became quite obsessed with the camera.

Then he saw me standing there and decided to climb up my leg.

Then he did some combat crawling around the house (notice the tail on the back of his romper - too cute!)

Then he took a VERY short break.

Then he noticed a cord (fear not; it's not plugged in) and decided to find out what would happen if he tugged on it.

Not pictured: Quinn tries to climb into the dishwasher and tries to pull himself up onto the oven while I was boiling spaghetti. I'm exhausted!

Mama, I'm a big boy now!

About a month ago, Quinn learned to pull himself up into a stand. Since then he has done it about once a day, and always with great effort. This week he mastered the skill and now is standing up by pulling on my pant leg, our hands and especially this coffee table. He does it with great ease and speed. But there's a problem...

He can get up - hooray! ...

But he can't figure out how to get down - wah! All he can figure out is to cry until we come and get him.

Quinn ate his first finger food, but...

Eating has been a big issue for Quinn. Since the day we met him he has refused any food other than his bottle. Our best guess is that he was burned by some too-hot formula or congee, or was force-fed. He clearly suffered some sort of trauma and decided that food is not safe unless it comes in a bottle.

With help from an excellent feeding specialist and lots of patience, Quinn has found his own solution. He won't take food from a spoon, but he will take it from the nipple of his bottle. He started out eating a peppermint milkshake off the nipple, then moved on to juice. He stared making read headway in California, where he discovered clam miso soup and Japanese sweet beans. Now he'll eat anything that will stick on that nipple. We have retired the baby food and broken out the food chopper.

Quinn in action. Mashed sweet potatoes!

He occasionally will use a utensil now. Here he is testing a spoon designed by our feeding specialist. He also sometimes will take a lick from a Chinese soup spoon (there's one in the bowl).

Today was the first time he picked up food with his fingers and put it in his mouth. His first food of choice? Dog food! Most parents might be horrified, but we rejoiced. He didn't chew or swallow, but put a piece in his mouth, licked it and pulled it back out. I swapped him the kibble for some toddler banana puff crackers, and he stuck a couple of those in his mouth, but also pulled them out.

For us, that's real progress!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some like it hot

Ever since Quinn started eating solids I've been worried about him not getting enough fluids. If I give him water in a bottle he takes a sip and gets VERY offended that it's not the good stuff and pushes - or throws - it aside.

Today, though, making tea for my mom and I, I remembered the day in Beijing when Tom and I asked for some water while we were having pastries at a fancy bakery, and we were served cups of hot water. We were told the Chinese believe that people, and especially children, cannot digest anything cold. Therefore everything, especially in winter, is served hot. I poured some hot water in his bottle and - hallelujah! - gulp, gulp, gulp. He drank the bottle dry (it was only about half full) and then drank about half of a second bottle.


Rapid acceleration

Quinn has entered a period of warp-speed development. It seems like he learns something new every day, usually right before our eyes. I'll post some new photos soon, but in the meantime here is a synopsis of what's up with the little guy:
- He has gone from taking only the bottle to eating anything he can get on the bottle nipple. Soup, mac and cheese, stew, mashed potatoes, rice, refried beans, cottage cheese, pudding, eggs. There seems to be nothing the boy won't eat. He still won't eat from a spoon or put food in his mouth with his fingers, but his self-created system is serving him quite well for now.
- He has learned to stand quite well, but his upper body is not developed well enough to him to walk. He hasn't figured out how to get down once he's up, though. He started screaming in the middle of the night, which is very unusual for him, and when I went into his bedroom he was standing there in his crib, with no clue how to get down. I helped him lay down and he sighed and went straight to sleep.
- He was gone from smiling only when tickled or prompted with crazy antics to giving us regular, unsolicited smiles and laughs. He has gone from serious and analytical to happy and analytical.
- He got a plastic box for Christmas with holes in the top and shapes to fit through those holes. He would randomly try a shape in a hole and if it didn't fit he'd give up. Even if he had it almost right and just had to shift the shape a tiny bit, he wouldn't do it. Now he picks up the shape, looks at the puzzle top and puts the right shape in the right hole. Yes, the star is still a bit hard, but hey, give the poor kid a break!
- He is winding down his feeding therapy - once he starts using a spoon and feeding himself finger foods weren't home free. Next up is occupational therapy, which started today, and physical therapy, which starts Friday. Keeping up with him and his appointments, plus squeezing in some work when time allows, definitely fills up the day!
- He has gone from one or two vowel sounds to a full vocabulary of consonant-studded baby babble.
- He has learned his first English world. Say, "clap, clap, clap," and that's exactly what he'll do.
- He is now mimicking our behavior. In California, when the adoption therapist told us he should be doing this, I assaulted him with "Twinkle Twinkle" so relentlessly that showing him jazz hands would make him cry. Now he claps with us and taps his hands on his knees when we sing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back to real life

Wow, it only took me 13 days to type up my latest post. Such is my new life as a working parent. I'm working from home this month, which means I squeeze in work in the hours before Quinn gets up, while he naps (two hours!) and after he goes to bed. It's working pretty well, but I can't seem to find time for blogging! Still, I've had enough nudges that I realize it's time to get back to it. So, welcome to 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eating - more progress every day!

My friend Brenda, who we met in Beijing, sent me a great e-mail yesterday sharing her experience with her own daughter's feeding issues (now resolved). The breakthrough happened when their feeding specialist smeared yogurt all over her daughter's tray and let her play in it. Her message was encouraging and reassuring and recommended that we relax and let Quinn progress at his own schedule.

Almost immediately, the kid started eating new things! We tried the yogurt trick, but just with a bowl, and after a little fussing he started lapping it up. That encouraged Tom's mom to buy some applesauce, which he started scooping up with his bottle nipple. Today he has had two servings of Japanese sweet beans, also scooping them up with the nipple.

Thanks, Brenda!!! Above, as you can probably tell, are some photos of the yogurt adventure.

A very late 50th anniversary celebration

Tom's parents celebrated their 50th anniversary on Oct. 22. We were all supposed to go on a cruise, but then we found out we were leaving to meet Quinn on Oct. 29. So no cruise. Maybe in 2009. But for now we celebrated with a delicious seafood dinner at the Fishwife in Pacific Grove, Calif.

Earlier in the day I bought Quinn a couple of toddler food bowls and brought along one of mac 'n cheese with chicken and veggies. Quinn was pretty lukewarm about it at first, but pretty soon he dipped his bottle nipple into the can and started munching away. He stuck mostly with the sauce, but got quite a few bites of macaroni, veggies and chicken, too. This is the first bonafide solid food Quinn has eaten since we've known him, so that was something else to celebrate!