So what's new with Maya? We've been potty training, slacker mom style. That means she mostly runs around naked all day. It's much easier to potty train when you don't have to take off so much clothing. All winter I fought with her to keep her socks on, keep her shoes on, keep her clothes on. We've been having such nice weather lately that I threw my hands up and said, "what the heck?" If you can't run around naked all day when you're three and it's a nice day, when will you ever be able to be this free again? I resisted potty training her before because she had a bladder the size of a pea. I would put her on the potty and she would pee again in 15 minutes. My mom will vouch for me. So I decided to wait until summer when I could leave a diaper off her. Well, it seems that in the meantime she has developed more bladder capacity and can actually go 1-2 hours now without wetting herself. So the potty training is coming along marvellously with very little effort.
Maya is also talking very well. She uses whole sentences on a regular basis. Occasionally I have trouble understanding what she is asking me so I turn to Chris and say: "translation?". It's hard to believe that a year ago she barely babbled and we didn't understand a word she said. But somehow she was always able to communicate with us. The facial expressions convey a thousand words. There's the pouty lip, the evil eye, the sly smile and of course, the outbursts of joy. Now she has words to express her feelings as well. She frequently tells us: "I happy now!" Her repertoire includes: I mad, I sad, I hungy, I tide.
I've been going through stuff to give away to the hockey garage sale coming up. I told myself I wouldn't give away any stuffed animals that had names. All of a sudden, Maya starts naming her stuffed animals. She has a dog that came in a carrier with a leash, a comb, the whole pampered pooch package. Maya named her Brigit. There is a fox that came with a baby fox. I sent Maya the baby fox when she was still in the orphanage with the intention of bringing the adult fox with us when we picked her up. Of course, there was no evidence of anything that we sent at the orphanage, not even our photos. So I had no attachment to this fox. If anything, it represented for me the unfairness of the orphanage system. But Maya pulled him out of the box and said, "his name Papa".
Sunday I went to our local drug and hardware store to get a watch battery for Matt. While we were looking for a match for the battery, Maya found a cute little box for storing CDs. It is green with cute little bugs all over it. She brought it to me and said "Happy Birthday to my Mommy!". I told her we had to put it back but she insisted on carrying it around the store whining plaintively "it Happy Birthday to my Mommy!" Of course I bought the box knowing it was not really a birthday present for me. I filled it with little books and tiny toys we had around the house for her to "treasure". Everybody needs a treasure box, right?
Her latest thing is carrying the kitty around. She holds her in the classic young child manner, around the middle with the rest of the cat pouring down over her arms. Lilly goes limp and just lets Maya carry her around like that. She is normally a very feisty cat and will bite and scratch adults when they play with her. But she never bares a tooth or claw when Maya picks her up and carries her around.
Our dog is very patient as well. Trevor is half Golden Retriever, half Malamute. So picture an extra large, very blond Golden Retriever with twice as much fur. Especially around the rear end. His rear end gets matted and picks up all kinds of twigs and branches (we affectionately refer to this condition as stick butt). So Tuesday he spent the day at the doggie beauty parlor getting a bath and a haircut. I did not shave him but had his fur trimmed way back and thinned out for the summer. He looks fabulous! So what does this have anything to do with Maya? Nothing. But Maya is fond of walking around with a leash hooked to the back of her shirt, hoping someone will take her for a walk.
Finally, the boys. The boys are doing an amazing job of getting through the summer without a TV. It's not that brutal. They still get to watch a movie on the computer almost every night. More importantly, they haven't had Wii or very much in the way of video games. They spend part of their time playing hockey downstairs, using goalie pads they made themselves out of cardboard. The rest of the time they are outside playing baseball, football or soccer. They have a favorite spot in the woods where they hang out doing who knows what. They call it "town". They also make characters out of tinker toys and give them funny names. We have a lot of playdates. The other day our neighbor let them ride the horses bareback. That was the highlight of their day.
Our last but not least favorite thing to do around here is watching for wild life. A couple of days ago, Alana spotted a black bear while they were driving to our house. We don't see black bears very often because she have a fence around our yard, so I think the bear goes around our property. But everyone around us sees bears. The downfall of the fence is that sometimes mama moose and baby moose end up on opposite sides of the fence, putting everyone into a panic. A couple of years ago, my father was visiting us when this happened. He is a farmer at heart and insisted that we call Fish and Game after they had been separated for a whole day. "That baby has not nursed for 12 hours!" my father pleaded. Someone from fish and game showed up but it was not easy to remedy the situation. The mother became agitated if we came too close to the baby, and she would not get far enough from the baby for us to "herd" them towards the gate. Finally Matt had to break down and cut a hole in the chain link fence.
This week, a mother pheasant and her chicks came into our yard. They walked the entire perimeter of our fence and at one point the chicks ended up on the outside while the mother remained inside. Fortunately, the pheasants were reunited more quickly and easily than the moose.
Update on baby robins. We started with 4 eggs. One egg disappeared. 3 chicks hatched. The next day all three chicks were gone and the nest was abandoned. I am afraid the chicks were victims of nature's ruthless food chain. Unless robins are known for relocating with newly hatched baby chicks? The mother frequently left the nest, I assumed in search of food. My sister in law, Kathleen, asked where the male was, why was the mother always leaving the nest unattended? I never saw a male hanging out with her. I am afraid she was a single parent which left the family vulnerable. Many species of animals raise their young as single parents, the father disappearing soon after the mating ritual. As a nurse, I did just fine as a single parent before I married Matt. But nature is more harsh, I guess. Still, you can see the literary symbolism in that story.
There are a lot of words I could use to describe Maya: feisty, energetic, stubborn. Those are all good traits that helped her survive being a 2 pound premie and rule the orphanage. But the quality for which I am most grateful is that she is extremely forgiving. While the first set of qualities make her tough, the last quality keeps her tender. She bounces back quickly after scoldings from impatient brothers, tired grouchy parents and exasperated grandmas. For me, she embodies the spirit of the Vietnamese people. Resourceful, resilient, and very, very forgiving. They do not seem to harbor resentment towards any one, not even the superpowers that oppressed them for thousands of years, not the Chinese, not the French, not the Americans.
"Mom! Take picture of Maya!"
Singing. Note the elbow pads, knee pads and ballet dress.