Sunday, November 28, 2010

The obligatory Santa visit

Last Wednesday I received a call from our daycare provider that Van had been running and had fallen into the bottom of her stairs. She told me he had a big goose egg on his forehead and was pretty upset. She suggested we better come and get him. He in fact did have quite the goose egg but was unscathed otherwise. He calmed as soon as he was with us a had a nice long nap when he got home. When he woke up we thought we might as well take him to the mall for something to do. While there we noticed the Santa enclosure was set up and there was no line! Why not try and get him to sit through the obligatory Santa photo? Goose egg and all? So we brought him in and sat him on Santa's lap. I'll give him credit, he didn't freak out. He didn't really want to be there though. He whined and squirmed out of his lap. We put him back in and encouraged "santa" to hold on to him a bit tighter (geeze you'd think the guy had experience wrangling kids, that is his job after all. He never attempted to interact with Van at all and seemed very uncomfortable). On seeing that he couldn't squirm out of his lap he craned his head around to look at this strange man and said something along the lines of "Banga ba?" (a note about this later). When he turned back around we got a quick photo before he was back off buddy's lap again. We thought he might want to play in the enclosure but nope, as soon as his feet hit the ground he was outta there! Ran straight out of the enclosure and took off into the main part of the mall. So no big freak out but definitely not impressed lol. Here is the final product (note the bruise on his forehead):

Now, back to the "Banga ba". Lately he has been saying words similar to this a lot i.e. banga banga...banga ba...banga banga ba. His daycare provider is not sure where it came from as none of the other kids have been making similar sounds. She had the thought that it might be Vietnamese and has asked a friend of hers. We have yet to hear the consensus. After doing a lot of reading I have discovered that it is not at all uncommon for internationally adopted children to express, verbally, first words or even grammatical structures from their first language. It makes sense as they have spent 9 months in the womb hearing that language and then, in Van's case, a further 10 months listening to it. His brain is hard wired to Vietnamese. I read about a little girl who was adopted from China at 6 months old who at 2 years old began "speaking" words that her parents could not recognize at all. While in a Chinese restaurant one evening a Chinese diner recognized baby Chinese and informed her parents. Amazing eh? There is so much we don't know and so much we have to learn. So is banga banga ba rudimentary Vietnamese? I would love to know!! I hope we find out.

We returned to the experimental farm this Sunday for another run around the barn. Here are a few pictures (and yes it is the same outer wear from last week lol):

One more pic of little dude trying on mama's sunglasses. Cute right? lol:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

16 Months Old

Wow, where does the time go?? Van turned 16 months old on November 21st. Some days I think I see many changes and other days he seems like the same little guy we met at the orphanage almost 6 months ago. He still appears to be teething on and off with with one more molar to show for it. His upper eye teeth have also been threatening to come through for about a month now. The teething, as mentioned in my last post, has been such a struggle for our little guy. He really appears to be in significant pain much of time. It is also amazing how it can effect a child's personality. At its worst the teething can turn him into a completely different personality with lots of tantrums and melt downs. Then a break in the teething brings back the happy little guy who appears to be able to roll with the punches. I am convinced that the bad rap toddlers get are due in large part to teething as it can effect every aspect of their daily (and nightly) lives. Luckily for us no matter how bad it gets during the day, he always sleeps through the night. I know we are very lucky in this respect!!

As far as his other development goes, he has managed to find the patience to begin sitting through a few songs at day care (not with us yet though lol). He is definitely taking more interest in what other children are doing and wanting to become more involved. He is starting to become a bit more pushy with toys. Before he might try and take one away but wouldn't kick up a fuss if another child tried to take it back. Now he is beginning to feel somewhat possessive. He doesn't kick up a fuss, he just holds on tight and tries to turn his body away from the other child. I still do not really hear many words although his daycare provider continues to insist that he has a number of words now. When dropping him off at daycare one morning Pat did witness him saying "Ya Please" when his provider asked him if he wanted his breakfast. At first he said "Ya" and then she said "Yes please"? and he said "Ya Please" in response. Yesterday morning when saying goodbye to Pat and Van as they left the house Van looked at me then took his finger and poked Pat on the chest and said "Dada". I definitely heard and saw him say that. Still waiting for him to do that and say mama although he has said mama numerous times before I've just never been sure if he knew the meaning. This morning at a doctor's appointment he actually brought me a doll and the plastic bottle (they have toys there) and pretended to feed the doll. I know this is a developmental stage but I was still surprised to see it as he has never shown any interest in dolls or stuffed animals before. I think the little girls at his daycare are having a good influence on him :)

On Sunday (the day he turned 16 months) we met up with Sam, Woody, Max and Vanh and went to the agricultural museum at the experimental farm. We were very curious to see how Van would react seeing the animals in the barn. Well he had no fear that's for sure! He stuck his hands in to pet the sheep and goats and allowed a calf to lick his hands and forehead! I tell you this boy has no fear! We're going to have to watch him like hawks! After the barn we went for a nice lunch at a new favourite pho restaurant. Here are a few pictures:

After his afternoon nap we headed to our friend's David and Brenna's place for dinner. Of course a pre-dinner snack of pita bread and hummus was in order for Van and 18 month old Neila:

"I am 16 months old!" (BTW the bruise is a result of a fall at daycare):

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ode to teething

Oh little teeth trying to force your way through
sore and tender gums
How I wish you would come all at once
like the beat of 20 drums
Instead your emergence is in fits and starts
and all together bumpy
The result of which is much pain
and a toddler that is grumpy
A grumpy toddler is not really much fun
and many tantrums are the result
Sometimes odd and startling noises emerge
bringing visions of the occult
Moans and yells and sometimes shrieks
from such a little mouth
Makes one want to pack some suitcases
and head for a holiday down south
So please please hear the desperate plea
of a tired and rankled mother
We have all suffered through months of pain
and can't imagine another

As you can tell from my amateurish "poem" teething has become quite the epic adventure in this house. I am sure many many parents can relate lol. We constantly wonder why it takes so so so long for a few teeth to come through. Little dude has been suffering through almost constant, horrible teething pain for the past 2 months. The end result so far is 2 molars and very swollen gums around the upper eye teeth area. The eye teeth have been threatening to come through for 3 weeks now. Come through already! Jebus! Poor little dude is at his own wits end with this. He is not eating well, not sleeping well and having a lot of meltdowns and tantrums. Every other week or so things seems to calm down in his mouth and he (and us) get a week or a few days of happy bliss. Then the damn things start ratcheting up again. Who knew that this process could be so long and so awful for some kids. There is nothing we can do for him other than offer him comfort when he needs it and a mild doc approved pain killer when it's at its worst.

Anyway, here is a little picture of him when he is pain free and happy :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Halloween

Well as with a lot of the firsts, we had high expectations for Halloween. We should know by now that expectations are useless when dealing with a toddler lol. Our big plan had been to go to the twins (Max and Vanh) place and hit their neighbourhood. Sam had found a great Pooh Bear outfit as Max and Vanh had decided they wanted to be Piglet and Tigger. It would have been perfect with a bunch of prime photo opportunities. Well Van had other ideas. Between the endless teething pain and fighting a cold (that has plagued me since last week), he just wasn't up for a trip in the car and a lateish night. We decided to take him to 3 of our neighbours' houses instead and get him to bed a bit early. I don't think he ever knew what was really going on and was more intent on getting into our neighbours' homes rather than accept the candy on offer. Here are a few pictures (my mother visited this weekend but sadly we didn't manage to get any pictures with her and Van):

Costume is on:

Watching our neighbour Mark get the shared front step shoveled off in readiness for the trick or treaters:

The first house. A bit confused:

He knows our neighbours so ran in right away...past C.C and into the living room. It took a bit of coaxing to get him to come back and accept some candy lol:

Darkness has arrived. Even Superman and his dog SuperChibi need to call it a night at some point:

We did manage to get together with a few other adoptive families on Saturday for a little Halloween get together. Kindly hosted by Cindy and her super cute daughter Hannah. We decided to try for a group shot on the couch. After a few tries we finally got one.

An adjustment to Tigger:

Superman is trying to get away:

Now Superman is traumatizing the little lady beside him:

Finally, success! From left to right: Vanh and Max (27 months), Hannah (almost 3), Van (15 months) and Olivia (12 months).

Trying on a Mexican wrestling mask from one of daddy's previous costumes :)

He thought the mask was pretty funny!

Unrelated to Halloween but equally as monumental in Van's young life, his first exposure to snow:

I will end with a recent picture of Van that I just love!