Friday, September 28, 2007

Social butterfly gravitates toward the boys

Big sister (BS) started pre-K this week, preschool for kids ages 4-5. This is her second year attending, but a new school since we moved. The school is nicely equipped with a separate library, play area, and art and music room. BS loves it! On Monday when I brought her in for the first time, two little girls approached her and asked if she wanted to play. She did happily. By midweek, BS started telling me that she had two new friends, both boys. I thought that was good. It's always nice for her to have both boys and girls to play with. After school, when I picked her up, a little boy named Joey gave BS a picture he colored just for her. She smiled, thanked him and took it.

Later, while we were getting ready for the ice cream social at her school, BS wanted to put barrettes in her hair. I said, "Oh do you want to look nice for anyone in particular, maybe the boy who gave you the picture?" She said, "No Mommy, there's another boy named Will who I really like." Oh boy, my preschooler is already dating, Lord help me!!

The story gets better or worse depending upon your perspective.

When we arrived home, I asked BS if she had seen any of the little girls she played with earlier in the week. She shrugged and said, "They don't want to play with me now." I asked her why and she acted as though she didn't know. This started me thinking about her last preschool and how all of her friends were boys. It was the same story. The girls didn't care to play with her and she was fine with that. Fine? Fine? What happens in middle school when it's no longer cool for boys and girls to be seen playing together? Maybe, I had better sign her up for the dance class now (ha, ha!) Seriously, I think it's wonderful that she can play nicely with both boys and girls. I just hope she doesn't exclude girls.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Survived Our Move!

After a year of planning, the girls and I have finally relocated to Chicago near my sister and her family. Since DH travels frequently for his job(s), we decided that it would be best for our daughters to be surrounded by family. My sister only lives a few minutes away which makes things convenient. Now that we are getting settled into a routine, here are a few things I learned from my three-day road trip to Chicago while traveling with two kids under the age of five:

1) Keep your car stocked with 'car' toys. These are toys that your kids only play with in the car.

2) Never leave home without a supply of Cheerios and Biter Biscuits (for toddlers). Goldfish work well also.

3) Make frequent stops along the way and let the little ones actually walk around so they too can stretch their legs.

4) Carry a CD's in your car that are specifically for children. Music can lighten any situation and help pass the time.

5) If your children are attached to something special (i.e. blankie or toy), make sure it's in the car with them.

6) Try to maintain your regular eating and sleeping schedule as much as possible.

7) Expect the unexpected!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Book Review #1 - China Ghosts

If you only read one book on Chinese adoption, China Ghosts by author Jeff Gammage should be it! In his memoir, Gammage shares the story of the adoption of daughter Jin Yu who was two years-old when adopted. Unlike other authors who sugar-coat the adoption story, Gammage acknowledges the realities of International adoption. He explains that the Chinese government issues stringent requirements to adoptive families in the form of an enormous dossier, checks the paperwork and then eventually matches the family with a child they believe is best suited for them. This all sounds good except for the fact that they in turn do not give back any information on the children who are adopted except for a few generic sheets of paper from a medical exam taken a few weeks before the referral. Gammage tells us that with so little information given, we are left only with our imagination which leads to our own probing questions such as who are the birth parents? Do they come from the city or countryside? Were they farmers? Did the birthmother give birth alone or with help? Did anyone see the birthmother leave the baby on the day of abandonment and most importantly, at least to the adoptive family, was a note left with the baby? Gammage who is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer wanted to know the answers to these questions and more. With his media connections and perseverance, he sent letters to China requesting information, wanting desperately to find something more out about his daughter. Finally, a letter arrived from someone on the adoption council giving him a small tidbit of new information. To find out more, you will have to read China Ghosts, a beautifully written memoir that will change your life and the way you look at Chinese adoption. For more on China Ghosts, visit

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Fisher-Price has a great way to help babies sleep!

When we adopted our second daughter this past May, we slept very little in China and for the first few nights after we arrived home. Our pediatrician recommended that we keep her up all day so that she would be completely exhausted at night and give her dye-free Benadryl mixed with a tiny amount of Melatonin for a week. I did this and put a CD player in her room with soft music. It worked like a charm. Within a week, she was sleeping peacefully throughout the night without the Benadryl. About a week later, I picked up the Fisher Price Peekaboo Waterfall Soother for her crib. She loved it! We use it now in place of the CD player. It is relatively compact and clips onto a crib nicely. The device plays continious, soothing music for up to 18 minutes and shows a monkey swinging slowly back and forth. Another nice feature of this product is that your little one can turn it on and off all by herself. After her naps each day, I can tell when she is awake because I hear her turning on the soother. Thanks Fisher Price for creating such a helpful product.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Arthur's pal gets a sister from China - TV News

If you have young children, most of us are familiar with PBS and it's long-running TV show, Arthur. He is one of TV's most beloved cartoon characters, along with his little sisters D.W. and Kate. The producers of this hit TV show have always done a fine job creating fun, yet educational episodes to entertain their audience. This fall, the executive producer and his team will present several episodes about adoption. Arthur's friend, Binky Barnes, the lovable, yet dim-witted character will find out that his parents are adopting a baby girl from China. According to Adoptive Families Magazine, the episodes are a "must-watch," carefully and thoughtfully written to portray the emotions of a new big brother waiting for the arrival of his little sister. Binky's mother even sews a bai jia bei or quilt of 100 wishes in anticipation of her new arrival. To learn more about Arthur and view upcoming episodes, visit for more information.