About a month ago I was shopping for some Easter decorations and found the little statue pictured to the left. I HAD TO GET IT! What the PERFECT decoration for the Hen house -- Mama Hen, Little Zo Peep and Libby Doodle Doo back together again. This statue reminded me of the bygone days when I loyally posted to this blog. Then 2 days ago I received a blog comment from someone who just re-visited this cobweb-laden site. That was the motivation I needed to take some time today to let all you lovely readers out there know that all is well with the Hen and Chicks.
So I just finished this post and have started re-reading it. This post is long -- really, really long. Sorry. I guess I just had a lot to say. But I also promise to throw in a lot of pictures so that you can see the amazing transformation of my beautiful girls.
Zo Peep -- Pre-teen, Pitcher, Paramour
|Age 10 Fall 2012|
She also continues to advance her athletic skills. Zo Peep has very powerful shoulders and arms and can throw anything (softballs, footballs, basketballs) with tremendous force and accuracy (scares the bejeezus out of me when I'm on the receiving end). With these natural skills it was little surprise that she started to fast pitch last fall for her softball team. Zo Peep is still a novice in the pitching department, so she's been taking some lessons from a former college pitcher. The coach is making sure that the Peep is learning proper techniques from the get-go. I admit that I don't know much about pitching, but other parents at the weekly clinics are shocked that she's a beginner.
|Also Fall 2012|
And then there's the "paramour" part of her update. My oh my! I mentioned last year how Zo Peep had become a favorite among the 4th grade boys. No change there. Boys love her. LOTS of boys love her. Of course being in love in the 5th grade means that you sit together at lunch, stand on the same corner to do crossing guard duty and play football together at recess. I can handle this kind of "dating." At first I admit that I got the heebie-jeebies every time the Peep would come home and inform me that another boy told her that he liked her. But she has shown me that she has a level-head about this kind of stuff. No boy-crazy antics at all. I'm still scared silly about the inevitable day when she gets more serious about boys, but I guess this last 2 years of 4th & 5th grade romance is preparing me for those frightening teen years of romance that lie ahead.
With the impending arrival of puberty, Little Zo Peep has also gotten much more interested in her birth family (she has long been fascinated by her birth parents). She's asked me questions about how tall she'll be, whether her feet will ever stop growing, and even how big her breasts swill be. I hate answering these questions with, "I don't know, but I guess . . .
|Z cut her hair this month March 2013|
My gosh -- I HIGHLY recommend this test to any Chinese adoptive family. Not only did I get some important health information (nothing scary but important info to pass to her pediatrician) , but also some specific information about her ancestry. I found out that my girl who was adopted in Shaanxi in the north, has some southern Chinese in her background. Her mother's line (passed down from mother to daughter to daughter to daughter) is almost pure Dai ancestry. Now that specific ancestral line doesn't contain all relatives on her mom's side NOR any of her dad's ancestry. In fact her entire make-up is 99% Chinese and a little NORTHERN AFRICAN thrown in for good measure. The DNA from Northern Africa may indicate that Zo Peep has some Hui minority in her too -- they are the descendants of Han Chinese who married visitors from the middle east back in ancient times. The Hui practice Islam -- passed down from their ancient Middle Eastern/Northern African ancestors.
Another section of 23andme connects your DNA with other people in their database to see if you have any relatives. Zo Peep got 16 matches -- the closest being a 3rd cousin and most 4th, 5th, or more distant cousins. One of these distant relatives contacted me. His 4 grandparents all emigrated from Guangdong and Fujian provinces -- showing more evidence of southern Chinese somewhere in Zofia's background. Can you imagine how excited Zo Peep was when she got to see the photograph of an ACTUAL BLOOD relations of hers. It was priceless.
|Silly face March 2013|
I know this DNA stuff can make one's head spin, but I must tell you that I am so excited by how this info has helped Zo Peep. One section of the data lists traits found in her DNA (like eye color and hair color). Most of it was quite obvious -- but some quite eye-opening. For example, the Peep has a genetic marker in her muscle composition that is shared by many world class athletes. You should have seen the smile on her face when I told her that info. We always suspected that her athletic prowess came from her genes -- but she LOVED this verification. Also the test told her that she has a high likelihood of having seasonal allergies. She actually does suffer from hay fever. When she found out this info she said, "Oh, that's where that comes from."
Why am I so in love with this test ? I think it's because so much of the info about my daughters' early lives are unknown or unreliable. There is so much Randomness in their background -- how did they end up here? why did they end up in an orphanage? that they -- especially Zo Peep -- sometimes feel unmoored. Reviewing these un-refutable facts with her , gave her a sense of belonging and an anchor that she can hold on to.
|5 yrs old Fall 2012|
My baby started Kindergarten this year. Kindergarten! How could that be? Where did those first 5 years go?
So this year has been a whirlwind of learning to read, mastering basic math, spelling tests, and Friday show-n-tell. Our public school eliminated full day kindergarten in 2011 due to budget cuts, so -- after a lot of considerations -- I decided to send the Doodle to a local (still walkable) Catholic school for full day Kindergarten.
It was a good choice. The class size is small (only 17 kids) so the teacher interaction is great. And I really like the teachers and principal at this school. Plus the families are so hospitable and accepting. It's like one big family. I'm amazed at how the bigger kids (even 7th and 8th graders) warmly welcome the Doodle at school events.
|Libby Doodle Doo's School Pix|
So this school is great for her.
The original plan was to send Libby Doodle Doo to public school for 1st grade, but now I'm re-thinking that idea. The Doodle LOVES this school. And now my public school has announced that they are in another budget crisis and plan to eliminate 1/3 of the Elementary teachers. 33% GONE!!
I assume that the furloughed teachers will consist of those with less seniority -- and they make up most of the teachers that I like best in that school. In fact my first choice for Libby Doodle Doo's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade teachers will probably lose their jobs this summer.
Back to Libby Doodle Doo.
|On her 6th birthday March 2013|
But that friendly, outgoing warm socialite has a dark side too. Libby Doodle Doo has some DEVIL-like behaviors that drive me insane. She's very particular about inconsequential little stuff -- the size of her shoelace loops, the precise location of her ponytail in the back of her head, how much milk goes on her cereal in the morning. Annoyance turns to petulance and sometimes turns into disrespect. When that happens she goes to a time out. Many mornings include a trip to the time out step for Libby Doodle Doo. Now that she's turned 6 , I'm putting HER in charge of many of her requirements. Since initiating project "Big Girl" the number of morning time outs has dropped off noticeably. I should have pushed her to take on more responsibility for herself long ago.
Oh what a difference a year makes. Libby Doodle Doo is the leader of her class. She learns the choreography quickly and helps her classmates too. Her teacher has told me that the Doodle has all the attributes of a great dancer -- she's strong and flexible, she emotes on stage and she is petite. The teacher is so impressed with her potential and performance that she wants to move her into an advance class next Fall.
To take advantage of the Doodle's new found dance skills, I convinced my two lovely daughters to perform a duet this year. It was soooo cute. They danced to the Chinese children's song Ni Wa Wa. The song tells the story of a young girl (Zo Peep) who makes a doll out of clay (Libby Doodle Doo). The little doll comes to life through the girl's imagination and they run and play and dance together. Everyone who sees the dance is so charmed by both girls and impressed with the Doodle's dance skills. I wanted to capture this special event that may never occur again (I think Zo Peep will abandon dance soon in favor of more sports). So I had them dress in their costumes and perform the dance for our regular photographer. Now I have lots of photos capturing the chapter of their lives when both of my beauties studied dance.
BTW I also have done genetic testing on Libby Doodle Doo and have started to investigate her early days in China, too. The DNA results didn't reveal any surprising clues to her heritage (she's 99.9% Chinese). I must admit that I thought Libby Doodle Doo might have some Caucasian in her mix. NOPE. She is actually more Chinese than her big sister.
|Zo Peep coaxing a smile out of Doodle|
I'll leave you all with some photos from today -- Easter. Our weather was gray and damp, but like all days my girls brought sunshine and color into my Sunday (just as they did to my week, my month, my year, my life).
Happy Easter to all of you. Until next time.
|Size 14 on my 10 yr old! Those legs won't stop growing!|
|Doodle lost her 1st baby tooth this week|