first few days home

These first few days home have been both beautiful and brutal.

Sleep has been our biggest issue. I’m virtually certain I haven’t slept more than 3.5 hours consecutively since we left China, and some nights (like last night), that’s been the total sleep I’ve gotten. Thankfully both of the girls (and Matt) have gotten more than that, but because the girls have not been coordinating their waking times (a mom can dream!), I’ve been awake a lot.

I did nap yesterday…which was actually not a good move. It turns out that when you accidentally fall asleep with your kids and you all sleep for 3.5 hours, you will continue to be exhausted and ready to sleep at any moment, but they will not be. Cue bedtime tears and frustration for all involved.

Anyway, enough about our sleep or lack thereof – though you could certainly be praying for us that we all get more of it tonight.

We’re starting to settle in here. Matt went back to work yesterday and has full days (plus some meetings) all week long. It’s been something of an abrupt transition, going from 3 adults and 2 kids in China to just me at home with our girls. I keep comparing the 2 experiences (China vs. home) and comparing these days to the time after Miranda was born – similar in some ways and yet oh so different. Which is harder, which do I enjoy more, which, which, which…

I think Miranda is having a harder time sharing with CaiQun now than she was in China. Maybe part of it is that there are fewer adults with whom to play, and part of it, I think, is that we’re no longer in “neutral” space. This has always been Miranda’s turf, and CaiQun is the newcomer, and Miranda understandably wants to control what goes on and doesn’t always want to share. CaiQun, likewise, can be possessive – also understandable. But understandable or not, we are praying for thoughtful, kind, and gentle hearts and working on cultivating thoughtful, kind, and gentle actions.

And though we have drama – selfishness and frequent shrieks for mama to come resolve whatever wrong either daughter feels has been done by the other – we also have beauty. Times of sisters sharing. Times of mommy teaching and girls learning. Times of hearts expanding. Times of snuggling. Times of reading books. Times of tickling and laughter.

We’ve had a number of firsts for our little MCQ over these last couple days – not the least of which was a first pedicure from mommy.

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Now that we’re back in the States, we’ve also made the transition back to being a cloth diapering family. I’ll need to get back into my groove for that – I almost blew it today! We currently have 1 diaper left in the clean diaper basket. All the others are drying right now, though, so we should be good to go. And I do have some disposables left over from China.

Excuse my lack of transitions…see above regarding my lack of sleep…but our visit to the pediatrician yesterday went well! We still have a number of vaccines to get caught up on, a lot of labwork to do, and at least one specialist to see, but overall our pediatrician says he thinks that our little CaiQun looks great 🙂

I’m still debating whether to try to have an early intervention evaluation done for her. She’s definitely delayed, but virtually all children coming out of an orphanage setting are. The average delay seen in post-institutionalized children is 1 month for every 3 months in an orphanage (so a child who is 18 months old will, on average, seem like a 12 month old). In general, children with institutional delays are able to catch up with time, but they sometimes benefit from outside interventions to help them as they grow. At this point, our pediatrician is guessing that she may not be delayed enough even to qualify for free services…hence (well, that and other reasons) my continued internal debate about whether to refer her for an evaluation.

She is impressing us with how quickly she is learning and adapting to an entirely new environment and language. She now says, frequently and unprompted:

  • mama
  • baba (daddy)
  • jie jie (big sister)
  • baby
  • yay
  • water

She would also say “grandma” when we were with my mom in China, and she may have a few more words, but I’m not totally certain of them yet. She’s imitating us more and more when we speak, which is awesome, but then I don’t want to count her words until she uses them independently! She’ll point at what she wants or where she wants to go, and she shakes her head vigorously to communicate that she doesn’t want something. She also does the sign for “more,” particularly at mealtimes!

And we’re working on building motor skills and speech and relationships and all that she missed out on during the beginnings of her life.

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I finally got all of the suitcases unpacked this afternoon, and I think I’m close to caught up with our laundry, but the kitchen sink is full of dishes, and there are toys strewn all around the living room, dining room, and kitchen (not to mention the playroom), and the cloth diapers need to be pulled out of the dryer, and I may very well fall asleep if I continue to sit down for much longer, so I better wrap this up. I’m sure there is more I could tell you, but it will have to wait for another day when I am more thoughtful and coherent 🙂

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4 thoughts on “first few days home

  1. You sound like you do have it together. I am trying to let go of what was normal and just enjoy the time. But, yes sink has dishes, I can hear the laundry…baby sleeping now– which is not the right time….I get it. Miss our support group from China, but loving being home.

  2. Welcome back! Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m thinking and praying for strength, health and happiness for you and your family.

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