Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday, July 26 - What we've been up to lately

We've had Ezekiel in our family for a month now, as of Saturday.  He's learning new things all the time, and we're all getting more and more used to our new family dynamic.  Just as suddenly as Ezekiel began walking, he suddenly began eating some real food last Tuesday, much to our amazement (and relief)!  TongJie and I decided to try making some muffins, since Ezekiel seemed to be getting slightly more tolerant of bready things.  I figured we could sneak a lot of nutritious ingredients into the muffins that would give Ezekiel some much-needed nutrients.  Up till then, we could only get him to eat (drink) formula with some rice cereal mixed in, and the Gerber Puffs or Baby Mum Mums which contain barely any calories or nutrients because they're mostly air.  Our first batch of muffins was zucchini and banana, and we broke off some little pieces of the muffin to put in Ezekiels mouth.  After spitting out the first couple of bites, he finally was able to keep one in his mouth, and I guess he decided he liked it.  The funny thing is, after he realized he could eat the muffin, he's been getting a lot better about trying other textures as well.  He's eaten some yogurt, baby food, beans, and peaches, with mild to moderate success.  But the muffins have been his new favorite food, which is great!  TongJie helped me make a second batch and we tried sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, and banana.  I also significantly reduced the amount of sweetener (we use maple syrup), and Ezekiel still likes them!  He's even beginning to be able to pick up pieces of food with his hands and put them into his mouth.

We had an appointment on Monday with Dr. Bledsoe at the University of Washington Medical Center.  Dr. Bledsoe specializes in international adoption, so she is very knowledgeable about children who come from orphanages and their unique medical situations and needs.  She is the same doctor who reviewed Ezekiel's medical file with us over the phone back in November when we were first matched with him.  Dr. Bledsoe has a few other patients who are children with albinism also adopted from China, so she seems like a really good doctor for Ezekiel for the next few months until we transition him to a local pediatrician here.  She was really impressed with Ezekiel's growth and development and thinks he's doing great, so that was good to hear!  He is in the 50th percentile for both height and weight, which is quite impressive for a child who has been in an orphanage in China.  The not so fun part of the appointment was when Ezekiel had to get shots and then get a lot of blood drawn.  We were expecting the car ride to be just horrible, but it actually wasn't too bad.  TongJie stayed with my parents that day, so he had a fun day with Grandpa and Grandma and didn't have to ride all the way to Seattle and back with a grumpy baby.  As it turned out, Ezekiel slept a lot of the way, so he wasn't crying the entire time.  I sat in the back seat with him, so that helped a lot too.  Since that day, we haven't had as much success with the car.  Pretty much every time he gets in, he cries and screams the whole time.  It makes it no fun to go anywhere with him, but there's nothing we can do because he just has to get used to it.  TongJie puts up with it pretty well, but he did ask me on the way to church this morning, "Mama, can you make Ezekiel stop crying?"  . . . I wish I could.  It's the kind of screamy, frantic cry that just puts everyone on edge.  Earplugs do help a little.

Ezekiel is walking really well now, and even walks on his own outside.  It's hard to tell how his vision is.  I think it really depends on the lighting, because sometimes it seems like he can see pretty well, but sometimes it's obvious that he just doesn't see stuff that other people do.  His depth perception is very inaccurate, so usually he can see if something is in his path but can't tell exactly how close it is.  He's pretty good about being cautious when he's walking or crawling.  At first we were watching him closely and always ready to intervene when we thought he was going to hit his head on stuff, but we realized that he doesn't hit things that often so we've become a lot more relaxed about letting him wander around and explore things.

I took Ezekiel to church for the first time this morning and he was a little overwhelmed but did great.  TongJie, who loves to dress up and usually wears ties or bow ties to church, wanted Ezekiel to wear a bow tie to church too.  The bow tie didn't stay on Ezekiel much longer than the time it took for me to take a couple photos of the boys.  I told TongJie he's going to have to work at convincing Ezekiel to like bow ties, ha ha!  TongJie has really been doing a good job of being a big brother.  It's a difficult adjustment for him, but he's been doing quite well, especially the last few days.  He likes to try to make Ezekiel laugh, and he's so helpful to run and bring toys to Ezekiel to try to make him stop crying.  I took a picture of them walking together in our backyard.  Ezekiel still doesn't want to have anything to do with holding hands with TongJie, but he sometimes tolerates TongJie holding his wrist and walking with him.  They're pretty cute together!

I feel like I'm starting to get back into a normal routine again with stuff other than taking care of a new kid.  I've gone running twice now with Ezekiel in the stroller.  The first time was much more successful because I just ran in our neighborhood, so no driving was involved.  The second time, I decided to try going to the loop trail, so that meant putting Ezekiel in the dreaded car seat, then the stroller, and then the car seat again.  That did not go so well, so next time I'll just take him around the nearby streets again.  I've also had a chance to sew two tee shirts for Ezekiel lately.  I've not been brave enough to try the kind with a normal neckline yet because I'm afraid his big old head won't fit through the neck opening, so I've made both of them with the envelope style of neck opening.  I don't like that kind as much, but it looks okay for a baby shirt, and at least I know I can easily get it over his head!  TongJie helped me with the design on one of the shirts.  We taped a random diagonal design on the front piece with strips of painter's tape (after I cut the fabric but before sewing), then dabbed paint all over it by dipping crumpled up newspaper into the paint.  When the paint was dry, we peeled off the tape, and it turned out pretty neat.  TongJie loves to do painting projects, so he really got into it and had a great time.  Now I want to do one for TongJie, but all he wants is a Thomas shirt!  We've also been going for walks as a family and that has been fun.  Ezekiel is hit or miss with the stroller - it depends on what kind of mood he's in if he's going to scream the whole time or be okay in it.  TongJie sometimes gets a little jealous because he wants to be in HIS stroller.  We thought maybe he'd be thinking that riding in a stroller is too babyish now that he's almost five, but that's not the case.  A couple times, I've carried TongJie in the Ergo pack on my back while Jeff has pushed Ezekiel in the stroller, and TongJie likes that a lot.  He looks kind of funny in the Ergo pack now that he's getting taller - his legs look so long dangling down like that.

Here's some pictures of what we've been up to:

Ezekiel at his doc appointment last week
Trying some yogurt - he successfully took a few bites before spitting it out
Dressed up for church in their bow ties.  Ezekiel does not feel the same way about bow ties as TongJie :)
Getting ready to go running
We went to Smallwood's and TongJie had a great time in the "trike track"
TongJie still fits in the bumblebee swing at Smallwood's!
Ezekiel would only go in the wagon if he was on my lap.
Checking out a leaf in the back yard
TongJie and Ezekiel walking together in the back yard
Going for an evening walk
One of the shirts I made for Ezekiel
The other shirt I made for Ezekiel - this is the one TongJie helped me with


  1. You are so clever with your sewing projects. It sounds like the painting/tape project was really fun. Thanks for posting new pictures!!

  2. Welcome home--look how far you've come! You guys are so resourceful. Such a nice family!

  3. A new kiddo, fresh home from international travel, and you are already sewing the cutest things?! You are amazing folks! Your family is often in our thoughts. Love from our crew...