Saturday, April 26, 2008

WO AI NI

(Apologies for what is probably atrocious pinyin / Mandarin spelling)

'Wo ai ni, Alice Ming, wo ai ni!' is the last thing I say to Alice as I leave her to go to sleep in the evening.

This evening, as I left her, I heard the dogs prancing and tailing wagging from beyond the baby-gate - I'm sure they think that 'Wo ai ni!' means it's suppertime - as I feed them as soon as I get downstairs!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

SLEEPSUITS

I need some recommendations.

Alice is tall, she's nearly out of 18-24 month babygrows (night-time, all in 1 sleepsuits with feet).

I can't find any larger ones - probably because potty training is anticipated for the next size up - but I think Alice is probably a year from that, so we need more babygrows in a larger size.

BHS, Woolworths, an Aussie company called Snugglebums - all have been suggested. Snugglebums look good, but are out of stock in the relevant sizes. I also found a few on Google, but they were £15+ - too much when I probably need 5-7 of them!

STRIKE!

Today 1 of the British Teaching Unions (the NUT) were on strike. I belong to the NUT. They were striking about a pay increase that is less than the rate of inflation - so effectively a pay cut.

I'm on Adoption Leave, so I didn't have to make the decision about striking, or not. But it was interesting to observe that even though I'm not in school, the strike did affect me - the roads were noticably quieter this morning and our music group was only about half the usual size - as many families stayed away as they had more children at home than on a usual Thursday.

Locally the strike had an effect - some schools shut, others just shut affected classes, some ran creches and a few weren't affected.

SUNDAY REFLECTIONS

On Sunday we went for a day out with the G's - to celebrate a trio of birthdays - K was 32, R 30 and E 4!

We met mid morning and walked into Bath. Met up with more of the G's family and got on a boat for a trip up-stream. Alice ate lunch picnic style (until her sandwiches ended up in the river!) and spotted cows from the boat! We got off the boat at a local pub and had an excellent lunch.

It was a super day - great fun, lots of new experiences and giggles for Alice, relaxing and lovely company as well as a good meal - fabulous! But it was also surreal for me - reflecting on the last 12 months.

The same family celebrations last year were at Gloucester Docks. Read about it here. Another meal, a different boat trip, another lovely day but such a difference in 12 months. Last year I was still waiting, so uncertain, so tired of waiting, so worried - and yet on the other side of the world a baby was going to become my daughter, by then some people probably had made our match and put us together to become a family, but I was still stressed and uninformed - what changes were to come, I was on the brink of a wonderful roller-coaster of life changing, life enhancing, incredible, emotional events and the trip of a lifetime around the other side of the world, WOW.

Sunday - remembering the uncertainty's associated with last year's celebrations and the whirl-wind that was about to happen, holding my baby and marvelling at the last 12 months. Unbelievable - the changes over that year, the wonderful changes, the miracle that is Alice, the joy of motherhood, an incredible trip to China.

Days like Sunday make me step back and consider what's happened - the pain and uncertainty of the process - would I do it again? In a heartbeat, she's brought so much to my life and I believe that she's in a better situation too - what an incredible and wonderful process. I'm still in awe of what has happened to us both and I feel so privileged.

AN APOLOGY AND AN UPDATE

. . . sorry for the unexpected blogging break . . . no real news . . . just life happening at warp speed . . . just the usual stuff.

So what's up at CBH? All the usual, nothing special - 'cept for herself of course!

Me? Getting better, on my third course of antibiotics, feeling much better but very tired. We're back to all our usual activities this week, some socialising too - exhausting but good.

Her? Wonderful but more tearful than normal - don't know why.

Dogs? Little ones are fine - eating, sleeping etc as usual, affectionate as ever. Daisy - ageing rapidly but still scrounging - I take that to be a good sign.

Home? Carpets - finished, thresholds down. Kitchen - waiting for snagging to be rectified. Curtains - kitchens ones have been dry-cleaned and rehung, playroom ones have been selected, ordered and measured up - should be up by next weekend.

Job? (Fingers crossed) News coming soon!

Holidays - 1's been planned since last August and a second's just been booked, phew!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

18 MONTHS OLD

Not forgotten or overlooked, just busy.

She's still not quite well, reduced to tears easily, but she is getting better - slowly, but quicker than me!!

Recent(ish) progress:
  • since staying with GFW and AJ at the beginning of March - she has to climb the stairs to bed each night, but not at naptime, just in the evening!!
  • some success on the potty while waiting for the bath,
  • walking - sometimes the pushchair stays in the car, on our shorter errands only at the moment,
  • she's following every more complex instructions and responding to 'give and take' - I'll read the story when xxx is tidied away!
  • she can point out - eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head, hair, toes, feet, socks, shoes and name most of them too,
  • she knows lots of animals - dog, cat, rabbit, bird, butterfly, loin, elephant, monkey, cow, sheep, pig, horse - she can either name or make the sign or sound for each one,
  • she knows the limits of behaviour and tests them very regularly!
  • 'ai ni'

Sunday, April 13, 2008

3 LITTLE WORDS

(Photo proves that not every day can be a good hair day!)

As usual this morning got off to a slow start - Alice woke just before 9am(!) and came into bed for her bottle, gentle wake-up, chit-chat and playtime. At one point she was sitting up (facing away from me) while I was rubbing her back, I said (as I often do, but more usually at bedtime), 'Wo ai ni Alice Ming, wo ai ni!' (Chinese for 'I love you', but probably incorrectly spelt!) Without a pause she replied 'Ai ni!'

Not quite the 3 little words that I was expecting to hear first, but even more wonderful.

Wo ai ni Alice Ming, wo ai ni!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

TOYS

We tried out our D*plo again today - Alice still doesn't understand it. She's quite happy to 'build' towers, to rip blocks apart but she doesn't understand how to line up the nodges to click them together - so it went back in the bag and was put away for another day.

Shortly after that I produced the St*cklebricks she had for Christmas. She had a little more success with them. She's fascinated with butterflies at the moment, I showed her the sign for it, her version was to hug herself and flap her hands - so sweet.

Later on this afternoon she found the S/Bs again and demanded I opened the zip. She had great fun taking them in and out of the bag and chewing on them but didn't really put them together!!

LATEST HABITS

Every mealtime, toward the end - Alice HAS to check the 'crockery' and spot the animals, today's bowl had Peter Rabbit, she signed 'Rabbit' (2nd photo), she's always so pleased when it's a bunny and when I understand what she means!

JUST BECAUSE . . . (part 2)

. . . I need to show that she does smile too!

JUST BECAUSE . . . (part 1)

. . . I like this photo!

A DAY OF NO-NOs

She knows she shouldn't touch, if you ask her, "What does Mummy say?" then she'll tell you, "No, no!" But (as you can see) that doesn't seem to stop her from touching / doing it!!

I've felt rough all day - not sure if it's the antibiotics or the chest infection. Alice is still irritable and easily moved to tears but better than she was.

Pickles (bunny) has been a real feature of the past week or so - Alice seeks him out and drags him round for large parts of the day. Usually any cuddly will do but recently Pickles has had the advantage.

(BTW - look at the beautiful kitchen in the background!)

CREATING FAMILY FOLKLORE!

Alice looked up and said . . .

"Phsssshhh!" (Fish)

Now, anyone want any fish with their water?

Friday, April 11, 2008

ALICE'S WATER TABLE - FOR ANON

Alice adores her water table - I think it's her favourite toy. When she's out in the garden she goes straight to it and bangs on the lid, there's no doubt what she wants. Unfortunately between the weather and her being so poorly, she hasn't been able to have a splash this week.

Anon wanted to know more about the table. It's an adjustable height table - at the moment it's set on the lowest of 3 settings. It has a lid and a plug at the bottom of the tank. I got it from ASCO - I Googled 'child water table' or some-such. I didn't find anything I liked for domestic use - ASCO is an educational supplier, it might be worth trying HOPE as well. (Warning - they're not cheap, the educational ones start at about £100 - £125 and go up to £200 ish!) Whilst they're not cheap, if your child(ren) love it and use it as much as Alice, it'll be great value for money. I'm also hoping that it'll be used by her 'til she's at least 6 or 7 and then by Little Sis, so hopefully about 10+ years use.

Whilst you're buying I'd advise buying aprons too - I've found the one Alice is wearing in this photo to be the most effective so far (easy to put on, no gaps on the sides), this one came from a marketplace seller on Amazon. To complete the 'kit' - waterproof dungarees and wellies - Alice gets excited the moment she sees the body-warmer and w/p dungarees!!

SPECIAL FRIENDS - OLD AND NEW!

2 phonecalls, both warmed my heart.

Last night GFW phoned. It was lovely to catch up on all his baby news. I can't wait to meet her but I'll have to as I've got a chest infection, ugh.

Tonight S phoned - concerned about us and to ask about comments. First of all, we're OK (more of that in a separate post). Secondly I've obviously got email issues again - I haven't received the notifications of comments, so hadn't published. So thanks to all who left comments, I've skimmed so far and Photobox seems to be the popular solution to online printing.

INSPIRATION STRUCK AFTER 11PM!

. . . not usually my most productive time of day . . . Alice was having a bad evening . . . ended up in bed with me for an hour or so, but after she'd calmed down she still couldn't settle down to sleep, so she ended up in the cot and slept through til 8.30.

Meanwhile, I was wracking my brains about her temperature etc.

TEETH!

I checked this morning and I think that her final set of molars (for now) are rumbling. She smiled when I produced the teething gel and we've had smiles and giggles already this morning!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

CRYING AND KITCHENS!

Alice woke with a high temperature again (though she did manage to sleep through the night). She woke crying - unusual for her and also she has NO tolerance, crying ramps up quickly and even though she wants to be cuddled it doesn't reduce the crying episodes - not cuddling though exacerbates the situation.

So no J0 Jingles today - she probably would have been better for the distraction but I didn't want to share her bugs.

This morning the electrician returned. We now have under-unit lights and power on the island but he's coming back to check the sockets. The plumber arrived at lunchtime. The little dogs escaped - I chased Fusspot, running down the road in my slippers, not fun.

Alice woke from her nap crying. She cuddled in and continued to cry. She cried so hard that I couldn't even get the medicine into her. She wouldn't be consoled. After 45 minutes crying she vomited. She continued crying on and off for another half hour or so - asking to be picked up, snuggling in, getting down, crying as soon as her feet hit the floor - she repeated this over and over. She didn't know what to do with herself, she wanted Mummy, but cuddles didn't always help, she had to have a Pickles Bunny with her (and wasn't happy that I wouldn't let her have the vomit covered one back - she did have a choice of 3 others!)

It was an exhausting afternoon for both of us.

Suppertime was much better. French Toast - Alice ate, mostly unaided, feeding herself with a fork! She was happy and proud, she enjoyed her FT but was easily upset. She only ate 2 spoonfuls of fromage frais - extremely unusual.

Bedtime - she wouldn't drink ANY milk, again extremely unusual. An hour later she was screaming again, calm but hiccupy when picked up, I took her into my room for 45 minutes or so, but she cried again as soon as we entered her room, 10 minutes later she was asleep.

By this afternoon, when she was calm she didn't have a temperature but her behaviour is completely out of character - lack of appetite, lack of patience, being inconsolable, crying, crying, crying. Yesterday the doctor couldn't find evidence of illness, today I know that she's still poorly even though I don't know what's wrong. I'll see how she is overnight but I suspect we may be back at the GP's.

Poor baby.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MORE PHOTOS - LAST WEEK IN THE WATER!








MORE LOVELIES FROM THE ZOO






PHOTOS

I've asked before, but can't remember the answers!

UK readers only please:
  • which online photo printing service would you recommend?
Please leave a comment to let me know - that way I can't forget the answer!

Thanks, K x

HEALTH UPDATE

Last Wednesday we both went to the Dr's.

We both had chest infections, both had a 7 day course of amoxacillin. We've both nearly finished the course, neither of us are better. Alice was sobbing and miserable this afternoon, running a temperature - she had pink medicine, no change, a tepid bath worked and she had more medicine at bedtime.

I feel rough. I've never seen her like she was this afternoon, she's definitely still poorly. Guess where we're going again tomorrow?

HOME UPDATE!

The kitchen is missing just a few bits:
  • the plumber has to come back and fit a radiator (I rejected the first one that they offered!)
  • the electrician has to come back and tighten some light switches and test the sockets
  • someone has to level some of the unit doors (they've been done once but need more!)

The playroom and study have been recarpeted but need new thresholds to the kitchen.

There are still LOTS of boxes to unpack, things to sort and papers to file.

We're getting there, slowly. But it's SO MUCH BETTER! I love it and I love being back at this end of the house (rather than camping in the hall and drawing room!)

I also need to pick the material for the new playroom curtains (to replace the originals that Mum picked in York in March 1990!!)

OUR GORGEOUS GIRLS

Last Saturday we met up with the B's (Alice's China sister) at Bristol Zoo. We had a blast! The girls respond to each other in a very special way and relax together very quickly.

They continue to be so different, so wonderful, so loved and such a lovely combination.

But our special day didn't stop there! We went on to tea with S, C and J-J (also from Yunnan). It's lovely to get our girls together and hopefully nuture life-long friendships - unfortunately no photos of this (I'd taken so many at the Zoo that I forgot over tea!)

Oh, I also resolved to blog more often and with more photos - just because L (in red) likes to check the blog with her daddy! Unfortunately I haven't got off to a very good start.

Monday, April 07, 2008

GOOD SIGNS

. . . something I should have included in the '9 months with Alice' post . . . she sits on the potty while waiting for her bath. She doesn't mind sitting for a few minutes - as long as she has something to hold!! (and when I remember to check, she's successful about half the time - doesn't seem to understand why Mummy makes such a fuss though!!)

This week she's also learnt to climb onto the sofa - I need to find a safer place to keep the phone and remote!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

9 MONTHS WITH ALICE

9 months, so many changes, so much happiness.

In March:
  • we passed 'Equals Day' - Alice has now been with me for more than half her life,
  • she learnt to climb stairs - she started with the soft foam steps at soft play, then she practised at GFW's and now she climbs up to bed every night,
  • her communication exploded - more signing and lots more words, lots more attempts at words too,
  • she was happy to slide - she'd tried it before but never enjoyed it,
  • she learnt to climb onto the ride on toys and rockers,
  • she learnt to use the word 'No!'
  • she's showing more opinion
  • she continues to adore books and animals, especially our dogs (she can now identify all 3 and name Daisy and Boo, she can't yet say 'Fusspot')

LAST NIGHT'S EVENTS IN A PHOTO

. . . all started out fine . . . quickly off to sleep . . . occasional cries through the evening (lasting less than 5 seconds at a time but still showing unsettled sleep) . . . not too bad . . . until I turned off the light . . . within 5 minutes she was screaming . . . came into bed with me . . . continued to cry . . . eventually calmed . . . but continued to toss and turn . . . after an hour or more she went back into her cot . . . screamed within minutes . . . repeated lots of points . . . after 4 hours she went back into her cot . . . ultimately she slept in her cot and I had less than 4 hours in total.

Ugh. I had to get up to let in the decorator and electrician. She slept in. Neither of us felt good. Neither of us are very well at the moment - my patience was slim today, Alice's was AWOL. Luckily we didn't have too many incidents like the photo, but it's unusual to have any.

Last night's turmoil was the worst night that I've ever had with her, can't complain but that doesn't stop the effects of the lack of sleep!

I'm hoping for a better night tonight, but unfortunately she's already been crying out in her sleep, like last night, oh well.