Saturday, February 11, 2017


Well, it's been just over a week since my last update on how things are going. I'd say things are better but still a bit difficult at times. We all seem to be mostly over the jet lag, so that has definitely helped. But Johanna has a major meltdown at least every other day, and those are hard.

We moved Johanna's mattress downstairs to the floor next to our bed, and now she usually sleeps the whole night through, sometimes just getting up to go to the bathroom or needing a quick reassurance that we are there. I stay with her until she falls asleep each night, and she likes holding my hand if I hang my arm off the side of my bed.

Johanna seems to get more comfortable each day with us at home. She's still super shy and nervous out in public, staying close to me and not really talking. But at home she's very talkative, using a mix of English, what we assume to be Mandarin, and jibberish! It's interesting to see how her language is developing versus how Jonas's did. Because he was just two, he picked up single words, much like an infant does, whereas Johanna seems to be learning English in phrases: brush teeth, Molly poo poo, Jonas school, no touch, good morning, Johanna owie, oh my, etc. Lots of people have asked how we communicate with her. Honestly, we just speak simple English (short phrases and repetition) and use gestures or demonstrate things. She already seems to be understanding quite a lot.

Molly doesn't really seem to scare Johanna anymore, so that's been nice. Now she just gets annoyed with Molly when she's in the way or trying to eat her food (as we all do!). Johanna feeds her, pets her, says hi and bye to her, and tries to play with her. She even orders her around, telling her to get back and such.

It's been fun to see Johanna's reaction to things she's obviously never experienced before. Simple things bring her great joy, and it's really cool to witness that. She laughs her head off when you push her on the swings. She thought it was hilarious when Molly caught a tennis ball and started chewing it yesterday. And once she figured out how to sit in the grocery cart, she thought the feeling of riding on the bumpy pavement outside (versus the smooth aisles inside) was the coolest thing ever.

She and Jonas get along great about 75% of the time. I don't think Jonas understands why she doesn't want to play sword fighting with him all day long, but they've had fun inventing some games in the backyard, dressing up in play clothes, and playing hide and seek. Johanna has been exploring some toys that Jonas hasn't touched in months, which all of the sudden makes them very interesting to him as well (of course!), so old toys have taken on a new life with her here. Squabbles tend to happen when one has a toy the other wants, one takes a toy the other was using, or they are competing over something.

It's definitely more difficult being a parent of two children, especially ones of the same age and who both need lots of reassurance about being loved. If Johanna bumps her head and needs hugs and kisses, Jonas will claim he bumped his head as well and come over for his own hugs and kisses. If Jonas is being held, Johanna will want to be held. And boy do they notice if one gets something that the other doesn't, whether it's an apple or help getting dressed or extra attention! I haven't gone many places with both kids yet, but remembering what it was like in China, it's very difficult to keep track of two kids when they run in different directions!

Dealing with Johanna's emotional state has definitely been the most difficult part of our journey so far. I started writing about it here, but I think I'll make it its own blog entry, as it's a lot to cover. Overall, we're having a lot of fun with our little girl, and she's learning a lot and getting more comfortable day by day. We can't wait to see how she blossoms after another week here!

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