Monday, November 26, 2007

The Missy Files

This weekend was the two-month-i-versity of our parenting of young Miss Shaomei; from gotcha day to Thanksgiving. Here's our 60-day "progress report".
To say that she's emerged from her orphanage fugue state would be an understatement up there with "Gee, that Chomolungma's a pretty big hill". She's become an energetic little girl, full of giggly toddler business and an insatiable curiousity. She babbles along in a positively brook-like fashion; we even think she said her first word ("hello!") the other day while she was listening to and babbling at the cell phone. She loves to throw, and she's developing a sly delight in nailing unsuspecting parents with projectiles whenever she can. She still adores pestering the cats, whose patience has been admirable (and who have been rewarded with a largesse of stinky cat food which she adores, too: there's nothing as surprising as nuzzling a cute little orphan child and getting a reeking facefull of Little Friskies' Ocean Whitefish that she has just sampled. Eegah!). Her diet is changing, and while she still loves her some congee as a belly-filler she's doing well with pretty much anything from bananas to cranberry stuffing. In fact, about every other day she becomes ravenous and we can barely keep her tummy filled. It does a father's heart good to see her getting bigger and stronger.
Unsurprisingly, she does still retain some of the behaviors we saw first in China. She has a passion for being held. The intensity of her craving changes with her environment and with her mood. Some days she's as clingy as a baby monkey, and will sob if you plop her on the floor for so much as a moment. Other days she's fine by herself for long stretches of time. She is developing a healthy toddler jealousy of her ge ge - if we're cuddling with the Peeper she is so swarming up onto us like a Chinese Everest expedition. She's also started to fight back, and even initiates some of the "picking-on". She's even thrown some honest-to-God foot-stomping toddler tantrums. So emotionally and physically she seems to be doing very well.
The Peeper his own self is still unthrilled by the "Mei-mei Phenomenon", and has developed his room into his own Fortress of Solitude, a refuge from loud and grabby little sisters. Miss Lily is his furry symbiote, providing purrs and soft fur for petting in return for a lofty refuge from clutching little fingers. She doesn't mind the trainyard under the bed - or if she does, she hasn't said anything.
One aspect of her hasn't changed: Missy is still a very compliant diaper-changee, throwing her feet over her head with the abandon of a purse-pinched Republican country club debutante enticing a callow Choate-and-Princeton trust-fund heir, but she's becoming much less compliant about actually getting dressed, to the point where catching and dressing the naked baby is something of an indoor sport. She is also the terror of the tub, a tiny raven-haired Cailleach Beara conjuring storms from the porcelin deeps. I'm still not sure how those tiny hands can move so much water from inside to outside the tub. Hydrologically it's an interesting point, but domestically we're gonna need one of those wet-dry shop vacs to keep up with our own little storm surge!
So we're very happy and excited about our little girl's progress and looking forward to seeing what the next two months will bring.
But I have to be honest and admit that I'm the one that's not progressing quite as well. It's very difficult for me to re-adjust to a life that's all kid, all the time, especially just when we were moving past that with the Peeper. It's like you were just getting over a cold when, slam, you're right back amid the crusty kleenex and the Dayquil. Not that I think of the kids as a disease! I love our kids and I'm excited about our future, but our present - the retreat of any semblance of an independant adult life - is a little tough for me. I'm trying to be a good, loving and happy Daddy for Missy and the Peep and a loving and caring husband for Mojo, but sometimes my crankiness seeps through. I've gotta find a way to deal with it, and I just haven't yet. Or perhaps it's more an issue of "resignation" and I'm still kicking against the pricks, so to speak... Just an aside, here, but any helpful ideas and suggestions would be gratefully accepted...
But, hey - how about these sweet faces, neh?


walternatives said...

I'm so sorry to hear that it's been a little tough for you and the adorable Peeper lately, Chief. All kids - all the time. I was thinking of you yesterday, wondering how our adjustment will be - going from lazy, contented, "whatever we want, when we want it" childless folks to parenting a toddler... The candor of your posts give us a glimpse at what lies ahead. Thank you for the honesty. As always, you and yours are in my thoughts...

atomic mama said...

I'm sorry, did you say "kicking against the pricks"?

I got nothin' but 5th grade humor, but am certainly thinking of ya.