Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What we've been up to lately

TongJie has been doing fairly well lately, in regards to recovering from his cleft palate surgery two weeks ago.  The biggest difficulties right now have been sleeping and TongJie being extra clingy.  When I say he's extra clingy, I'm not exaggerating by any means . . . he wants me to hold him almost constantly at home.  The past couple of days I've started trying to wean him off of that a little bit, with the results being major tantrums each time.  Now that it's been two weeks since his surgery, we're hoping he'll start to be more comfortable with walking around on his own again.  Interestingly, he seems more comfortable being out of my arms when we're outside or in a different place other than home.  After tonight, we will be done with the arm restraints, so we're hoping that will allow all of us to sleep better.  We're also hoping that sleeping better will help TongJie to be a little more independent at home.

He seems to be recovering well from the surgery, but we'll know more on Monday when we go back to Children's for TongJie's first post-op appointment and Dr. Hopper can look in his mouth and tell us what's really going on.  I did get a few pictures of TongJie's new palate.  First, here are the "before" pictures, taken in August.  You can see the large cleft in the roof of his mouth.

And here are pictures of his mouth one week after the surgery:

Pretty big difference, huh?

We had fun raking leaves in our backyard on Sunday.  TongJie was using a stick to "rake" along with Daddy.  Then he used the real rake for awhile.

He's still been getting lots of good use out of his wagon.  He likes to put things in it and pull it around.

TongJie loves the cats and Albert, but sometimes I think the feeling is not mutual.

TongJie has still been riding his trike inside.  Here he's signing "help" because he wants me to help him down so he can come look at the camera.

Our neighbors were so thoughtful to give TongJie a basket full of wooden toys, made by our neighbor's father who recently passed away.  She said they were going through her father's things and found these wooden cars and trucks and knew that he would have loved to know that a little boy would be enjoying them.  And TongJie LOVES these special toys - he's played with them for hours already!  And I love them, not only because they're indeed very special and well-made, but because they give my arms a break from holding TongJie!  There are two old-fashioned cars:  

A train with three cars that connect:

Two semis with removable trailers, one of which actually has a little door that opens and you can put stuff inside:

A dump truck that actually dumps:

And a tractor with a removable trailer:
I think TongJie will be getting good use out of these for years to come!

On another note, I made a freezer paper stencil for part of TongJie's Halloween costume (more on that later, when we have pictures of it to post), and used the leftover cutout pieces to make a reverse version of the stencil on a shirt.  The one on the shirt turned out pretty good.  I used white fabric paint and a large brush to dab the paint on so it would have more of a worn look, instead of uniform white.

TongJie and I (and Albert) went for a long walk this morning in the rain.  It was a great opportunity for TongJie to get some use out of his new boots from Erika.

There were so many fun things to look at.  When we walked by the nearby school, they were blowing out the irrigation lines.  TongJie thought that was pretty exciting at first, but shortly after I took the picture, he got scared and wanted me to carry him until we were past the loud air-spewing sprinklers.

He liked to touch the moss growing on a rock wall, but then he would get a really funny look on his face.  He must have thought the texture was strange or something.

Albert had fun, but I think he would have preferred to move along at a little faster pace.  When TongJie is on foot, our walks go much, much slower!

When we got home, there was a gift on our door from our friends the Parkhills.  Inside was a yummy loaf of bread (TongJie and I already sampled some of it) and some fun stickers for TongJie.  He still doesn't quite know what to do with stickers, but he had fun with these puffy ones.

And that's what we've been up to lately!


  1. What thoughtful friends and neighbors you have!! Those wooden toys are so perfect for TongJie, and finding bread and stickers on the door--how fun!
    Good job with the photos of TongJie's mouth. I bet you have to be quick with the trigger finger to get those. I love to see all the new pictures :)

  2. Oh, good, you got the bread--I was hoping it was still on the door when you returned! The cinnamon bread is a family favorite, and I thought the stickers might keep him busy for a few minutes. Love the new pictures!

  3. Good pics. Those wooden cars are great, and good job on the shirt, Crystal! Looks like TongJie will get lots of use out of his new boots this winter. -Dad

  4. So fun to see everything you have been doing. I love the shirt! You are so creative! And those wooden toys are fabulous. Toys are made so cheaply now days that having nice wooden ones like that is a treasure!! Glad he is able to use his boots. Kyle is barely able to squeeze into the size 6 that we have, so if those get to snug, let us know and we will try to get you the next size up (I have to find a replacement for Kyle first ;0)). Fun pictures on facebook. The boys always like to see Tongjie updates and photos :0)