All's quiet here at our house tonight; my children are both sleeping soundly after warm baths and applications of lovely lotions followed by clean jammies, and John is relaxing with a book as I write. It was a busy day today so I'm glad for a low-key evening.
First, to all of you who were wondering how it has been going with Clara Anne and Chloe and my resolutions of Friday...it's been going pretty well. Chloe had a tough time, especially the first night--she woke up and cried a long long time, (of course any amount of time over 5 minutes is a long time to a mom!) but then finally settled herself back to sleep. The second and third nights were much better, and then the last few nights she has amazed us all by going about 11 hours each night before waking up and crying! In fact, this morning she woke up happily after about 11 hours of sleep; I heard her talking to herself in a cheerful voice early this morning. I am a thankful (and much better rested) mama!
Clara Anne is also showing some improvement, particularly today. It is so wonderful when I am consistent to discipline her, because then she is happier and more content, which makes me happier and more content, and on and on in a beautiful cycle. Today was one of those days where I really enjoyed being around Clara Anne: singing with her, reading to her, helping her "help" me make monster cookies, splashing water during her bath--just laughing and loving together. Her affection towards me seems to increase, not decrease, when I force her to "toe the line" and refuse to give in to her selfish complaints and demands. Today she came up to me several times randomly, wanting to kiss and hug me. My favorite sign of affection from her, though, is when I hold her and she pats my back, as though to comfort me. Thanks, Clara Anne! I needed that! [There's the picture of our shoe enthusiast--Daddy's shoes this time!]
In other happy tidings, I made some new friends this week! The first night Chloe slept 11 hours straight was Sunday night: I kid you not, I felt like a new woman on Monday morning. I woke up thinking about what great things I could accomplish that day, and what fun things I could do with the girls. We have had some chilly weather recently, but Saturday, Sunday and Monday were all warmer. So, on Monday morning, bursting with new-found energy, I took Clara Anne and Chloe out for a walk. It was a perfect time to be outside--blue skies, a slight breeze, warm sun, just lovely! We headed up the hill behind our apartment building to a little spot of grass so that Clara Anne could run around and play. On our way, we met one of my neighbors who has a two-month-old baby; she was also outside soaking up the sun. It was fun to meet another mother! She is on maternity leave from her teaching job this semester.
Then as we rounded the corner to the small park area, there was another mom out with her young son. She and I started talking and hit it off right away! We marveled that we had never met, even though both of our families have lived here for more than two years. Erica (her English name) invited me to come in right then and eat lunch with her family! I said we already had plans (Mimi, my house helper, was already busy fixing lunch) but then she invited me in to "sit awhile" and drink some water. So up I went with my girls in tow, and met her mother, her father, a few random neighbors and some other kids that tagged along. We had a great time! I hope we will become good friends--I really like her and she seemed to really like me too, as evidenced by her continual suggestions of further get-togethers. Best of all, there wasn't any sense of her just wanting to meet a foreigner to practice English (we were speaking Asianese the whole time), but rather a feeling like we truly could be friends. This is a great blessing to me; I've been wanting to meet more moms and here I found two of them, about my age and literally in my backyard, all because Chloe got a great night of sleep! (Well, sort of...I guess she doesn't get all the credit!) Today Erica stopped by our apartment because I had accidently left one of Chloe's blankets behind when I was at her house the other day. I plan to try to see her again soon. We could do lots of stopping by since we live in the same housing complex; that's exciting to me!
Speaking of exciting adventures, Doll had a truly life-changing adventure today...she was put through the washing machine. Oh yes, it said on the tag (barely readable after 25+ years) that she should only be surface washed, but in fact she was SO dirty after being dragged around Asia, in and out of airports, numerous taxis, parks, back and forth to Emma's house, etc. that a true bath was very necessary. I am sorry that I did not get a "before" picture, but at left is the "after." Her face, particularly, is much cleaner--now Clara Anne has a nice, clean Doll to sleep with again.
Speaking of sleep, I am reminded of a great quote to leave you with (though I cannot remember the source): "There never was a child so lovely that his mother was not happy to get him to sleep." Rest well, little ones!