My big girl is thirteen months old today! This last month Adeline just seemed to really relax. Attachment is a process, not an event, and that is true for all relationships, not just those between children who are adopted and their parents. Attachments grow over time and have to be nurtured and I really feel good about the place we're at now. It's true that Adeline bonded to me immediately, but it sometimes had the quality of a drowning person clutching a life preserver, not the calm, loving, trusting, joyful and tender relationship we have now. From the moment we met, Adeline knew she needed me, and she enjoyed me and liked me and knew that I was her special person, but she didn't trust that she wasn't going to lose me and understandably that made her pretty anxious sometimes. In the beginning this would often show itself by her trying hard to put on a big show to charm every "mommy type" in the room to make sure that if I left that someone else would take care of her. That broke my heart, but now she is appropriately shy around strangers, clings to me or her Dad in new situations and is just plain charming, but not because she thinks she has to be in order to survive. Getting from there to here took time and it took some work, but it was so important and the calm and loving place we've arrived at is wonderful. Adeline knows I'm her one-and-only Mama and she knows I'm not going anywhere. It wasn't always easy though and being that needed often left me exhausted. There were long stretches of time in the past months when she had to be touching me every waking moment. Many days in a row where she would only nap while on my shoulder. Times when she would beg to come up on my knee only to squirm down off my lap immediately and start to whine and then repeat that process over and over all day long. Weeks when it seemed like she had a magic circle of about 6 feet around her and if I stepped outside of that circle her world would fall apart. Not saying that we might never re-visit those times or have some up and down times in our relationship, but for now all is well.
Happy baby. Happy Mama.
These are some pictures from Saturday just before her haircut. There's nothing Adeline loves more than to have David and I both just hanging out with her in the playroom and she kept smiling and laughing and throwing her arms around us for hugs. Doesn't she look so happy and relaxed in these photos?
We're in a good place now. Not that we were ever in a bad place - Adeline has always been a happy, open hearted baby and I knew that in time she would learn that having a family means forever. I'm so glad that our relationship will continue to grow and change over the years as I get to be Mama to my baby, my toddler, my preschooler, my girl, my teenager, and eventually my grown up daughter. I love my girl so much I feel like my heart could burst sometimes!
David has reminded me recently that ALL relationships are based on attachment and those attachments must be nurtured if they are to flourish. I think it's some fancy talk for "Daddy needs some attention too". Duly noted, David. Duly noted.
I put it off for a long time, but on Saturday I realized that it was finally time...
Adeline had decided that she would have NO MORE hair doo-dads of any kind. No more clips, no more headbands, no more bows, no more pigtails, no more ANYTHING. She would squirm while you tried to put them in and then flash her devilish-but-hard-to-resist grin and take them out immediately, hand them back to you and say "Thank You". Without the hair doo-dads, Adeline was having a bad hair day every single day. It was always in her eyes and the best look we could come up with reminded me of an old man comb over. So it was time for a haircut... Just a few snips and a tiny amount of lost hair made a huge difference. My girl looks so grown up now! I think it's supercute, but it did take a little getting used to. I'm still putting in hair clips and pigtails though - I'm not giving up that easily!
The weekend before last Adeline attended her first birthday party as a guest! Sweet baby Natalie, who came home from Vietnam just a little while before Adeline did was having her first birthday and it was quite the party! The two girls are just a few weeks apart in age and I just love to see them together. Adeline fell asleep in the car on the way and had trouble waking up once we arrived. There were a lot of people and Adeline is really in a stage of feeling a lot of stranger anxiety, so she wasn't ready to party for quite awhile once we got there. Luckily Daddy could still enjoy a mimosa while cuddling his girl.
Once Adeline decided that she was ready to party we had brunch and then got ready for a dip in the pool. Adeline loves the water!
Of course, CAKE was one of the highlights of the party for Adeline!
Then she was ready to play play play!
As we all know Motherhood = Very Little Crafting Time, but when I found out that our friends would be heading to China in September to adopt their beautiful daughter, I knew that I just had to make something special to welcome her home. We finally met up for Dim Sum today and they got their present, so now I can post the pictures of what I was working on. I decided on a cotton and minky blanket which I hope will keep Adeline's soon-to-be New Friend warm and cozy as she snuggles with her Mom and Dad. When I gave this blanket to Adeline to take the picture her face lit up with huge grins and she kept signing "please please please" over and over again. She rubbed the soft pink side against her face, pointed out the birds and the flowers in the pattern and then decided that it was just right for a rousing game of peek-a-boo. It was very hard to take the blanket away from Adeline as she was really loving it. I've made her some flannel and cotton blankets, a quilt and a duvet cover, but nothing as soft and squishy as minky, so I think I need to remedy that and make a cozy blanket for Adeline as well. Autumn is nearly here and a blanket for cuddling is a necessity!
I'm going to blame it on the end of summer lethargy, but I just haven't been able to post lately. I think about it every day and feel guilty, but always find something else to do. Not that there's nothing going on around here - we've had lots of company, the weather is hot again, we've been eating zucchini every single night because it's the one thing in my garden that is thriving on my neglect, we're going to a birthday party this weekend and will be celebrating David's birthday (with sliders and cupcakes) tomorrow. Adeline is growing and changing before our very eyes and we're just enjoying her so much. I knew I would like being a Mom, I knew I would love my baby and I knew I would be good at the job, but I never expected how very much I would LIKE my daughter. I just love hanging out with her. She makes me laugh every day, I'm amazed by her ability to take in new things and learn from them and she's just so happy and full of life. Of course there are hard days and hard times (right now I'm listening to a very over tired and over hot baby giving her Daddy a hard time as he tries to put her to bed...) Did I mention how smart our girl is? David and I were going through and counting up all the words she knows. I might be wrong, but I think it's a pretty impressive vocabulary for a 12 month old and she is adding new words all the time. Some of the words have interesting pronunciations, but she knows exactly what she is saying.
- up (her first and favourite word)
- belly button ("bell-butt") - her new favourite word and she likes to find her belly button and the belly button of everyone around her, even if you're out in public
- hat - her other favourite word and her big joke. She puts things on your head, says "hat" and then shakes her head no and laughs.
- ears ("eese")
- piggies ("peezees" - her toes which she picked up from "This Little Piggie")
- hi and hiya
- pat pat pat - to go along with hugging
- kitty - one day she was calling her best friend Zephyr by name ("Pepper") but then she stopped
- bird ("bir")
- bottle ("bawel")
- book (I can't even type how she says this, but it's definitely book)
- Mama (still no Daddy or Dada, David is the other Mama)
- plane ("pane")
- flower ("lowah") - she is obsessed with pointing out flowers, both real and in pictures. I don't know how she can do it, but she knows that everything from a dandelion to a hydrangea to rose to a stylized line drawing to a tiny floral print is a flower, and she finds them every time.
- please ("peese" and she uses the sign too)
- thank you ("ah-oo")
- hiding - we have a lift the flap book that says over and over again "Who's hiding" so she says this when we're reading it or if she wants me to find that one.
- and she know a few more animal noises - fish, bird, lamb, cow, tiger, lion and monkey
There are other words she's said once or a few times, but I'm only counting the ones she uses every day. Maybe when the weather cools down a bit my posting mojo will come back. This weekend is supposed to be a crazy hot one so I think we're going to be all about the makeshift pool in the back yard, smoothies and trying to stay cool.
We had a great long weekend visiting with my cousin, his wonderful soon-to-be wife and their awesome little guy who is exactly the same age as Adeline. If the Dad and I are cousins that makes the son and Adeline...second cousins? I don't know, I just know that it was so much fun to watch the babies play together. They had a really good time together and it was fascinating to watch the games that 12 month olds could invent! The two of them were super insanely cute together in the bathtub, but I'm afraid those pictures just aren't appropriate for the internet. Adeline also loved, loved, loved meeting their calm and happy dog and patting him very gently.
Mostly we just hung out at home, but we did make a trip to visit the petting farm. Here Adeline is pointing to the Vietnamese pot belly pig. Adeline is really into animals and the noises they make lately, so the petting farm was a great outing. She pointed to everything and was so excited that she just had to jump and wiggle and grin and hug her Daddy over and over again.
Next time Adeline sees her cousin will be at his parents beach wedding in October - we can't wait!