Saturday, January 31, 2009

First Week Home

Well, our party of five has survived our very first week home! What an exhausting, fun, and joyous week it has been. Let me do a quick run-down of the details:

Sunday afternoon found us at the pediatrician's office. At first, the office staff (they work a skeleton crew on the weekends) refused to put her on the list, saying that it was office policy not to take new patients on the weekends. I calmly explained that I had already made an appointment for her first well-baby appointment, then explained that she was running a fever and that we didn't get home until Saturday morning. After the office girl stated once more their "policy", David approached the window and told the girl that he wanted to see the doctor on call anyway. Well, she huffed, but in about 10 minutes she called me back to the window and gave me the weekend form to fill out. Then we went back into the room, and in about 10 minutes, GUESS WHO? walked in!? Only OUR pediatrician, who wasn't on call at all. I guess the office clerk called him when we demanded to be seen by the doctor on call. It was a blessing to see good old Dr. H., even if he did have on a polo shirt and sneakers under his white lab coat.

Dr. H spent a good 30 minutes with us and Kaelie. He did a quick medical check as well as an quick overall developmental assessment. David and I were both very impressed! We came home with a nebulizer to give Kaelie breathing treatments (she had the same chest cold that I left China with and her breathing was raspy.). Dr. H said that she was moving air OK, but that he didn't want her to "go wheezy" on us. She also got an antibiotic shot (which in 10 years he's never given one to the boys) and two other prescriptions (for ear drops and a decongestant). Dr. H was very reassuring, and he said he knew that Kaelie was going to be OK.

Monday found David and I in the social security office. Here's a helpful hint: take all your documentation with you and make an appointment online if you can, which will save you some time. We needed Kaelie's passport, adoption certificate, and birth certificate (which is basically a notarial statement).

Kaelie made her first visit to ATA on Tuesday night when I took Jeremy for practice. Kaelie was the star of the show that night, though! Our ATA is such a small school, and we are just like a big family up there. I've had the privilege of making so many new friends who I know I can count on there. It's pretty special to think about it now...that the reason I got involved in ATA was to pass the time until Kaelie's adoption. Now I'm an instructor trainee and enjoy working with the kids and helping them to improve their ATA skills and techniques. I guess Kaelie will be a Tiny Tiger in a couple of years!

A.W., one of my ATA students, made such a mess of Kaelie! He and his mom brought Kaelie some toys and A. was so sweet to play with her after his class.
Wednesday, we went to our local bar-b-que restaurant, Fat Boy's, to eat dinner, and Kaelie was again the hit of the evening. Everyone was just oo-ing and ahh-ing over her. It was amazing that in just a few days, Kaelie was feeling so much better. Finally, smiles are coming more regularly, she is crawling from one room to another, and she is just so interactive. I can look back on our time in China together, just the two of us, and reflect at how she was just very withdrawn. Almost in shell-shock. It has to be difficult for the kids, from having nothing and no one to call their own to suddenly having everything. It's just amazing to see her bubbly little personality and sweet smile.
Kaelie at Fat Boys Wednesday night. It's amazing how much more relaxed Kaelie is, compared to our time together in China. Smiles like these sure were hard to come by! But they are coming more and more easily.
Kaelie and I went to visit Nana and Ma-Ma-Ma for an extended visit Friday afternoon. We visited for about 4 hours. Kaelie wore herself out, but fought a nap. Finally, after I left her briefly to pick the boys up from school (Shelby's school is right across the street) she finally dozed for about 30 minutes on Nana's lap. My grandmother is just taken with Kaelie...even though she worried like crazy while I was in China!
How did Ma-Ma-Ma (my grandmother) get her name? When Shelby was a baby, he couldn't say "Grandmama" and it came out "ma-ma-ma" and it just stuck. My nieces call Grandmama "Grandma Sara" but to my boys she is Ma-Ma-Ma. Grandmama is an incredible person, and has been a huge influence in my life. I need to write a post all about her later....
Kaelie took a nap on Nana's knee Friday afternoon
Tonight for dinner Kaelie tried Sweet Potatoes and Chicken. She's worked her way up to the Stage 2 baby foods already! Yeah! Kaelie had never eaten any solids before (not even congee!) and so David and I are really working with her to get her to put things in her mouth and to try solids. I mixed in a few tiny Ritz cracker crumbs with some of her spoonfuls, and she wasn't quite sure what to do with them, but she didn't spit them out, which is a huge step forward. We may end up getting Babies Can't Wait (early intervention) involved, but for now we are just going to wait a couple of more weeks and see what happens. Today, Kaelie put her mouth on my bare arm and just licked and licked it, and she also let me put my finger in her mouth, touching her gums and the insides of her cheeks. That might sound gross, but to a baby who should be putting everything in her mouth, and has just totally missed this stage in her development, this is really GREAT progress. We try to keep mealtimes very, VERY fun and upbeat! David and I bought a couple of Stage 3 jarred foods tonight and hopefully next week Kaelie will feel like trying them.

No, No, Kaelie! No raspberries during a mouthful of sweet potatoes and chicken!

Wow, Mom! Mealtimes are just the best! Kaelie has a Ritz cracker in each hand, and while she won't gnaw on them yet, I think it's just a matter of time. I try to make it real silly for her, and she is REALLY enjoying the pureed foods. She hasn't rejected anything yet, so long as it's pretty hot! What a cutie, even if she does have sweet potatoes on her nose (and on her eyebrow, and in her hair, and up her sleeve....)
We are making progress in the sleep department as well. David and I bought Kaelie a Fisher-Price Rainforest Animals Soother for her crib. It has a nightlight and plays soft, gentle music. It is adorable and it's been a lifesaver! Last night was the first night that she got up only one time! The other nights she was up 4, 5, even 6 times. Another thing that helped was leaving her door open and turning on the light in the bathroom. I think this helped her to have some background noise which she in probably used to in the orphanage. She took a late-afternoon nap this afternoon, and we kept Kaelie up a little later than usual tonight, so hopefully she will go all night tonight without waking up!
Finally, let's not leave out big brothers Shelby and Jeremy! These two guys have held up so wonderfully to the changes in their lives. I can't believe how much they've grown inside and out in the three weeks since I left for China. Shelby is definitely the big brother who is going to be the protector and the teacher. Kaelie got so tickled tonight, watching Shelby try on all her cute hats. I mean laughing out loud laughing. Kaelie would laugh, then Shelby would laugh, which made Kaelie laugh harder!

Wise "ge ge" Shelby!

Jeremy is more hands-on than Shelby, but no less protective. Jeremy feels very comfortable carrying Kaelie (with much supervision!), and he even volunteered to help change a diaper! He loves to kiss his sister and lay on the floor and play with her. Kaelie definitely looks up to the "men" in her life.

Jeremy, right before he posed with his new homemade "weapon" that he used outside for playing.

Kaelie is also bonding extremely well with her daddy, who finally summoned to courage to change a poopy diaper last night! David has just been great during this first week home, washing clothes and dishes, fixing bottles, taking care of homework and shopping. I'm getting over the same cold that Kaelie has experienced, plus getting up with Kaelie as she recooperates from jet lag and gets used to her room. David has been very relaxed and laid back as he makes the adjustment from 2 kids to 3, and I'm so happy. David has definitely been my rock on this roller coaster ride! Love you, honey!

Please pray that the fluid in my ears will begin to drain. My chest cold is nearly gone, but I can't shake this buildup. Flying into Jacksonville was horrible, I've never experienced ear/head pain like that in my life! I just feel like my head is underwater! I guess I need to go to the doctor myself next week, but it's just so hard with a little one!


Jaymie said...

Sounds like you've had a busy week! Your family of 5 is beautiful! Congrats!

Kim said...

Hey Karen, I am so happy to hear from you. Kaelie is so adorable.
That was great about your pediatrician coming for the visit!
You seem to be enjoying having a baby around again.


It is nice to see your work among diverse children.Keep up the good work.

Blood Brothers said...

cool family ...such an adorable little girl

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