Sunday, April 29, 2007

Putting the pieces together

One of the first things I noticed about Cate was that she has been exposed to very little. On the first day we gave her a crayon and had to show her how to use it. She is quick but has limited experience. I gave her a puzzle with three bears on it. Each bear is a little puzzle of three pieces, the head, torso and feet. She had no idea how to begin to solve it. She has obviously never seen one before. She is determined, though, and works on each day, trying to make the pieces fit.

Yesterday I realized that I also have been working a puzzle--one that I have no experience with, that I didn't know how to begin to solve. The key to my puzzle is language. Finally, through a mixture of my very limited Chinese, mime, and Cate's emerging understanding of English, the pieces have begun to fall into place.

These are the things I now know about Cate:

* She, like her Uncle Eric, prefers the floor to a bed (this has caused a lot of nighttime distress).
* She loves to go outside. Her foster family used this method to soothe her when she was upset. Every day she walks over to me and hands me a random piece of clothing. I could not figure it out. Now I know that she was wanting me to go outside. It has been raining almost non-stop since we got here, so we have not gone out much.
* She likes yogurt, rice, noodles, cereal, and watermelon. She hates vegetables.
* She loves to tease and play if you can just get her started.

Each day one more piece falls into place. Last night she was so happy. She was running around the room playing with Grace. I thought- finally some relief. Grace is so happy when Cate is happy. Today will be sunshine. We are going to the park for a long time!


Anonymous said...

Anne, I found you comments very interesting. I think that it is hard for us to imagine that things that we take for granted are just not avaiable to your average Chinese person. I was talking to someone yesterday who has contact with their child's foster mother. The foster family do not own a camera and never have done. I have 3 in my home - one of which I don't use (and I'm not wealthy). I'd say that the toys avaiable to any of the children are probably quite limited. My qinzhou girl also hadn't been exposed to many toys - the photos that I got back from the disposible camera that I sent showed her playing with an inexpensive doll ( I searched high and low to get one as close to the one in the picture as she was not given to me with anything) - her notes told that she liked playing with her doll and watching the TV - they were probably her only sources of entertainment.

Glad to hear that Cate is settling a little.

Marla said...

Man oh Man!!!!!
This is so exciting!!!Someone who loves watermelon. This little girl will have no problem adjusting to the South. Whaho!!
Also, we will look forward to many walks and runs outside. Whatever comforts her will comfort us. We are so excited with each little tidbit that allows us to understand Cate more. It is 10 days now to your return and we are about to jump out of our skins. We have already started to pack up and make all the arrangements for this wonderous journey. Anne, you have worked with God and a lot of other people to make this happen and we are ever so grateful for the opportunity to have more children to love and spoil. You girls enjoy today in the sun. We are smiling here in the states with joy and anticipation.
Love to all--Poppy and Marla

Britta said...

Anne: I like the story you tell about Cate working so hard on the puzzle. It shows a lot of determination. That will be a challenge at times to you as a parent, but also a good characteristic for her to have as she comes to America, learns English, makes friends and tackles life. Determination . . . . that sounds like another woman I know.

Anonymous said...

I never would've thought that things like puzzles and crayons would seem unfamiliar--just shows how much we take for granted here. Enjoy the day at the park!

Triumph is going fine and Stacy said she's calling Ed today with "The Decision." I'll let you know.....