20 October 2009

four weeks together

Well, I'm discounting 'most all of you from my research since you've skewed the results. ;>

I didn't, of course, expect that pi issues would be cleared up at six weeks. That's...insane, naive and just...ridiculous to imagine. But I have heard (though not from most of you) that at six weeks things just kind of settle into life, that "new normal" that is so often mentioned.

And, I am declaring that is together that counts--no matter how long.

Today is four weeks together! We left the orphanage a month ago. Lexi is bigger. I can tell when I pick her up and by the way she fits in my lap. Her little tummy is no longer concave. She weighs 17.4 kg and is 111 cm tall. That's a gain of at least .8 kg and a centimeter (I didn't measure anything until I got back to Russia, but the doctor in Moscow said she was 110 cm. The .8 kg has been added in two weeks!)

Her eating is better, her sleeping is better, she is more confident. She dances and sings and tells stories and pretends. She skips and turns somersaults. She paints and colors. She loves to go for a walk, to swing, to slide and to jump. She is much more compassionate with her doll. (This is the result of her receiving better care and of my fostering attachment with her doll. Seriously. I've worked to get her to attach to her doll, her bear, her blanket...) Her drawings are maturing. She is taking more risks (though still very few) and making choices between two options. She is almost always obedient--with a very few testing behaviours. She easily observes physical boundaries--not touching anything on Mama's desk, only playing in the living room or her room, etc. She always "stays with Mama" when we go out. She has "sleeping equipment" like Mary Helen Miller and receives kisses (cheek, lips, cheek, lips, cheek) like Samantha Pelican (shout out to two amazing young women I knew way back when they were Lexi's age).

Every word we come upon, like the FBI warning on a dvd, says, "Lexi" except for the few that say, "Mama".

She loves "Burton Ernie" (yes, she's added a syllable) but has a real soft spot for Bert. She loves Kipper, but only the first dvd we watched. (Part of my keeping her world small is limiting not only contact with other people, but also limiting the toys she plays with, the dvd's she watches, the books she read and the lullabyes and vocabulary she hears. The repetition can be mind-numbing to me, but she is thriving on it--singing the lullabyes and "reading" the books. Slowly we're increasing it, but she still has a strong preference to the first things. So we're sticking with those.)

She likes to eat just about everything except raisins and corn (no surprise on the corn).

And if you ask her, "Who loves you?" Her answer is a confident and immediate, "Mama!" The question"Big or little?" gets the same confident response, "BIG!"

She doesn't repeat English words right after she hears them, but they come popping out of her mouth days later correctly. I'm not including words like giraffe, lemon, puzzle, etc. which are similar in both languages. English words/phrases she uses often (so we know it's not a fluke):

good girl
good job
please push the button
push your foot
okay, no
let's go
bubbles, clay
flag, America flag
milk, pasta, juice, muffin, peas, zuchinni
honey (as an endearment--the first time was when I conked her foot on the doorjamb and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" she added, "Honey!")
cow, duck, pig, horse, kitty cat, snake, sheep, bunny
(she knows "dog" but doesn't use it)
to the sink, to the trash can, to the table
all done, all gone
little, big
up, down, fast
kick, (playing ball) spit (brushing teeth) jump
snort & snuff (from Moo, Baa which she endearingly used to get confused with "That's enough". Now it's just a name for rhinos.)
that's enough
tummy, teeth, hand, back
chew and swallow, put it in your tummy
socks, pajamas, shoes
stop, stop it
hello, good-bye, hi, good morning
almost home
just a minute
bleh, bleck--which she thinks are real words
blue, pink, purple
counts to ten (usually with one-to-one correspondence)
Beazy, Mia
Kipper, Bert, Ernie, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Grover, (Big Bird is still in Russian)

Mama and Lexi!

I'm sure there's more. And, as I said yesterday, her receptive vocabulary is much larger than her expressive vocabulary. And, she uses them together. "Oh no! Bert's nose! Ernie (took) Bert's nose (and put it on the) clay."

It's interesting for me to see what is missing here. There are phrases we use all the time, and I've started using them in English, but like "dog" she just prefers the Russian for now. Things like, Do you/I need, Do you/I want, please, thank you, stay with Mama, tired, rest, sleep, eat, why, because

Oh--she sings a verse of her lullabyes when she's tired:
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
Sleep, oh, my child, now sleep. Mama her vigil dosh keep. (It's really "my darling" but I must've sung it this way once, 'cause that's how it is every time she sings it. So I've changed mine. I like the part of this one that says Soft be thy slumbers and deep)
One supona time, long ago (I love that this one says, My child, my very own, don't be afraid, you're not alone. Sleep until the dawn for all is well. but she doesn't know that part yet.)
Sweet little baby...(from An American Lullabye)
She doesn't sing Stay Awake. I guess she doesn't appreciate the reverse psychology.

She also sings Ladybug Picnic (which is only recognizable by the counting and the tune--her pitch is great, btw) Two Little Girls, J, Jump, Joyful and Three of these Things from Sesame Street.

I'll do attachment post later. Yesterday was a hard day simply because *I* was having a hard day. A change of scene, a call from a friend and thinking about an attachment post, and all the things that are going well (I won't say That we're doing right because I'm not convince there is a right. But, I will share what has been working for us. A lot has. A. lot.) helped.

Here. See for yourself:

The first two are from today--official one-month photos (I may steal Barb's sidebar idea.)

Displaying her amazing bedtime fashion sense--note top tucked into bottoms and bottoms tucked into socks; socks she was delighted to find in her drawer exclaiming, "I love black!" She gets very concerned that the animals in The Going to Bed Book have pajamas but no socks. I have declared socks, for almost all occasions, to be something that she can have complete control over. You laugh, but there are many days when I cringe at the choice and have to remind myself that socks.don't.matter. (even when they can be seen through her cute, brown mary janes)

This is how "Bunny Xychik" was talking last night--in a very deep voice.

And all ready to go out yesterday! We've moved from fall coats to winter ones already. Wish that little pink one could be worn by Lexi more...Maybe...
If not, I know it will be well-worn by someone.


Katie and Pete said...

Simply adorable!

Happy Four Weeks. It sounds like things are going great. I'm amazed at how much English she has picked up while still living in Russia. Kudos to you, you can tell that you are cacooning and keeping her world small. It will all pay off in the end.

She is just precious.

Maura said...

4 weeks - wonderful! Kate, your little girl is just precious. And I totally identify with her love of socks - must. have. socks. She is quite stylin'. :-)

Thanks for sharing the many wonders of Lexi. She is doing so well after only 4 weeks...and so are you!

Lindy said...

Think of all you have accomplished in a mere four weeks! It's amazing.

Lexi looks so happy and relaxed. She is so pretty in blue and sporting that adorable scarf. I love reading your posts and am so happy for you both!

Melissa said...

Posts like this one make me tear up - I am so. very. happy for you both! Happy four weeks! I can't wait to read more as your time together lengthens.

Mrs. Butler said...

Well I'm seeing several pair of fabulous socks in these posts, so in any case she will always pick a cute pair even if it doesn't match. (is it strange that I recognize nearly all of the clothes you've bought for her? great taste, oh kate!)

She looks amazing.

allison said...

FOUR Weeks!!! How fast does time fly? She looks sooo much more relaxed - you can see it in her eyes! Her smile is much more EASY, and joyful! Don't forget to post some pics of BOTH of you!! Loved hearing how all is going. You are doing great. Remember to get enough sleep yourself. It makes each day more enjoyable (to say the least).

Remember... only you know what works for the two of you! As far as the night-time wear..... "A" did the same thing - everything tucked IN. SHe told me that she was always COLD at night. I saw her 'dorm' room. 21 girls in the size room as an average living room here. I was there in the wintertime, and there was only a sheet and a cotton throw in each of the 21 beds! It was about 8 months before she was not so 'tucked' in. The first winter was that way even with her day clothes.

Love hearing about both of you!

Blessings to both of you....
Allison in NJ

Tina in CT said...

Tucked in is OK - it keeps her warm. Knowing how hot buildings are kept in Moscow, I would think you'd need summer nightgowns there. Maybe you're lucky in St. P and don't have to deal with 75 - 80 degrees (or more) inside.

She is so adorable. I am amazed at how much English she has picked up in just 4 weeks.

Have a good day.

Debbie said...

I smiled through this whole post!

Conethia and Jim Bob said...

I can tell from the pics how much she has grown. It always amazes me how much these babies grow when love takes them in! Lexi is doing amazing. Don't worry about the 6 weeks thing. Our kids, aside from a meltdown from our son the 1st morning we had them in Kiev, "fit" right in and we were on a regular schedule by the time we got home 2 weeks later. We had months of amazing growth and bonding before we had a few weeks of "not so good". Nothing bad, just testing the waters (showing us their bonding was there (insert the wink here)). Can you begin to comprehend the changes she has made in the 4 weeks you've been together?! Here's to a full/complete lifetime of happiness together! Congrats!!

jen.weber said...

I'm amazed by all the English she's learning. And those dimples are precious! She still looks pretty tiny to me. But with time and lots of love (and maybe some chocolate) she will grow more. Can't wait to meet her. You are learning the parenting lesson (letting them choose clothes) quickly. Ryan wears his PJ's all wacky, but dresses almost normal for school. It helps him express his individuality. Love, Nif

Kristine said...

She is just gorgeous...those brown eyes...my oh my.

Anonymous said...

Oh so wonderful to hear how well the two of you are doing! So happy that you are now mama!!


Annie said...

She is gorgeous in brown, too!

I remember being so stunned at the way Nastya would treat her doll. We worked on that, too...and at twelve [today!] she still plays with her "babies"...perhaps she needs to make up for all the nurturing missed...and she is a wonderful "mommy" now.

beckyww said...


Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

"honey".... that is SO CUTE! I love the pics, you can see that she is filling out, and the glasses- so so cute!
Genea had issues with dolls too, now that I think of it, we had to work on that. Now she rarely plays with them at all- too labor intensive I think ha ha.
You are doing such a great job!

Rachael said...

"Honey" was my favorite.

Tammy said...

I love the pic's too. You can see the light twinkling in her eyes - absolutely amazing. It must be hard to comprehend how much her life has changed in the last 4 weeks.

I hope my post last time *somewhat answered* your question about the 6 weeks. I did insert the "issues don't go away after 6 weeks* things but then also talked about how I had changed.

Anyways, there was something that changed in me at the 6 week mark but it's really only been this week (3 months tomorrow) that suddenly everything feel so comfortable. We are in our at-work-and-daycare routine, we are both comfortable, sleeping is going sssoooo much better, etc. You'll find you go through stages of "comfort" in being who you are as a mom and who you two are as a family. At least that is what I am seeing so far.

I don't claim to be an expert - 3 months of being a mother certainly does not make me one LOL! But since I am a little ahead of you I can still so vividly remember everything you talk about but have just a wee bit more perspective.

Susan said...

Socks'll be a moot issue for you once boot weather sinks in. :-)

It sounds like you're both doing amazingly well...congrats!!! Lexi's whole face is lit up in a way that wasn't there just a few weeks ago. Amazing what some TLC and feeling loved and special can do!!!!

Calico Sky said...

She so suits glasses!! So glad things are going well and you are both growing & learning and enjoying your time together as mummy and daughter!

Anonymous said...

Look at that little peanut in her glasses & scarf... cute beyond words! This whole post just gets one bit "Awwwww."