A dozen things about Q:The Q, deep in one of her favorite activities...
1. Q was born in an Eastern province of China. She was abandoned at just three days old on the steps of a local hospital. She was found wrapped in a small pink quilt. Nothing else is known about her origins. Because China adoptions are "closed", we will most likely never know who her parents were, or anything else about her history. She was taken in by the city's Social Welfare Institute (orphanage) where she would spend the first 11 months of her life, confined to a single crib. Fortunately for her, the SWI was one of the better ones, a loving environment run by a woman who cares deeply for the children in her care, as well as the parents who eventually adopt them. Nevertheless, the SWI, like so many, had meager means and few caretakers compared to the number of children.
2. Q was 7 months old when we first saw her picture, and sent out a letter to China announcing our intent to adopt her. She was 11 months old when we finally were approved to travel to China and bring her home. She celebrated her first birthday here in the US at her grandmother's house, just three weeks after coming home from China. The celebration was lovely, with many loving friends to meet and greet her, but we were all still a bit in shock, and Q and I both very underweight and weak thanks to the parasites we both contracted in China.
3. Q was born with a very severe cleft lip and palate, neither of which had been repaired when we brought her home. She had her first major set of surgeries last October, and her second in April. Upon recovering from her second surgery, she began speech therapy once a week. It is difficult for a child born with a cleft to learn to speak, since they have to learn a whole new way of using the muscles in their mouth. They also often need eating therapy, since it can be difficult for these children to learn to eat solid foods. A child with a cleft doesn't have the same gag reflex as the rest of us, so they learn very early in life that it's easy for them to choke on things. This makes them wary of how they eat. With a little therapy, Q very quickly learned to manage solid food. Speech takes a bit longer, so we started her on sign language almost immediately after bringing her home. While she only has a few words that she can pronounce at this stage, she is very adept with sign language and has no trouble making herself understood.
4. The first word that Q learned to pronounce out loud was "mama".
5. Q has a very sophisticated palate for a toddler. She will eat just about anything. She likes strong spices. Thai curry is a favorite, and she loves the flavor of balsamic vinegar. We have never had to force vegetables, as she will eat anything from spinach to artichoke hearts. She particularly loves raw salmon eggs on rice, Japanese-style.
6. Q is not quite two years old.
7. Q is an athlete, first and foremost. She has little interest in shows or movies, with the exception of the toddler show Yo Gabba Gabba, which she watches every day while eating her pre-nap snack. She has no interest whatsoever in clothes, dolls or sparkly things. Her interest are as follows:
-Ball sports, with basketball bordering on obsession, followed closely by soccer, lacrosse, baseball, football, and even excersize balls.
-Music and dancing, with a particular interest in drumming and guitar.
- Animals, including (roughly in order) dogs, ducks, birds, cats, horses, cows, sheep and goats.
8. Q is a social animal, and socializing is one of her greatest skills. Even just walking down the street or at the grocery store, she makes friends wherever she goes. She is magnetic, even hypnotic. She has the power of charm, and is able to attract the attention of nearly every human being on the planet, from toddlers to tweens, from geriatrics to homeless people. She is absolutely without prejudice, and is willing to give anyone a chance, regardless of race, creed or social status.
9. Q is a creature of joy. There is no moodiness in her. Smiles and laughter are her modus operandi. She is both fearless and tough. She never cries unless she experiences a serious fall, and even then, her tears last only seconds. She is always ready to smile and laugh through her tears, no matter how severe the fall.
10. Q is not a fan of sweets. She likes the idea of icecream, and loves to go to the icecream shop, or run out in the street when the icecream truck goes by. Presented with the treat itself, she will eat no more than a spoonful. She much prefers cheese or meat or a salty or spicy treat.
11. Q is a champion sleeping, and will take a three-hour nap if no one wakes her. Very rarely, she wakes once in the night with a nightmare, and needs to be soothed with a bottle of milk and a fuzzy blanket.
12. Q is a terrific traveler, and handles jet lag without batting an eye. She adores new experiences and new environments, and gives us no trouble at all when she's on the road.
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