Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Loving Yinghua Academy!

Here she is Monday morning, at our front door in her uniform and ready to go to her new school.

Any worries we had about Wynn transitioning into Yinghua were put to bed Monday afternoon; she adores the place. This morning as I dropped her off, she was skipping all the way to the front door of the school. She has art and music classes several times per week, gym every day, an hour plus of math every day, and of course all the Mandarin she can drink in.  She's already begun showing off what she's learned; last night she wrote the characters for 1 through 6 for us, and then used wooden building blocks to make the symbols, too.

* proud Baba smile *

Friday afternoon I'll pick her up a little early and we'll go to her ear doctor for the post-surgical follow-up. She's not complained of pain at all over this past week - had some dry skin back behind the ear a couple nights ago, which Vaseline took care of. No fever, nausea, or any other complications, and she never needed the Tylenol with codeine that she was prescribed. (In fact, she only had a pain reliever Wednesday afternoon, and nothing since.)

She is one tough cookie.

I'm hoping she gets the all-clear to start swimming again Friday! I'm missing our Friday Family Swim Nights!

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Day of School, Take 2

When your first day of school is in late-September, you leave when it's dark out.
Snazzy new uniform, though...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feeling MUCH better

The bandages were off Thursday morning and she had a wonderful time with her Grandmas Thursday and Friday. She did need more nap time these past four days, but otherwise she was active and up to her usual activities.

She's not reported any pain or nausea, and has had a normal appetite this whole time. She's taking eardrops three times a day to prevent infection, and we'll get a follow-up appointment scheduled in the next few days. She's got packing on the inside of her left eardrum which will dissolve over the next couple weeks; right now she's a little hard-of-hearing on that side because of all that stuffing. Outside, there's only a small patch behind her ear where they shaved off hair and a teensy scar; if you weren't looking directly at it you'd never see it.  We have to keep the area dry until the follow-up appointment, so we carefully wash her hair - and no Family Swim Time.  That's probably been the biggest disruption this weekend.

Ann and Wynn toured Yinghua Academy Friday afternoon and she got to meet her teacher.  The first day at her new school is tomorrow! Hooray!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Second Ear Surgery

 Here's where they're going to be working...
 Mmm...a bomb pop is just the thing after 17 hours with nothing to eat or drink
 Can we go home, already?
I'm home but still really tired

The day started far too early; check-in was at 6:15, and neither Ann nor I had gotten adequate sleep last night. The staff at the Ritchie Surgical Center was well-prepared, however, and the check-in process was smooth. We were never sitting for more than five minutes between seeing nurses, specialists, or the surgeon.

The surgery, while taking about 2-1/2 hours, went even better than expected. As planned, her surgeon took a tiny, thin layer of muscle tissue from just behind her ear and used it to patch the tear in her eardrum. The drum tissue itself had some areas where it had calcified, but there was more healthy tissue there than originally thought, so the regeneration process will be faster and stronger. The tiny bones in the inner ear that transmit sound from the eardrum to the auditory nerve were all in perfect working order. Some bony deposits in the inner ear were removed, which should improve aeration and eliminate the "in a tunnel" sound that Wynn has probably been registering on her left side.

No tube was put in on the left; we want the drum to heal up first and then see if anything else is even needed. As you can see from the photos, she has quite a bit of dressing on her left side, but that will be coming off later tomorrow. There is also packing inside her head which will dissolve over the next couple weeks.

We got home about 2:00 - Wynn fell asleep in the car on the way home and had a nice nap on the couch, too. She's been logy but still cheerful and able to tell us if she needs anything. A Matchbox race car from the hospital and a Fashion Rarity My Little Pony from Grandma Marilyn have kept her occupied, and she's had a good appetite, too, already eating mashed potatoes, half a banana, some pancakes, and apple juice. And unlike last time, no problems with nausea.

We have pain meds ready if she needs them, but since we got home she's had no complaints, and her temperature has been running as expected; no fever. She'll need eardrops for a week to prevent infection (and she really doesn't like eardrops), but outside of that the only prescription is good food, good rest, fresh air, and taking it easy for several days.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kindergarten Switch!

Here's what the building looks like without snow.

From back in January - Wynn had a great time.
This is what we in the education business call a "text-rich environment". No worries about how much teachers can put up on the walls here...

A sudden change of fortune Friday night - we got a call from Yinghua Academy, the Mandarin immersion school from the Minneapolis district asking if we were still interested in having Wynn attend!

As you recall back in January 2011, we toured this building and put Wynn in the enrollment lottery for getting into one of the two Kindergarten classes they had available. In February we found out her number was too high, and so we began the enrollment process for our local White Bear Lake elementary. Well, it turns out that Yinghua was able to get more money and more native-Mandarin teachers, so they now offer four Kindergarten classes.

Still, it took two kids to leave the school before Wynn's number finally came up to the top of the list.

Ann and I had to wrestle hard with the decision Friday night and Saturday morning - Wynn just left the preschool she'd attended for four years and all her friends from there; she's been so enthusiastic about her teacher and being in a big building these past two weeks; and the building where she's at does get good test scores and has a strong community support base. Plus, it's literally five minutes' drive from our house.

Yinghua has a solid math and language program, also very strong test scores. And she would learn Mandarin now - White Bear doesn't even touch it partially until middle-school. Yes, the commute would be longer for both me and Ann - her especially; the school's about 10-15 minutes on the far side of my office. Certainly the parent profile of this new school is different - they've seen a huge number of adopted kids. We'll be among fellow travelers at parent meetings.

We don't have any reservations about Wynn's resilience or her ability to thrive in a new environment - but it is going to be hard on her this particular week, with her second ear surgery on Wednesday (more on that later). She was so gung-ho on making new friends here in White Bear, and now she's going to have to say goodbye already.

But we drove her past the new school Saturday afternoon, and will be taking her there again Tuesday evening for "curriculum night."  Ann is going to try to arrange a walk-through at the school with Wynn Friday afternoon to meet the teachers & staff. Wynn's first day will be next Monday, the 26th.

With our acceptance, we've already fired off a list of questions to the administrator on how to get Wynn up and running, figure out her speech-therapy schedule, set up extended-day hours, and such. We've got to pick up fresh supplies again, and this school has uniforms that we have to scramble to find in her size. Can't say I'm looking forward to all the paperwork, either, both on the admission side for Minneapolis and the transfer-out side for White Bear.

Still, a new door has opened on Wynn's future. It's what we wanted for her in the first place. And when something as pleasantly unexpected like this happens - like how we were matched with Wynn in the very beginning - we have to jump through that door.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't Hold Me Back

Our little rock star gave us an impromptu performance the other night ... I sure hope her kindergarten teacher is ready for this kind of creative energy!

First Day of Kindergarten!

She has been pumped up for this day since about the middle of last week; literally skipping around the block last night as we took Shadow for his walk!

No anxieties at drop-off, great report from her teacher, pickup was easy as pie. She said, "Kindergarten rocks!"