Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FAQ's: You Asked, We Answered

We are so grateful for the love and support all of you have shown to our family over the past couple of months as we have learned how to operate as a family of five.  We are also grateful for the way you all have honored our requests regarding cocooning!  You guys are awesome!  We have witnessed our family and our community walking beside us through cocooning, time and time again.  By doing this, you are helping Eliana grow and learn.  Many of you have asked us to reiterate the "rules of cocooning," just to make sure you don't overstep any boundaries, and to that we say, "thank you!"

I want to take this opportunity to answer some of the most common questions we have been hearing from all of you.  We know that you are curious about what is going on with us, and we LOVE that you care enough to ask!  So please, keep the questions coming!

#1.....How are you all doing?
We are doing great!  Each day brings new challenges (and some old challenges), but we are figuring out how to best deal with them.  Really we deal with the same things that any family with young children does:  keeping 3 kids fed, keeping 3 kids clean, enforcing nap times and bedtimes, keeping 3 kids from fighting so much that they drive their mom crazy...you know, normal stuff!  As the mom, I feel like I have settled into a nice routine!

#2.....How is Eliana adjusting?
Eliana is adjusting beautifully!  She plays with her brothers as if she has known them her entire life!  She knows her way around our house, and she knows & anticipates our daily routine.  

#3.....How are the boys doing with their new sister?
The boys are loving their little sister!  Of course the three of them squabble a lot (which would be expected of any siblings).  Generally, they all play very well together, no one gets left out, and it is a joy to listen to them play/pretend together.  Both of the boys have shown slight regression in different areas, and we are combating it with lots of extra, individual attention.

#4.....Is everyone eating/sleeping like they should?
Yes!  I would say that 90% of our nights, everyone goes to bed relatively easily and sleeps through the night!  The other 10% of the time we may have a little trouble getting someone to go to sleep, or someone may briefly wake up in the middle of the night (usually a little pat on the back fixes it).  To say we are blessed in the sleep department, would be a gross understatement!
We are getting there.  We have always dealt with eating issues for both of the boys.  They are picky eaters, and I have generally stuck to feeding them things that I know they will eat.  Eliana, on the other hand, will eat anything you give to her!  We have made it a point in the last 2 months to try to feed everyone the same thing at dinner (even if it's something that the boys may not like).  Well, it has resulted in many tears, but again...we are getting there.

#5.....When will you be done with cocooning?
This is a tricky question to answer, because cocooning is not something that just ends on a particular day.  Cocooning is an ongoing process.  A slow process.  And hopefully, it will be a rewarding process.

It's kind of like learning to swim.  You wouldn't throw a toddler into the deep end of the pool and expect that he would just figure out how to handle the new surroundings and start swimming.  You also wouldn't give a child a handful of beginner swimming lessons and expect that they could then handle the deep end on their own.  However, if you ever want that child to be able to handle the deep end, you have to start somewhere.  It takes time, patience, learning, repetition and support.  Eventually, the child will swim safely in the deep end!

Currently, we are in the stage of dipping our toes in the water, and she is beginning to get comfortable with the fact that the pool even exists.

It's a lot of taking two steps forward and one step back.  You may see us trying church, going to a restaurant, going to the store, etc.  What's happening behind the scenes is much more complex.  We are gauging Eliana's reactions while in those situations and her actions once we are back at home in our "safe spot."  Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and decide that Eliana is ready!  Other times we are surprised to find out that she just isn't there yet, and we have to pull back and wait to try it again.  She is actually doing much better than we could have anticipated at this point, and we are very pleased with the progress that has been made.  However, we must be cautious, and continue to let Eliana lead in this process.

So please, continue being patient with us as we figure out how to best help our daughter through all of these transitions.  Eventually, everything will be normal, we promise!

#6.....How are Eliana's doctor appointments going?
We have been so blessed to work with some great teams of doctors as we try to learn more about Eliana's medical past and future.  So far, everything looks great!  Amazing!  It is very clear just how loved and cared for Eliana was before we got to her.

#7.....Is Eliana speaking English?
No, Eliana is not speaking English.  The language that she heard up until the day we got her was Cantonese (a Chinese dialect).  However, it is amazing just how quickly she is learning our language!  She only just turned two years old, so her language is just beginning to emerge anyway.  At this time she can point to 15 body parts when asked, she can point to various items around the house when asked, and she can follow simple instructions!  She understands much of what we say, and she is working hard on learning how to speak English.  She can say simple things like, Mommy, Daddy, brothers, Clay, Davis, eat, diaper, bed, clean-up, etc.  She is also trying to sing some songs, "Twinkle, Twinkle," "Jesus Loves Me," and the Auburn Fight Song.  Of course, everything she says has that cute two year old flair to it, with a precious Cantonese accent.

#8.....When I am around Eliana, how can I interact with her?
Feel free to speak to Eliana, give her high fives, blow kisses or get on the floor and play with her.  You can smile with her, make silly faces, etc.

We ask that you continue to refrain from holding her, hugging her, handing her gifts, toys, food..., any care taking (diapers, cleaning, etc.).  If there is a gift that you would like for her to have, please give it to me or Randall, and we will present the gift to her (and tell her it is from you, of course).

We understand that this can all be confusing, and we totally appreciate all that you guys have done to respect our wishes at this time.

Thank you, again, for asking questions, for checking-up on us, and for praying for us!  We love you guys!

You can check out our original post on cocooning here.