Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Terrible Twos

They have arrived.

Caroline - who, to be fair, is generally happy and well-behaved - has learned two vitally important words recently:
"No!"
"Mine!"
Sigh...

She is also exploring more of her world every day.  This regrettably includes what she can and can't get away with.  This means yanking on power cords, and trying to get her busy little hands on computers, telephones, TV remote controls, and anything else that has a button that might make noise if pushed.  It also includes pulling the dogs' tails and coats, which is of great concern to us because our dogs, though generally very affectionate and easy-going, are at least as big as Caroline, and a warning nip would be pretty painful to say the least.

I don't want my relationship with my daughter to be an endless litany of "No!  Don't!  Stop!  Quit!", and I certainly don't want to be punishing her every ten minutes, but, on the other hand, she needs to learn - and that right quickly - that there are some things that she simply doesn't need to do and, more generally, when we tell her to do something (or stop doing something else), we're to be obeyed because we have her safety at heart*.

On a more amusing note, she has developed a minor ritual to try to stop ol' Baba making her do things that she doesn't want to do, such as take a bath or go to bed.  When she gets the Warning Order ("OK, kiddo: it's about time to ---"), she does the following:
1. Lower lip starts to go out
2. Look of distress appears on vis.
3. Runs to Mama or, even better, Laolao
4. Climbs into maternal lap
5. Clings to maternal neck like it's the last lifeboat on the Titanic
6. Looks at me, waves pitiably, and says, "Night-night" as if to say, "Well, since bedtime is on your mind, why don't YOU go and I'll stay here"

Apparently, she thinks that this will cause me to go away and stop bothering her.  Unfortunately for her, it merely elicits a laugh... and she gets the bath or goes to bed anyway.**

I should note that I unburdened my woes to an older friend of mine who laughed and said, "If you think the Terrible Twos are bad, wait until the Terrible Fourteens!"

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(*) OK, yes: her safety, but also our peace of mind and bank account!

(**) I often remark that I don't get her aversion to baths and bed, which I gather is common in small children.  I LIKE taking a long hot shower, and the only thing I like better than napping for an hour is napping for two hours.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A busy weekend

This was a busy weekend for Caroline: her first punkin patch and a trip to a local amusement park.  Thanks to the wonders of smart phones and digital cameras (ever stop to ponder just what a marvel the smart phone is?), we documented it pretty well.  How much of our own lives* is documented by a relative handful of faded, blurry photos and slides?

Marketing genius: don't just sell pumpkins.  The owners of this patch also had stands to sell other treats as well as lots of old wagons and other photo props.  Business was definitely booming for them!
Oh, my!  Look at all these... um... round, orange things!
Well, Mama and Baba said I should pick one.
Taking a moment to dance.  She did that quite often during the day.
Wow!  Don't think I can pick this one up, but I'll try!
As I noted above, business was booming with people bringing their children not only to buy pumpkins but also to take photos.  Caroline made a new friend.  The little girl's grandmother said that she was shy; Caroline didn't let that stop her!


 
The following day, we met a friend and her two boys at a local amusement park.  This was Caroline's first experience with a "cow train." It... might have gone better...
 
Um... OK.  Not too sure about this.  I'm strapped down in this thing.  But at least Mama and Baba are standing right there, so I guess everything's cool.
And we're off!  As you see, the "train" was nothing spectacular, but it and other things around the park provided lots of cheap entertainment.  Again, marketing genius!

Caroline, unfortunately, was less interested in appreciating the genius and more interested in... um...

GET ME OUTA HEEEEERRRRRRREEEEEE!!!!!
Caroline actually managed to unbuckle her seatbelt and was on the point of hurling herself from the "train" when the alert operator saw what was going on and stopped the ride.  She was OK riding with an adult (too bad we haven't got photos of ol' Baba trying to squeeze into the car!) but by herself?  Not so much.

In all, quite a nice weekend.

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(*) I refer to those of us ol' timers who can remember such things as:
(A) Putting a large, black plastic disk onto a device to listen to music
(B) Shoving a large magnetic tape cassette into another device to watch a movie
(C) Talking on a phone connected by an actual wire into the wall
(D) Taking film to be developed and putting prints into an envelope to mail them to loved ones so they could see them
How times have changed!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall festivals

Autumn has arrived, and with it come various fairs and festivals.  As a boy, I loved going to the fair in my hometown to ride the rides; as I've gotten older, my interest has switched to making an utter pig of myself on fair food ("... that's where a rat can glut-glut-GLUT-GLUUUUUUUUT!").

This year was a little different as it marks both an end and a beginning.  My niece has joined the Coast Guard, and we went to the big Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem the day before she shipped out for basic training for one last uncle-niece day.

Haven't even left the ground yet!

Pretty sure they haven't got these in the Coast Guard!

This is also Caroline's first year at fairs.  It certainly won't be her last!

Mountain Glory Festival, Marion, NC
 
Classic cars.  Despite Caroline's love for cars, the sound of a hopped-up Chevelle made her nervous.  Maybe because it was enough to shake the ground!

We thought Caroline would enjoy the bouncy houses that were set up.  It took her a little while to figure them out, but she quickly got the hang of it.

But what about a big slide?

How hard can it be for somebody like moi?

This ladder is harder to climb than the one on the playground!
 
A boost from her godmother and...
 
AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!
 
Moving right along...

This is a BIG bouncy house!
 

LET ME OUTA HERE!!!!
We all reach our limits, and this bouncy house, which was HUGE, proved a little too much for our girl.

I wonder how she'll do next year?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Adoption Video

After working on it all summer, I finally finished Caroline's adoption video.  I thought you might like to see it.


video


I feel like crying every time I watch this.  Jim and I are very lucky parents to have this sweet girl.


Chrystal

Monday, September 29, 2014

Myrtle Beach

We took a trip to Myrtle Beach over the weekend.  Unfortunately, the weather was not terribly cooperative, with wind, clouds and drizzle for much of the trip.  No great loss as far as Caroline was concerned as the beach holds nothing but terror for her (though she loves to LOOK at the ocean... from the safety of a hotel room balcony).

Not so the other attractions!



Clowning around

At the aquarium

At the Christmas Store, giving ol' Baba a heart attack by grabbing every (fragile) ornament she could

And, of course, her favorite thing, which we drove hundreds of miles* to see...

A coin-operated car ride (apparently from Britain)

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(*) As I've gotten older, two great mysteries have arisen in my mind surrounding Myrtle Beach:

1.  Why is this a tourist destination at all?  There are much better beaches along the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, and the Gulf Coast of Florida is VERY nice.  Myrtle Beach, on the other hand, is like swimming in a dirty ashtray.  Why, then, is it so popular?  Good marketing?

2.  Given its popularity as a vacation spot in this part of the country, one would think that getting there would be very easy, as in twelve-lane interstates from north, south and west.  Not so: the path to Myrtle Beach is a torturous journey along state highways that are often the main street of little towns along the way.  Weird...

Monday, September 22, 2014

The future of the China program (?)

I wish to draw your attention to the following blog post:
The fact is, and this [conversation with the Director of the CCCWA] is paraphrased but stayed pretty true as we even recorded part of it, “China wants to keeps its girls. We need our girls. We have let too many of them go. Our children in general. We are still for now adopting children out. But these will only be the girls, well, the children, who have great medical needs. America is very good about this. You have many doctors and many people to help these children. Your families will love these children. Some agencies work very hard to place these children and we are glad to have them find homes..."
As the author goes on to state, this promises to be very hard on the people who are waiting - hoping - to adopt from China.  Their wait may be even longer than they expect, and the child(ren) that they are eventually matched with may have even more significant medical problems than they foresee... or can handle.

But I think that we may all at bottom be pretty happy about this for the sake of the children and birth families.  Adoption from China has been possible because of some pretty severe problems in that long-suffering country, and it seems that the Chinese are starting to get them under control.  Hopefully, there will soon be no more scenes like these in China, though that may well mean that American families (including ours) will suffer great disappointment.

This is disappointment that I think I can live with.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Etiquette

What is the "etiquette" for approaching families that one suspects (white adults, non-white children) of being adoptive?