Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A new day

I'm a big fan of adages  -- mine for today is, "What a difference a day makes"!  Faith and I had such a great day.  We started the day with more shots, poor kid, there should be just one more round, and then she ages out of needing the last set...small positive there.  She was so good, cooperative, doesn't cry -- makes the 'scrunch' face of disgust she seems to have perfected, and that I find cute now that it isn't directed at me!    I do find her perchance for pain a bit disturbing ,and definitely something to monitor!

Then it was off to BJs Wholesale club to finish our Christmas shopping, she is a great shopping companion!  She helps me disinfect the carriage with "magic soap" aka hand sanitizer.  She never asks for something, and not because she doesn't have the words, because believe me she has NO problem making wants known!!  She is content to hold whatever is next to go in the carriage, or my cell phone, which SHE has figured out how to lock and so she's not calling friends back in China on me as I shop!

OH and the best news of today -- not really, but if you've been following the battle of the ponytails, you'll know why this is so exciting!  I went to a cookie swap with some great veteran GIRL moms!  They told me about these little elastics (pretty much one time use), that really hang onto the hair, making removal nearly impossible!   They are my gift this Christmas because FINALLY after 6 weeks, we have pigtails (mom's favorite) that are NOT pulled out as soon as I finish them, actually not pulled out at all!  Plus now that she's lost that battle she has stopped pulling out barretts and off hats too - wonderful stuff!!

After coming home from a loooonnnng  shopping trip!!  Man I love that place, I could just wander up and down the isles all day!!  We had a nice lunch together - she has really taken a liking to Italian food (well what is originally Italian, when I get done with it - most Italians would not take credit for it!!)  Last night she scoffed down Tortellini's (aka belly-buttons) in chicken broth ( I love when she picks up the bowl with one hand, and scoops the liquid with the spoon into her mouth -- it is an adorable cultural thing that I hope she never loses!!) , for lunch its was cheese ravoli with sauce (how come every time I dress her in white I feed her red sauce!! She was fine, that Tink bib does wonders!!)

Now brings me to the reason I blogged, it was during yesterday's lunch that I realized how much she doesn't know, and how challenging it will be to teach her abstract thoughts, and the day continued to be a difficult day of frustrations and miscommunications.  Today, was a brand new day - and I believe it to be a product of spending my day (no not whining and moping, as my post and FB status would suggest) but in praying.  Every spare moment I had, I offered my thoughts and frustrations heavenward - seeking intercession from St. Therese (whom I learned in the movie of her life was homeschooled-- sweet!), and St. Francis de Sales (patron of the deaf), and of course our Lady.  Just gave over my insecurities, my inabilities, and my grumpiness!!  The bible says, Ask and you shall receive.  I know I have to cooperate with the spirit, but do feel today that I have been given a renewed hope and peace.

Evident in our lunch - we had a great little conversation (showing me that you don't always need words to convey feeling), and then we colored and practiced her name.  The best was just before nap, she sat on my lap with the same book I struggled yesterday afternoon to read/sign with her.  Yesterday, she tried turning to the end of the book with every page, she wouldn't look at me, or copy any of the signs, she was distant and distracted, my heart was so heavy and filled with doubt (are you sure God I have the talents and patience to be her teacher, are you sure??)  Today -- she sat and looked not only through that book but 2 others, turning pages one by one, trying to copy the signs, and turning to smile at me periodically.  A gift, these small moments, these ones I took for granted with the boys, are so poignant when they are proceeded by frustration and doubt.  

I am grateful as alwasy for God's faithfulness to keep me prayerful in this journey.   When I arrived home, I was spiritually exhausted.  My bible reading dropped off, Mass addiction (either going in person or watching EWTN - love those priests!) had waned considerally, Divine Mercy devotion sporadic ... I had slipped from the mountain top to a lull -- more a plateau then a valley -- nothing bad was happening that I usually associate with the valley of spiritual growth, but nothing good either.  I was just existing, putting out the daily fires, going through the motions.  It certainly didn't help that the holidays kicked right in, which are just not a historically easy time emotionally for me.  I had shut down, I doubt I am alone in any of these feelings, I am sure you've all been there.  In the past, I would have allowed the world to continue to swallow me up, and draw further and further away from God and my faith -- and this is what I am so grateful for today , that I don't.  That He accepts even my smallest or shortest prayers, and sees that my heart still longs for Him, and He never leaves, or gives up... and with every drawing near , He draws near.   The JOY of the LORD is my strength, even when I don't have the strength to see that...I pray that you too will find your JOY in the Lord especially during the celebration of His Son's birth.  Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This afternoon while Faith and I enjoyed a quiet lunch together, I was struck by just how quiet life can be sometimes.  The soft ticking of the clock and hum of the refridgerator was all I heard, while I know her lunch was even quieter.   As I look at her precious little face, I am struck that we are definitely not signing to her as often as we should - limiting it to direct needs or commands.  As I had just finished reciting the prayer before meals, I try to sign it now with her, but her random signing back to me shows that while making progress memorizing signs, the meanings are still lost to her.  

We've seen a lot of this, just a random barrage of signs when she is trying to convey something to us - she signs Faith, please, bed, finished, daddy, potty, all in a string, hoping that one of these silly things people keep doing in her face with their hands will get them to jump up and help her with whatever the present need is.  Kevin complained, rightly so yesterday, that all we seem to be saying to her lately is "No".  Although  I wholeheartedly agree and would love to be more positive in my communications especially around things that are dangerous, I am finding it much easier to tell someone NO to what they are doing, then explaining BEFORE they do it, that it isn't something they can do!  Think that sentence is confusing, try being a non-english speaking 3 year old trying to explore your environment with overprotective English-speaking, hearing parents who are constantly shadowing you and redirecting you from all that looks fun.  We tell her yes, but it seems those things are not quite as intriguing as the 'no' areas -- stove, buttons on the dishwasher, my camera, the portable phones that get left all around the house, outlets, stairs, toilets... the typical toddler stuff of interest.

The area of real frustration for me however is in communicating things of deeper meaning.  For instance, today I was really sad about something (not that I would discuss the problem with a 3 year old) but what I would have loved to have shared, was how I turned to the bible for guidance, and opened right to a passage that answered me in the exact way I needed.  Let me note it was NOT what I wanted God to say, I was looking for a "yeah don't sweat it, you can ignore it" but what I got was "you can do this with my help, it is not for you to judge but to do according to my Will".   Augh, I hate those answers, those are the ones that make us more like God, and less like our pitiful human selves, and although the grow us spiritually always come with a little discomfort or sacrafice on our part -- but alas I digress.   I wanted to share what an amazing and loving Father in Heaven we have, and that it had made Mommy' sad change to glad. I have to admit I did sign it all to her, the best I could, and received back a barrage of random signs -- cute but didn't really instill confidence that I am getting through.

The next moment I was back to the 'nos'  -- or the 'don'ts' in this case.  Gently trying to teach that we don't stick the opposite end of the spoon in our eyes, nose or mouth.  That napkins are for wiping our hands and mouths, not the cheesy spoon.  That we need to chew the food in our mouth, not suck on it like chewing tobacco ( a new habit we are perplexed by but working through as we realize these are all new textures and tastes).   The time will come when I can share with her the wonder of the snow on the ground, the beating of my heart for her and for my Lord, and can explain all the yesses in the world!

Although this all saddens me, but I am quickly reminded its only been 6 weeks, that time will prove this all different, just as it did with our connecting back in China.  I pray that her language acquisition comes as quickly as her love acquisition did !!