Preston Party of Six

Preston Party of Six

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sleeping, Eating, and Other ADLs

All throughout nursing school, I learned A LOT of acronyms and one was "ADLs," which stands for "activities of daily living."  Things like sleeping, eating, bathing, dressing, mobility, and going to the bathroom are examples of ADLs.  So in order to answer so many people's questions about Jenna's "ADLs," as well as to document for her benefit and for my memory's sake, I thought I'd write a few things about what Jenna is up to these days.

Jenna is a great sleeper...hallelujah!  Seriously, since the first night in China until now, Jenna has slept through the night with only a handful of times waking up for brief moments of crying.  While in China, Jenna, Shelby and I all slept in a king-size bed.  Since getting home, Jenna has been sleeping in a twin bed (the bottom bunk), with a guard rail so she won't fall out under her big sister who is on the top bunk.  And I have been sleeping beside Jenna on the twin-size trundle bed that pulls out from under Jenna's bed...until last night.

Last night was the first night since November 22nd that I slept in a separate room from Jenna.  Since she has been sleeping so well, I thought I'd sleep in the extra bed we have in the office which is also upstairs, so I was only down the hall...but I have to admit that I felt so far from my baby girl!  I have loved being right next to her, hearing her breathe, and having her crawl into bed with me upon waking.  But a BIG part of parenting is "letting go" and in order for Jenna to continue flourishing, I knew it was time to take this step...and once again, she slept through the night without a problem.  The next hurdle will be when I return to my own bed sure when that will happen?

Jenna is a great eater...another hallelujah!  I have had two very picky eaters already, so the Lord knew I didn't need a third!  One of my concerns before going to China was how I would know what to feed Jenna since we couldn't speak each other's language, but this concern was quickly gone when I saw Jenna eat just about anything that was put before her.  And this has continued since coming home.  The girl has her preferences, primarily NOODLES of any kind.  But she also loves fruits, vegetables, eggs, PB&J, pizza, Chick-fil-A, and so many of our family's favorites.  Jenna does great feeding herself with a fork and spoon and drinks very well out of a regular cup.  One of the best parts of mealtime is all six of us holding hands and hearing Jenna yell at the top of her lungs "MEN" at the end of our prayer...we all get a good laugh from this each night.  And I doubt it will be long before she can say the whole word ("AMEN.")

Although speaking isn't necessarily an ADL, I get so many questions about Jenna's language.  Jenna didn't say many Chinese words so I hope that means it will be easier for her to learn the English language.  It amazes me every day how much she understands...she is like a little sponge, soaking in all that we say.  She has a few words that she already says, including:
  • Mama
  • Dadda
  • Bye 
  • Night night
  • No
  • Cheese (probably since I take so many pictures of her!) 
To help Jenna's language development and learning, next week I'll be starting the "Laptime" program at the library with Jenna, a fun time for learning and being with other two-year-olds and their moms.  Nathan, Shelby, and Andrew all enjoyed "Laptime" so I really hope Jenna will, too.  Then at the end of February, we will start "Puddle Jumpers" together, another awesome program for children and parents.  It is offered through the school system and teaches colors and shapes among many other developmental skills.  My other three kids loved "Puddle Jumpers" and I can't wait to get to experience it with Jenna, too. 

Bathing and Dressing
Jenna loves bath more hallelujah!  She didn't like it the first night in China, but since that time, it has been a joyful time for her and usually for either Shelby or Andrew who often fight over who gets to take a bath with their baby sister.  Because of Jenna's genetic skin condition, a daily bath is very important, so I am very thankful that she enjoys being in the water.  I use special shampoo for her dry scalp and sometimes special cleanser, but the dermatologist said that good ol' baby wash to make her smell good is just fine, too.  The key for Jenna is to put all of her creams and ointments on immediately after getting out of the bath so that it soaks deep into her skin.  So far she tolerates all of the over-the-counter creams and ointments that moisturize her dry skin very well, but there may come a time when we have to use prescription creams that may cause some burning, so we'll cross that bridge if and when we need to. 


Jenna is also very good at taking her clothes off and putting them on.  She even like to help others get dressed...I can't count how many times she's tried to fasten the buckle on my pants!  My hunch is that in the orphanage she was taught very early to do things on her own, and dressing was one of those things. 
Jenna definitely knows how to hold her own with three older siblings running around the house!  She is quick on her toes when she doesn't want me to hold her, which is often...but I'm not complaining!  Ever since we saw the video of Jenna on the playground at the orphanage last March, we were impressed with her gross motor skills.  She was going up the stairs and down the slide in the video at just over two-years-old, and now at almost three years old she is running, jumping, pushing strollers (we need to work on steering!), climbing, and doing exceptionally well for being such a little peanut.  And she has no fear!

Well...this area needs some work.  Jenna is still in diapers and doesn't seem very interested in changing this fact.  While some orphanages in China are very strict and quick to potty-train toddlers, Jenna's was not.  So once Jenna turns three on February 1st, I plan to take some small steps with Jenna for potty-training purposes, realizing she needs to feel safe and comfortable with everything in order to make progress.  Am I looking forward to this?  Not really.  But there are parts of parenting and life in general that aren't "fun" but necessary.   

As I sit here writing these words and thinking about all the things Jenna has accomplished in six short weeks, I can't help but think about her birthmother.  I often wonder if she thinks about her daughter and how she is doing.  And more than anything I wish I could tell her birthmother how amazing her little girl is and say "thank you" for choosing life for her baby girl nearly three years ago.  Watching Jenna learn and grow and develop in her ADLs and in so many other ways is such a blessing, yet my heart hurts knowing that a precious woman somewhere in China is missing out on this blessing.  So I thank my Heavenly Father every day for the opportunity to be the mother that Jenna needs and deserves.  

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