I haven’t been in blogland much lately, but I am so glad to read that YouYou’s surgery went well today. Please keep her and her family in your prayers during her recovery. They will always hold a special place in our hearts since Suhui and YouYou came home together.
I can’t remember if I shared this before. But I will share it anyway. YouYou is just such a sweet little girl and for the most part much quieter and pleasanter to be around than Rachel, especially the wild Rachel we had in China. When we were in China Caleb told Tommy, “I like YouYou better than Rachel.” Last week I was sharing this story with someone, and Caleb overheard me. He said, “I still do!” (He wasn’t dealing with his sister too well last week.)
I have shared before how great all of the boys are doing with Rachel. Titus understandably has had the hardest time, but even he has been doing much better. Last week though Caleb and Titus had had enough. All week I heard, “Get out! We don’t want you playing with us!” I know that this is somewhat normal sibling behavior, but so far we’ve been lucky. Our boys have mostly gotten along together great. So this is new for us. They both seem to be doing better with her this week.
We also had an “accident” last week. We have two battery-powered ride-on toys. But the kids fight over the favorite one, the 4-wheeler. Caleb, Rachel, and Titus were taking turns riding it last week. But Rachel wouldn’t stop when her turn was over. So Caleb and Titus stretched a rope across the yard to stop the 4-wheeler. Instead, the rope slipped and caught Rachel around the neck. She had a pretty good mark on her neck where the rope caught her.
I am still amazed at Eli’s patience. We ask him every once in a while how he’s feeling about Rachel, is she getting on his nerves. He always says, “Not really.” But today she was following him around pestering him, and he said, “Okay, now she’s starting to get on my nerves.”
We had a visit to the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham on Monday. Just Rachel and I went, and it was good for us to have some time alone together. We met with a social worker, a speech therapist, a physical therapist, and a doctor. They all said that she’s about where she’s supposed to be as far as adjusting to her new home. Rachel did start acting out to get my attention whenever some else was in the room and I was talking to them. She even started throwing things which she hasn’t done in a while. She was great when it was just the two of us in the room.
I used to be so organized. When Eli and Caleb were small we did not go anywhere without snacks, a drink, change of clothes, etc. Well, I forgot to bring any snacks with us to the doctor. After being there about 30 minutes, Rachel started crying, “I’m hungry!” This child eats pretty much all day long, and when she decides she’s hungry, she will drive us crazy asking for food every minute until we get her something. So I ran out to the car to get what was left of her Frosted Flakes she ate on the way. By the end of our two-hour visit, she melted. She was lying in the floor crying, “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!” She took off her shoes and threw them and then threw everything within arms reach. Luckily, there is a McDonald’s right across the road from the clinic, so we went straight there as soon as we left.
We usually get Rachel chicken nuggets whenever we go to McDonalds. The first time we went in China we got her a hamburger. She took it apart, tasted some of the meat, and said, “Blaaagh!” She loves chicken, so we just get her chicken. Well, when we drove up to the McDonald’s she pointed to a picture of a sausage and biscuit on the window yelling “Hambobo! Hambobo!” So she got a hamburger. She ate every bit of it and some of mine and then cried when they were gone.
I have been a little worried about Rachel’s speech because we were told that we would be amazed at how quickly she picked up English. Not so. I know that she understands some, but it has been hard to tell how much because she nods no matter what we tell her. Up until last week she only used a few phrases on her own. “Thank you.” “Wait.” “I’m sorry.” She learned that last one pretty quickly from apologizing to her brothers so often for hitting them and throwing things at them. She has always been good about repeating things we say.
At the Adoption Clinic they told me that not all children begin speaking English quickly. Some children go through a silent period where they are learning to understand English, but they do not use it yet.
She has just in the past week started saying more and more on her own. Things she says:
“Hello. How are you?” (She says this to me throughout the day copying her Ling doll that speaks phrases in Chinese and then in English.)
“Yeah.” (We’re working on changing this one to “yes sir” and “yes ma’am”.)
“Mama tired.” (Wonder where she got that idea?)
“HuiHui tired.” (She still refers to herself as “HuiHui” although if I ask what her name is she says, “Rachel Suhui.”)
She loves playing outside. She enjoys helping me cook. She says, “HuiHui bang zhu(help) cooky.” We have recently discovered that she loves babies.
I invited a friend who was bringing us food last Friday night to come eat with us. She brought her three children, ages 5, 3, and 8 months. Rachel spent most of the evening playing with and loving on the baby.
Then yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment. There was a three-year-old little girl and a baby in the waiting room. I kept trying to get her to play with the little girl, but she spent most of the time playing with the baby. Same thing when we got together with some other friends yesterday. We got together so that Rachel could play with her three-year-old daughter, but Rachel played mostly with the baby.
I have been watching her around other children. It almost seems like she doesn’t know how to play with children her age. She loves babies,and she enjoys interacting with adults. I know that the first six months she was at the orphanage were spent in a room with mostly babies. (She was three.) It was an observation room where all of the children spend the first six months so that they can be observed for any health problems. We were told that there were no other children with her in her foster family’s home. She did go to a kindergarten in China.
Rachel cannot stand the cold. Whenever I’m getting her dressed in the morning, she cries, “Cold! Cold!” Whenever we go outside to get in the car, she says, “Cold!” and tries to go back in the house. When it snowed here Sunday, she kept crying, “Cold! Cold!” I told her that she could go inside, but she didn’t want to since the rest of us were outside playing. She finally got into the spirit of things and enjoyed the snowball fight.
Here are some photos of our rare Mississippi snow!
Titus getting ready to throw a snowball
Caleb and Rachel making snowballs
Rachel and Titus are throwing snowballs at Dad