Saturday, October 25, 2008

How Do You Explain....??

to a new American citizen, age 7.5, from China:

-- that we don't need to check the mailbox on Sundays?

-- that the cookies on the box of Parkay margarine are not actually IN the box of margarine?

-- that the doctor who wants 3 smelly, stool samples really is interested in what can be "found out" after examining them

-- that Glade Plug Ins go into the wall outlet and make the room smell nice?

-- that ice will melt if left out of the freezer?

-- that it's basically okay for the 2 puppy dogs to ride in the car to go walking with us but not the Killy Cat?

-- the airplane in the sky that looks small really is big closer up?

-- that although policemen carry guns they're (theoretically/mostly) on our side?

-- that MaMa is a teacher but is also a student?

-- that a squished raisin on the carpet is no reason to call the pest control man to come spray?

-- that MaMa has a brother named Skipper and a dog named Skipper (He was already named at the no-kill shelter where I got him. B/c he's blind, I didn't feel I should change his name -- too dependent on sense of similar sounds...)

It's amazing how many of life's little conceptual hang up's have caused me to stop and go, "Uh...let's see how I can put this...".

Then again, I met Ayi Marlene, Martha (bless her heart -- married to Ronnie a.k.a. "Spawn of 666"), and her darling daughter Catherine (HOW'D SHE ever turn out so lovely w/a daddy like hers I'll never know. FYI: It's a joking love/hate relationship that Ronnie and I have had going on for years. I love to torment him. He hates it. Need I say more?) Back to meeting the 3 girlfriends: We were to hook up at Chik-Fil-A. Why not try ANOTHER brand of chicken for Miss Emily? So, I sit waiting and waiting for them. Thank goodness for cell phones.
They called me and said, "Where are you?"
I said, "Chik-Fil-A".
They said, "Well, we're in Chik-Fil-A and you're not here."
I looked around for a moment and commented, "That would be b/c I'm physically sitting in Backyard Burger...but mentally, I'm there w/ya. See ya'll in a minute."

How do you explain THAT to anyone?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Decapitations, Rubber Gorillas, and Our Mantra

The sound of breaking glass/objects just sorta makes you stop and go, "Whaaaaat tha heck.....?" A few weeks ago I found a decorative ornament -- an angel holding a little puppy dog -- in more pieces than originally designed by the artist. Bless that angel's heart. Top half of body just broken in two and set back on the desk. Probably by the same little hands that accidentally knocked it off that desk in the first place. I just chunked it in the "trasha" as Emily says. Well, yesterday while 'fixin' my hair, I heard the faint sound of something breaking followed by, "MA MA....MA MA....". Another one bites the dust. It was a snowman ornament in a drawer that had hit the floor. He lost his head, too. Our repeated saying/mantra here at our house is, "It's okay!" It helps reinforce that all is well, and every object can be replaced. Emily's not really a breaker of many things. She's just curious and wants to check out stuff. I think it's wonderful!

Then off to children's choir & to eat at Nanny Carol's church. Emily had her tray of food (I thought she was bad). She didn't take but a few steps and then, you got it. The plate landed upside down on the floor in the dining room. First words out of my mouth and hers - yep. "It's okay!" Ayi Marlene went and got her another plate of food really fast while I scooped up food products off the floor. I didn't take the time to go and wash hands again b/c it was all too far away. So as I began eating I told Marlene, "My hands are clean..................enough."

Every animal and baby in our house gets put in a basket w/a blanket on it, a bottle in its mouth, or it is huggin' another of its own kind. I have 2 little rubber gorillas (strange, I agree) and Emily is always having them kiss each other or something of the sort. She put Curious George in Chinese baby squeaky shoes and put him in the living room window to keep an eye out on the neighborhood. A darling brown bear was placed in a container on the fireplace stoop, and there are 2 baby dolls sitting in strollers in the living room. Bottles awaiting a feeding. Looks like the Indy 500. I want to shout, "Gentlebabies, start your engines!!"

And she is a choppin' fool. Loves to chop fruit and veggies using a plastic knife. She does a great job at it all, too. I did try her out on some Vienna sausages the other day to see if she'd eat the white trash canned product. Have mercy. She took them, sliced and diced them, and then proceeded to smash then all into a paste of some sort. It was as though she was kneading bread...pulverizing the little links. Needless to say, that became doggie treats over the week.

If you come to my house to eat (and please do), I strongly suggest you take a napkin from the middle of the pile. Seems Miss Em has been wonderful at setting the table but, oops, dropped the pile a few times. I think the ones on the end may have had more contact with the not-so-clean kitchen floor. (Think: doggies, killy cat, and human feet tramping in gunk). So, the inside ones are your best best. There are always paper towels on the counter.

Gotta go. Headin' out for the day with Nanny Carol and Ayi Cookie. Rain won't ruin our plans around here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"The Posse" at the Pumpking Patch - Okay. We'll Wear Orange or White Shirts Next Year.

Emily and Anna Checking Out Rocks at the Pumpkin Patch Last Saturday

Emily and Anna at Anna's B'day Party

A Ponytail the Size of 15 Toothpicks and a Memory As Long as a Pennsylvania Turnpike

Emily is stylin' these days. Made it clear by pointing on her body that she wants to grow her hair about shoulder length but prefers some clipping of her bangs. I threatened her within about 3 chicken nuggets of her life that she'd best not be taking any scissors and snippin' herself happy. I told her that "somebody" else would do that for her. Now she talks about "somebody" and her hair -- while making the scissor motions with 2 fingers. She does, however, sport a little ponytail -- well, actually 3. She does them all up in the back & is really quite cute. They're not longer than an inch worm and look like little black toothpicks sticking out. Seems to fit her personality - opinionated, "in the know", and sensible.

And -- she forgets NOTHING. She knows where I put the small little green plastic spoon from the Tupperware container that had salsa in it -- 6.5 days ago. It amazes me in a great way. Also could be part of her character that kept her grieving for so long -- strong memories of her life in a Meizhou orphanage with nannies who seemed to really care for her, other children with whom she was in constant contact. Playmates. Familiar smells, sights. I asked her today in my syrupy, southern teacher way (as a plane flew over), "Have yew ever been on a plane?" I totally expected her to make the gesture of a plane's wings as we always do and shake her head yes. She didn't answer right away and then said, "Three". I was sweeping the patio (miracle in itself) and nearly the dropped the broom that I use once or twice a year. She was correct. It took her 3 planes to get from China to the US. (She then said, "Four"...but I'm going with answer number one.)

Everyone on my street had the great fortune of our electricity going out the other night. Seems a bus driver for a local ball team took a liking to the electrical pole/transformer in a parking lot. It was a marriage made in heaven - wham! You'd think we buy our driver's licenses on ebay. No test taking for us. So we made an exciting time of it all...taking out the big flashlight and doing what ANY southerner does as this occasion frequently arises. We raided the refrigerator. No calories count in the dark! Then, we headed to the street to join other silly folks with flashlights, checked on the widow women on the road, rounded up Nanny Carol, and had a grand time. Neighbors would shine their lights on Emily - as she did with them - and everybody would shout out, "I see you." All 857 times of that were delightful with giggles.

One of the male neighbors was talking about how Emily had Nanny Carol's little flashlight (the baby), how I had a larger flashlight (the mama), and someone else had a really big flashlight (the daddy). I snickered & jokingly told him, "We don't necessarily talk about 'daddies' in our house." He quickly changed his phrasing to "Big Mama" flashlight. Good save. I laughed.

At times while driving/riding along in life, Miss Em sits in her booster seat in the back of the car and chats on a Little Mermaid play cell phone. Imagination at its finest. Usually it's with her legs crossed or one propped up on the seat with a slight tilt of her head...mouth jabbering quietly. When I look in the rear view mirror and spot her, she just smiles really BIG. Yes. I wonder w-h-o she's chatting with and w-h-a-t she's saying. If she ever calls YOU, please don't reverse the charges. I've gotta buy a buy a bigger flashlight. LOL!

Ayi (Chinese for Auntie) Cookie has given us about 10 vintage aprons, and you better believe 2 of them are for little girls. As Emily says, "Sooooo cute!" While we work around in the kitchen chopping, cooking, and yes...mopping up spills from the 4th of July weekend 3 months ago, uh hum...Emily insists we put on our aprons. It's a look of revelation: "Oh my. We're accomplishing in the kitchen. We must don our aprons -- quickly." Erma Bombeck wrote that at one time in life all you had to do to be a mother was put on an apron. If that's the case, I've got a tag team of June Cleaver and Harriet Nelson going on at my house. If you don't know who those people are, you are under 40 years of age. Grow up. Kidding.

Being a school teacher, I assumed I'd have self-educated Emily up to Quadratic Equations & the Preamble to the Constitution by now. Darn. No go. We're still working on A, B, C's and 1, 2, 3's and putting "s" sounds at the end of some words. Honestly, she's doing very well; however, when she starts counting sometimes she sounds like Lawrence Welk rounding up the band for a Saturday night gig. It sounds a bit like, "A won, a two, a tree." Then I began to wonder if she was in any way Italian. I'm pretty sure I went to China to meet her because I don't remember the Leaning Tower of Pizza. I remember Papa John's Pizza. Ate it a won, a two, a tree, a four, a five....times. Bleck.

I had a family friend - who is from China - come over one night last week to talk with Emily. She'd had a meltown that day (Terrible Two's-Day of Last Week). It was out of the blue and seemed to last about 2 hours from start to stop. I'll spare you the details (and it's now been over a week since she's had any little grieving type episodes) but will say that I felt at that juncture SOMEONE needed to communicate effectively with Emily to hear what was going on to possibly cause it to happen. The friend, Angela, came over THAT evening and chit chatted, let Emily show her around the house, introduced her to the critters...and then she very keenly and wisely inched into asking a few gentle questions about the episode.

Emily did shyly answer some questions with nods of her head, BUT the real benefit of Angela's intervention was I was able to tell Angela to TELL EMILY that:
1. mama was sad to see her cry like that
2. mama wanted her to feel safe and happy
3. we all loved having her with us
yadda, yadda.
When Angela would tell her something, Emily would look over at me to see that I was understanding the whole conversation -- knowing that she understood it all, too. I believe she gained great assurances that night. It was the perfect time in this adjustment process to have access to a friend who could help out in this way. Priceless.

I'll quit with my International Adoption psychology 101 info. It's all a journey, and yes. It gets better & better every week.

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Emily and Anna Whoopin' It Up on the Slide

Prints Like the One Below...Donna Might Paint Them and Sell Them.

Don't you just love the beautiful painting below? My friend, Donna, gave this to me at one of my little Emily celebration parties before I left for China. Is she talented or WHAT?

Not sure what price she'd charge -- maybe from 60.00 ish to 70.00ish. I'd have to ask her for SURE. I told her she should do this.

If so, she'd only do the backs of the critters and daughters. I'll put her email on here if anyone is interested in contacting her. I think she'd paint the pic and put it in a round, tube cardboard mailer to send to folks. Buyer pays postage.
Here's here email:

Never know who'd like to have one of these jewels!!! Oh by the way, the flowers, etc. in the picture are the very decorations painted on Emily's bedroom walls....SO if Donna had info like that, it'd really personalize your painting.

THANKS to my good buddy, Donna, for my treasured painting.

Look at the Painting My Friend Did for Me -- Emily, Peanut, Skipper, and Killy Cat.

Miss Em at a Local Festival -- 2nd Go Round on the Horse -- And YES...that's a barrette in hair.