Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just Like Old Times

Popo and Gong Gong (aka Tara's parents) have arrived and Sojo is right back to lovin' them the way she did over the summer. I found myself giddy-- seven-year-old, ice-cream-truck-coming-down-the-road giddy about them coming, and I know this is due to Sojo's presence in our lives and how much I want to share her with those we love. And, ok, yeah, we also know that maybe they will take her and give us a bit of sleep like they did in the summer, but that's not the main reason. Mom and dad arrived with balloon animals in hand as there was a master balloon-making clown sitting next to them on his way to a huge festival here in Shanghai, so that was a huge hit. Of course, we have that clown festival now on our list of things to do during their stay as well. Sojo has also taken to showing off a bit for them, which is quite cute, and you can tell she's feeling proud of all she can do now on her own. At one point, she marched herself (holding on to my fingers) into my parents' room, spied a stuffed duck on the bed, grabbed it asssuming it was hers, and the two have been best friends ever since. Ron and Helen can hardly believe how huge Sojo is now in comparison to just two months ago. In fact, they watched Sojo for about 20 minutes, and by the end of that time she could already go from crawling to sitting up (couldn't do that yesterday!) and also was using the wall as a support to walk around the room. What great influences they are! So happy to have them here...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Top 5

I just love the shape of her eyes.
It's hard to keep up with Sojo and all her changes lately, so this is a quick top 5 of the changes in the last two weeks.

1. She now points all the time at what she wants or where she wants to go with her fingerwalking. A great step in communicating! Clapping has started as well.

2. She's using those 4 new teeth well by ripping off pieces of bread. We both assume she'll become a "breadhead" like both her parents.

3. Cruising around the coffee table is a big activity. She's also begun pushing her standing activity center off the playmat in her room and around the house like some sort of out-of-control elderly walker. Crazy to watch because we have hardwood floors so she's flying at mach speed with this thing. Disaster waiting to happen but hilarious.

4. At feeding time, she has started the oh-so-charming vigorous shaking of the head to let us know that she is not interested in the food we are offering. Hmmmm... not huge fans of this new change.

5. And, last but not least, Sojo had her first official meltdown/temper tantrum. A big YIKES! on that one. Last night, we had this great family time where we were all laughing and being crazy on the couch, but then it was time to wind down and get ready for bed. "Um, what's that you say? Wind down? Um, no thanks," says the lovely Sojo. And in an instant, meltdown central. Screaming, crying, SWEATING from all the crying, and poor us trying to figure out what on earth to do in the heat of it all. Do you give in b/c she doesn't really understand many words yet to rationally talk to her about why we can't play the crazy game on the couch, or do we steadfastly adhere to the getting ready for bed so she doesn't manipulate us in the future???? I'm frantically searching the Internet for answers while Dale is holding the screaming Sojo. We finally decided to compromise (perhaps the key to all peaceful solutions...) and let her walk around after she cried for a while, which was what she wanted to do, and then she calmed down enough to get to bed. Note to selves-no crazy games before bedtime. After she went to bed, we went straight to the bookshelf and cracked the spine of the book that we thought could stay there gathering dust a bit longer---THE MOTHER OF ALL TODDLER BOOKS. Let the games begin!

p.s. One week until po po and gong gong come to China for Sojo's birthday! YIPPEE!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rockin' With Mojo

In Chinese, the word for uncle is Jo Jo, so my brother Matt decided he wanted to be called Mojo. And Mojo's girlfriend we are calling Cujo for silly reasons like we just wanted it to be close to Mojo and Sojo and Jojo. Anyway, the two of them (Matt/Mojo and Cathy/Cujo) are in a band called the Blazing Edisons and sent us a live video of one of their recent gigs. Being that this is a house of music, Sojo came right up to me while I was watching the video and loved it. Rock on! Check out the Blazing Edisons on myspace.

Sojo's newest fascination (they change about every other day at this point) is with the treadmill. We made the decision to buy one because we knew it would be so hard to physically get to the gym with a kid, so this was a perfect solution for us. Sojo balances herself by putting only her hands on the end and doing her signature dance move that includes a lot of quick knee-jerking movements (it is completely adorable), and then we turn it on really slow so she can practice her walking. The way she is going lately, she'll be giving me a run for my money on the treadmill soon enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Typhoon Day

Well, we don't have snow days in Shanghai, but tomorrow we have off of school due to a nasty typhoon that is due to hit land Wednesday morning. Being that our school sits right on the South China Sea, this was a good decision, but the whole of Shanghai's schools have been closed as well. Teachers and students alike just love a surprise day off! A little known fact, at least to me prior to living in Asia, is that typhoons and hurricanes are the same thing, just with different names from different regions. The English word typhoon is actually derived from the Chinese and Korean words that sound very similar. Don't worry about us with the typhoon tomorrow (directed at mom and Patsy)-- we'll hole up, watch some DVD's and have an extra play day with Sojo.
View of the South China Sea from the school grounds. If you look closely, you can see the ships coming in and out of the Shanghai port. And, yes, dad, that is part of the Jack Nicklaus golf course.

Speaking of Sojo, she is understanding more Chinese now than English (yippee! we love this!), but she does know the word 'baby' in English and loves babies so much. Here is a pic of her in the midst of destroying her 'baby Sojo' picture that she has to play with while eating. It's covered in carrots and dried drool, but it will make a great story to tell her one day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Boho Chic

Man alive, she is so cute in this bandana! (one that has been in a million places around the world with her mom and dad). Some people dress their kids in frills and lace, but Sojo has loads of hippie, boho clothes. I admit I'm guilty of pushing my own dress style on my kid--it will probably come back to me at some point when she is begging for princess clothes and everything in pink. And I promise to oblige her when and if that day comes...although I may suggest Ethiopian princess clothes. Until then, it's flowing tops and jeans for our little Bohemian Rhapsody.

A Day at School

Our PTA held a barbeque/fun day for families, so we decided to take Sojo there to check it out. She's still too young for the fun stuff like the big slide, but we did buy her a ticket for the jumpy castle (being that the kid LOVES to jump on dry land!) and were able to have her jump on the entranceway, but not the inside part b/c she's too young. Even that was a blast for her, even though you can see in one of the pics that she really did want to go inside with the big kids to get the full experience. The joy on her face in the jumping pic is so gorgeous! We also hung out in Tara's new library, and she loved the bean bags and all the books. She's currently loving the Spot books where you can move the flap (or tear off the flap, depending on how fast mama and baba are in stopping this) and find Spot the dog underneath.

This is where I get to spend my lovely...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wild Child

Thought we'd put in a movie today of the little chica zipping about in her walker. Notice that she has turned the seat around (gotta love the quality control in that manufacturing!) so she can better get at things she comes upon. Much of her time is spent chasing the poor cats around the house. For posterity's sake, she now has 4 teeth coming in and has been in pain with some hard crying this week. No fun for anyone, but especially her. The teeth seem to be coming in so slowly...We also now have a breakfast routine where we look at a picture of Baby Sojo (her adoption referral picture when she was tiny and with virtually no hair) and give her love. It's kept on the frig, so she now always looks for the picture of her at every meal and gets all excited when we take it off the frig and give it to her.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Hallmark Moment

Let's set the scene in our house this morning...

1 cute kid + a 4 a.m. wake up + 1 pot of coffee + 1 bunch of chocolate chip cookies + soccer on the telly = a fun morning for Sojo and her perpetually tired parents.

And so began our day...

When I came home this afternoon, I got off the bus, turned the corner and who did I see but the lovely Sojo and her ayi, Xiao Liu, waiting for me. Sojo saw me and lit up--she then started running towards me (ok, kid running while holding onto Xiao Liu's fingers but still, she was moving fast). Dale had the same thing happen last week and beamed when he told me about it.

And, just like that, the 4 a.m. wake up was forgotten.

Random pic of Sojo reading her very favorite book. It's really all about the duck in our house. Dale and I find ourselves saying QUACK! QUACK! and doing random silly duck motions more often than we'd like to admit.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What Happened to Our Kid?

Seriously, she was a tiny thing until about a week ago, and now I wouldn't be surprised if she went off to college next Tuesday! Sojo has hit some sort of growth spurt overall because she now has 3 teeth coming in, she's standing with support and she is basically investigating every bit of our house at lightning speed. What used to be just a blob to her is now the world in crisp focus--every drawer handle needs to be pulled, every statue needs to be touched--it's amazing to watch her discover the world around her. She seems ready to walk on her own, and she is dragging us all over the house to get to her destination. It won't be long now before she really lets loose on the world. Aaaggghh!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hanging in Jin Qiao

Our neighborhood, Jin Qiao (gin chow), is pretty much a little America, complete with Starbucks, a huge soccer field with kids' soccer leagues every weekend, and a little mini-mall chocked with restaurants. Hard to believe we are actually living in China at times... Since the weather is still very summer-like, we headed out this weekend to a rugby tournament held right down the road for some sunshine, sports and Guinness beer. Dale and I are both finding that after four years in Asia, sports like rugby and cricket are starting to make a bit more sense to us Americans. Ok, not cricket really, but rugby. Sojo had a ball walking in her bare feet in the grass, making lots of friends with other little kids, and even getting to pet a dog (she gets very excited whenever she sees a dog!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lovin' the Grandparents

Being so far away from family while Sojo is growing like a weed is hard, and we don't want her to forget the people who love her so dearly and who took such good care of her over the summer. So, we finally put up some laminated photos of the grandparents on the wall near Sojo's play area tonight as a way for her to have daily contact, and she went a bit nuts.

Picture her scooting over in her walker and then being taken out of her walker to blaze on over to the wall to get a closer look. She just went back and forth over them all, touching them again and again. It was the sweetest thing. So, now part of our daily routine will be to say hello to nai nai Patsy and po po and gong gong in Arizona. Hope this warms the grandparents' hearts on the other side of the world.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sojo's First Tooth!

We've been wondering of late if sweet little Sojo's personality was changing as she has been whiny and fussy instead of her sunny self. Usually, every time she is fussy, we blame it on teething, but we never saw teeth coming on those fussy days... Dale discovered the tooth yesterday, and it's the top front tooth that is making its way in at the moment. So, a big WHEW! that it appears to be her teeth that indeed were causing her to be grouchy. And it looks like a huge tooth to boot! In the last week, it's almost as if a switch has been turned on inside Sojo. She is seeing the world in a different way and flying around in her walker touching, pulling and trying to knock everything over. Our job of babyproofing the house will have to happen very soon to keep up with her.

reading her favorite book about baby animals (note that is an entire toy AREA now!)