Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Imax was cool...the attachment is cooler.

On Thursday I took Li Lin to the Science Centre while the other kids were at school.  Having noticed a new IMAX film playing, I decided to purchase tickets for the two of us.  Wasn't I surprised when I showed up at showtime and found out we were the only two ticket holders!  Yes, that's right...we sat alone in an empty theatre just like celebs.  It was pretty cool!

Nowhere near as cool as Saturday morning though...Li Lin asked us if we could go back to China today so she could say, "Yao, Daddy. Yao, Daddy. (want daddy, want daddy) Come here daddy, come here daddy." 

Then she said, "I want to make his heart feel better." 

While in China, she would sometimes say, "Bu yao baba. Bu yao baba (not want daddy, not want daddy).  She says her heart feels sad that she said this to him while we were there.  It seems she wishes she could rewrite this part of her China adoption story.  She genuinely regrets her treatment of Steph.  He, of course, reassures her that he is not upset by it.

On another note, over the past two weeks she has had us tell her "China story" over and and over again.  She stipulates that we must start with, "Once upon a time...and finish with, "the end."   Rarely does a supper go by when she doesn't ask at least one of us to tell her story.  Sometimes she will ask several of us to give our own version of her adoption story.  It is getting a bit  old for some of her sibs, but they patiently oblige her knowing and understanding it is therapeutic for her.  It would not be an exaggeration to say we have told her over fifty times.  She, for her part, loves it and apparently never tires of it. :)

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Speech Therapist won't forget us anytime soon!

Today Li Lin had her speech reevaluated by a community Speech Language Pathologist.  I am pleased that the SLP feels she has come a long way in her speech since she was originally seen in July at Sick Kids.   

I have to say though, this little girl makes an impression on people everywhere she goes.  At one point the SLP was getting Li Lin to say the word, "teeth".  The therapist was opening her mouth and showing Li Lin how to make the "t" sound.  Li Lin did not immediately make the sound but started pointing to the woman's teeth and saying something the therapist could not make out.  The therapist looked at me and I said, "Li Lin is telling you that you have a green speck on your front tooth.  Maybe some leftover salad from lunch."  How embarrasing!  For me and the therapist. :)  Especially after Li Lin asked her if she could watch her brush her teeth! 

Another comical moment came when Li Lin spontaneously told the therapist that she can do gangnam style dancing.  (One of her older sibs taught her a few weeks ago unbeknowst to me)  Li Lin then proceeded to ask the SLP if  she could do gangnam style dancing.  The therapist said she did not know how.  As I expected, Little L then proceeded to say, "I can show you." 

After her demo, she asked the SLP to try.  At first the therapist was not really going to do it, but Li Lin insisted by taking the SLP by the hands and encouraging her to stand and give it a go.

I am quite certain the therapist won't forget our appointment for a while!

For her part I don't think it will be hard to get Li Lin to go for the weekly therapy sessions that are to start in February.  After all, she had a blast.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The January Oxymoron

Today was an unseasonably warm January day.  We have snow, or at least slush, and cold, frigid temps in January.  Today the kids were biking.  Yup... biking.

Biking and January are not usually found in the same sentence around here but today I can happily say the kids were out biking on January 12th!  It was a great outdoor time of pogo sticking, biking and taking down the Christmas lights.  Rykauna even managed to get in some time of lounging on the hammock!

I hadn't seen a pogo stick in years, (except the edible kind) but Logan got one for Christmas so it was great fun seeing how many bounces they could do.

Getting a jump on learning to ride a bike...she just loved it!

Logan and Hudson helped Steph put away all the lights and extension cords.
 Small remnants of the white stuff can be seen here and there but it is melting very fast! :)

So glad the kids got in some sliding, tobogganing, sledding, or whatever you choose to call it, over the holidays 'cause who knows if they get a chance to do it again this winter.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The preschool teacher made my week!

In late November we enrolled Li Lin two days a week  into a  Mandarin/English Bilingual Preschool.  We are concerned about maintaining her mother tongue.  Wiser, much more well read minds than I, have researched the topic and came to the unsurprising conclusion that maintaining a child's first language has huge benefits to the child and helps in learning a second or third language.  Not to mention the asset knowing mandarin will be in the workplace.

Since Li Lin feels so strongly about wanting to visit yeye and nainai again someday, we feel it is imperative she does not forget how to speak mandarin.  What a sad day that would be for her to meet them again and not be able to chat with them. 

The transition to her part-time studies went relatively smoothly thanks to a friend of hers that she knows from church who attends the school as well.  He made her feel very much at home there and she seemed to like it.  That was before the Christmas break.  Li Lin had a rash the week before the break so she had a total of three weeks off.  On Monday I took her and it seemed to go okay.  She came home excited to tell us about her day.  Tues she did not want to go.  I spoke with the preschool teacher about a couple of Li Lin's concerns and why she did not want to go.  Was I ever happy I spoke to her!

She said a few things:
1. She is shy--- hard to believe, our little out-going child is being described as shy
2.  She likes having mandarin books read to her and understands everything. 
3.  When spoken to in mandarin she often answers back in English :(
4.  Don't worry... she still speaks mandarin often- a number of kids only speak mandarin.  She speaks to these kids in Chinese.

Then the teacher said, "Yesterday I heard her say to a friend she was playing with, Wo ai wode mama. Ni ai nide ma?"  (This translates to: I love my mom. Do you love yours?)

Pure joy.  As I walked to my van I fought back tears and swallowed a big lump in my throat.  What a sweet little girl... bless her heart!  I am so happy I got to hear this adorable story.

As for the schooling, I am praying she readjusts quickly.  Her language is so closely linked to her culture and everything she came from.  I know this for a fact because she has been speaking a lot more about her foster grandparents and missing them since entering this mandarin environment.  If she does not readjust we may need to pull her out.  We will see how it goes.

One thing's for sure though, I can't imagine the teacher making me any happier next week. Those words were precious...I will treasure them for a long time.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Long Live Duct (Duck) Tape and those who love to clean!

  Yesterday, more than ever, I realized how out of touch I am with the crafts of today.  I had no idea duck tape crafts even existed; nevermind, that they could look sort of cool!  On Friday, my oldest daughter, Rykauna, spent the afternoon making duck tape crafts with a friend of hers.  I was impressed with the functionality of the duck tape wallet she made.  Her brothers were obviously too as they each ordered and paid for a wallet of their own.  Hudson, ever the sweetheart, paid for a change pouch to be made for Li Lin.  Rykauna had already graciously made little L some duck tape hair barrettes.  Even Steph got in on the action and ordered a tri-fold wallet for himself.

Have a look and see for yourself!  Not bad for humble duck tape.  Although with these funky styles duck tape is stepping out in style.

On a side note, Li Lin just cleaned up her room on her own a few minutes ago.  Yup, no prodding, no asking, just a self starter!  To top it off, she just asked me if she can tidy up Hudson's room and then tidy up Steph and I's.  Let's just say I didn't take long giving her an answer! :)  It is hard to believe it but this nearly four year old child loves to clean!  I am all smiles!  As I helped her finish off some of my room she asked if she can now tidy up Logan's and then Rykauna's rooms.  She was a little disappointed to find out their rooms were fully tidy.  She was hoping for more to clean but was frustrated to find out the rest of the home is presently spotless.  Well not spotless, but tidy.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Li Lin celebrated her first Christmas!

December 25th, 2012 was Li Lin’s first Christmas celebration.  Our beautiful three-and-a-half year old daughter got to celebrate it surrounded with lots of family.  She loved it!  What child doesn’t?  Both sets of grandparents were in attendance as were her aunts and uncles and cousins from my side of the family.  Steph’s brother and his wife and family live very far away in the warm climates of Central America.  Hopefully she will get a chance to meet them in the next year.

Our house was hopping with people, including ourselves, there was 23 of us staying overnight for a couple of nights!  It was lots of fun!  We enjoyed many games, great food, and family time.  It was nice for the cousins to spend time all together.  At times it was hard to believe there was 13 kids in the house.  They were so quiet.  Often times they were playing games in the basement and getting along splendidly. 

 Christmas morning, dressed in PJs, awaiting the opening of the gifts!

Li Lin opening a gift from Jie Jie

 Gotta love the chaos of Christmas morning...wrapping paper everywhere, piles of gifts all over... so much fun!

 Some of the cousins playing a new game... foosball!  Fun for the little ones and the big ones too!

Such a treat to have my sister here for Christmas!
 Hudson and Callista playing some air hockey!

It is hard to believe that only a year ago, December 22, 2011, we saw Li Lin’s picture for the very first time.  Five months later May 7, 2012 we met her and adopted her.  Next week it will be eight months.  What a blessing she has been in our lives. 
As we start 2013, May God bless and guide our family and help us to follow his leading in our lives.