I can't believe it's only been two and a half months since QQ has been home. I already can't imagine a time that she wasn't in our life. Maybe it's the fact that she packs so many revelations, epiphanies and accomplishments into each and every day. Time has certainly slowed down, as full as every hour has been. And it's exciting to see how far she has come...
Here she was with her LaoLao in August, just a week after we brought her home from China. I can see now, looking at her face in these pictures, that much of her personality was still concealed within her at this point. The fearlessness was there...she was game, brave, ready to take whatever came. But the vividness inside her was still deep under the surface.
She was all internalized at this point, a very muted version of her real personality.
And here she is now, vivid and alive with pleasure (and trying to open her diaper pail. What is it that draws children most irresistibly to the things they should absolutely stay away from? Hmmmm...is it the same thing that, in their teenage years, draws them to all the wrong kinds of boys?? I wonder...)
Look how excited she is just to be alive and feeling better. It's something to behold.
Her "new" post-surgery personality has brought with it many surprises....some good, and some not so much! Her new affection and level of attachment has come hand in hand with the ability to get really, really angry. At first, it was difficult to distinguish between the part that was pure pain and the part that was a nascent call for attention.
I think the surgery has taught her to cling to us more often, and to show her affection more. But as the pain recedes to just a trickle, you can see that she has also learned to demand.
We know that this is a healthy part of the attachment process. She needs to learn to call for us and know that we will always come. She needs to test the boundaries of what she can ask from us. She probably needs to find out how bad she can be, and still have us be there for her in the morning. She has a new confidence level with us. We've been there for her through the nitty-gritty now, and she realizes that she doesn't have to be all sweetness and light in order to keep us coming back with the food every day. These are things that are taken for granted by a child born into a loving family. But for a child from an orphanage, with too few nannies watching too many babies, there is no foundation for that sort of understanding. She has to learn it all from scratch with us.
But let me tell you, hers is no gentle plea! The girl can get a-n-g-r-y when the attention stops. Put her down for bed when she's not ready, and she turns into a hissing, spitting little tasmanian devil. She'll give you three or four warning hisses first, a sound not unlike one of those Madagascar hissing cockroaches. If you fail to heed the warning salvo, she'll go into full cry.
There are no tears - this is pure, unadulterated, righteous anger. She will stop immediately, like a flipped switch, if you pick her up, and her little mask of anger will turn mid-scream into a glowing smile. But have the audacity to set her down again, and you're in for it. She takes no prisoners. I fear for the man who will someday ask for her hand in marriage. I hope he knows what he's taking on. The QiuQiu is no blushing flower.
But all of her newfound emotions are well worth it. And it's a joy to watch her mobility in action. She is all over the place these days, moving from one piece of furniture to the next. She doesn't really need the support anymore...I've seen her two or three times stand on her own when she forgets she's not holding on to anything, only to topple as soon as she realizes what she's doing.
She still needs the support, mentally. And that's fine. She will be liberated soon enough, and then everything will change for us.
But it's hilarious to watch her find her way around the house from one object to the next.
Setting her sights on the next goal, calculating the distances.
And I love the pride in her face with each new achievement.
As for the crawl...just ask the dog. She's a terror on wheels. When she decides on a destination, she's in the next room before you can blink...which is a little scary in a house that is not yet childproofed (M. did the kitchen cabinets last week...it's a start). The other day she went hauling across the kitchen all of a sudden, reared up and barged headfirst through the back door...not realizing there was a six-inch step and she had on arm braces. She fell flat on her forehead on the rubber doormat, arms helplessly under her.
The worst part about it is that she tried it again about four hours later, and again the following morning.
Given her need for speed, her adoration of her Speed Racer racing car with its sound of screeching tires, her propensity for hanging upside-down, and her will to go headfirst off anything she can get away with, I think we may have a tiny stuntman on our hands.
That's my Danger Mouse.
You wouldn't think that so much danger could come in such an itty-bitty package!
Yup, this kid is yearning to escape her confines and explore the world.
There's devious intent in that face if I ever saw it!
The joy that escapes her at random intervals, too great to contain, is worth every painful moment, every hour of lost sleep, every midnight hissing session.