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17 posts from October 2005

October 14, 2005

"BABY! BABE-EY! BAY-BEE!"

Gwen's been really verbal, ever since our first day together. But her words have clearly been babble even though she occasionally got lucky and something came out that sounded like an English word. She's always been great at mimicking what we do but never showed much interest in parroting what we say.... until today.

For the first time, she clearly said BABY! She's never said that before and it was very well enunciated so there was no question that she said it. She was so proud of herself and chanted it over and over again: "BABY! BABE-EY! BAY-BEE! BEE BEE!"

When Daddy came home, we told him about Gwen's accomplishment and she demonstrated her new talent. Then we pushed our luck and encouraged her to say "Daddy" and she did! "DA-DEE!".

She's 11 days shy of 16 months old so it's not unusual that she's talking. But it feels like a wonderful milestone anyway!

Updates: 10/15/05: This morning, she picked up her lovey and said "LUV-EE!" Then she flashed a toothy grin and shoved the lovey in her mouth! ("lovey" is a washcloth)

October 12, 2005

Kid tested, mother approved ---- toys?

To no one's surprise, Gwen's favorite toys seem to be things that aren't toys at all. Not exactly a News Flash because that's exactly how Michael was at this age and it's probably the way all babies have been since the start of time!

So why do toy makers bother to create bright colored plastic toys with smooth edges that nobody's kid will play with? (Unless they make a helluvalotta noise!)

Why doesn't Little Tykes market toys that look like the actual contents of mommy's purse? A toy Bic lighter, pack of chewing gum, half a Snickers, etc?

Why doesn't Mattel make toy kitty litter?

How come Fisher Price doesn't make a toy cereal box?

The one to the left is Gwen's favorite toy today. She spent the last three weeks eating the contents of it (dispensed daily into her snack-trap). Now it's empty and she's filled it with all sorts of treasures -- none of which, I assure you, started their life as legitimate toys. Notice how the $50 Fisher-Price IncrediBlock toy just sits in the background while Gwen merrily whacks the heck out of her cereal box with her wooden spoon?

Pretty stacking cups are great but the lidless old set of Rubbermaid and Tupperware with the tomato-stained interior is even better! A pie tin apparently makes a heavenly noise (to a toddler) when she smacks it with just about anything. And a $2.99 pocket calculator looks almost the same as Mom and Dad's TV remote control and they don't seem to mind if baby carries it around in her mouth!

Yep! Christmas is going to be fun this year! Gwen should have lots of boxes to play with after we unwrap them and get rid of their useless contents!

October 11, 2005

"How much did they sell her for?"


I went to Walmart yesterday and found $200 worth of things I didn't even know I needed. However, there was no charge for the amusing conversation I had with the cashier who noticed right away that Gwen was Chinese.

I had a bit of trouble understanding her because of her very heavy (Hispanic) accent but she was chatty and seemed proud that she was able to guess that Gwen wasn't my daughter.

I explained that she *is* my daughter and she was adopted from China. She stopped scanning my stuff momentarily and looked me dead in the eye and asked me with great curiosity how much the Chinese people sold her to me for.

I should point out that she wasn't hostile with her questions. Even so, I was a little bit taken aback. Maybe she just assumed there was a market for Chinese babies and, somehow, the birth mothers of these children benefited financially from the transaction. She probably couldn't imagine any other motive for a mother to give up her baby. It's not unusual that she thougth this so I (nicely) set her straight.

Truth is, Gwendolyn cost less than the hospital bill for Michael's birth 17 years ago! I said this and the people in line behind me leaned forward on their carts to listen too.

I explained that most of the adoption expense was for fees here in the United States and airfare and government fees in China. The orphanage got some of the money (which helps improve the quality of life for the other orphans) but the birth mother would never be identified and she gets nothing. I spoke, briefly, of the one child policy and the difficult choice the birth mother faced.

Everyone in line behind me was interested in our discussion. They all thought Gwen was adorable and they were shocked that she's only been in our family for 5 weeks since she looks so comfortable with me. I enjoyed this opportunity to be an Ambassador to China-Adoption and clear up some pretty big misconceptions!

October 08, 2005

One month after "Gotcha"

Okay... One month and three days, to be exact. But we were so busy being parents that we missed our anniversary!

In many ways, it seems like the time has flown. In other ways, it seems like we can't remember what our life was like before Gwen came to us. But we're sure of one thing: We're blessed!

Today, we went to the park and saw some other kids playing there. Gwen was just like one of them. Except for the fact that neither Andrew nor I are Chinese, Gwen seems like she's been our child from birth.

It's amazing how far we've come in just one month. Gwen is a well adjusted little 15 month old child. She hardly ever cries and she always has a smile ready. We braced ourselves for the possibility that we'd have a difficult adjustment but we haven't! We can only credit Gwen's genes and the (seemingly) excellent care she received at the orphanage in Shenzhen. It's obvious to us that this child was loved by at least one person there. There's just no way to explain her compassion and the depth of her affection for people who treat her well. She does seem to love us and even though she's got a smile ready for any stranger who approaches her, she only allows Mommy and Daddy to touch her. We couldn't have asked for anything more!

In the picture above, another 15 month old girl has plopped herself into my lap and Gwen is doing everything she can to get between me and the little intruder! She lets me hold the cat and a sack of groceries but nothing else!

Mommy is still numero uno in Gwen's eyes but Daddy's status as chopped liver has greatly improved. In the last month, she's gone from mouth-foaming hysterics when Daddy tried to assume the primary parenting role to near euphoria when Daddy comes home from a long day at work.


When she hears the garage door open, everything about her shouts YAHOO! She loves to pull Daddy's hat off (or wear it) and it's so beautiful to witness the love affair the two of them have for each other.

October 06, 2005

Yummy!

Hey! Look who can almost feed herself! And all of this enthusiasm is for Gerber Beef and Vegetables. Gwen really won't eat anything else. We've tried lots of other varieties (including homemade stuff) and she won't have it. So it's Beef and Vegetable mush for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Yummmmm!

Just in case there's a nutritionist reading this, let me also mention that she still appreciates her formula and our pediatrician said she's getting plenty of nutrition from that. And she also likes yogurt. The only other thing we've found that she'll eat is "Joe's Special" from the local diner. But how often can we get that? Still, it gives us hope that she'll not be eating jars of Gerber beef and veggie when we send her off to college!

By the way, has anyone stopped to consider that these Monkey Year kids go to college in fall of 2022? My gosh that seems like a long way away!

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