I just got out of the bathtub.  I had gotten in during Kate’s bath to soak my aching back and ended up thoroughly soaked instead.  Kate had me giggling my head off as she poured water over my head and covered me in conditioner, body lotion, and shower gel.  Payback is definitely sweet to her. 

There isn’t much that I can do anymore without this little one making it more joyful, more interesting, or more challenging.  She is a complete paradox and I love her all the more for it.  She can be frustrating, sassy, spunky, sweet, cuddly, obnoxious, and cute as a button all within a 5 minute time span.  She wants to be with me ALL the time and sometimes I do a 180 just to make sure we have not grown together somehow.  It is fabulous and exhausting all at the same time.  Life is definitely NOT boring. 

Today is a perfect example of the amazingness that is Kate.  Most of the day made it to my Facebook statuses, but for those of you who missed it :).  This morning she woke up and wanted to get out of my bed.  Nathan was sleeping on my floor as usual so I lifted her off the bed and let her down.  She looked up at me with her shocked face and then huge smile as she tiptoed around him and left the room.  Within 5 minutes she was back in and dragging me out of bed to fix her breakfast.  I fixed some oatmeal and then warmed up something for me…as soon as she saw mine, she no longer wanted hers.  After breakfast, she needed her diaper changed so we headed to my room to change it.  I took her old one off and she stood up and took off (a new game she plays…grrrr).  So I asked her if she needed to go potty and she toddled into my bathroom and sat down on her Princess potty chair (nothing went into the potty, but she knew what I was talking about).  I grabbed a quick shower while the boys kept an eye on her (which means she spent most of the time right outside my shower babbling in Chinese) and then I started straightening up the house.  I gave her a pair of her shoes and told her to go put them where they go and she took them straight to the basket in the next room and put them up.  We went upstairs to change her clothes and she would not let me dress her.  Before I knew it she had her shorts on all the way (without help) and was trying to get her head through the arm hole in her shirt.  I tried to help her, but she was adamant and after about 5 tries she had the shirt on perfectly.  The boys were downstairs fighting and complaining about their chores so I yelled down at them and told them to cut it out…Kate backed me up by running out into the hallway yelling “Joryan!” “Natetan!” and then random Chinese phrases that probably meant “knock it off”.

I had purchased bed rails for Kate’s bed so that she can start sleeping upstairs, but they had to be put together.  Kate insisted on helping so we slowly but surely got the rails put together and on the bed.  She wasn’t much help, but she sure did cheer me on with a “Yay” every time I connected a piece.  Once that was done it was on to the laundry… I had to get it put away and out of the living room.  Kate grabbed the pile of socks and followed me around putting them where I told her to and looking fairly proud of herself.  Again “Yay”s every time we finished a pile.  She stuck with her task until we were completely finished.  In between all of this, we had to stop for multiple snacks…every 5 minutes that little finger points to a wide open mouth and something edible has to go in it.  Her favorites lately are goldfish, grapes, cheese sticks, applesauce, and marshmallows (which I have had to purge from the house).

Before I knew it, it was naptime. I put Kate into her big girl bed and gave her “beebees” (various stuffed animals that play music).  We (the boys were eager to help with naptime) shut the door to a crack and the boys took the baby monitor out to the porch.  I watched Kate climb down to the bottom of the bed and try to get down off of it.  She was not going to go without a fight.  I calmly went into the room and she started crying “Ma-mee” and reaching for me.  She seemed a little frightened so I thought I would take her back to our bed and try again tomorrow.  As I got downstairs and headed for my room, she started screaming.  It seems that she wasn’t mad about the room change, she was mad about taking a nap period.  Well, little girl needs a nap or she is not happy come 6pm, so I thought I might as well try the upstairs if she was going to scream anyway.  I put her back in her big girl bed despite the ear piercing noise (which the boys were out on the porch listening to through the baby monitor and cracking up laughing…they have learned to read the screams already).  Kate has several different screams.  There are the ones of terror when she wakes up in the middle of the night (almost every night), there are the ones of frustration when she is not being understood, there are the ones of tiredness when she hasn’t had enough sleep, there are the ones of sadness when she just wants Mommy, and there are the ones of ugliness when she is not getting her way.  These screams were pure ugly.  How dare I put her down for a nap!  After I left the room, she kept up the ugly screams for about 5 minutes and then it was quiet for a second before she started indignantly yelling “Ma-meeeeee!” at the top of her lungs.  She would yell it and then pause to see if it was working.  Finally she realized it wasn’t and got really quiet.  I thought “yes! she’s asleep!”  I went and peeked in on her and she was sitting straight up in bed, shaking her sippy cup upside down, trying to make something come out of it and on to the bed.  If screaming won’t get Mommy, I guess a mess in the beautiful princess bed might…lol.  Such sass!  When she got tired of trying, she laid down and went to sleep.  She only slept for around an hour, but she slept in her bed!!!  I made sure to make a huge deal about it and she smiled big when I told her how great of a job she did.  She learned how to say “I did it!”  Sooo cute.

I was not expecting the short nap time and I had things to finish (I only count on 2 productive hours a day) so I sat down to try to finish them.  Nothing doing… Kate staked her claim on my lap and went to touching and destroying everything that I was working on.  Before the frustration overwhelmed, I quit working and just enjoyed interaction with her silly 2 year old self.  She is so funny.  She tries to repeat everything that we say and she communicates things in her own very intelligent way.  Sometimes I don’t understand what she is trying to say at first, but suddenly I will realize what she means and it will crack me up. 

I can’t describe her perfection accurately or the way that she fits like a glove into this family.  Any time of day or night you will hear “Give me a kiss, Kate.”  The boys want them just as desperately as we do.  There is something miraculous about becoming Mom and Dad and brothers to a little girl who has never known this kind of love.  Every day is something new, something different, something extra.  Such a perfect representation of our relationship with our Father.  The lessons are often life changing as we watch God do a work right before our eyes that He usually only does in our hearts.

Tonight as I was being acosted in the bathtub, I once again mourned for Kate’s parents.  This has become an every day occurance for me, because though we have been brought much joy through this precious gift, it was at the expense and sacrifice of another…probably a sacrifice that was forced.  My heart hurts that they are missing out on the giggles and the smiles and the screams and the kisses.  I wish I could at least send them pictures so that they could know their little girl even from far away.  So tonight I am pretending that somehow they follow this blog…that they are smiling and looking at each other and arguing about which of them she sounds more like…that they are crying bittersweet tears at hearing how well she is doing, but missing being present for her moments.  Momma and Daddy, your little girl is safe, she is healthy, and she is ridiculously happy.  We love her more than we ever knew possible and we treasure her to the fullest every day.  You have not only given her life, but you have given us one of the 3 greatest gifts we have ever received.  Thank you.  Sending you kisses from Kate.

The more I get to know Kate, the more that I am sure that we robbed China of treasure.  She is completely priceless and we feel so privileged to have been chosen by God to be her parents.  She is just one little girl, but the redemption that is happening in and through her life is absolutely holy.  How can we help but think about bringing home a sister? 🙂