These girls just won't hold still and they're all so cute that I can't pick just one photo to post. So, there's all of them!
From left to right, there's Gwen (22 months), Lizzie (13 months), Ryleigh (16 months), and Madelyn (18 months)
It was the first time I've seen Lizzie and Ryleigh in person and I was really excited to finally see them with my own eyes instead of on my computer monitor!
Lizzie is an adorable little chunk! She's sweet and mellow and you just want to kiss her all over! Rhonda said they got many comments from the locals in China about Lizzie's baby fat. I've really missed this aspect of parenthood since my son was a little pudge and I loved every kissable square inch of him! Gwen is a lean little monkey and wish she had a few extra ounces for me to love.
Ryleigh, in comparison, is a peanut! A lovely little peanut! She's dainty and delicate and pretty tall for her age. She has long legs like a super model! She was quiet (as most of the kids seemed to be during lunch) and she looked like a little princess in her pretty pink bow that her mommy made. I understand that she holds her own pretty well with her big brother, Austin!
Madelyn was the biggest surprise of all! Oh my gosh, how she's changed! Her mom and dad were in our travel group last year (one of the 38 families!). We've seen eachother two or three times in the last 8 months but Madelyn was just an infant during those visits. This time, she was a toddler! She was walking and talking and had her hair up in a little pony-tail like Pebbles on the Flintstones. I didn't recognize her at all and that made me forget who her mom was too! I'm first to admit that motherhood causes brain damage but I should have remembered who she was! But, embarrassingly, I didn't. Thank goodness Melanie has a good sense of humor!
This little get-together was fun but something was missing. Mary-Mia was the only one who was able to enjoy her meal and eat it with both hands. We hope that'll change really soon!
I can empathize and my comments have been something like "Yeah, I know what you mean. Gwen is an easy kid too and we're worried about how Maddy might fit in." But after typing that two or three times, I recently looked at it and asked myself: What the heck is an "easy" kid? Gwen will happily watch a Sesame Street episode any time of the day or night. We can do almost anything we want while she's watching Elmo. But she won't watch anything else and that means we don't get to ever watch anything else either.
Is she easy?
Gwen doesn't mind car trips so we are free to drive any place we want at any time. But she insists that all of the CD's in our 6 CD changer are her CDs and she insists that we repeat certain songs until we whimper and start to wonder aloud whether death (in all it's peaceful silent beauty) is really such a bad thing.
Is she easy?
Gwen sleeps through the night -- every night. And she takes gorgeously long naps each afternoon. But only Mommy can put her to bed. Never ever, Daddy. So Mommy can't get sick or take a childless vacation to visit far-away friends. Heck, Mommy can't even take a night off to visit nearby friends!
Is she easy?
Gwen doesn't throw temper tantrums. She's almost never sick and, when she is sick, she's still happy and adorable! She's kind and gentle towards other children and animals. She gives beautiful puckered-up kisses (never wet and sloppy)! But she's lactose intolerant and a very picky eater. She didn't gain even one pound for nearly four months! Finally, she won't stay seated in any grocery cart unless large amounts of duct tape are threatened or used.
Is she easy?
I think the answer has less to do with Gwen and more to do with us. Having kids is work but a sacrifice doesn't feel like a sacrafice if it's something you really love doing. And it helps that you're getting something wonderful in exchange!
Overall, I think Gwen is a really easy baby. But that's because I've found some joy in having a 25 pound smiling "helper" hand me toilet paper squares while I sit on the potty. I just hope she shows as much interest when I'm in a nursing home!
PS: This isn't to say that you shouldn't worry if your 1st kid is the easy going type. It's just to suggest that you'll probably find that your 2nd child is easy going too -- just not in exactly the same ways.
We got our 171 approval today. Actually, I drove down and picked it up from our local BCIS office. The processing time for this was about twice as fast as Gwen's 171 and I can only assume that it's because I sent our I600 with a sad little picture of Madeline and a personal plea that they expedite us. I figured it couldn't hurt and it sure seems to have helped!
By the way, our 171 wasn't really as cool at the image above. I spruced it up a bit since it's too much of an important document to look so boring!