I'm not breaking up with the blog, I just needed some space after a full-on, two week commitment to it while we were in China. What can I say? I can be flakey sometimes.
Maternity leave ends for me today. I am happy to go back to work tomorrow and get into a normal routine again, but I have loved, loved having these 10 weeks at home with Lakey. She is such a special little girl. It's hard to put my finger on it, but there is something about her that sends me over the moon.
She is the bravest girl I've ever known. Her world turned on its end two months ago, and she barely batted an eye. It really is remarkable to me how quickly and well she has transitioned into our family. It hasn't been all picnics and cake of course, but compared to the difficulty I was expecting, it has really been a smooth ride for every one. It just feels like she has been here all along.
A few things about Lakey:
-No time is a bad time to eat. The girl has a hollow leg. If I didn't know better, I might say that this is a trait she gained from my side of the family.
-She likes to draw a good laugh out of people - much like her daddy. She often hits herself over and over in the face and says, "Owie! Owie!" with a big smile. She also loves to tuck her head down, chin nestled into her neck, and then cut her eyes up to look at you from underneath her bangs. It's a hoot!
-She has loosened up a ton since China, but if someone tries to make her smile, she will often purse her lips together to try to keep from an all out, toothy grin. It's cute.
-SHE IS POTTY TRAINED, Y'ALL! And I can't take any credit for it. This is all PoPo's doing. On Gotcha Day when the orphanage nanny was giving us Lakey's eating and sleeping schedule, she also said that Lakey was potty trained. I was thinking, "There's no way," and I never gave it another thought while we were in China. I didn't even ask PoPo about it when we got the chance to meet her. I didn't want to mess with the stress of being out and about all the time while trying to figure out the clues Lakey may or may not be giving me that she needed to do her business. Moreover, one day I saw a little Chinese boy about Lakey's age in the park, and his mom put down some kind of paper on the ground and steadied him as he squatted and pooped on it. Then she rolled it up and threw it away. Strangely similar to what you see in dog parks and apartments around here. I'm all about experiencing the life of the locals, but I was not even going there.
But after we got home, I kept thinking about the nanny saying that Lakey was potty trained. So I started putting her on the toilet before and after naps and randomly in between. Now, here is where I tell you a very strange story I heard in China about how children are potty trained. So if you're not up for a few paragraphs of potty talk, I behoove you to excuse yourself.
I only half way believed this story at the time. In China, they start potty training their children very early, and when it's time the children wear crotchless pants with nothing underneath. I can verify this because we saw many Chinese children out and about in 30 degree weather, all bundled up of course, but with their bear bums hanging out of their split pants. Real nice. The mother or whomever cradles her arms under the child's armpits and starts to whistle, signaling to the child to start feeling the urge to go. Just there on the ground or wherever - it's totally normal.
Anyway, so after we got settled back at home, I put Lakey on the toilet one day. She just stared back at me. Out of curiosity, I started to whistle. And that little stinker started to pee! I thought it might just be coincidence, so I did it several more times throughout the day and every time I sat her on the toilet and whistled, she went potty! Sometimes #1, sometimes #2. Whatever was necessary. So I just started doing this for several weeks, and eventually she got to where she would just go without me having to whistle. And now she will even say, "Poopoo," when she needs to go. It has by far been the craziest thing I've discovered about Lakey. So cool! And one more reason to admire PoPo. In the updated picture we got of Lakey back in November, she is wearing split pants. If that means she was being potty trained, then she was only 16 months old at the most and who knows when PoPo started with her? It's so bizarre to me, but really cool! Goes to show that kids can learn to do things much earlier than we give them credit for.
-I sing to Lakey every night before bed. Same songs nearly every night: Amazing Grace, Jesus Loves Me, Something About that Name, Surfer Girl, Over the Rainbow, and Edelweiss. For ever she has just stared at my lips while I sang and we rocked. This week she started singing with me. Not the same tune, but singing. It is the sweetest.
-I love to watch Miles and Knox with Lakey. They adore her. I mean, they are SO proud of her. They share with her like they have never shared with each other. She has some kind of power over them or something. It's so funny. They argue over who gets to sit by her at dinner, and when she achieves anything new they shower her with praise. It. Is. Awesome! Sometimes I am blown away that I get to be the mother of these three.
Last, but not least. I know that some of you have really been anxious to see how our story plays out because you have adoption in your hearts and minds as well. I want you to know that I am being totally real when I write this blog. I promise that I am not sugar coating our experience. If you are like me, then you want honesty and may even be hoping to hear something negative just so you know how to prepare.
I mentioned that it hasn't been all rosy. We struggled through some sleep issues in the beginning, and Lakey still struggles with it occasionally. Whenever Lakey takes her afternoon nap anywhere but at our home in her crib (which is almost never), the next 5-8 nights are HARD. She will scream anytime I even try to leave her room, and she will also wake up 2-3 times during the night. Eventually it gets easier, but it is hard to get her to a point where she feels secure again. And it's hard on me because I'm the only one she wants. So what I've learned is that we are not really ready to go anywhere that we can't easily be home by nap time.
She is also my shadow, and that gets exhausting. It's funny because if I just slip away unnoticed, like if she is playing with the boys or something, then she is totally fine. But if it's just the two of us and I even start to walk into another room she cries and follows me around until I pick her up.
But that is really it. I mean, that's not much of anything really. I know parents that have these issues with their biological children, so I'm not even sure it's necessarily anything adoption related.
I wish I had adequate words to write my love for Lakey. I always struggle to articulate my love for Miles and Knox too, and with Lakey it is no different. In the deepest, most honest corners of my heart at the beginning of all this, I secretly wondered if the love would be the same since I did not know Lakey before I saw her like I did the boys. I recently sent out Lakey's announcement. The front said, "Born In Our Hearts, " and that is the key to understanding why I feel no difference. God penned the pages of our story and put our three children in our hearts long before we knew any of them.
Logistics makes no difference.