Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Big Changes of This Week

In 2 weeks, we will celebrate one year since the Panda was put into our arms.  Do you remember that baby Panda?  White as the driven snow, could barely sit up for 30 seconds, could bear no weight on his legs, couldn't hear, had no language....

He seems like a distant memory, a dream.  Sure, he was cute and sweet, but the Panda of  Today is nothing like that little baby cub.  He's gained about 14 lbs and at least 2 inches.  He's a baby on fast- forward.  He can walk, run, tries to jump, zoom around on ride-on train, climb stairs, walk on grass and other "challenging surfaces", go up and down hills.  He jumped in the leaf pile with other kids this weekend and didn't cry (a month ago he wouldn't even walk on grass.)

He knows letters and their sounds, is starting to figure out what I mean by numbers (I think), has lots of signs and more and more words, follows directions, LOVES books, and can hum pretty much on key.  He's having another verbal explosion, asking for more and more words by pointing at everything, and soaking up words like a sponge.  He's starting to try to say more words.  He's still struggling with some consonants, especially j and z.

The Panda went to the Autumn Glory Parade this past weekend with the family.  What has he been afraid of?  Food.  Crowds.  Loud noise.  Grass.  What is at a parade?   Hmmmm....  The Panda went off with my mom's dear friend, and watched the parade like a professional kid.  :)   Only the zooming, zigging, zagging Shriner Cars made him a little nervous.

I sat at my dad's house afterward, remembering one year ago.  I have never experienced an ache like I felt while waiting to go bring the Panda home.  We bought our plane tickets for China last year after the Autumn Glory Parade.  This year, after the parade, I looked into the deep, dark eyes of an amazing person, and cried out to God with great thankfulness.

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Lord has changed the Panda in such big ways, and He's changed me too.  

We've had wonderful new things happen between the Panda and food in the last week.  He has licked many new foods, including various chips and crackers, a lollipop (finally), a french fry, and he even bit through a Triscuit.  I convinced him to let me put  a Cheerio into his mouth.  He eventually took it out, but it was in for a bit, and he didn't cry or panic.  He doesn't seem to understand how to chew, though.  Today, he gnawed on a lumpia, though he didn't consume any.  He's getting more consistent about tasting baby food or pudding.    If I offer it on a spoon, he swipes it with his finger, and then licks it off his finger.  Huge progress, even though he won't let the spoon in...  The most amazing thing:  While I picked up the Bunny from our co-op, granddad got the Panda to drink from a straw.  He can suck up lots of water.  Doesn't swallow....  he spits it onto the floor.  Still, I'm jumping for joy here, because sucking and blowing are skills that cleft affected kids can really struggle with!  He also blew bubbles himself today.

Speaking of granddad and his clandestine child-rearing activities....  My dad is so amazing.  This deployment would be beyond difficult without him.  He has upheld his record in teaching 4/4 grandkids how to use a straw.  But he's quirky and such a hoot!  When he thinks the boys' hair is too long, he's been known to shave a stripe down the middle so I have to give them a haircut.  While the other kids and I went on a homeschool hike (too far for the Panda to walk), granddad tried to complete a whole haircut himself.  There was, ummmm, a little trouble... and we ended up with a slightly patchy Panda....  It was so funny to come home and try to figure out what happened....  never a dull moment.


  1. I love hearing about progress and grandads!

  2. Yeah for the eating progress! Cora has been making huge progress also!