Monday, June 30, 2008

WOW - 10 MONTHS

1st photo from 25th August 2007, 2nd from today (30th June 2008).

I had to post a direct comparison as the difference is so incredible.

NOSTALGIC MUMMY!

Remember this?

This the dress that I bought in Kunming's W@lm@rt nearly a year ago. Last year Alice wore it as a dress, this year it's a top - can't believe how much she's changed!! Sentimental me - I still love this top and the girl wearing it!

(Alice found this bracelet today - she was very proud to wear it this morning, she kept showing it to me for me to admire!!)

1st JULY (TOMORROW!), AN EXPLANATION

Tomorrow we will celebrate a year together.

For those of you who haven't been through the amazing process of adoption, 'Gotcha Day', 'Metcha Day', 'Family Day' or for us 'Alice Day' is the day that families celebrate a new child joining their family. I chose to call 1st July 'Alice Day' as when Little Sis comes along there will be another 'Family Day' for her too - with her name, if I used 'Family Day' we'd have 2 with the same name to celebrate different events.

Why celebrate? Alice's birthday is a special day - significant to both of us but it's not a day about us. For a family created biologically a birthday encompasses 'Family Day' too. For me, Alice Day is about the day our family was born - it is about both of us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate - with presents from me and a special tea with some of the special people in our lives because tomorrow is the emotionally significant day for us as a family ( and if I can find it we'll probably watch the DVD of An Hao Ming being placed in my arms). Alice doesn't yet understand what tomorrow is about, but I have told her the story and shown her the pictures, one day she will understand it's significance and then she will also know that it's always been special to our family, a ritual not a flippancy, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate adoption.

GETTING READY

. . . the kitchen's tidy (ish), the cakes are made, the balloons hung, the presents wrapped . . . luckily I have a few more years to work on sophistication!

WHITE

. . . yes, the RH (Alice is reading too - I need to type in code!!) . . . is white . . . not necessarily the best colour choice, unless you're a princess!!

Couldn't risk Alice becoming a princess and having to ride a brown RH!!

Now you know just how daft I truly am!!

SSSSSSSHHHHHHH, CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?! (AKA - NOW YOU KNOW JUST HOW SOFT I REALLY AM!!)

Tomorrow Alice will find out that there was something UNDERNEATH the box - a white rocking horse.

Now it needs a name - any ideas?

(I hope that this works - I'm trying a new 'blogger' trick, posting ahead of time and setting the publish time and date!)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

GROWING UP . . . part 2

. . . I was slow to encourage Alice to feed herself . . . but she's finally getting there!!

(I know that her supper doesn't look very appetising, but actually it's my roast chicken dinner with loads of veggies but the gravy makes it look icky - tastes good though!!)

GROWING UP . . . part 1

. . . a new trampoline - the old one was just too little. Alice tried one this size at A's 2 weeks ago, she coped fine with the larger size . . . so we went shopping and I managed to get a bargain at B1g W . . . so we're both happy!

THERE'S A BOX IN THE PLAYROOM

. . . it's been there since Tuesday.

Alice has seen the box. Alice will show you where the box is - if she's asked!

Alice has NO IDEA that there might be something under the box, NO CLUE that it might be something fun, NOT AN INCLINKLING!!

What's in the box? What do you think?

(I will give you one further clue - it's for Tuesday!?)

The answer should be published at 15:00 BST on Monday.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

CATCHING UP

Work - last week I worked Thursday am and all day Friday. Then I went in for the fete on Saturday. This week I worked all day Monday and Thursday am. So in 6 working days I worked more than half of them - it was too much and a fairly gentle way to confirm that my decision to return 1 day a week is sufficient, for now.

Alice - fab as usual but with a few nappy issues that you really don't want to know about.

Me - tired. Itchy hands - that I realised related to using lovely salon products in the shower - it proves that my perfume allergy is still very much present and very sensitive.

Dogs - fine, Daisy's ageing rapidly but still here for now, The Little Ones are great.

Home - messy but lovely, my bedroom's in need of some serious sorting.

So what have we been up to? Most of the usual Mummy and Alice activities, but no music as I've been in school on Thursday mornings. Swimming is going beautifully, Alice smiles and shrieks, such a change! Alice has been at home with M (whilst I'm out) for bits of 3 days this week - she continues to adore M, M is encouraging Alice to count to 5, ride her push trike, name colours and draw with coloured pencils. Alice particularly likes . . .3, 4 . . . yeh-low, buh-lue and back! I went to Uncle M's funeral yesterday but managed to get lost using SatNav between the chapel and the crematorium, oops - luckily as I am close to the family and I was able to contact them before that service started, I think that they forgave me but I still felt awful about it. Today we went to a Play Barn - filled with soft play style activities but almost all of them were too big for Alice, we won't be going back there for another 12-18 months - by then she'll be big enough to enjoy the main play area. We had lunch there before going into the local town for a stroll and a browse, Alice wouldn't nap but slept all the way home in the car before having an early night too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EXCITING CONVERSATION

This evening I had a lovely conversation with a fellow AP. I think we have a fair amount in common and hope that we might meet up in the near future. She's adopted from another country. She was extremely kind, informative and helpful about their process to adopt.

I've also received the CD Rom that I'd ordered about Special Needs - I have yet to use it and consider the needs that I maybe open to - although I already have a few ideas about what Alice and I can cope with.

My knowledge the adoption process in other countries is growing, my opinions are forming, I think I've reached a decision about Little Sis and I'm getting fired up and excited about her adoption journey. I'm also excited about being excited - it matters to me that Little Sis will know how much she was thought of, planned for and anticipated before her arrival - just as Alice was.

Monday, June 23, 2008

GOSSIP

Alice's babysitter arrived this morning . . . with a look of glee on her face she told me the latest gossip . . . about me!!

Apparently I've gone back to work full-time as I have a live-in nanny for Alice!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

WORK

I'm back at work. I started the week after half term (first week of June), for now I'm just working 1 day per week. Some people have laughed about it only being 1 day a week. I'm a single parent and with the bonding and attachment issues that can be associated with adoption I hadn't left Alice very often. Returning to work was a big step for me - the first time that I've had to leave Alice and haven't been able to control when I return. It went well - she's delighted to see M when it's a work day but she is also pleased to see me when I get home - the ideal situation.

Last week I worked an extra morning, I also took Alice to school for their fete yesterday.

This week I have a funeral on Friday, so I'm working tomorrow instead, I'm also doing an extra half-day. So in the 5 days from last Thursday I will have been in school for 4 days. For now that's too much, I'm tired (I've still got a day to do tomorrow) and I haven't spent enough time with Alice. I'm actually relieved that it's too much as I've worried that I was not challenging myself enough.

TODAY'S NEWS

Alice is now feeding herself nearly all the time - sometimes she even uses utensils!!

She surprised me by climbing into the highchair this lunchtime (photo is actually from suppertime). She holds on like she is in the photo, pulls up her feet onto the foot ledge and then uses the straps for the final pull up!

The weather was nice enough by lunchtime for me to start cleaning out the water table (it goes green after a while - I tend to keep it filled as the water warms in the sun!) She had great fun splashing but wasn't as focused as usual.

Later she bounced so hard that she bounced the bobble out of her hair!!


After supper we had a quick visit from our neighbour, with her gelding - Alice has met him before but this time she got closer and stroked him several times. She loved this visit but unfortunately there are no photos as my hands were full of Alice!!

Unfortunately she also accidentally broke my visual monitor this afternoon - as she's quite quiet it's difficult to tell when she's properly asleep without seeing her. It's on my priority list to get fixed this week.

Overall another lovely day.

LITTLE HAM!

Alice loves wearing sunglasses!

ALICE'S EGGY SUPPER!!

Last night, after a busy day - shopping, friend for lunch and school fete in the afternoon, Alice had eggs for supper.

I cooked scrambled eggs - I always cook them almost dry so that they're well cooked and less risky that way. As usual she chomped her supper pretty quickly and had a good variety of food - eggs, toast, fruit, yoghurt etc.

Afterwards I was sitting in the playroom and she wandered into the kitchen, not unusual. It went quiet and I didn't realise, when I did I found Alice in the kitchen, surrounded by eggshell - one egg missing from the eggbox and a bit of mess on the floor. The dogs had been with me, so she must have eaten the second egg raw - there was no sign of the yolk at all, ugh!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SHOES

. . . in response to a comment:

Alice was first fitted for shoes in mid February - see here. She was a 5 and a half F, but actually fitted a G better. I had her feet checked every 4 weeks or so, she didn't grow and they were still fitting perfectly until mid May when she became a 6G. Then last week (just 4 weeks later) she was fitted as a 7G!! So in 7 weeks her feet grew a size and a half and went up a width fitting, wow!

She has also grown - the pirate costume that fitted in early May is now decidedly tight!! She's probably taller too, but living with her it's difficult to see the difference.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HAIR AND NAUGHTINESS

Hair - we both went to the hairdressers this afternoon. First I had my haircut and then it was Alice's turn - I'd choose for it to be the other way around but it's beyond my control. We both had a quick trim and we both look smarter for it! Alice was beautifully behaved throughout. The hairdressing staff couldn't believe how much she'd grown in the past 6 weeks and how well behaved she was.

Whilst we were at the hairdresser's Alice flirted outrageously with both the male stylist - fluttering eyelashes, wicked grins and the eyebrow game!! The eyebrow game has only been played with me until today - she raises and lowers her eyebrows to change expression (see the second photo), sometimes quickly but sometimes slowly - she wants you to copy her and finds it hilarious when you do - it's been a great bonding game that we usually play in bed over the morning or nighttime bottles. My hairdresser found the expressions of the eyebrow game hysterical, but Alice would only play it with the men!!

Since I tried the 2 fountain hairstyle last week, I've also tried the 'single spray' - both styles remind me of her hair last summer whilst also reminding me how much she's grown and changed since then. This evening's 'single spray' is an easier style - no partner to try and match with! But since trying hair bobbles Alice is more inclined to rip out hair slides, the bobbles remain untouched (for now)! (Note the toast crumbs in her hair on the final photo!)

And the naughtiness? Attitude over supper, including dumping most of her toast over the kitchen table - she knows how to provoke me while I try to stay calm, little pickle!

NEW FRIENDS, SPECIAL FRIENDS

New friends for Alice, special friends for both of us.

Alice was almost instantly comfortable in their presence - that only seems to happen when there's another Chinese face around.

The B family were 4 months ahead of me in the list to adopt from China - their daughter has been home for 12 months more than Alice. A is 14 months older than Alice - but not only are they virtually the same size but their feet are the same size too - Alice is the unusual size for a Chinese child.

Several people have commented recently how quiet Alice is - she is quite quiet when we're out and about, but she makes up for those times when we're at home!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

ANOTHER BUSY WEEKEND, GALLIVANTING

Another weekend away - it was hectic before I'd even packed!!

Friday was a working day, followed immediately by a 'Princess and Pirates' party - Alice wore the same pirate costume for this party (C's 6th) as she did for E's 4th 6 or 7 weeks ago, only now the costume is rather tighter!

First thing on Saturday morning we 'hit the road' to go to Grandad's new house for his birthday party. Alice was quite clingy whilst she got her bearings for the first hour or so, but then she had a wonderful time with her ball in the gardens. Alice refused her afternoon nap but had had a few minutes in the car that morning - so she was quite tearful through the afternoon.

Today we went to the B's - I'd been there 12 months ago (taking only a photo of 'Whatshername' with me), this time Alice came in person!! Their daughter A was also adopted from China - Alice relaxed instantly and we had a super time - Alice particularly liked playing in the sand and water, bouncing on A's 'big girl' trampoline and climbing up AND DOWN the ladder of the slide!! Alice was in awe of A and spent a long time observing her and then copying what she did (especially during lunch). It didn't surprise me but it did amuse me to confirm that Alice is almost the same size as A - despite being 14 months younger!!

(Then it was another long drive home - luckily no problems with fuel but I was careful not to let the tank get too empty. Another fuel driver strike is scheduled for next weekend, let's hope that the conciliation talks are a success tomorrow.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

HAIR!

I finally found a way to keep Alice's hair of her face - not sure she'll appreciate photos like this in years to come though.

She didn't touch them and they stayed in all day, hurrah!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

JUST CALL HER TOPSY!

In February Alice had her first pair of shoes. I took her to have them measured regularly, but she was the same size until about 4 weeks ago. As it's supposed to be summer I bought her light canvas shoes in palish pink and later some of the plastic clog shoes. She's worn the clogs more than the canvas ones but at the weekend when I put the canvas ones on her they seemed a little small.

Alice needed new shoes anyway - something to match a red outfit. The best shoe shop for children that I've found so far is in Bath - so off we went. This particular shop have never failed to fit a pair of shoes and have always managed to find some that I like (i.e. not multicoloured, over embriodered or covered in sequins and sparkle!) They didn't fail today either, thank Heavens!

Alice now has a lovely new pair of canvas shoes - that are patterned and will go with pink and red, BUT they're a WHOLE SIZE bigger than the ones from 4 weeks ago!! So in less than 2 months Alice's feet have gone up a width fitting and grown a size and a half. Oh, her new shoes - they smell!! They are fragranced shoes - like the erasers from the 1980s!!

(Bonus - we met up with C and L for a delicious lunch - thanks, M was at work (big XXs - you were missed!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

EMAIL PROBLEMS

. . . sort of sorted?

My computer expert visited this afternoon, after lots of tweeks, uninstallations, reinstallations, upgrades and updates we think we discovered the problem - a setting on btinternet's service. He changed the settings, we forwarded the 'lost' mail, I bookmarked the page . . . only now I can't reaccess the page to check that the change of settings is effective and all mail is now getting through.

249 emails had been with-held over the last month.

I hope it's now working again - but I have no way to find out!

LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

Alice, Her Naughtiness!

This morning she reached up onto the worktop and grabbed the M@rmite - it went everywhere, I'm still discovering all the places she got to before I discovered her antics - garden door, keys, floor, highchair, all over her face, all over her hands, down her CLEAN white T-shirt, all over the place!

But I'm still not sure if she loves it or hates it!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

NEARLY 11 MONTHS

When Alice first came home she was extremely courageous and though guarded she was very open to trying new experiences. Now she's more hesitant in new situations. But throughout this time she's loved our 'Park' and the swing in particular - but look how she's grown!

MORE PHOTOS FROM TODAY

. . . they don't really need an explanation.


ALICE'S FIRST PADDLING POOL EXPERIENCE

I tried blowing up the paddling pool yesterday, but failed! The multi-talented T took less than 5 minutes today. We filled it up and left it in the sun to warm up while Alice slept. Immediately after her lunchtime snooze she got in, she wasn't sure about it but liked it when I made waves.

We're really enjoying the good weather, sadly it's due to deteriorate tomorrow.

However Alice's second encounter with the paddling pool was FAR more interesting - see below!!

MAKING FAMILY FOLKLORE!

T's final comment on leaving this afternoon, "I don't think she really 'got' the paddling pool but she did enjoy making waves!"

Shortly afterwards I had a phonecall from the gardener, he was on his way over - so I needed to move the paddling pool. It was too full to move, so I tipped it over my feet (to save the grass getting wet just before it was mowed!) Then I went to move the boat track, whilst my back was turned for no more than 20 seconds, this is what happened:

I think she totally 'gets' what a paddling pool is about - not sure she understands the dress code though!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

. . . AND THE BAD NEWS

. . . the pollen's getting to me again - no surprise.

I keep hoping that maybe 'this' year will be different, or that it's all psychosomatic (sp??), but it's definitely not - I'm definitely allergic to outside at this time of year and typically first thing in the morning and at dusk are the worst times.

Unfortunately this will curtail Alice's garden ramblings for a while - it has too significant and unpleasant an effect on me not to take it seriously and try and limit exposure to pollen. My eyes are bloodshot (and so far I've managed to be REALLY good and not rub too much), my nose is streaming, my throat is itchy and my voice is hoarse - even friends on the phone can tell that it's bad!

GARDEN ANTICS

13 photos here - how many did I have to take to get these??