Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday's visit to Peterborough

We left first thing Sunday morning to visit Jesse's grandparents again and see the cousins Jesse hadn't had a chance to meet yet in the Peterborough, N.H., area.

Jesse of course had coffee with Grandpa Dokey. Only a sip, though. Mama wasn't sure she liked the grinning "mmm hmmmm" and appreciative tummy rub Jesse enthusiastically gave to signal this was good stuff.

Baba thought Jesse's reaction was just swell, on the other hand. But then again, Baba would live with a nice Costa Rican blend continuously sluicing through his veins via an IV drip if he could...

A few pics with the grandparents:

Grandpa Dokey took Jesse on a riding tractor mower. The kid couldn't get enough! I couldn't get any pictures of him smiling, because he was watching/analyzing the entire time to see just which knobs did what and which levers moved what, etc etc. Wanted to commandeer full control of the vehicle...
Jesse got to meet cousins Erin and Courtney (and Jon Taylor, who was heading off to Boy Scouts camp for the week!)

And just because Courtney was adamant that I wouldn't do it:
here's her soggy dirty wet-grass foot for all the Internet world to see.

Jason took the picture after the thunderstorm drove us inside from mowing the grass. (Jesse was quite bummed to have his tractor experience cut short)

Three generations of Hendricksons:

Oh, and lest we forget....

Ronin loves Peterborough. Lots of open grassy fields of green that stretch out indefinitely in every direction. Room to stretch those doggy legs and just RUN RUN RUN as fast and far as he can.

Plus there's new smells everywhere: moose, deer, skunks, other dogs, SQUIRRELS, and all sorts of woodsy creatures that freely wander the yard at night. Aunt Karen has been known to leave her shoes in the grass more than once. When you're letting your new puppy out for her constitutional at 1 a.m. and turn the corner to come a foot-and-a-half away from a 7-foot moose chuffing at you....well, that'll make you ditch your shoes and quick.

Anyhoo, last time we visited, Ronin found a particularly inelegant skunk nest. And Jason and I had to find a particularly huge can of tomato juice.

This time he found animal scat.

But I guess that even if he enjoys smelling bad, at least he can look handsome doing it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lions and Doctors and Lobstah, oh my!

Whew! What a jam-packed weekend!

On Friday Jesse went for his first doctor's appointment. As a precaution, the dr had Jesse get all his vaccinations, just in case he didn't get them in China. This means that where most kids go in and accumulate their vaccinations over a period of time (i.e. getting one or two shots at a whack), poor Jesse Yong got SIX SHOTS all at once plus blood work. Ugh.

I tried to prep him for what was going to happen.

I pointed to my shoulder and went, "Poke, poke, poke! Ouchie! But it's OK." I did this over and over again to my own shoulder and then to his, pointing to the door and telling him that the lady was going to come back and do this.

You might think, there's no way he would have the remotest idea what I was talking about, but you would be wrong. He completely understood. Maybe a little too well.

Because when the nurse came back in, she put the six needles on the counter and Jesse looked at them and instantly melted. He was shaking his head no and whimpering and hot tears started pouring. I felt so bad!

Anyway, it was a rough morning, but he was a trooper, so I figured I'd reward him with a treat from the Golden Arches. I got a small fry and a cheeseburger and went back to my folks' place for lunch. Jesse had a few fries with ketchup and seemed pretty excited. Then he took a bite of the cheeseburger and handed it back.

"All done!" he said, shaking his head vigorously. "Banana!" He started to pointing to the fruit bowl on the counter and as soon as he got his hands on the banana, Mama got that crap fast food pushed right back at her like he couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

Anyway, later that night he was still talking about his ouchies, "Oooooo! Oooooo!" with this pained expression and rushing all the words together on top of each other: "It's OK it's OK no cwyin'!"



Every year my hometown has a festival the last Saturday in June. I've been going to it since I was 4, so it was pretty sweet to be able to take Jesse to it at the same age. Plus, our church had this cool Jungle Adventure booth like we did last year, so it's neat to be part of this community event. (In fact, I got interviewed by a reporter for the Portsmouth Herald, so I'm hoping Jesse will have his first official "ink" time in a local rag.)

Anyway, our booth had three different activities for kids: they could design their own tote, maneuver our Jungle Maze with a blindfold on, and go on a Monkey Hunt (we built a huge Safari backdrop with monkey cut-outs that the kids had to shoot beanbags at to win cool prizes).

It was pretty sweet, if I do say so myself, which I can because I have absolutely no artistic talent to paint or draw. The credit for the monkey gizmo-contraption plops directly in the lap of the far more talented cast and crew at the church (Aaron, Adria, Shannon & Dylan: Kudos!)

This is Jesse giving it a shot:

But I think he had more fun just retrieving everyone else's beanbags, so of course we exploited that for all it was worth:

He LOVED helped his dad put the monkeys back in place after they'd been shot and flipped over on their hinges. He was all about getting them ready for the next kid to shoot at:

This is our friend Tyler working through our Jungle Maze before the hordes of kids descended for the day:

And this is Cousin Abby showing off her super-cool new tote:

After naptime, we headed over to my work summer party and Jesse got his first taste of Maine lobstah. His respose?

"More please!"

OK, in this next picture it looks like he's sulking. He's still figuring out whether he likes The Pool or not. As you, dear reader, know, his first experience was good overall, but he still has a love/hate thing going. We went to a friend's house this past week and they have a bigger pool, which I figured he'd be pretty excited about. Yeah, well. He pretty much freaked out and hollered most of the time. But I think it was just because he wasn't really in the mood that day because they weren't real tears, just a whole lot of noise. And by that I mean a whole lot.
I'll keep you posted as summer progresses.

A special shout-out

Long before we traveled to China, way back in October when we first knew we would be adopting Jesse Yong, one of my co-workers at Civil Consultants took me aside a few days after we made the announcement. Neil needed to let me know that Jesse Yong had a friend desperately waiting to make his acquaintance.

Keep in mind, we -- Jason and I -- had barely gotten pictures of our little boy, and wrapped our minds around this whole concept. But Neil's little 3-yo boy Drew was already jabbering away about "me friend from China." (too cute!)

Day after day he would ask his dad if "me friend from China" was here yet. No, his dad said. It would be a while. Okay, maybe tomorrow, Drew would say, shrugging his shoulders. This went on for some time (keep in mind this was back in October....we didn't get Jesse until May, which is basically forever to a 3yo mind.)

Then Drew's thought processes shifted a bit. He figured it was taking quite a while, so he would have to start planning. He set aside a special toy that was not to be played with by himself or anyone else; it was for "me friend from China." The toy pile began to grow each day with new toys that were sacred -- Drew refused to play with them until he could play with "me friend from China."

Drew's little 18-month-old sister would occasionally wander over to the segregated items. And got summarily thumped across the head for her effort. "NO!!!!" he would cry. "Toys for me friend from China!!!!"

By this point, it was February, and we were still in for a long haul. I started to seriously be concerned for the health and well-being of the residents in Neil's household. Drew's mom could not put the toys away; little sister Lily most definitely could NOT TOUCH; Drew himself would not play with them.

Finally the day came and the Hendricksons went to get "me friend from China." Then finally they were back in the States. Then finally they were not jet-lagged and could start thinking in coherent sentences again (sort of) and getting back into life.....

Then Drew got ebola. Well, not ebola exactly, but some horrid vomity runny nose stomach thing that's just not fun.

But then he was better!!!!

But then Lily got it.

So eventually, at the tail end of June, the long-awaited day finally came for Drew and Jesse to meet at Civil Consultants' summer party this weekend.

Drew and Jesse spent some solid male bonding time analyzing The Pool (no, not the babes at the pool, it was really too cold for swimming. Well, except for Geoff's blue-lipped shivering kid who is insanely Arctic-ly inclined):

Then they took out water guns and chased each other and everyone else around the yard, dousing as many unsuspecting adults and children as possible (sorry, I didn't get any pics of that part, but you can see what's in Drew's hand).

Eventually the party wound down. When Drew learned it was time to go, he burst into tears. He didn't have enough time with "me friend from China."

So I promised to post a few pictures on the blog so that Neil would be able to console Drew until he would get to see Jesse again sometime soon....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why I'm tired when I "shouldn't" be :-)

There are some nights when I am just so completely exhausted it's unbelievable. These last few nights I can't seem to keep my eyes open past 9:00. Even 8:30 starts pushing my wakeful resolve. And I start wondering, Why in the world am I so doggone tired???

Jason reminds me that this is a period of transition that is emotionally draining. Fun, yes (most days...). Exciting, yes. Stimulating, yes. But definitely draining. There are times that try the most indominable of spirits (and although I enjoy a certain amount of joie de vivre, I'm not a particularly indominable spirit).

Some mornings our dear angel (Jesse, that is; not moi) awakes with a huge grin. Happy as can be. The proverbial clam, as it were. Everything is sunshine and roses and sparkly with new adventures. Other mornings he awakes with what my sister calls the Sawyer Scowl (for the benefit of those Lost fans reading this).

On those mornings of the latter variety, Jesse slumps on his bed like a boneless mass of inertia personified. He awards my pre-coffee bleary, gearing-up-for-this-new-day self with his crankiest can-you-SMELL-that-bad-smell? face.

Joy oh joy, I think to myself. Here we go.

Putting my best emotional foot forward, I smile warmly and wish him a bright good morning with lots of happy tones in my voice.

He drones on and on in continuous soft little whiny sounds. Low-grade fussy noises that have this amazing ability to grate.

Suddenly the simplest tasks are insurmountable. You'd think I'd asked him to climb Mount Everest or negotiate peace in the Middle East. If not summarily impossible, pretty darn close.

We find ourselves unable to put socks on. We can't get our arms out of our PJ top. Tears form when can't put the tongue of the shoe in the right way and it bunches up inside the velcro. What is velcro? Suddenly we've never seen such a thing before.

The best is when we suddenly don't understand the basic English words and phrases and commands that we have shown many times that we understand perfectly. Instead of cooperation and obedience I get blank stares of feigned incomprehension.

Go to the bathroom? Can't do it alone. accompanied by whiny noises

Put on socks? They hang limply off the edge of the foot. whimper whimper They just won't go on.

Of course one can't really get all worked up about it. One must be patient and understanding, realizing that even though dear wee one may understand -- perfectly -- he is still adjusting, too. It's gotta be overwhelming for him, also, to be thrust into a whole new life with these new adult roommates and their expectations.

And, to be honest, some days we just don't feel like doing the things we're supposed to do. Sometimes we want someone else to do it for us. Or to be right there with us. Not because we can't do it on our own, but because for the first time in four very long years, we don't have to.

Some fun in the sun...

I know a lot of you are enjoying the pictures, so I'll post a few more random ones.

Here's Jesse playing with his radio-controlled blue car that was given to him at a Yard Sale. We LOVE this car. It is so cool because it does whatever we tell it to, even at great distances and behind fences and around corners.

Removing a few obstacles from the path:

I didn't know whether Jesse was really enjoying our Wednesday morning library time (where this nice lady reads two stories and we do a fun craft related to the story), because it's kind of hard to gauge, what with the language barrier and all.

He sits quietly and appears to pay attention, so we keep going back. He seems to be having fun during story time (but how much can he really understand at this point??) and although he colors (sort of) and sticks foam stickers on his craft project, etc., a good deal of craft time is actually spent watching the other kids to see what they do. Now in my book, this is an excellent thing for him, but maybe he wasn't enjoying it per se.

Well, last night the three of us all went to the library together to return some books. No sooner did we walk in the door than Jesse was all grins, literally running across the lobby to the stairwell that leads to the Children's Corner, pointing where we needed to go. He was a bit bummed to realize we weren't there for story time. So that erased any questions as to whether he was having fun.

Today we went back to the library for Children's Corner and read about stuffed animal friends and some of the various adventures that occur with our favorite fuzzy fellows. Afterwards we got to decorate a stuffed animal (pig, elephant, dog or fish) with markers.

I've never seen him so excited about a project before.

I don't know if he was just having a hugely fun day today (which we did), or if it was because I wrote his name on the stuffed animal and kept affirming this was Jesse's pig.

When we got home, we put it upstairs on his bed next to the dog he sleeps with. And when Baba came home, we ran upstairs to get Pig, squealing with delight the whole way.

Can you tell he's a little excited?

This is him introducing Pig to Dog and hugging Pig:

More Tractors and Mowers
A few more pics of him on his new yellow tractor, loading up the bucket and driving off:

And a few pictures of him enjoying his bubble mower (another awesome gift from Cousins Aaron & Noah -- Thank You!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tractors, Mowers and Knuckles

Saturday night Jesse got to meet two new aunties (Jason's sisters) when we went over for dinner. Here's Jesse having dinner with cousins Aaron and Noah at the kids' table:

Funny thing happens when you get a chance to meet your older (boy) cousins for the first time. You learn all sorts of cool new things that other people haven't shown you or taught you yet.
Like the cool way to great people -- "knuckles" instead of straight ol' boring high-fives:

And other cool things that Mom and Dad have been studiously avoiding like crazy, such as how that little remote control box works (oh boy; now we're in for it):

I think the cousins went straight to top of Jesse's Favorite New People list after he learned that the cool canary yellow tractor he got to try out in their driveway was GOING HOME with him. Wowzers!!!! And they let him take their schnazzy bubble mower. Two very awesome new toys to dismantle....

He was grinning ear to ear after they gave them to him. Wouldn't stop talking about it the whole ride home. Kept saying, "Tractoo-ah" and "Bubb-ool mowah" over and over again.

Not only are the tractor and mower seriously cool toys for a 4-year-old (actually, they're pretty cool no matter what age you are. That bucket really dumps stuff when you lower the lever on the right, and the whole bucket contraption pushes up and lowers the bucket to the ground so you can scoop up dirt or whatever....I mighta tested it out once. Or twice...), what a great way to learn new vocab!