Thursday, August 30, 2012

Six Months: Onward and Upward

I always have to preface these with this declaration: you are now reading an

Official Kevin Post.

You have been given fair warning.

Six months! We've had Nora home for six months as of the 25th of August. It hardly seems real. Jen and I both admit to having these moments where we might be doing something else, then we'll see her playing for a moment and catch ourselves wondering when her parents are coming to pick her up.

Then the moments of sheer happiness when I pull into the driveway and she squeals "BABA!!" and Jen has to hold her tight so she doesn't dart over before I've stopped the car. We have video of that... I should get that on here. She jumps into my lap and helps me finish driving by yanking the wheel around and pushing any buttons she can find.

Here is what the time looks like: here she is on her 6-month referral anniversary, holding her referral picture that we saw for the very first time just over a year ago:

Our lives have changed more than I thought possible. Our little Eleanor is an extremely (and exhaustingly) energetic little girl, with a huge smile and a heart-melting giggle. She loves to play, loves her mom, and insists on helping around the house wherever she can (this is not necessarily a good thing; many dishes have met their end because she must help unload the dishwasher).

She talks... a lot. For some reason we still get people asking us if she's learning English, which is an interesting question because when we picked her up she didn't know Mandarin. Oh, I'm sure she knew the meaning of a few words that her aiyis used around her, but she is learning English incredibly fast. She picks up any word we say at an alarming rate, which means when I kick the rocking chair with my little toe at 2:00 a.m. while trying to get her back to sleep, a great number of words come to mind, but I must choose very carefully.

She also has picked up a love for books. She'll wake up somewhere between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m., and I usually take her downstairs so Jen can crash some more. I set Nora in front of her toys and attempt to go back to sleep on the couch, but she inevitably will climb up on the couch unassisted (where did she learn to do that?) get a book off the shelf, climb back down and gently set it in front of me, smiling with her big brown eyes and softly ask "Baba weedit?" and I positively melt. Of course I'll read Olivia ("piggy" book by name) or We're Going on a Bear Hunt for the fiftieth time this week.

All in all, Nora is adjusting extremely well and slipping easily into the role of life in America with awkward, bumbling lǎowài parents. She knows the home routine and as long as we keep reminding her that Baba is coming back when he leaves for work, then she gets it and is happy. As long as Jen tells her that she's just going into the kitchen and not leaving forever, she's content to hang out on the couch, playing with her farm animal puzzle or taking in MuLan or Wall-E (that one was my doing).

That's not to say we haven't had our challenges, though. I can count on two hands the number of solid, complete nights of sleep we've had... teething has been rough on this one and she doesn't ever seem to be 100% comfortable in her crib, or she wakes up at night just enough to see Jen and that triggers a sleepy, but somehow violent climb up Mount Sleeping Mom, sometimes followed by a flop into the Valley of the Snoring Dad, whereupon I might wake abruptly by Silent Toddler Ninja Kick to the throat. I know at that point that if she stays asleep between Jen and I, eventually I'm getting bullied clean off the side of bed.

I guess I could sum it up with the fact that while she's adjusting very well into being our daughter, the road into being her parents has not always been so smooth. We still have so much to learn as we struggle to decode the tantrums, her occasional night-time panic attacks, and the seemingly unaware yanking of Jen's hair and not letting go. There are rights earned through the passage of parenthood for those who could be there for the first cry, the first coo, the first touch and each subsequent milestone. Heavenly Father has given us this adorable little goober, but at the cost of having to skip the benefit of that early parenthood instruction manual.

That feels like the over-arching metaphor for this whole ride that started  back on February 13th: piloting through sometimes turbulent air, struggling through the highs and lows of figuring out this beautiful, giggly, at at times difficult little girl, writing our own handbook as we go.

 -- Kevin

P.S. Since we haven't updated since April, here are some

Random Scenes Since Then:

Shortly after the sealing, we went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City to have some pictures taken among the beautiful gardens there.

 Nora (featuring lovely morning hair) decides to do the feeding for once.
My grandparents own a home at Bear Lake in Northern Utah, and it's one of my favorite places on earth. We try to go as often as we can during the year. This marks Nora's first trip, and first time in a lake.

Nora loves animals and annoys our dogs to no end with her hugs, and loves to pet horses and quack loudly at any ducks she happens to fine.