Monday, January 20, 2014

She Plays!

When Vivian first arrived home one of the things we noticed about her was she did not seem to understand how to "play".  The first time we gave her a baby doll she did not have a clue what to do with it.  We now know that there were few to no toys in the orphanage, and we also know she had little to no time out of her crib to learn to play, so it all makes sense.  She has struggled these 6 months to figure out how to "play".  She basically just likes to spend her days following me around.  She rarely gets busy playing with toys.  She will do some puzzles and has gravitated to some baby toys, but not the things you would expect a 3 year old to play with.  We have a playroom with an easel, a drawing table, a kitchen, bassinets, and PLENTY of baby dolls but, unless Kate is with her or encouraging her, she has spent very little time paying attention or playing with these things.  And if she does pick up a doll, or pick up some crayons, it doesn't last too long.

Until now.
We seem to have had a bit of a breakthrough.  I noticed the other morning that she was not by my side and when I went looking for her I found her playing with her new dollhouse.  I was shocked she was playing BY HERSELF, but what was even more surprising is that this went on all morning long.  She had some "visitors" stop by and join her for a few minutes, but then they would leave and she just kept on playing.


Then a few days later she disappeared again.  This time she headed downstairs to our basement.  It is VERY rare she will go down there without me, so I was again surprised to find her playing with the dolls.  She was down there for over an hour.  I am not really sure what was going on between her and her dolls (she plays in silence  ... does not talk to them), but whatever it was she was really into it.

I have NO idea what was going through her head here, but she started moving chairs and I wasn't about to interrupt her.
Then the baby needed to be changed.  She even took the diaper up to the trash like she always sees me do with her diapers.

It is pretty cool to watch her begin to learn how to play and pretend like this.  These moments where she gets buys are still in the minority (following me is what she does the majority of the time), but I think she is on to something. I also believe that being in preschool two days a week is going to help her figure out how to play more.

Her language continues to improve, also.  She is really trying to talk, has tons of words, is starting to put several words together, and can communicate just about anything she needs with us. 

She is also playing better when we go out to parks. She loves to swing and slide and she will actually do these things on her own now. She continues to make such progress. 

We are pretty proud. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ballet, Preschool and 6 months together

It was a BIG week for Miss Vivian.  On Monday, she started ballet!  She was so excited for it and she did great. She was not quite so sure about it when she first went in, but luckily she could see me the entire time and she really got into it as the class went on.  It was so cute!!

Her class was in the morning and Kate had her class later that afternoon, after school.  When it was time for Kate to get ready Vivian insisted on puttting back on her ballet clothes and wanted to go again.
daddy with his ballerinas
Then on Thursday she had  her next big adventure:  PRESCHOOL!!!!  Yep, Vivian started school.
Rob and I decided a few weeks ago that we felt Vivian might be ready to try preschool. We have a preschool that we love.  It is the sweetest little school.  All 3 of my older children went to this school and I ADORE every teacher there and had complete confidence they would love and take care of Vivian.  Before enrolling her, I met with the director to discuss my concerns about sending her, and I took Vivian to visit the class she would be in.  After doing this, Rob and I felt she was ready to give it a try. We decided to sign her up for 2 days a week and see what happens.  We have been talking up school around here and when she woke up Thursday morning she was pretty excited to go.


The drop off went about as you would expect.  She cried.  But, I got a text shortly after from her teacher saying she was not crying anymore and was playing.  She sent me this picture

I picked her up early and while she cried when she saw me, she has been totally happy since and smiling and nodding when I ask her about her day.  When we picked up her siblings from school she kept telling them, "school", "school" and pointing to herself.  She seemed pretty proud of herself.  HOPEFULLY things will continue to go well. I really think being in preschool will benefit her in so many ways. 

We're pretty proud of all the new experiences she took on this week.  She's pretty awesome.

January marks 6 months that we have had Vivian.  In some ways it feels like it was just yesterday we were meeting in that hotel in China, but in other ways that seems like it was a lifetime ago.  It has been a life-changing 6 months for all of us.  A few nights ago Rob was getting the kids ready for bed and they were all playing and he told me our oldest commented, "For a minute I forgot Vivian was adopted".  Of course we never want to "forget", but I think he was verbalizing that feeling we all have that it is getting harder and harder to remember a time that she wasn't here. 

Happy 6 months sweet girl.


the long road

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Our not-so-happy New Year

2013 did not end up the way we would've liked.

After a very merry Christmas, Vivian got sick.  Last weekend we took her to the doctor where she was diagnosed with an ear infection and the flu.

Things went downhill quickly from there. She was MISERABLE all weekend and by Monday evening we were headed to the ER because she was having a lot of difficulty breathing and running a very high fever.  After being evaluated by the doctors  and having a chest xray, she was  diagnosed with pneumonia.  We waited  from 10:00 pm until 4:00 am in the ER

not happy to see my girl in a hospital gown again

And then by 5:00 am Monday morning, after her oxygen levels dropped very low, we were admitted to the hospital

It was awful. Vivian was so sick and so pitiful.  She was put on oxygen and it took 3 tries to get an IV in. 

Hearing the news that Vivian was admitted, my parents (who had JUST returned home to Florida) got in the car and drove back up to help.  They went back and forth between supporting me at the hospital and helping Rob take care of the other kids and try to get some work done.  It was very helpful and reassuring to have them here.

It was a very long week. Vivian was scared and would not let me out of her sight.  She cried if I went to the bathroom (in our room) and cried when I tried to sleep on the "daybed" provided by the hospital.  Needless to say, sleeping in the hospital bed with her for several nights did not allow me much sleep. 

I did not even step foot out of the hospital room until the 3rd day, when I was close to losing my mind being cooped up in that room.  But, the kids came to visit several times and that helped and we had excellent care (again) by all of the doctors and nurses. 


Finally she turned a corner and we were allowed to come home.

Vivi and my dad at the EXIT!!

I was very bummed our xmas vacation ended this way.  I had great ideas of some fun things I wanted to do with my kids this week while they were still out of school, none of which ended up happening. Thanks to my mom and sister they got to do some fun activities, but we weren't all together.  Also, we ended up missing two parties I was really looking forward to, and last night we were supposed to be hosting friends for the Clemson bowl game (WHAT A GAME!) but had to cancel.  Given I am lacking in social activities these days, I was feeling pretty down about missing all of this.  On top of all of that, I am now sick and feeling  miserable.

BUT, I can end on a positive note b/c the cutest thing happened last night.  I made some soup for Vivi and I.  I finished mine and put my head down on the table b/c I was feeling bad.  She pulled my bowl over to hers and spooned out all of her soup into my bowl and pushed it back over to me.   Then, the blanket I had around me fell and so she hopped down, got the blanket and put it back on me.  It was so sweet:)  I like to think that, after taking care of her,  she was trying to take care of me.

"All the children who are held and loved will know how to love others….. - Meng Zi,