I sure miss going to church! It's really nice to be able to listen to the sermons online, but it's still not the same as actually being there and seeing everybody. Jeff went to church this morning, but TongJie is definitely not ready to be around that many people yet, so I stayed home with him. It was a beautiful day today, despite being windy, so TongJie and I spent a lot of time in our backyard this morning. Inside, he's usually pretty active with playing or wanting to be held and walked around - he generally does not like to sit on our laps in one place for very long. Outside it's different. TongJie loves to be outside and he enjoys just sitting and looking at all the new things. Part of it is because the ground is more uneven, so he's not confident enough to try walking. But also we don't think he'd been outside much at all at the orphanage, and even the time we spent outside in China we were always in big cities or he was in a stroller or front pack if we were ever in a park. The idea of his own yard must be rather foreign to him. I'm sure he'll get used to it and be running around soon enough, but today he was content to sit on my lap in the grass for a long time, looking all around with wide eyes and every once in awhile reaching out to touch blades of grass or a leaf.
After TongJie's nap, we put him into the stroller and took Albert along for a long walk. We ended up walking to Target because we've been wanting to get a book light for me for the evenings when we're in TongJie's bedroom as he's falling asleep. So Jeff took TongJie into the store to hunt down a book light and I stayed outside with Albert. We considered pretending that I was blind and Albert was my seeing eye dog so we could all go into the store, but I don't think Albert or I would have been very believable! Jeff found a good light, so now I can read my Bible and write in my diary even when it's dark. Jeff already has a book light, but now he's jealous of mine because it's newer and better! We also stopped by Starbucks since we had a coupon for a free drink. We saw our friend Jim from Awana and I got to talk to him while Jeff went in. Jeff and I used to have a routine of going to Starbucks just about every Thursday evening after church music practice to read and study, so we've gotten to know some of the people who work at Starbucks and we had told them we wouldn't see them for awhile because of our trip to China and adoption. Today, a couple of them were working when Jeff went in, so of course they came out and saw TongJie. And of course he just stared at them.
When we got home, it was time to start dinner. TongJie was getting fussy because he was hungry. He slumps down helplessly onto the floor many, many times each day and cries and kicks his feet and flails his arms like a beetle stuck on its back. You'd think he couldn't sit up or walk if his life depended on it. It must be so frustrating for him to not be able to communicate what he's upset about. This evening, however, he did something he's never done before: instead of flopping down and crying, he actually walked over to his high chair and pulled on the tray and then did the sign for "more." We were very impressed! He's obviously making the connection between the sign for "more" and getting food. I think that learning some basic signs will help with cutting down on some of his frustration about communicating what he wants. We're really excited about that!
After dinner, ear drops, bath, and bedtime routine, we successfully had him into his crib at 8:20. Yes, I know we were five minutes behind our planned schedule of 15 minutes earlier than yesterday. It's been taking about 45 minutes for him to fall asleep the past couple of nights, but tonight it took a little longer. Luckily I had my brand-new book light! Poor Jeff had to use his old boring one. TongJie was asleep around 9:15 again. He's been pretty much sleeping through the night. Sometimes he still wakes up crying, but not like he used to. The past few nights we've been able to comfort him without even picking him up and he calms right down and goes back to sleep. What a huge difference from just a week ago! I can't believe how fast he's getting settled in - it's amazing! Like I've said before, I'm sure we'll have our setbacks, but we are so thankful that he is doing this well right now. We continue to see more signs of attachment, as well: Eye contact, smiling when he sees us, calming down from crying quickly when we pick him up, checking back to make sure we're still there when he's playing independently, coming up to one of us for a quick hug before going back to whatever he's doing, and we can even tell a difference just in the way he holds onto us when we're carrying him. That's not to say that he always does those things, but it's happening more often now and that's encouraging.
As for the other pictures, another hand-me-down from Drake and Levi is this plastic sit-on car. Until today, TongJie has shown absolutely no interest in it, but today he's been using it to push around like a walker to help him walk. He also discovered that the seat lifts up to reveal a storage space and he's been all over that. He loves any type of container that he can put things into and take them out again, so the storage trunk is right up his alley and kept him busy for most of the evening. Jeff even tried sitting on the car. I wish I could've gotten a photo of TongJie's reaction when he saw that - he looked at Jeff in shock and disbelief. We don't know if it was because he couldn't believe that someone else was using his car, or if he couldn't believe that Jeff could sit on something that small!