Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fun with Isabella!!!

Walking around the house
Originally uploaded by Isabella Youlan.

Walking!!! (okay, with a little help…)
Bella’s kooky auntie Carolyn was sooo much fun and so encouraging that she got Bella very excited to walk!! She is now asking constantly to go walking (when she isn’t eating, that is!). She still needs to hold onto Andrea’s hands, though, and it does HAVE to be Andrea’s hands, so mama is getting a bit of a backache, but it will be well worth it to build up Bella’s legs so she can walk on her own. We keep pointing out to her all the fun things she can do (and the mischief she can get into) once she can walk by herself—what are we thinking?!?!?!?!

Andrea is trying to get her to crawl more as well, by showing her how much fun it is and saying it is walking like a doggie. Bella thinks this is fun, because she wants to be like a doggie. She enjoys howling as well! (see photo album for pictures, sooo cute!)

She really loves to dance, either sitting, or especially standing. At Danny and Elizabeth’s they put on some rock music and she got very excited and made a special dancing face, with her lower jaw jutted out, seeming very serious and cool. She will wave her arms or bang on the crossbar on her carseat when there is music in the car. She seems to have a real sense of rhythm, too, and react to different types of music differently, but she seems to like all of it, especially tunes with some rhythm.

Isabella is learning lots of words!! Her first English word was while we were still in China, and was “More!” which she pronounces, Mah! It seems to mean, basically, “Gimmee that food!” We were trying to teach her the sign, but kept saying the word as well, so she just learned the word. Now she also has a few more words, including: Dog, Uh-Oh, Yum, Mama and Daddy, Iris (one of the dogs, and flowers (she likes to smell them). Andrea also taught her the Chinese word for Elephant – Da Xiang, but at first Andrea got it wrong and so she changed it, so now poor Bella is confused and looks at her funny. She tries to say lots of other words when we say them, but I’m not counting them unless she repeats them on several occasions, or on her own.

She also now signs “Finished” or “All Done/Gone,” “Milk,” “Up” and, somewhat surprisingly, “More.” She didn’t want to use “More” at first, and got frustrated when I showed it to her, because she already said the word and we clearly understood her. After a few weeks, however, I guess she realized that she could sign “More” while she still had her mouth full! Today she signed “More Milk” (after a little questioning from mom). She also does the baby sign (not ASL) for dog, which is panting. She made this one up herself, but it is apparently pretty standard baby sign.

She also loves baby games like Peekaboo, Pattycake, “How big is the baby?” “Soooo Big!!!” and Got your Nose! Especially Got your Nose! Our noses both have a few scratches from having been so frequently gotten. Darn those fingernails grow fast!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Meeting Ch’aska! (and Calum, Elizabeth, Danny, Pony, sheep, chickens, etc.)

Bella, Mama, and Ch'aska
Originally uploaded by Isabella Youlan.
We went over to visit Danny, Elizabeth, Calum, and especially Ch’aska on our 2nd day back. Ch’aska was SOOO excited to meet Isabella and calls her “Mei Mei” (little sister). For her part, Isabella was a bit quiet at first, but warmed up fairly quickly and was very interested in Ch’aska and the pony, sheep and chickens. We have now visited 5 or 6 times and Isabella is really comfortable there and she and Ch’aska are becoming good friends. Of course, this was also the place with the sweet potatoes!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

She eats EVERYTHING!!!!

Oh Boy! Messy!
Originally uploaded by Isabella Youlan.
One member of the group we traveled with to China posted a recipe for Chinese egg custard for babies, like they made for us in Nanchang, but we’re not sure we will use it since Bella seems to be turning up her nose at “baby” food. We think she is already used to having a little more flavor, and she likes texture, too. We don’t think she was self-feeding in her foster home, but she sure loves it now, and is getting the hang of using a spoon as well. She still loves watermelon, as in China, and Cheerios are still the best way (other than the dogs) to bring her back from the edge when she is melting down (though once you start it is very hard to stop the constant flow of Cheerios.) The first time she had shrimp she threw it across the room (and in a restaurant, too, but it was a Chinese restaurant, so they cut her a lot of slack), but the second and subsequent times she liked it. She usually seems to especially like new foods, unlike many babies. She will love something one day and then snub it for the new food the next day or even the next meal, but then the next day she will love it again. She wants whatever mama and daddy are having, usually.

Her very favorite food so far seems to be Sweet Potatoes!!! We ate over at Danny and Elizabeth and Ch’aska and Callum’s house, and whenever her supplies of Sweet Potatoes seemed to be dwindling and someone else appeared to have more (or any!) she would scream and reach for them. Ch’aska carefully scraped out the bowl to get every last bit, and finally after we had demonstrated that there was no more orange substance on the table she stopped screaming for it. I swear she ate a pint, though!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Aunt Carolyn!!!!

Andrea’s sister Carolyn visited for a weekend, too, though she is incredibly busy still doing her medical internship.
She is so kooky and Bella just loved her! She crawled around on the floor being extremely animated and silly and made Isabella just love to practice walking! She fed Bella Cheerios out of her belly button. She, ahem, taught Isabella how to fake a cough by making fun of her. She managed to get Bella to sleep on her chest also, giving Andrea and her back a break.
We can hardly wait to see her again!!!


Jeff’s parents Ron and Lorrie picked us up at the airport, but Bella was sort of out of it then (not to mention her parents). They have visited several times since then and Bella is warming up to them more every time! Last weekend they met Andrea and Isabella at the Japanese Cultural Fair. Isabella liked the Taiko drumming.

Andrea’s parents Dick and Ellie came to visit for 2 weeks from Kansas City, and rented a cabin by the river. Since they were away from their “real” lives while here, they spent a lot of time with Isabella. Grandma Ellie likes to play baby games a lot, and Granddad Dick played “Got your Nose!” They also went on several nature walks, which Isabella really seemed to like, after the initial screaming at leaving her mama. Granddad took tons of pictures, which is why he’s not in so many. Thanks, Dad!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

First Gay Pride Parade!

Gay Pride Parade
Originally uploaded by Isabella Youlan.
On June 5th Isabella marched in her first Gay Pride Parade, with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Santa Cruz County. Well, okay, technically she didn’t march, she was strapped onto mama, but she did wave a lot. Okay, that was also mostly assisted by mama, but ever since then she’s been waving to people quite a bit, and using the “Queen’s wave” instead of the usual baby handcurl.
There were many fabulously dressed people at the parade, but Isabella’s favorite was The guy in the Cheerios t-shirt!

First Art Exhibit

Later that afternoon, Bella went to her first Art Exhibit, and she really liked looking at the paintings and book and wax arts. She seemed to have particular paintings she really liked, one with a wolf or coyote in it, but another I couldn’t tell why. She really wanted to play with the folding books, but I didn’t let her.