Saturday, January 30, 2010

More for the grandparents

We were looking through all our millions of videos and pics of the Little, and found this video from a couple days after Christmas. So it is oldish, but seemed worth posting anyway. He was getting tired, so he was not as smiley, but still very vocal. I also love the way his legs kick.

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Favorite Youth

Check out the great Hong Kong shots on this video! And wow, make sure to notice the warm light in the EYES of these kids! Our church put together this video to inspire and strengthen the youth. My faith helped me a lot to get through the teen years, which can otherwise have some rough times. I'm grateful my younger brothers have good leaders and friends through church.

I have two teenaged brothers. Justin, seventeen, is the kind of boy who of his own accord gets up and goes early to church Sunday mornings so he can sing in the choir. He gives spontaneous hugs to his mother. He is quick to smile and just as easily makes people laugh. His poetry and other writings stir the soul in a way that makes me suspect he has some sort of genius in language.

David, fifteen, has always been the type of kid who comes home from school and does his homework before doing anything else (I was not ever that disciplined!). He is wise beyond his years with money, multiplying his dollars by hard work and saving. He has a peacemaking ability in the family, reliably calm and thoughtful. He has the self assurance to wear hot pink socks while running cross country, and makes it look cool.

Way to be strong, boys. Love you!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lest anyone think he is perfect

He blows bubbles in such wild abandon they have been known to travel all the way down his chin and onto his collar.
His hair grows in thick patches. I am confident it will someday even out, but until then he gets a comb-over that would make Donald Trump proud.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I let Little type today's blog entry:

/?m, kkkkkkkkkkkkk,k,m bnm hhhhhhhh mjm, ./,l,;???????????

So glad when Daddy comes home

I love the weekends. It is nice to have Jerry home more--we always talk a lot and get caught up on projects and to-do lists...and he generally does 99% of weekend diaper changes.

Little was sure enjoying this particular diaper change. The video turned out dark because I didn't know how to lighten it (Jerry showed me afterward), but the sound is the more important part anyway.

And sorry for making all our posts be about the baby. I know it must get boring to most people after awhile, but there are a few adoring grandparents out there who can't get enough, so I keep it comin!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What do we do all day

A friend of mine recently pointed out that I must be feeling back to normal since the birth, because blog posts are coming more frequently. Hah! What a funny correlation. But yes, I am feeling good most days and have figured out a (sort of) routine with sweet Little.
Each day has lots of play time. Little has figured out that if he yanks on the chain links of his gym, the whole gym will shake gloriously. Yesterday I laid him on his belly on his gym mat and glanced at him 30 seconds later to see that he was on his back! I moved him again to his tummy and immediately he rolled to his back again. Of course, when I got the camera to film his new trick, he declined my request for a repeat performance.

Helping with laundry. I have learned how to stay pretty caught up with what I call "the Big 3" chores: laundry, dishes, and meals. The rest of the house has its ups and downs.
Each day I try to keep Little upright as much as possible, because I am paranoid about him getting a flat head if he lays on his back too much. So I wear him in the baby carriers a lot, and last week decided to try out the Bumbo chair. He loved it so much, I wished we had tried playing with it earlier! Best five bucks I ever spent (thank you Craigslist).

If he sits in it for longer than 5-10 minutes however, his strength gives out and he starts to look like the Leaning Tower of Little.
We also do storytime each day. I read to him in English and Mandarin, and Jerry reads to him in Cantonese. Little recognizes the books now, and it is cute to see his eyes light up when I pull out one of his favorites. He seems to like three in particular: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Toes, Ears and Nose (a lift-the-flap-book). We translated that last one into Mandarin pinyin, so it is helping all of us learn cool body part names. Did you all know how to say "belly button" in Chinese (Mandarin). It is du(4 )qi(2).
Also, just this past week I noticed Little intentionally helping hold the books while I read. He bats at the pages and I let him grab at them when it is time to turn to the next page. He is growing up so quickly, it makes me have tears in my eyes just now to think about it. (heh, maybe those pregnancy hormones aren't all back to normal after all)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blow-out of epic proportion

There are no pictures with this post, and when you realize the subject matter, you will understand why I refrained.

Little and I had a quiet nursing session this afternoon on the living room couch. Abruptly I heard/smelled/felt that my wee son had a bowel movement. He began cooing at me in a most endearing way, but still continued eating through all the commotion. So I let him finish eating, then carefully held him upright as we walked to the bedroom where our changing station is located. Somehow in that small time frame, poop made an escape out Little's diaper from both top and leg openings. His whole back became caked in curry-colored excrement. Yum. I started laughing--what else could I do?--and then got scissors.

That's right, scissors...because there was no way I could see myself lifting Little's outfit over his head without getting poo in his hair. I HAD TO CUT OFF HIS CLOTHES. When clothes cutting becomes necessary, that is called "a blow-out of epic proportion," I believe.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Columbus Temple

I almost forgot to record something important from last weekend. We spent time with dear family friends in Columbus, Ohio and then left Little with them while Jerry and I attended a session at the temple. This is one of the smaller versions of LDS temples, so there were some interesting differences in the structure from most other temples we have attended. Actually, I think it might be the same blueprint as the Regina, Saskatchewan temple that I attended while serving in the mission field. The layout seemed familiar.

Anyway, it was a very unique session for me, because I felt simultaneously distracted by thoughts of my baby and noticed an enhanced, expanded view of the temple ceremonies in my "new mother" frame of mind. It helps me to feel my Heavenly Father's love when I think about how I feel toward my sweet Little. I am grateful God's plan for the world includes a way to build strong families that can last through eternity.

We chose a Chinese name for Little recently. Though I suppose I will still refrain from posting specifics on this name, I could probably get away with revealing the meaning of the characters: Son Eternal. Little, you are forever ours, born in the covenant we have made to be a family for eternity. We love you!

This photo shows Little a few weeks ago, wearing special jewelry sent to him by some of his Chinese relatives. They know how important our Christianity is to us, and included a necklace with the Cross. Thank you for being so thoughtful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In which we explore another side of "White Ohio" (and this time we aren't talking about race)

One-armed snow angel: Both yesterday and today have had tons of sunshine. I decided to (finally) put Little in his snowsuit to go outside in the sunny winterwonderland but was dismayed to see his cozy suit was too small already! It is size 3-6 M. Yesterday I sorted through the rest of his 3-6M clothes and had to take out at least half of them that are too small. Crazy crazy.
So this is why we got a one-armed snow angel for our efforts. Only one of Little's arms would fit in the suit at a time. He didn't mind, because he always likes to have one fist available for sucking on it. =)
And he wasn't as uncomfortable as his face seems in this photo. Actually he was quite interested in looking around, but the sun was so bright that his eyes kept going squinty when I tried to take a picture. The only time he seemed to notice the cold was when later we walked to the mailbox and a gust of wind caught him in the face; he gasped. Really cute.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Race Matters

Jerry and I are still finding our footing in the new area. A week or so ago, while at the mall, we asked a group of adolescents if they knew of a Bank of America ATM nearby. “Don’t you mean ‘Bank of China,’” quipped one of the teens. I felt speechless at the time, but Jerry gave a mild reprisal: “Hey, be serious, please.” A different bystander behind us then stepped forward to offer directions, and we soon left. Later that night, I brought up the subject. “That girl was probably just trying to look cool in front of her friends; I’m sure she didn’t mean anything personal against you.”

“But I felt made fun of,” Jerry pointed out. I realized I was apologizing for inappropriate behavior, trying to minimize it rather than acknowledging what it really was—a form of racism. As part of a privileged race, I am still not quite sure sometimes how to admit that I have advantages to which I have so long been oblivious, but nonetheless enjoyed. I know a lot of Caucasians do not feel privileged, especially those in lower economic classes. But here is what I am talking about. Some experiences on this list have become apparent to me since marrying my sweet Asian husby. For example, I never knew how lucky I was to be able to go to any hair stylist and trust that she would be equipped to handle my locks. Jerry, on the other hand, has the minor inconvenience of having to search carefully for a new barber each time we move, enduring bad haircuts during the interim, until finally finding that rare American stylist who knows how to effectively use scissors and a razor on thick, coarse, straight black Asian hair. Imagine how much more trying that experience must be for African-American women.

I have had other issues in life, of course. But race has not been one of them--and so there will be this part of my children that I may not understand. Handsome as Little is, he will probably come home from school one day saddened by the na├»ve classmates who tease him for the parts of him that are Chinese. I hope at that time I remember not to minimize his feelings, remember not to tell him something ridiculous like, “I am sure they didn’t mean it that way.” I am prepared now to validate his experience. Actually, now that I think about it, I do know what it is like to be teased because of my face. I had abnormally bad acne for awhile in elementary school and junior high. Kids were cruel. I still feel a twinge of pain for that girl I used to be, remembering her self-loathing.

It is common for minority races to feel ashamed of their faces at one time or another during childhood, but it helps if they can relate well with their parents over the issue. This is one reason inter-racial adoptions can be tricky. At least Little Tam can see that he has the eyes of his father, and be comforted by thinking, “if dad feels good about the way he looks, then so can I.”

And I can learn to cut the hair of my sweetheart and sons. Last week I cut Jerry's hair, when he decided it sounded like a better alternative than salon-searching yet again. "At least you will listen to what I tell you," he reasoned. So he talked me through the haircut, and it turned out fairly presentable. We did have to special-order a size 12 clipper guide from the Wahl website.

The "Before" picture. Jerry was pretty nervous, and actually offered a prayer before letting me touch his hair. At one point I was holding the baby in one arm, and wielding thinning shears in the other. Sounds like it really was miraculous everything turned out okay...
Here is the "after" shot. Gels up nicely. Room for improvement, but we feel good for now.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We started feeling brave enough to contemplate going to the movie theater with our baby. The local discount theater was playing Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, so we planned to go--but suddenly found out the library in our town was doing a free showing of that very same movie! Since we felt less guilty bringing an infant to a movie where the other patrons hadn't paid money to be there, it seemed an especially sweet deal. We arrived late, but only had one diaper change, a few cries, some time breastfeeding, and Little slept all during the last half. I'd call it a successful outing overall.
And the movie is actually pretty hilarious. We highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2 Months

Had the 2-month well-baby checkup with our new pediatrician yesterday. Little Tam remains, in the doctor's words, "Tall and Heavy." He is 25" long, and 15 lbs 6 oz. The doctor also commented on our Little's nice demeanor, and the nurse who weighed him said something along those same lines. Feeling as most new parents do, we are pretty sure our child is brilliant, practically perfect in every way, charming, exceptionally cute, etc. So if that sort of blabbering bothers you, feel free to stop reading now. Achievements so far:
  • Makes alternating "aaa" and "goo" sounds. Jerry says he is saying "Al Gore." hmmm. This cooing occurs in a conversation pattern if another person talks back--he coos, waits, listens to adult talk, then coos again. Brings sunshine to my soul to hear his cutie communication attempts.
  • Purposefully engages people with smiling; smiles at inanimate objects if they appear interesting to him
  • Grabs toy and brings to mouth (also sucks on his hands a lot to self-soothe)(yay for that because he still isn't fond of binkies as hard as we have tried to make him like them)
  • Head turns to look at noises (blender terrifies him, but the vacuum is ok)
  • Can lift shoulders and head while on tummy--maintains position for several minutes and is able to look around a bit in this pose
  • Rolls from back to tummy (if on a soft surface like our pillow-top mattress)
  • Still knows how to take a bottle! We'd stopped having him take one for a couple weeks and I worried he might have lost the skill, so a couple days ago we whipped one out of the freezer, and then again gave him a bottle last night. He likes any nipple regardless of what it is made of, as long as there is milk coming out. =)

We are really rejoicing in our posterity. Parenthood gets more fun everyday, and also a little more challenging as Little's needs grow in complexity. If he was crying, we used to be able to say "he either needs food or a diaper change" and be correct 99% of the time. But now he cries and it takes a few minutes sometimes to figure out what he wants. For instance, sometimes he just wants to be put in an upright position, propped against a couple pillows, so he can look around better. Or sometimes he wants to be cuddled. He has definite emotional and social needs beyond the basic physical care. I hope we can keep giving him our best.

And that's the 2 month rundown.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hope it's not too late

The stores all have Valentine decor up...Is it too far into 2010 to feature one last smattering of Christmas 2009? Sorry some of the pics are in random order. We visited Historic Kirtland's nativities.

Mei Tai!

The aforementioned tree my VT donated.

The Kirtland Nativities included a Children's room that had some cute ones.

Elfy socks.

Christmas day dinner with our Bishop and his family.