Today marks 7 months since Liana joined our family so I'm going to brag. I am quite impressed with our little Chinese princess these days. She is getting better at all of her gross motor skills, which have been the toughest for her to catch up on. She is able to jump (teeny tiny jumps) and run (slowly) and she is a pretty excellent climber. Yesterday at the park, she and Ethan had the most fun together and he challenged her to climb a ladder over and over and over. Her little legs are so weak still but she managed to do it with no help at all! I stayed behind her just in case but she did it all on her own! She's not a natural at these skills but she really wants to do things and so she does! She adores dancing and singing and her favorite thing to do is play outside or run around with Ethan or Ella, doing whatever they are doing. The latest accomplishment for our dear girl: she is potty trained!!! That's right, it's real big girl panties all day now! She went pretty quickly from pull-ups to big girl panties! I don't think we even went through 2 packs of pull-ups before she moved on, and that's counting our big trip to visit our families where I pretty much didn't worry about potty training for a week and a half. For a child who had never seen an English style toilet before we adopted her, if any kind of toilet at all, this is a huge accomplishment! Her language has improved so much and both her doctor and our social worker were extremely impressed with how much she can say now. Everyone has been impressed with how quickly she has adjusted to being in a family and all of the enormous changes that she has gone through since September. Sometimes I can tell that people are trying to compare her to their own children and it, quite honestly, ticks me off. No one knows what she's been through and to compare her to a child who has grown up in a family with every opportunity to meet the milestones on time is absolutely ridiculous. This is a child who was raised in an orphanage from the time she was a newborn baby until the age of 2. She was stuck in a crib or a walker all day rather than learning to use those legs like she's supposed to, she was given little food and very little nutrition and she had no mommy or daddy to care for her. She was in an orphanage of about 1,000 children and was not able to have these opportunities. She was taken from everything she has ever known and put in such a different environment that I'm shocked that she didn't just curl up in a ball and cry for a week. We have Ethan, who is only 3 months older than Liana so it is hard not to compare, at times, but their circumstances have been so extremely different that it is just silly to compare. We compare Liana to Liana and she is amazing us every day. She is beautiful and funny and smart and learning so much so quickly. We are so proud of everything she has learned and we see new things all the time! She is amazing!
This post is for my girls. Jie jie and mei mei. Big sister and little sister. Lella and LiLi (as Ethan likes to call them :-). It's exciting for me to have two girls and watch them grow up together, to witness the dynamics that I never had. So far, we've had our ups and downs with our girls. When we first adopted Liana, Ella treated her like a little doll but soon after coming home from China, she started treating her more like a sibling. And I was happy about that. Liana basically adores Ella but it's not perfect, as sibling relationships never are. It has been hard on Ella to give up being the only "princess" of the house. She adores her little sister and loves to see her in pretty little outfits and tell her how pretty she looks or play dolls with her or read stories to but if she thinks Liana is getting too much attention, you can feel the jealousy in the air. Liana likes to push Ella's buttons and call her "mean" just to get Ella upset or cry like Ella did something terrible to her when Ella tells her "no". But she loves to play with her jie jie whenever she gets the chance. Sometimes she is invited into Ella's room to play dress up, they love to paint their toenails and dance and sing. She looks to her big sister and mimics what she does all the time. There is still a big separation in their ages that makes it hard for them to play in a way that Ella would enjoy but I know that gap will get smaller and smaller as Liana grows and changes. Despite the fact that Ethan is basically the same age as Liana, he and Ella can play really well together because he can talk very, very well for his age and he can keep up with Ella amazingly well. Plus, they've grown up together. Liana still has a lot of catching up to do but the gap is slowly closing. I know how much Liana loves her jie jie and how much Ella loves her mei mei and I can see their bond growing more and more. It's such a blessing to have these two beautiful daughters who are so very different from each other in some ways and so very alike in others.
We had a "girl day" last weekend which was a lot of fun. I took the girls out to dinner and then to our favorite little girl salon to get their hair cut...Liana's first haircut!! I dreaded cutting off any of the length that she had but it turned out so cute!! She looks absolutely adorable and now, not all scraggly. It was nice to have a big sis to watch first before she had to go through it. She was about to have a melt down when I first put her in the chair but a dum-dum saved the day and she was fine. It's so much fun to have "girl days" with both of these fun girls!
Yesterday was Liana's first Easter! Another first! I remember that last Easter was our first holiday/special day since being matched with Liana and it was hard for me. I hated knowing that we now knew who our third child was but we couldn't spend this special day with her. Not only that, but knowing that this day would just be another day in the orphanage, another special day that wouldn't be special for her. No chocolate eggs, no special pretty dress, no going to church and hearing about why this day is special. I missed her. I wanted to dress her up, take her to church, feed her a ridiculous amount of sugar and take pictures of her with her brother and sister. This year was a wonderful Easter because we got to do all of that! We had our typical Easter with an egg hunt at home, then church, then brunch at Cheesecake Factory and then a pretty much lazy rest of the day. Nothing too exciting but it was fun!
This might sound silly but there are times when I feel like, wow, three kids is a lot! I sometimes feel like we are a large-ish family. Adding a third child has felt like a lot, at times, but I love being a mom to three! I know (quit laughing, Mom), a family of five isn't large. I grew up in a family of seven so I know, I do, that five isn't large but boy, does it feel like it sometimes. I really feel like we're getting the hang of it though. We do a lot and we really love doing it all with our kids so we don't let that hold us back. It's so much fun to take them places and watch them experience new things. And they love going places and doing things! I just love my kids. They're not perfect but if they were, I wouldn't know what to do with them because I'm so far from perfect myself. I love my perfectly imperfect family! Now excuse me while I rescue the one who managed to get stuck in our slide.
Another drama filled visit with a special character...Liana is not a fan!
Easter egg fun!
The Easter Bunny came!
He couldn't stand it anymore so he plunked himself down to see what he got
The girls joined him
First Peep! Mmm...I guess...?
Looking good for church
The girls talked me into matching shoes. :-) How often can you match shoes with a toddler and a 6 year old?!
Waiting for a table. Party of five!
My handsome men
She's over it. Where's the food?!
And just because it just happened while I was finishing up this post, Liana just did her first somersault all by herself! Woohoo girl!!