Danger Mouse

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.


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

It has been quite a while since visiting you... I see Flynn is really moving around the place now... and all the special gifts from everyone..

Mamacita said...

Hissing, spitting tasmanian devil. Oh how I remember that phase. May it pass quickly for you.

I love her ruffle butt pants!

Maia said...

I was just talking to another A-mom the other day (her daughter is from Korea)about what incredibly strong wills our daughters have. This is especially interesting to me when I compare FF to Spike at this age. He was always the most placid, cautious child. We never even had to baby proof because he was so careful and predictable. And while I am grateful for Spike's gentleness and calm demeanor because someday it is likely that he will be a six foot six (or bigger) grown man, and will need to modulate his sheer physical strength and presence with something a little softer, I am also grateful for FF's spine of steel and absolute fearlessness (except when it comes to doctors). I think that our girls have such blatant stereotypes to work against - the plum blossom/subservient/meek/giggling/silent Asian ornament that the western media likes to put out there -- and it seems wonderful to me that my daughter can already say NO loud and clear. She has a voice and she has no problem letting it be heard. And I'm really grateful for that.

I figure it's my job to keep this climbing, running, shouting, into everything child safely in one piece so she can turn into that strong, confident woman who has no problem expressing her needs and wants and can say an unhesitating NO when she feels moved to do so.

So good for QQ and her hissing and stubborn insistence on banging through that kitchen door! She's on her way to becoming a woman who can stand her ground - and Maude knows the world needs as many of those kind of women as it can get!

Vivian M said...

As long as Flynn is making eye contact and lets you hold her facing you, all is good. Our girls learn to manipulate really early, and that's normal too.
Besides, she is the cutest tasmanian devil ever!

Yoli said...

I had to laugh at your post. It is like watching our child again. My husband and I say to each other that the first suitor to come and ask for her hand, we will innocently say yes, then laugh in the inside. They have no idea what they are getting into.

She is adorable and she is doing so well. You can see it in her confident happy demeanor. I love her Catimini outfit.

Stacie said...

she is stunning... i know i keep saying that but each day she just shines more and more.

Congrats on moving into the trust phase. She now believes she can show you the good, bad and ugly and you will still be around to love her. We had a 6 month honeymoon phase so it hit us like a ton of bricks! :-)

Love her ensemble!

keep up the good work!

Barbara said...

She's a wonderful little hellcat!

kerri said...

Flynn is going to be running in no time flat!!
I love the strong will, it is born and bread into our daughters...

Heather said...

QQ is learning how to play her mommy and daddy and that's fantastic! As you said, through those games, she is learning that you guys are forever. Seeing these adorable images, it's hard to imagine her screaming and hissing, but since I have the two-year-old version of the hissing cockroach, I know you're not making it up!

Tamara said...

I am glad surgery went well and am so happy to see QQ opening up and blossoming with you two. The transformation is amazing and wonderful.

Beeb said...

Glad she's feeling better

Virginia and Doug said...

I'm so glad to hear that she's feeling (obviously) better and letting you guys see more and more of who she is. She is amazing, isn't she? And she just gets more and more beautiful.

Gin =)

Cavatica said...

My word, I LOVE those pants! Do they come in adult sizes? I think they might have something to do with her energy. I know I would be energetic if I was wearing those pants.