AJ doesn't really remember much about her accident back in November -- instead of a stream of memory, she has flashes of moments from "Oh, good, I think she miss-" to "Does anybody have my cat" but it's all piecemeal.
The Pipsqueak, on the other hand, with her still-limited vocabulary has been describing or re-enacting all kinds of things that lead me to believe she's got a pretty solid stream of images from the impact right through her cheerful "Hi!" as I walked into the ER. One of the more notable items has been a whole new behavior that literally popped up overnight, out of nowhere, a couple of weeks back. AJ had just gotten home, and our folks were still there (someone's gotta pick up the Pipsqueak at daycare, and they have the only schedule that allows it)... They were sitting on the couch, just catching each other up on the day's events, when the Pipsqueak began walking from one to another, repeatedly patting each on the knee and saying, "It's okay, stay calm, it's okay."
Everyone was mystified by this sudden new behavior, since it's not really something any of us do; our folks ever asked the caregivers at the daycare center the next day, and they were as much in the dark as we were. The mystery was solved a couple of days later when Mom happened to mention it to one of her friends whose son is an EMT.
"Oh, that's what he says all the time when he's working with accident victims while he assesses them."
PING! Cue simultaneous light bulbs over the heads of the Pipsqueak's mom, grandparents, and uncle. (Dude, if she's remembering that, your niece's memory is better than yours...!) We weren't sure if she was just mimicking what had she'd heard or if she really understood what she was saying, but we're pretty sure the mystery of where the behavior came from was solved. For the past several months I've been saying that Miri tends to grok communications instead of just remembering word sounds, but we couldn't be sure.
Fast-forward to this past weekend... We wanted a "nice" family photo, just the five of us together, for holiday cards. We all got together at our folks' house; I dressed more neatly than I usually do & brought camera and tripod; AJ brought a nicer change of clothes for herself and the Pipsqueak; and our folks tried to find a clear spot large enough for all of us. (Their house still shows the effect of repeated tear-outs and refloorings of the kitchen & other major repairs made necessary by last winter's ice dams.)
We were trying to decide what to order for dinner, and -- everyone already being tired on top of being hungry and the Pipsqueak periodically acting twoish -- we began to get a little cross with one another. Nothing nasty, not even terribly loud; anyone sitting in the room with us would have simply noticed increasing stress in our voices, shorter answers, and a slow, steady increase in volume.
All of a sudden, just as Mom & I began to disagree a bit more openly, my niece came running in from the next room and went from Mom to AJ to me and back again, gently patting each of us on knee or thigh while saying, "Guys! Calm down, guys! Calm down!" When we all quieted down, she smiled and said, "Okay!" and walked back to her toys.
(Yes, Miri really does call us "guys" in when we're in a group; that dates back to early this year when she heard me calling "hey, guys!" down the stairs.)
So much for whether or not the Pipsqueak understood the meaning of the words...!
Oh, and the photo... After dinner, Dad & I fired off several dozen shots using timers (I'm so glad we have digital cameras and not film for this!) and we think we have one, maybe two we can use. We think. <sigh>
But we did remain calm for the rest of the evening. :-)
My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅-- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!