Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy "Gotchya" DAY!

It's been two years! Wow what a Journey. I am listening to Daddy and Zaleeya in the bath as she negotiates her way through the nighttime process... what a smart kid!

What a difference 2 years makes, and in this case what a difference 2 MONTHS make! At the end of August, before we headed off on our first vacation without Zaleeya , I was ready to quit my job as mommy. I was so frustrated! Zaleeya's tantrums were terrible, her rebillion at it's highest, her constant demands unreasonable and we struggled to get through the days. I was ready for a vacation...

On our trip we did some serious soul searching. What was wrong? Why was she still seeming to struggle so much? Before we left town she would still INSIST I carry her down the stairs, demand a whole lot of my attention doing simples things, and throw tantrums when she didn't get her way. Why was she suddenly screaming herself to sleep after the normal nighttime routine? Some of it was normal 3 year old stuff, other stuff just didn't seem right.

So I came home in the beginning of September with a fresh perspective and a new attitude. My sense was that we were parenting her with too much discipline and rules. This was a child who lost the first year of her life with her parents. Sure she needed discipline, but she also needed more love. And we decided we were going to give it to her in spades.

We changed the nighttime routine and let her have more control. We went back in to her room after lights out when she wanted more "tissues" or more time "holding my hand". I didn't give in to every one of her whims, but when she started to tanrum I held her until she decided to stop (against the advice of our parenting doctor who wanted us to put he down and let her work it out- she NEVER worked it out!).

I put my pateince hat on every morning. I apologized to her when I lost my cool. I explained things in a normal voice and expected her to understand concepts she didn't quite get.

I discovered that through all this chaos of the last few years, I forgot how much I needed to work on MY attachment to her, and how loving her unconditionally was the only way to make this happen.

And it worked. Six weeks later we have a child that is more confident, wants to be independent, hasn't thrown a tantrum in days, falls asleep on her own without screaming, and this morning said to us "You're lucky, because I Love You".

It may have taken two years, but we are finally here. The transition is over. She is OURS fully and completely, and we look forward to the next 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 years!

PS. Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty), Pink and the number 7 still rule our house! Sigh...
PPS. I'll do a post with some fun pictures on another day...

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's time to PRETEND!

Hello it's been longer than usual but I'm here ready for more blogging! It's been 3 months now that Zaleeya has been in daycare. She has now kinda of figured out the schedule so she does protest every morning, but we know she really enjoys her days and she's learning so much, so we take it as simple 2 year old rebellion. I'm really happy with my current job and feel challenged and enjoying the work/mom routine.

Zaleeya is fast approaching her 3rd birthday (3 weeks!) so we also attribute a LOT of new tantrum and control behaviors to this. Boy is she tough sometimes! Lately when we try to transition to nighttime, or naptime or clean up time, it's "no no no only in 2 minutes!". Sigh. We've tried reward charts and counting to 3 etc etc and all variations seem to work somtimes, but of course she also ends up in good old fashioned time out.

But with these new struggles come some cool new talking and some wonderful pretending. She is SUPER into Aurora (sleeping beauty) and often tells people her name is Aurora if they ask. She will serve up tons of food in her kitchen, carry "pretend" pink candy in her hand, take you on a ride in her imaginary choo choo train, offer to take you for a ride in her light pink car so you can go "golf". It's amazing what she comes up with and how dedicated to the things that she deems her "favorite" (like the number 7 and the color PINK!).

We had a great 4th of July this year with a ride through the children's parade and took a few trips to Disneyland. So far we've seen Ariel, Jasmine and Belle but need to make it back soon to see the infamous Aurora. I'm telling you it's kinda crazy... she hasn't
even see the movie but we just started reading the book and she hides hen the evil fairy Malificent shows up. She is starting to develop some normal "fears" of evil characters and "monsters" lurking in dark rooms.

As always, it continues to be an adventure but we are reminded daily how lucky we are when we see how well she continues to adjust.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


So it's been a few weeks now and I am happy to report that mommy is WORKING and Zaleeya is in DAYCARE! After pouring over tons of info and visiting a myriad of facilities, we settled on an in home daycare in a neighboring community only 4 minutes away. My instincts were telling me that lil Z would do better in a smaller environment before hitting preschool... and boy was I right (picture is from her first day)!

First of all, we love our daycare lady (Ms. Dawn). She is nurturing but strict and very structured. Her home is immaculate, she is a consummate professional and I feel now that she is a helper to me in conquering some of Zaleeya's issues. It's been a few weeks, and she is already playing better with other children, eating meals in under 30 mins (WHAT!!??), coughing and sneezing into her arms for hygiene, not touching doorknobs unless shes asks, and putting away toys. And never once has she whined, complained or cried about being left there... it's as if she knew this was the right place for her. It's a miracle!

Sure, mommy and daddy get homework so we can work on these skills on the days she is not in daycare, but I am happy to have someone who is part of parenting team, someone who has confirmed what I know all along... that our child is bright, headstrong, and will challenge us everyday.

And more importantly, mommy is happy to have time away so that our time together is QUALITY. Today was the first full day we had together in a while, all day alone, and boy was it awesome. Sure we had a few tantrums and timeouts, but I was prepared and mentally ready to handle it. Now this is what I imagined motherhood to be like. Thank you Ms. Dawn!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We decided to finally take lil Z on a BIG trip to Disneyland! We were lucky to get in for free so we didn't feel the pressure to stay all day and did a nice short trip in about 4 hours. She LOVED it! We visited DUMBO first, where she giggled her way through her first purple Dumbo trip. Then we did the Carousel, where she was a bit nervous to ride the horsie unless mama was holding her hand. Then we headed over to the teacups which she LOVED! We even have video of this one... and I'm so glad that she is not afraid of going around and around. Then we hit Its a Small World; this song is number one on the list of bedtime lullabies now. Lastly we hit toon town where we got to meet MICKEY! While waiting in line for Mickey, Zaleeya was very excited and kept saying "We are going to see Mickey, he is changing right now!". We have no idea where she got this from... but the day was a success and we can't wait to take her back!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberries, Baseball and the POTTY!

It's that time again... and I'm proud of myself for being so diligent in my blogging. I think this will be very important to Zaleeya in a few years. Even though we are past the "adoption" phase of our parenting journey (for now), it's great to just keep track of what goes on from a month to month basis. This month has been all about the POTTY! Yes we successfully training lil Z how to use the potty and after 4 days of a few accidents here and there, we are now accident free for 2 weeks! Of course going #2 has been a bit of an issue and took some prodding from mommy (major major fears) but we are now using the pink potty religiously. Yes, it's far too much info, but mom wants to remember this moment and feel proud. I took my time and waited till we were both ready.

We hit the strawberry farm with school the other day... a fun filled adventure that involved strawberry picking, mud and a wagon. We also hit our first ANGELS game last week! We had been waiting to take her until we felt we could make it through the 7th inning stretch (to sing Take Me out to the Ball Game) which we did! Zaleeya did great and was able to si
t and eat her way through most of the game. We loved it when she first got a live glimse of the baseball field... she actually stopped us and went to go take a look. It was amazing! SHE IS A FAN! And now says GO ANGELS everytime we pass the stadium.

This month has also been about talking. It's crazy how much she puts together now. Instead of saying "Mama I got a bobo", we are moving into phrases like "Mama I hurt myself on my chin". She can vocalize everything, which at times drives us a bit crazy and nervous as she now repeats everything too!

For some reason, perhaps because of the Potty Training, she has become a little more clingy and whiney lately. Sometimes it's so bad we have numerous escalating tantrums because I stand firm to my ground and don't give in to her every whim. For example, she will throw Pepe and expect me to get it for her; I make her calm down and do it herself. It's been a
tough few days, but I chalk it up to normal growing pains and I know tantrums for 2 year olds are not uncommon. At least we know she is attached!

I plan to go back to work part time and we are looking into preschool/ daycare solutions. Zaleeya may be sensing this so it could also be contributing to her increase of clingyness. I only plan to work 3 half days to help her with this transition. I am looking forward to this a bit as I don't think I was ever wired to be a full time mom. It's been good for all of us... but perhaps it's time to move into a few phase of motherhood.

Anyhow that's all for this month. Thanks for keeping track of us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Trip to the Olympics!

As promised, I am on time delivering my monthly blog entry and this one is dedicated to our recent trip to Vancouver. Azeem has been busy with work (CPA in Busy Season!) so Zaleeya and I took a gracious offer from my parents to visit them in their Vancouver Condo and enjoy the spirit of the 2010 Winter Games.

Zaleeya of course had no idea what the "Olimstics" were all about... but by the end of it she had mastered the phrase "GO CANADA!" much to our dismay. There was SO MUCH Canadian Spirit everywhere that she picked it up quite quickly, and let's admit that it is a bit easier to say than "Go USA".

She did a good job adjusting to the travel again, despite the fact that just before leaving she got the worst cold she has had in a while. Night time was rough the first few nights and she ended up sleeping with me since I caved when she decided to learn the phrase "I WANT MY MOM!". I guess it's true that when they are sick they crave mommy comfort.

But after a few days we ventured out into the colder weather (only 55 degrees actually and sometimes a bit rainy) and hit Live City, an outdoor Olympic venue for spectators to come watch the events on large screens. We also spent some time strolling down the streets of Vancouver and she was great at sitting in her stroller and watching the people go by in her turquoise jacket and pink sunglasses. What a California diva! We even ventured out on a bike ride... mom's first with Zaleeya on the bike. It was so much fun!

Mom got to go to the Opening Ceremonies, some ice skating and an ice hockey match. It was fantastic! All in all though we were glad to be home and back into the regular routine. Zaleeya fared better than expected while traveling, but still just does her best at sleeping and eating and behaving when she is at home.

She continues to talk like crazy adding more and more sentences to her repertoire. Today she picked up the phone with my mom and said "Nani, I hear Ziggy barking in the backyard". Amazing!

Also this month we had a nice dinner with the Adoption Club in Ladera Ranch. We met a group of wonderful families with children all adopted (mostly domestic) and around the same age as Zaleeya. Were so happy to find this group of people and hope to spend more time with them in the future.

Pictures from the month are littered in this post. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's 2010!

So I'm WAAAAAY behind on blogging and there is a LOT to update on Zaleeya and her current developments! I am now making a commitment that I will post ONCE a month. I wanted this to be a great scrapbook for Zaleeya someday... so I need to post regularly!

I am very very happy to report that she is doing SO WELL! I had our final adoption court date on January 13th where she got her teddy bear from the Judge (that we have aptly named "Judge"). In general, sleep has been much much better in the last few months. She is talking up a storm and starting to really form a personality. Most of her adoption behavior patterns that we used to see all the time (sitting in moms laps, trying to get the rooms attention, hugging other kids to death, stealing toys etc) are all under control and she is simply now just a normal, sometimes defiant, 2 year old who loves her parents and generally loves all people!

I will post a separate blog entry with pictures that can sum up the last few months, but here is a bullet point list of Zaleeya's favorite things/actions/people etc:

  • We went to visit Santa in December and since her sentences were still developing at that time I prompted her to tell Santa she wanted "princesses" for Christmas. Of course when Santa asked, out of nowhere, Zaleeya said "Shoes!". Go figure

  • We visited Vancouver for the holidays and she did VERY well with sleep in a new place. She napped at least an hour a day and 11-12 hours at night. The interesting part was that all 3 of us were sleeping the same room, something that Azeem and I were somewhat nervous about. But she managed to sleep well at night in her playpen. She threw no major tantrums, loved to play with her cousins Amina, Inara, Jayden and most of all just fell in love with ZAHID BHA! ("Bha" means brother)!

  • Getting back to sleep patterns after Vancouver took a few days of tough love, but eventually in the month of January we somehow settled into a sleep pattern of 1.5 to 2 hour naps! Mama is just such a happy woman.

  • Vancouver really spurred on an onslaught of new words and phrases. Now she speaking full sentences and loves to point to us and say "That's my mommy, that's my daddy". I love it when she tells me her glasses are "upside down". And I'm always impressed when she asks for "Mayai" and then asks for "Egg" which both mean the same thing in 2 different languages. Quite smart!

  • She continues to show an affinity for music and just LOVED watching Pink's Grammy rendition of her her favorite song of ALL time the "LaLa" song (Glitter in the Air). She now asks Daddy to sing "Papapeche Mode's'" "People are People" before night night and can recognize their songs when they come on. She also will immediately recognize Lady Gaga and loves her some Alicia Keys. Golly the girl has taste!

  • Barbie Shoes and pink sunglasses are her prized possessions. Yes, she is a girly girl.

  • Elmo seems to still be the only TV show that attacks her for long periods of time. Fine by us.

  • Food continues to get a little pickier... fruits and veggies are tough and crackers RULE. She still makes a bit of a mess when she eats but it's usually because she knows it makes Mommy mad.

  • She LOVES to talk on the phone. It's still a random conversation, but she looks cute and sounds cute doing it.

  • MommiYA! DaddiYA! ZaleeYA! ZiggYA! This is her favorite rhyming game.

  • Every night before we leave the room we have to sing happy birthday to someone, anyone, and sometimes anyTHING. It's a nice way to remember the people we might have met that day.
  • She continues to be very social around all our friends and family. She has a few favorite people that she loves to ask about, which is fun because now we'll just call them on the phone. And she is now a bit cautious around new people which we love because it signals to us that she is attached. She is a joy (and sometimes a terrible two year old) but in general she is just becoming more and more, OURS. :)