February was a crazy month! The Martindales were busy to begin with, and when we threw in the wintry weather, it made for extra-crazy!
We started the month with Olivia's first (and only, thank goodness) panic attack. It happened around bedtime one night. Philip took her upstairs for normal bedtime routine, flipped on the light to put on her pajamas, and she freaked out. It wasn't a meltdown, because we did not see it coming. It was a panic attack. She was screaming and scared to death. Her little heart was racing, and tears were just streaming down her face. It was heart-breaking and so out of character for her. I went up there to try and soothe her, which calmed her down somewhat. Then, I gave her back to Philip so that she could see that he could soothe her as well. He finally got her calmed down by just holding her to his chest for several minutes. After she calmed down, she slept fine, and she was fine the next morning. (I checked in with the teachers throughout the day to ensure all was well, and it was.) It was quite a helpless feeling for what seemed like an eternity, but really only lasted a few minutes in reality. It is concerning to us because we feel that she may have had some sort of flashback, but we aren't sure. We have gone over and over the events throughout the day and evening, and we cannot figure out what triggered it. It is not usual for this to happen with adopted children, but it is a little odd that it took this long for us to see it. She is a very happy child, and it was heart-breaking to see her so upset. I wish I knew what was going through her little mind…..most of the time, it's mischief, but that night, it was terror.
Other than that, we continue to make progress. Things are easier in some senses, but harder in others. Easier in the sense that she is communicating more; we know each other better; and we feel that she is completely bonded and attached. It is harder in the sense that she is all over the place, climbing on everything (including me), you have to constantly watch her, etc.
She is still eating well and loves guacamole (eats it with a spoon), sushi (oh my word, you should see her eat sushi), green beans, and nutella.
Olivia is now beginning to really like TV and movies. At first, she didn't understand what they were saying, so she could've cared less. Now that she understands what they say, she loves Disney, Jr. AND Disney movies, especially Mulan. It is so cute to watch her smile when Mulan is on. Ansley enjoys movies as well, so they now take turns as to who gets to pick the movie.
Olivia now also loves Band-Aids. If you remember, in the beginning, she loathed them. Now, if anything happens, and I stress anything, she thinks she needs a Band-Aid.
Philip is very happy that Olivia also loves to ride her bike. He is convinced that she is going to be a mountain biker. We shall see. She is very daring and has no fear. Ansley, on the other hand, not daring at all and takes a more conservative approach.
Olivia still sleeps with a lot of "stuff" and most nights, she sleeps either with her shoes on, or just holds them. Her favorite shoes right now are her purple Saucony tennis shoes. I am the only one that she won't go to bed for. My Mom and Philip both have great success. I do not.
She affectionately calls herself "Yu Yu" if you ask her what her name is. That is what they called her in the orphanage. I also think that it's easier for her to say than "Olivia." She also uses it in a possessive sense when she is referring to her stuff. She'll point to her bed and say, "Yu Yu go night-night."
The girls continue to do well in gymnastics. We have continued our routine where Philip takes them, and I sneak in a few minutes later.
We had several snow days in February, all in a crazy work-week for me. In fact, one night, I spent the night in the hotel, so that I could make sure I was there for an early morning meeting that week. Thanks to Philip for all he does. I couldn't do this parenting-thing without him. Most of you have no idea how much he helps. It is truly a team effort, and I am so blessed to have him as my life-partner.
We also have a wonderful day care. They do everything in their power to stay open, even in inclement weather. Thank goodness they were able to open a couple of days that week. With both parents working, it is difficult when we aren't able to get work done. They have been so supportive of both girls, but especially helping us transition Olivia. We are blessed.
The girls enjoyed playing in the snow and ice. Here are a few pictures:
The week after the snow/ice, I had to go out of town for work. Again, I couldn't do it without Philip. He does a great job keeping everything together!!
I have also been blessed with being able to get to know some very special ladies through the local chapter of FCC (Families with Children from China). I have been able to attend some of their "Moms on Monday" meetings, where we meet to discuss topics related to adoption. It is so assuring to have this network of fellow adoptive parents. There are issues that we go through that biological parents do not; therefore, it is nice to meet with "been there, done that" parents that can help us along the way, and people who are going through what you are at this very moment.
At the end of February, we had the pleasure of attending the FCC (Families with Children from China) Chinese New Year party! There were roughly 200 people at the party. Olivia was quite overwhelmed by it all and wasn't sure what to think. She watched the Chinese children play but wouldn't really play with them. That is one thing that we are trying to work on with her….playing with other children. She was very observant and took in everything. The party was held at a local Chinese restaurant, and Olivia loved the food, of course! After we ate, they had arranged for a local Chinese dance school to come in and perform. Many of the children who danced were adopted. It was adorable! They then had a couple of professional Chinese dancers perform and then had the lion dancers from a local Chinese organization perform. Olivia loved all of the performances. I need to learn more about the traditions, as we want to keep this part of her heritage and celebrate every year. Here are some pictures from our first Chinese New Year.
At the end of the month, we received notification of the schools where Ansley was accepted. We are happy to say that after much thought, deliberation, prayers, tours, research, etc., that we have decided on the school where Ansley will go to beginning in August. It was a very difficult decision, and one reason is because Nashville has many great schools from which to choose.
Ansley has many interests, but one that I feel sets her apart from other children her age is the love of the Nashville Predators (professional hockey team). Ansley can name most of the players and knows their numbers. She knows many of their birthdays, some of the countries from which they come, and if they have been acquired in a trade, knows where they played before and who we traded them for. Her memory is quite amazing, and she is very detail-oriented. She would often rather watch or listen to a Predators game than do anything else. She loves going to the games and often comes home with a puck that the players have given her.
Ansley also has a new-found love of Legos. She loves putting together the sets that come with instructions, but she also loves making up her own creations in free play. She has a pretty active imagination and creates many scenarios.
I apologize if this has been disjointed. I've written it over the course of a few hours with Olivia hanging (literally) on my shoulders. You should see this girl. She is a monkey.
March has been a fun month so far as well. I'll recap March in a few weeks. As always, thanks for your interest and support. Have a great weekend!