28 November 2009


We've started decorating for CHRISTMAS!

26 November 2009

giving thanks

Make an on-line slideshow at www.OneTrueMedia.com

When we sit together at the table
and my little girl takes my hands

to say this simple prayer,
either with me or by herself or listening raptly,
I have a thankful and happy heart.

Hoping your heart is the same--today and always.

Happy thanksgiving.

25 November 2009

perfect setting

I thought today's misty walk through the park would be a perfect setting for a photo. It wasn't raining, the light was diffused, the park was empty...

Lexi thought it was a perfect setting to burst into song.
(Well, she is, after all, my daughter.)

Mist-inspired songs about people who were so sad and crying and the sky commenced. And, you know, songs about trees and babies and the tired man sit, sit, sit on the bench because he is tired, tired, tired...and whatever caught her eye and her consciousness.

Fortunately, the artist threw a bone to her fans. (Hmm...that seems to imply that we, her fans, are dogs.)

23 November 2009


Did your employer count your trips prior to custody being granted as part of your FMLA?

If not, tell me how you managed that! If we don't count trip one and court, Lexi and I can stay home until after Christmas vacation.

That would an amazing gift.

And it makes sense to me as there was no child for FMLA to be applied to until I had custody...

But my school has been SO GOOD to me, that I don't want to kick up a fuss.

Cheers! I'm being summoned to "lunch". (Jenga block pies and water served in IKE@ toy dishes on a stool covered in Kookla's blanket. Yummy. Koosna!)

21 November 2009

i confess

i'm a handwashing hypocrite.

yes, Yes, YES! Did you wash your hands? With soap? WARM water?

between the hours of going-to-bed and the-first-number-is-seven:
Nooo. It's night. (Don't do anything that might wake you up further!!)

i heard lexi telling her doll (they were playing bedtime, a favorite game) that it was night. we don't need to wash hands at night.


20 November 2009

two months

111 cm., 40 pounds

still just as amazing,
and beloved as ever

if not more so

(If only there were some natural light so I could capture her likeness better. Ah, well, March will be here soon enough.)

18 November 2009

i just love

that this is Lexi's favorite shop window.

It's near our house and we pass it often. We stop and check "the girls" every time. Their outfits are changed frequently, and Lexi always chooses an outfit for herself and one for me. We look at the jewelery. We admire the shoes. And we are so glad that these girls, as opposed to many shop-window displays, have heads!

Don't you think Dior should mount a campaign around this photo?

17 November 2009


So, the top e-mails topics re:blogging are

  1. Good for you for not blogging during this time!
  2. Good for you for not blogging during this time, but could you just post about regression?
  3. Good for you for not blogging during this time, but could you just post about sleeping/eating?

Hmm...well...I can meet you halfway.

I think we all know that regression occurs in individuals in times of stress. But, I wasn't sure that it would work as a verb--that you could regress someone.

Not really time to devote to this, but I can cut and paste. Here are a couple of e-mails I sent people about regression.

Kathy commented:
I can't remember if I asked you this. Anya is 7 (just a little older than Lexi) so a lot of what you are doing is very interesting to me. I have never considered giving her a bottle...help me through that. Is that something Lexi took well? I am just thinking about Anya, and with her it seems everything is "Mommy, I am a big girl". Just wondering....
I replied:

Whole post coming on this, because I think it's fascinating.

I was worried about the same thing. But, I present everything as a game--"You be the little bird." when I feed her. The pacifier was refused the first time I offered it, but I just left it out. Soon it was in her mouth. When I was rocking her to sleep that first night, her little mouth was going just like an infant's, sucking in her sleep. So...it made sense.

I don't offer a bottle, but she asks for one sometimes. I had it out for her to feed her doll with. Then, I asked one time (okay, so I did offer) if she wanted a bottle. Again, indignant refusal. But later she wanted to be my baby (this happens in *short* spurts and then she's off again) and wanted a bottle. She usually wants this when she's sleepy, so it's around nap or bed.

It's interesting that she only does this with me. I took the pacifier on the airplane thinking she'd find it helpful on take-off, landing, and getting to sleep. She wouldn't use it at all. So, don't worry that Anya will be heading to school with a pacifier.

Does that help? While we both know that it's actually more, we treat the feeding and bottles as a game. The paci stays under her pillow. Sometimes we rock with it. But, if she's asked for a bottle, she doesn't need/want the pacifier.

The bottle has been a stress-reliever. I don't think it will last long. I do think it will recur--like when school starts.

I hope this helps!

(p.s. to Kathy--I think that "I'm a big girl." comes from being told she's a big girl--as in you are capable of doing this so don't bother me with it--in the orphanage. I think she'll take just as much delight in being your baby as she does in being capable and helpful. Lexi doesn't spend all day "regressed". It just happens in spurts. Of course, she was coming from an orphanage where she was among the oldest children there. A is among the youngest now, which could make things radically different. And, A & L have very different histories. So, who knows? I just hope *something* we're doing helps you down the line.)

My friend, Jen, commented about the bottle when I mentioned it in a post:
Did she have a bottle at the orphanage? Because you have done so much preparing, I assume this is something recommended. Is it for attachment? Please enlighten someone who knows nothing about adoption.

I replied:

Hey, Nif! It's an attachment thing. It's not something that I force on her. She has a lot of regression at night. And, when she's under stress, there is more. She asks to be my baby then--and just wants me to cradle her and coo at her. That's often a bottle time--and it's usually before bed.

People talk a lot about regressing a child for attachment. I've been amazed at how much she wants it--there's no making her do this. She likes to be fed like my little bird, to be my baby, to have me take care of all her dressing and...wiping. I thought at six there might be some resistance to this. I was so wrong!

I've tried to write a post on attachment, but it's just too big! I think I might to a series on it. (Like I'm some real writer or something...but whatever.) It will bore some people to tears, but I think it's important and interesting.

Thanks for asking!!


So, quick wrap-up on regression (feel free to ask me to elaborate... and I'll try to later): I think if you're ready for it, it will just happen. If you're open to it and present the opportunity for it, you child will lead the way. If they think you're crazy, and refuse, then don't push it. But, if they want to "play baby" and get in those developmental activities, (All of these activities teach important things and help an infant to bond with his parent. It shows that a parent is not only loving and responsive, but is capable and provides. Rocking with a bottle, and cooing and snuggling while you do it, is provides more than sustenance. Remember Harlowe's experiment with the monkeys? Levine and Meany's experiments with rats who were separated from their mothers? I'm pretty sure those were gen psych and not further into the degree...) I think it can only be for good.

Hmm...there are times, actually, when she's over-tired and I know that a bottle or some rocking would help things and she's *said* she doesn't want to, but I do it anyway. I just tell her that I want to rock. I scoop her up and rock her, holding the bottle with my chin so I can snuggle her with one arm and stroke her cheek with the other hand.

So, I guess I do push it a little. But, it's something that's already started. There's precedence. And, there are times when I need to say, "You cannot push me away. You ARE my baby, forever, and I am going to take care of you." It's hard to explain the difference, but so easy to feel it. And her "I-don't-want" disappears immediately.

You'll know.

13 November 2009

fair warning

I have a month left of staying home with Lexi.

You may get some quips and snaps in the next month.

But I'm not even promising that.

It might be really quiet here on the blog, but rest assured it's not at our house. And I want to savor that--without thinking about anything else.


12 November 2009


A few nights ago I was asking Lex what she wanted for dinner. She'd had a late snack and was not interested in the leftovers in the 'fridge. I was not interested in cooking. So I went to the failsafe...

"Kasha? And yogurt?"

"Yes! Kasha. Kasha apple."

And she began rooting around in the different oatmeal boxes. Since I happen to like the apple kasha, it's gone. I was explaining that we didn't have any, but we had a million others when she pulled out a box of cereal. (Fitness. Do you have it in the US? It's just flakes, but they're a *little* sweetened.)

Explaining that although it looked like the apple kasha box, it wasn't, I pulled out a piece of cereal and gave it to her.

Her face lit up. "Chips!" she said rapturously. (Mama has said repeatedly that we don't need chips when shopping. Now Lexi understands why. We have chips!)

So Lexi had chips for dinner. And apple slices.

She pronounced this dinner, "Koosna, Mama!" unasked and all my pride in recent, colorful, well-balanced meals flew out the window. Forget the chicken chili with tomatoes and corn muffins we had last night. (And forget how precious the corn muffins are since you can't buy cornmeal or muffin liners here.) Just give her dry cereal.

(Actually, don't forget it. Just leave the tomatoes off it and save it for me!)

11 November 2009


(This post is boring me, but I've already typed it. If you just read the first few paragraphs and skip our routine, I won't hold it against you.)


This is one that is oft-touted, and very important, for the same reason that a small world is. Routine makes life predictable and safe. It relieves some of the hypervigilence. If you know what is coming next, you don't have to worry. And you don't have to have as many contingency plans.

Children living in an orphanage have a fairly rigid routine. They're not often given choices. So, by keeping a routine in place for a child newly home, you're providing comfort, familiarity and relieving stress. All good.

I'm a planner. (Big surprise.) And in this case, I'm so glad I'd thought about routine before I had Lexi with me. Because, on that first night, when you've got this little person looking up at you, you're not going to have time to stop and plan things out. And the orphanage schedule, while it *may* prove helpful for mealtimes and sleeptimes in the beginning, is not going to help you figure out what you do at bedtime. Do you bathe at night? Do you brush your teeth before or after your bath? Do you read stories/sing songs/whatever? Where? What about morning? Do you get dressed and make your bed before breakfast? After? At all? (kidding)

Some routines and rituals get set without you even knowing it-so be careful. ;> We brushed teeth together that first night, eye to eye, Lexi mimicking my body language. Since then, she feels incredibly shut out if I don't brush teeth with her (If, say I was planning to eat the last brownie after she's asleep and so I told her I'll wait and brush later. Hypothetically.). And she still does it with a hand on her hip.

We had to change some things. We started out bathing at night and found that was too overstimulating. We didn't have a rocking chair until we got home and so we rocked on the bed. Changing these things (and changing bathtime back to evening in preparation for school) was HARD.

While I'm not good at doing everything the same, even in my classroom, we do have a structure to our days. It's just a flexible structure.

Stay in *a* bed (sleep post coming, too) until 7:00.

We get up and eat in our pajamas.

We clear the table, tidy up the kitchen and put away clean dishes (she does all the lower cabinets and silverware).

Then she gets dressed (after I explain again that now we take a bath at night). I take a shower while she watches Kipper. Or, I explain again that now we take a bath at night, she watches Kipper and gets dressed after I shower. It depends on how much I want a shower and how much she wants clothes.

Then, whatever. We play.

Lunch is at 11:45 ish (the time they eat at school). We clear the table together. Depending on how long lunch takes, we either play a bit or go right to rest/nap.

12:45/1:00-2:00 Ask Lexi if she want to rest or sleep. Have rest time.

Whatever. Usually something big and messy and fun after rest, because I'm rested, too. This is when we do school things some days. Sometimes this is when we go for a walk. The weather is generally better in the morning, and she's a morning bug, but somehow we don't get out then (except for Thursdays when the cleaner comes and we have to be out). I think it's because I'd have to blow-dry my hair.

5:45ish dinner I've played with this time a little and can't quite get it right.

We clean up the dinner mess and she plays for a bit.

6:45 on shampoo nights, by 7:00 if it's not, we start getting ready for bed. There are routines within our daily routine, and this may be as good a place as any to explain...

  • She chooses pajamas, underwear and socks if she wants them while I run the bath.
  • Bath with bubbles--play with cups, pretend to make food, swim, say, "You're my little fish!", count down the fish times, *or* "No fish today. Tomorrow you can be a fish." before she gets in the bath (She can be a fish on shampoo nights. That's every other night--with its own script about chin up and the shampoo being American and won't hurt her eyes, etc.)
  • Lotion--lavender at night, aveeno in the morning warmed in my hands. The first lotion dollop is my handprint on her tummy, name body parts as you lotion, "discover" all the food from the day in her tummy.
  • Get dressed in underwear, pajamas, debate socks (since her toes are polished) with herself.
  • (Bottle here if she wants one. Regression post coming!)
  • Brush teeth--I do hers first and then we brush together. We fluoride rinse- me holding her, humming a song to time it.
  • (Blow dry goes here if it's a shampoo night--her on my lap)
  • Lexi chooses books.
  • Melatonin, books, lights out, review the day, plan tomorrow, pray, sing one song, say goodnight to everything, sing some more
Actually, our singing and good-nighting depends on her. If she starts processing, I process with her. If she needs to talk, we say "good night" to everyone and everything in the world, if she asks or if she's contented and quiet, I sing.

She's usually asleep around 8:00. Usually.

That's kind of what we do. It's working for us.

I'll post about rituals next as this is long...and they're a little different from routines in my mind.

lera update

Amazing. Just amazing.

My friend sent an e-mail that said...

the director told me they think they have a family who is ready to commit to adopt lera. that's all it takes to keep her out of the institution!
Thank you for your prayers for Lera!

Reece's Rainbow says:
Lera is a gorgeous little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 4 years old. She is quite high functioning, and doing very well. She has flat feet and a systolic heart murmur, but no major heart conditions. She is able to walk and climb, she eats by herself, dances, and understands and follows directions. She has also been transferred to the regular class, so she living and learning with her typical peers.

Now, amazing prayer warriors, I've got sisters ages 11 and 13 who really need a home. They're part of my 3.10 girls...

09 November 2009

praying for lera

For the past year, a good friend of mine has been praying for a little girl in Russia. She was assigned to be her "prayer warrior" through the wonderful ministry, Reece's Rainbow, which specializes in placing children with Down Syndrome from various countries.
She was thrilled when she received Lera as her little girl to pray for, as Lera is Russian, and was born the very week that her girls were born.

In Russia, if a Down Syndrome child is not adopted by the age of 4, they go into an institution and can never be adopted.

Since Lera turned 4 in August, my friend was afraid bad news was coming. Sure enough, yesterday afternoon, she received the email below. Would you please stop, today, (which, ironically is Orphan Sunday), and pray specifically that God would work a miracle and prompt a family to start the process to adopt little lera?
Dear S,
I know you are the Reece's Rainbow prayer warrior for Lera in Russia. We just received word that Lera will be transferred to an institution in the next few days or weeks at most. She will not be able to be adopted (ever) once transferred as Russia's institutions are closed. If a family comes forward in the next few days and commits to her then she won't be transferred. I am letting you know so that you can send up some urgent prayers for her. She is a beautiful little girl and is located in St. Petersburg.

08 November 2009

attachment-keeping it small

"Keep their world small."

This is the advice, the decree given to adoptive parents. But how do you do that? And for how long? I have another month until we're both in school. I'm so grateful for as long as I've had with her, but wish it were longer. I think I could easily spend a year easing her in to life. Or longer. But I am very thankful we've been able to have our own small world for as long as we do. It is precious beyond measure.

What does it really mean to keep their world small? I think it means different things to different families. First children have a much greater opportunity to experience this "smallness" than children do who are coming in to a family that has children--and all their activities and things. It must be hard to shrink a world for a child who is getting a new sibling, and likely needs the comfort of his usual activities.

Okay. About us:

I think the time spent in Russia, as crazy as it is running around from place to place collecting pieces of stamped paper, is an easy place to build that "smallness". It was just Lexi and I. We had few responsibilities and obligations. We had few clothing choices. We had two dvd's. We had three books. We had her bear, her doll, (really wish I hadn't brought the doll), a coloring book, stacking cups, and some wooden animal beads that I'd brought on an earlier visit.

I think that it's as important to limit the number of things as it is to limit the number of people and places. As tired as I was of those clothes and those things, we didn't pitch them when we came home. We slept in those same pajamas. The same toys, books, and dvd's that we watched for two weeks on the road we all we played with and watched for about the first week home. I had taken all the toys out of her room. They're still gone, but some books have migrated there. In the living room, where her toys are, they are mostly out of sight.

Slowly, over the last month, we've explored most of the toy bins. She knows what is in them. But, generally, she doesn't need an abundance of things from which to choose. She has her favorite activities (reading books, playing with her baby, playing shopping, painting, doing puzzles) and plays them over and over. I will introduce a new game or toy or will add an accessory to her "plays" (like the bath tub or dishes for her doll), but it is often much later that she wants to do it again. (Or, she wants it every. single. day.)

We really do stick to only-one-toy most of the time. Most of the time. And, sometimes a play gets very involved and needs many accessories. No problem! But when we're done with that play, they get picked up. Every other night before bed with do a quick pick-up of the flat, one room at a time. She actually enjoys this, because she enjoys helping, and it keeps things away. If we did it every night, neither one of us would enjoy it.

In Moscow, were in an apartment roughly the size of our own. Being in an apartment was wonderful. It meant that we didn't have to go out for meals. We could go out if we needed to, but we didn't have to. We had different spaces for sleep and play.

While many families have needed to gate off sections of their house, we didn't. Our flat is not huge. She knows that we play in either her room (very rare, but I'd love for it to happen more) or the living room. We don't play in Mama's room, the kitchen or the bathroom. And that's our entire flat.

Lexi is very good at respecting boundaries, which is not always the case with pi kids. Granted, I'd made my house much like my classroom--nearly everything accessible is fair game. But, not everything. I live here, too. My desk and the bookshelves are off-limits. But, all I had to do was tell her was the desk was only for Mama. She just doesn't touch it or anything on it. I didn't even mention the bookshelves. Perhaps having her own, and the "dullness" of the books on mine, makes it less tempting.

All this is old news to most adoptive and pre-adoptive parents. Limit the people you come in contact with and allow no one else to provide (food, gifts, affection, etc.) for your child. Keep the physical space limited and sparse. Stay home as much as is humanly possible. Eat the same things, wear the same things, do same things. All of this prevents over-stimulation. It doesn't take much to rock the world of these little people.

Keeping things small keeps things safe. It's predictable. It helps a child to relax and let down their guard. Hypervigilent children in particular, those that are constantly on the lookout for what danger may possibly occur and planning how to handle it, benefit from this. And, I think all children coming out of an orphanage have some hypervigilence. They have to. It's self-preservation. Until they know that you'll keep them safe, they have to be prepared to keep themselves safe.

One thing I did instinctively as a teacher of esl students, that I haven't heard discussed elsewhere, is keep her vocabulary small. I used the exact same words over and over to describe an action. (i.e. always, "Please take this to the trash can." and not the occasional "Please throw this away." Always saying "Please take this to xxx" means that she only has one new word in the sentence to figure out. She quickly learned the sink, the trash, your room, the table, the bathroom, Mama's room...) She can follow two- and three-step directions now, which is amazing.

I didn't use synonyms. (Things were little, not small.) I didn't use contractions. As her vocabulary grows, I am incorporating these. I am still avoiding homophones as much as possible (ie, since we rock each night, there are stones and not rocks on the street).

Specific feedback is important! "Good job!" is great, but general. I realized, as I listened to Lexi play, that I often include the command after it. I must be saying, "Good job, chew and swallow!" "Good job, be careful!" "Good job, watch what you're doing!" I found myself today saying, "Good job, be careful. You were very careful while you were cutting." I think that's the transition from survival English, just being able to communicate, to speaking English. (Hmm...not really part of keeping her world small...but will leave it as I think it's interesting.)

Small world--few people, few places, few things, consistent vocabulary. Variety is not the spice of life. Or, if it is, pi kids need a very bland diet for a long time!

planning to do, in a sketchy sort of way, shorter posts on: routine and rituals, sleeping/co-sleeping, belonging together, a single mom copes, common pi issues (maybe)... any requests?

07 November 2009

Orphan Sunday

"On November 8th from 4:oo to 6:00 pm CST, join voices with Steven Curtis Chapman, Jim Daly, and Dennis Rainey to reach the nation with God’s call to care for orphans. Through excellent music and the sharing of the heart of God, we hope to give a megaphone to the cries of the millions of orphans around the world. Other guests include Geoff Moore and the Children of the World Choir.

The concert will be broadcast LIVE via webcast and satellite. Locations with high speed internet access will be able to view the concert remotely via the web."

spot the reason

Why is this photo blogworthy?

Look closer. But not at the cluttered counter or the pile of orphanage donations in the window, please. Look at the table.

It's not that kookla got sick and needed a hot water bottle. It's not that Mouse forgot to clear her plate. It's not the cute penguin slippers that don't stay on under the table. It's this:

Lexi decided to not finish her muffin at breakfast but to save it for later!

Mama is now keeping a see-through container at every meal so we can put in what we want to save for later. If it doesn't need to be refrigerated, it stays at Lexi's place. If it does, she will put it in the 'fridge.

We had a great day!

05 November 2009

attachment preamble

I am not an attachment expert.

I've read a lot of experts and talked to many in-the-trenches experts. I guess now it's my turn to share my view from the trenches.

I've tried to write this post several times, but it's just too big. So, dear viewers (as one of my second grade bloggers was wont to say), there's a whole lot of attachment and coping stuff coming. A whole series, I think. Which seems presumptuous. I mean, who am I to be writing a post on this, much less "a series"? (Although you already know I'm wordy, so the fact that it takes more than one post to manage this shouldn't be too shocking--unless you've only been reading since Lexi came home. Many of those posts have been...brief.) But many people have asked--especially those waiting for an "older" child.

So...here goes. There is a lot that is out of one's control as far as attachment goes. But here's what I've done, single mom adopting this particular six-year-old, that, hopefully, has helped.

It's been six weeks and things are going remarkably well. Really, it's amazing. Ann Marie is going to chime in on the comments and straighten this quote out. Basically, she was seeing signs of attachment in Lexi and I (attachment is a two-way street) after two weeks that she wasn't seeing in Alexander for months. (I'll fix that when you tell me what it really way, AM. I was too tired to remember. Hey--you can even have a guest post!)

I prayed for three-and-a-half years that my children's hearts would be prepared for me and my heart for them. And that's the biggest thing AM saw when we were in the US. Her quote, "Kate, she was just ready." And for that I am so grateful!

So, now that the preamble, disclaimers and celebrity endorsements are out of the way, here's my first gem:

If you can tell that it's going to be a hard day
, and I can tell, because the state of the day depends mostly upon me and how tired I am, then put your child in your favorite outfit. It's much easier to attach to a clean, sweet-smelling, darling child.

Okay, none of the experts told me that. But I think it's true. It may not be as conventional as the other things I did, but I am sharing this with you first, so that you can skip the rest of the attachment stuff if you're sick of reading about it.

04 November 2009


time* from books to bed

Monday: 12 minutes (wow)
Tuesday: 1 hour 15 minutes**

*this time includes prayers, good nights, and lullabyes/rocking

**on Tuesday, it also included a bottle--those 15 minutes may be subtracted from the total time listed as the bottle, if needed, usually precedes books

03 November 2009

joyful jumping

This is from about a week and a half ago...I think. The date stamp is when I uploaded it and not when it was taken. Helpful. Just love the video camera.

(so not.)

02 November 2009

a (good) day in the life

6:35 (This is late and may very well be a contributing factor to our good day.) Lexi needs to use the bathroom. She has to stay in *a* bed until 7:00 and takes the option of moving from Mama's bed to her bed for the remaining half hour. (This may also have been a contributing factor to the good day.)

7:10 Mama, having dozed until now, tells Lexi, "Good morning! It's seven." All excited, Lexi scrambles up, climbs into Mama's arms chirping, "It's seven!! Good MORNing!" in both Russian and English. We go to Mama's room to verify that the first number on the clock is, indeed, a seven.

Lexi heads out to play. Mama makes breakfast, of a sort--instant oatmeal, toast (me) and yogurt (Lex). Juice and vitamins for all.

Lexi forgets that we now take a bath at night and wants one in the morning. Instead, she chooses her clothes (we're staying home today), washes hands and face, and we brush teeth together.

Mama and Lexi head out for Kipper--Mama's answer to a solo shower. But, Mama feels lazy and doesn't want to shower. She e-mails and futzes on the computer, simultaneously commenting on the essential parts of Kipper. Then, with two stories left, Mama kisses Lexi and promises a quick shower.

We put clean sheets on both beds (L@ur@ Ashely fairies on Lexi's, my favorite grey ones on mine), put away my laundry (we did hers last night), gave Beazy a bath (she was not thrilled, but Lex was quietly cooing our standard encouragements to her, and she coped well) played airplane (We sit on the couch and play whatever she's packed in her little pink backpack. There is much pretend seat buckling and tray opening and closing.), watched a few minutes of a Sesame Street shape dvd but it wasn't for us, fingerpainted (a first), washed placemats, played in the water, mopped up all the water that spilled when Lex tried to dump the basin herself, and had lunch around noon (leftover mac & veg& cheese--and yes, she had to eat the broccoli and carrots, which she has decided she doesn't like. She still loves zucchini.)

We loaded lunch dishes and started the dishwasher.

12:45 quiet time (Lexi gets to choose to sleep or rest. This is a great illustration of predestination and free will. ;> ) I watch iTunes tv. ;> I even read a few pages and doze for a few minutes.

2:00 Lexi is sprung! I try to explain that it is two and not seven, that it's not morning. I'll do it again tomorrow.

Declines a snack.

Started working on writing numbers, played with wooden mosaic tiles, put flowered vinyl tablecloth on her window (that sounds horrible but it isn't that bad), and another on her wall (because I'm so sad I'm not allowed to paint), took the one on her wall off the wall because it wouldn't stay without nails and I'm not ready to commit, replaced framed photos on her wall with paper copies (since she keeps taking and knocking the frames down), watched Josh and the Big Wall for the second time (Neechevo rookye! Neechevo feet! Tolka tomato. Nada jump, jump, jump! She thinks Larry is a zucchini and the squashes are pears. Close enough. She has no idea about the asparagus family.) and painted her toenails (I think her feet are overly sensitive because they're never exposed--and that pretty toenails *might* encourage more exposure.), jumped on the mini tramp ($92--but the only one I found and already proving a good outlet for St. P's inclement weather), colored--GREAT coloring advances today-- and did a sticker book, put on our cloud and rain and watched "A Flower Grows", watched her singing Feed the Birds. Lexi was inspired to rock her doll while I make dinner--Lexi's requested meal of "meekaballs". (Didn't really cook anything today and only did one load of laundry. Also contributing factors to the good day, I suspect.)

Her doll joined us for dinner. This is always a treat because I get to hear myself, my words, in Lexi's voice. And I like what I heard. That is extremely gratifying! It makes me feel relieved. I loved hearing her prompt her doll to say, "Yes, please, Mama." She gently stroked her cheek as she murmured endearments and good job's. And she laughed when the doll's head got covered in tomato goo. ;>

After dinner, we had a bath (this is only day three of evening bath...but we're doing okay), lotioned, pajama-ed, brushed teeth, read stories, had a bottle (at her request) and rocked, and went to the bathroom again. We sat on the bed, me cradling her, in the dark and reviewed our day. We talked about what we will/might do tomorrow. We prayed. Lexi decided to plan tomorrow in greater detail--TRAIN, puzzle, number 1-2-3, paint, airplane, Kipper, shop (in Russian), book.

It was a quick night--Feed the Birds, saying good night to everyone and everything, and then she wanted to go to bed. Sometimes we rock to sleep, sometimes she wants to be put down sleepy. When I put her down, I can immediately tell if she's ready to sleep or stalling. Ready to sleep--stays curled up on her side. Not--flips to her back. When I put her down, she stayed on her side so I sang two more songs and rubbed her back, limbs, and head before leaving.

Tonight it was 7:50 when I left. When I went back at 8:00, she was asleep, exactly in the position I'd left her.

It was a good day in the life. Six weeks tomorrow...and I think we're both feeling settled.