Thursday, February 11, 2010

Days 6 and 7 - We've been busy!

Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to fly by in a blur and we haven't been on the computer as much as we were before but here while Jessica and Claire take an afternoon nap, I thought I would try to give you guys a quick update on how things are going. Here are just a few bullet points of what's been going on.

AIT Appointment

Before we left for Taiwan, this appointment was our biggest source of stress. There were so many documents we still needed to get completed and it was seriously in doubt if that would happen. Fortunately, everything worked out just in the nick of time and our AIT appointment was a success. In fact, I'm going back over there in just a couple of hours to pick up Claire's passport and Visa which will allow her to travel home to the United States. What a relief to have all of the paperwork problems behind us!

Taipei 101

On Tuesday night we went to visit Taipei 101 which until about 2 months ago was the world's tallest building (a title now claimed by the Burj Dubai). We had dinner in the food court downstairs and Claire let me feed her for the first time. I fed her vegetables with chopsticks and she seemed pretty happy with that. One moment of excitement was when she dropped one of the vegetables on the food court floor and then picked it up and ate it before we could stop her. Gross! She is a BIG eater, most likely due to the fact that growing up in an orphanage and a foster home, she hasn't had food available to her as often as she might have liked. She will eat until she is sick (literally) so we're having to watch her pretty closely and cut her off. So far her favorite foods are watermelon, grapes, bananas, oranges, french fries, pudding, rice, vegetables, and today (Thursday) she had some pizza! She loved it!

After we ate dinner at the food court, Connor and I went to the top of the building to the observation deck. It was really awesome and we had a great time looking out over the city. We posed for some funny pictures on a green screen they had up there and they photoshopped our pictures to make it look like I was Godzilla and was hanging off the side of the building dangling Connor over the city. When we get home I'll scan it to show you all... it's pretty funny.


On Wednesday night we took the MRT train all the way north to the little community of Danshui. It has a nice little park on the waterfront and there are tons of street musicians, artists, carnival games, and little waterfront shops. It's a great place to just walk around and enjoy being outside.

We ate dinner at Dunkin Doughnuts (don't judge! It is HARD to find food all four of us will eat and they had really good ham and cheese croissants... uh, okay and also doughnuts) and then let the kids run around and play for a little while. Connor and Claire had a great time playing... they both have a lot of energy and letting them burn some of it seemed to improve their moods significantly.

After playtime we walked up and down the street giving Jessica and Claire time to do a little shopping and Connor and I a little time to play some of the boardwalk games. I dominated the "hit water balloons with darts" game but failed big time at the claw-grabber game. Connor had a good time looking at the unusual foods being offered by the street vendors. I tried to convince him to try the world famous Danshui "Squid on a Stick" which is exactly what it sounds like. He wasn't having it. Can't say that I blame him... I don't think I could eat something that was starting at me... those squids still had eyes.

A Few Things about Claire

Jessica is still going to write a blog post at some point but who knows when that will be. Claire still wants to be in her arms a good bit of the time. I know you guys are wondering about how she is doing so I thought I would fill you in just a bit on how her adjustment is going.

Overall, she is doing wonderfully but that doesn't mean there aren't some challenges. We have figured out in the few short days we've been with her that she did not come to us from a very disciplined environment. She can be a little wild and she cries passionately when she is told no. Fortunately this doesn't happen much and each day she's getting better at listening. We say "ting ting!" (stop!) and she gives us puppy dog eyes... I think she's used to getting by with things just by being cute. She can be pretty persuasive!

She is slowly warming up to her daddy... each day we have made a little bit of progress. She still won't let me hold her, feed her, or change her diaper in general but she is starting to let me do more and more with her. This is all perfectly normal and it is also a cultural thing. The men in Taiwanese culture don't really treat their children the way American fathers do. I haven't seen any of the dads here EVER touch their children. No pats on the head, no kisses on the cheek... not much of anything really. Men are usually stern with their kids and assume the role of disciplinarian. Add that to the fact that she came to us from a foster home with no father in it and you can understand why she's a little bit cautious around me. I'm slowly seeing little cracks in her defenses... I'm getting her to smile at me more and more.

Her bond with Jessica and Connor is great. We are so glad we brought Connor on this trip. He has been a wonderful big brother. Considering that he's been dealing with jetlag, an upset tummy, and the stress of adding a new sibling to the family, he's been nothing short of amazing. He has been so patient with Claire and is really helping her adjust to life with our family. I can't imagine him not being here.

The other night they were playing and Claire hit Connor in the face hard enough to make him cry. It was basically a sucker punch! Connor cried pretty hard and Claire just stood there with a horrified look on her face and then the sweetest thing happened. She came to Connor and rubbed his cheek with one hand where she had hit him and ran her fingers through his hair with the other. Then she went to the bathroom and got a tissue and wiped his tears with it. She has such a sweet and mothering personality. She likes for everyone in the family to be together all the time and if she detects anything is wrong at all, she tries to figure out a way to fix it.

She also has a very prissy and sassy little personality. Jessica is just in heaven! I'll let Jessica tell you later all about it but I'm already thinking I'm going to be in trouble when we get home because this little girl loves clothes, shoes, and shopping. Uh-oh!

That's all the time I have to write... we're getting ready to head out to the Taipei zoo for the afternoon. We'll have more later. As I wrap up, here are a few pictures from the past couple of days for you to enjoy.

Claire LOVES escalators. We have no idea why but she cracks up laughing every time.

At the Danshui night market

Connor on the streets of Danshui

Burning some energy at the park in Danshui, Taiwan

Connor and Claire playing at lunchtime - Splendor hotel, Kaoshiung City

Claire just loves her big brother and has a very nurturing personality.

The princess LOVES playgrounds!

Too cute!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting all these wonderful memories. I'm soooo glad all your paperwork issues are settled. I'm guessing, in no time flat, Claire will be totally attached to you too Greg! You all are the picture perfect family. I'm in heaven right there with you! Have two more fun-filled days and safe travels home. I love you.


Anonymous said...

The Haney & the Watsons are ready! We are all staying together on Saturday night and will be there with the army of kids to greet you. We will miss our traditional Valentines fling but i guess we will try to be understanding! Love you and hurry home!

angelina said...

How CUTE! Jessica, Where in the world did you get such cute outfits for Claire?
I love reading the blog! Praying for youall!=)