Thursday, January 5

4 Month Gotcha Anniversary

Four months ago today, Gwendolyn came to us scared, tired and hungry. She cried for 45 minutes straight. I didn't have the right words, hugs or caresses to make it all better. In fact, I seemed to only make it worse. But I was optimistic since I knew her reaction to this new and frightening situation was normal. Still, when the orphanage Director told me (through a translator) that our child "always smiled", I was skeptical. I'd never seen her smile. Just her stoic little referral pictures and now this wet, hysterical face.

45 minutes later, she'd taken a bottle and fallen asleep in my lap. She slept all the way back to the hotel and when she woke up, she was a different child.

I know we got lucky with Gwen. I know other new parents earn their "wings" (aviator talk) with a much more strenuous test. She is our little darling! Not perfect but perfect for us!

Here she is this morning modeling the sweater her Granny (Andrew's wonderful mom!) made for her. We worried that she'd outgrow it before Winter set in. We're happy to see that she hasn't!

We went to the mall today, as we do every morning. She got lots of compliments on the sweater and she seemed to enjoy the attention. She's very social now. It's just been in the last month or so that she'll walk up to strangers and interact with them. This is especially true if they're holding a cell phone!

My arms know how to comfort her now and that's such a beautiful thing! She *wants* me and I'm so honored to have earned that!

Family life is good; her relationship with Daddy is amazing, she likes her big brother (who works hard to pretend like she doesn't exist!) and she's loving to the kitty although, at times, it seems like it's more of a "tough love" thing. Fortunately, Kitty has some masochist in her and she seems to enjoy the rough handling!

Gwen says many words -- but not on command. Mostly, she uses language to get something and not to label it. She'll say "in" or "again" but not call something by its name. She does, however, do the cutest immitation of our cat's meow. I'll try to catch that on video and share it with you.

I thought she had no name for me but it appears that I'm "Baba". I've tried to correct her by showing her that the bottle is BaBa and I'm Mamma but she still smiles and calls me "BaBa" and hugs me. How can I refuse that?! I'm assuming that all the times I asked her if she wanted a Baba and snuggled with her in the chair must have taught her that I'm the Baba and the container with the warm white beverage is some other unnamed thing. I might understand the confusion if I was breastfeeding her!

Update: I finally got around to measuring Gwen and was pretty surprised to see that she's grown 2.25 inches in the four months we've had her! I had to actually draw a line on a piece of paper to see how much that really was. It's the height of a D battery. Or the width of an iPod. It's a little bit more than three postage stamps. Her hair hasn't even grown this fast! I know all full term babies are around 20 inches at birth and they grow pretty fast but this was super fast! It must be Mamma's good home cookin'!


Blogger Sjoukje said...

So Donna, is this really what "this morning" looks like in San Jose? Such sunny and mild weather, it seems! A shining bright little lady in the surroundings that suit her! ;-)

(from where we cover ourselves in coats and hats and shawls and muffins these days ;-)

January 05, 2006 2:59 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Donna - I just love reading your blog! Your daughter is so beautiful. You are both blessed. I have added your blog as a link on mine. I hope you don't mind, and if you do - please let me know and I will remove it right away. Keep the updates coming! :)


January 05, 2006 6:47 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

You guys are both such loving, patient, and generous parents - and have obviously done a great job with Gwen. She seems to have adjusted so well to her life and loves every minute of it. And you did luck out. What a fun girl!

Parenting is not always the easiest, but you clearly enjoy many rewards with your beautiful children.


January 05, 2006 10:12 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Donna, I LOVE your Gwen's hair! It looks as though they had shaved it at some point before you got her? It has grown back so thick! Our Gwen is older than yours but still has such soft, flyaway baby hair. It hadn't been shaved... maybe it should have been! Your girl is sure a cutie!
~Lynne of

January 06, 2006 5:49 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Congrats, congrats... every little anniversary is so sweet, isn't it? We're just a month behind you. :)

January 06, 2006 7:22 AM  
Blogger Donna & Joe said...

What a nice post....congrats on your 4 month anniversary! Gwen's sweet personality has certainly come across on your blog. Remember that her sweetness and outgoing personality do have a lot to do with you and your are doing a fantastic job with her!

Donna :)

January 06, 2006 7:33 AM  
Blogger JJ said...

What a BEAUTIFUL sweater! It looks adorable on her. I'm working on my first sweater for sweet pea right now. I am trying to make it for >12months hoping it's not too small since we have not received referral yet. We have a May 20th LID so it's getting close!


January 06, 2006 8:03 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Thanks everyone! We really do appreciate your warm, friendly, comments. It feels so good to share this amazing experience with friends!

Lynne,Yep, her hair was shaved last summer. If you look at her referral pictures, you can see that she was one bald baby girl! I don't think it encourages thicker hair to grow back though. And it makes everyone think your daughter is a boy for the first 4 months! People still think she's a boy if I don't put her in a dress. Even in pink pants and flowered top, they ask "how hold is he?"

January 06, 2006 8:23 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Sjoukje, the weather in San Jose is beautiful! It's cool outside but sunny and the hills are green because of the recent rains. There's no place in the whole world that I'd rather live. But I'm sure everyone feels that way about where they live! :)

January 06, 2006 8:25 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Becca, she literally looks like a doll! Every time I see her, I think of a beautiful porceline doll.

January 06, 2006 2:42 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Gwendolyn is such a cutie in her knitted sweater (ok she's a cutie in all her pics). It just so happens that my mom was talking about starting to knit a sweater for my future daughter and then I saw your pix and had to show them to her! 2.25" growth spurt - wow that's a healthy little girl you have there! I enjoy your blog!

January 09, 2006 2:57 PM  

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