7:24 PM

Odds and ends

I made a common mistake most parents of only one child does.  I assumed that raising children is exactly like raising my child.  Once I said that I bathe my son only once a week to save time and keep it novel and interesting for him.  I am sure now that some of you were very grossed out by that statement, honestly I thought you were a germaphobe.  Now I understand why it may have turned your stomach.  Apparently I had the worlds' cleanest child in my first born.  Elora is a totally different story.  She drools so much for some one who has all her teeth and she has a fountain of snot at all times but more so when she eats or cries.  She is a messy eater and sweats constantly.  Strange things of a dirt colour seem to collect in her cute folds.  She uses her snow white hair as a handy built in dish cloth to wipe her dirty hands on.  This child could be bathed twice a day and you would still look at her and say "That woman only baths her child weekly, look at that hot mess of a child, what is she thinking?!?!"
The worst part is that she still (or I guess I should say again) hates baths.  I am trying to compromise between bathing her twice daily (mommy wishes) and never (Elora wishes).  I once again dread the thought of a beach or pool outing, but can not imagine a summer with out them.  Any one have tips on getting our kids to like things they hate??  I am wondering if repeat daily exposure is the way to go, can you really be mad at a bath every day??  I am also trying to keep her in until she calms down as to end on a good note, maybe we should try the fast dunk instead?

On the topic of how my kids could not be more different from one another... eating.  I know food is a hot topic for adopted kids.  I know what I am seeing with Elora stems from the fact that she did not get enough food at some point in her past.  I know the why, but again I am a bit stumped with the how to fix part.  In regards to food we have a few main issues.  Firstly she does not chew, she literally inhales noodles and other food whole in one large gulp.  I have tried to give her things that are obviously too big to fit in her mouth and let her play with it in the hopes she will try nibbling it.  Nope.  She rams the whole thing in her mouth and then makes this mad/pathetic face and whimpers.  She will not remove it, she will bite you if you try to remove it, but it is clearly gagging her and prohibiting her from closing her mouth, her jaw is wedged open to it's fullest extension.  The other day I had to scoop some food out with a chopstick to save her and my finger.  It is the most hilarious/discussing/sad thing you will ever see.  I also try to feed her a large item such as a sandwich by putting it near her mouth but she just opens wider and wider she will not close down on the food I am placing in her mouth until the entire object is in.  If some part of it is still in my hand she just patiently waits with a full open mouth for me to surrender it. 
The other big food problem we have is mooching.  She is very attached to us and keeps appropriate boundaries between family, friends and strangers and understands the different relationships, except if food is involved.  A stranger with food, even if they are not offering it to her, will get her very cutest tricks and smiles as she mimes for their food.  I can see that she is well versed in this survival skill, clearly that is one of the reasons why we got such a hefty baby from the orphanage.  Any tips on stopping this?  She does it even when I am offering food because she wants to make sure that the other food is not better or maybe to increase her chances of getting fed by sucking up to other feeders.  We don't let people outside of the family feed her, but other than that we don't have any real strategy in place.

We have had some exciting success in getting her to nap at friends' houses in a play pen.  That has been nice because it lets us travel and be a bit more mobile while still respecting the routine.  Things continue to grow in leaps and bounds, it is like I have a new baby each week.  She is starting to pick up some english words and she says them with the cutest Chinese accent, it is ADORABLE.  Her comprehension is up as well and she will even let me occasionally leave her sight to get her food or run to the bathroom. She loves shoes and dill pickles just like her mommy and big brother, it's the little things that are so amazing when you think about it, just a million little things that are transforming her every day.  It makes me sad some times because she is like a childhood on fast forward, each step and milestone is there for only a blink.  I am mostly just grateful for each one we get to experience with her, so many firsts that we are lucky to share.


Theresa Self said...

Oh your writings make me chuckle because I have been there. First the snotty nose will most likely be the first to go. I am not sure why but this seems to be something both of my children came back with from China. Baths: Anya was terrified of the bath. i did bathe with her on my lap and took her foot and had it splash the water than gave her a cup and showed her how to pour water with it basically showed her how to play and have fun in the bath BUBBLES were a huge hit. Once home it was always 3 people in the tub combos of mom, anya, ethan or dad anya, ethan. After about 3 weeks we were able to have just the kids in the tub this was cause for celebration : ). It took about 9-12 months before we started giving her a bath by herself and for her to feel comfortable and enjoy it alone.
FOOD: again both kids were ravenous and would stuff as much food as they could into their mouths and often choke and gag because they had so much food in their mouths they couldn't possibly chew or swallow it. What i did again for about the first year home was offer meals at meal time with small bites cut up but for the entire rest of the day snacks(healthy apples, bananas,cut up peeled, crackers cheese any and everything I could think of that had nutritional value) was offered all day long as well as a sippy cup full of milk or water which my two carried around all day long.
My philosophy was to let my children know and understand on a very biological level that they will always have food and drink and they will never have to worry or go hungry or compete for food. After awhile food was no longer a big deal because it was always available.
In the begininng Anya always had to have food in both hands and in her mouth at the same time or she would panic, holding food in both hands and in her maouth at the same time seemed to give her security and she would stuff less in her mouth knowing that she had it in her hands ready to go.
she would also go up to people that were eating and try to climb in their laps and start eating their food. We stayed home alot : )
I hope some of this helps!

Theresa Self said...

Ok I need to add that Anya now loves water. So much we can't keep her out of. But I have to strongly emphasize DO NOT dunk her or force her into the water it will only reinforce her fear and break her trust in you. Bath time with mom really the way to go : )and Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles

Theresa Self said...

So sorry i forgot to add one more thing about the baths. ANya only likes her bath water very tepid barely luke warm. I am not sure if Elora is sensitive to the temperature like A. is but wanted to mention it because the water may be to warm for her if you are using the same temp as you do for your sons bath. again I hope this helps!

Missy said...

May have some insights for you. Finally conquered the bath dilemma after a month.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!

Our oldest child (adopted from China) also wanted to eat a LOT all day long. We let her eat as much healthy food as she wanted, and wow! Did she dig in! She drank tons of milk, too, like a half gallon per day. This lasted about a year or more. Fast foward to today. She is now a 'tween and does eat more than the average girl though she remains slender and is very healthy and doesn't seem to be fixated on food any more.

You might want to try giving Elora as much food, in small bite-size pieces, as she wants, and between meals leave healthy snacks out for her to get and eat so that she'll feel secure in knowing there'll always be food. Bring food in the car with you and everywhere you go. I think she needs to get the message repeatedly that she'll always have her (food) needs met.