We have been home for one month now and are slowly but surely finding our groove. I started back to work this week so my free time has diminished from very-little to non-existent. I had forgotten how much time and attention one year olds need compared to how independent my boys are. There are days when I just try to survive from morning nap time to afternoon nap time to bedtime. It's only during those times that I can get anything else done. Lexi is very fun and an easy-going baby, but I don't have the energy I used to have almost eleven years ago when Preston was a baby, or for that matter, not even as much as I did almost five years ago when Liam was a baby. But, hey, our kids keep us young, right?
Lexi is growing right before our very eyes. None of the clothes she wore in Russia or the first week home fit her now. She has an appointment at the Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital International Adoption clinic on Monday. Then we'll see how exactly how much she has grown. We've put the little wiggle worm on our bathroom scales a few times and our best guess is that she has gained about 4 lbs since we've been home, putting her at around 24 lbs.
Here is her progress report:
~ 7:30 to 8:00 am she wakes up and plays quietly until she sees my eyes open. Then she gives me the biggest smile and laugh. She'll sit in my lap and drink her bottle of milk while I finish waking up. She currently sleeps in a pack and play in our bedroom right next to my side of the bed. But she has no trouble going to bed or with waking up in the night (so far) so we may go ahead and move her to the crib in her room and get a baby monitor.
~ She eats breakfast with the boys around 8:45 or 9:00 a.m. Favorites are eggs, waffles, baby food bananas, peach yogurt, and grits. She's not a big fan of oatmeal. I'm trying to let her learn to feed herself with utensils.
~ Then she gets a morning bath; mainly to get the breakfast food out of her hair. ;) Bath time has become very fun for her and she doesn't want to get out. She understands when you say "Splish, Splash" and you'd better duck or you'll end up soaking wet. Her favorite bath toy is a little plastic dinosaur. Garrett taught her to say "roar" in a very deep voice whenever she sees a dinosaur. So lady-like.
~ Then she plays and practices walking around the house until 10:00 or 10:30 at which time she goes down for her morning nap. She understands when I say "Stand up!" and "Here she comes!' She will stand and starting toddling toward me every time.
~ She is up by noon and ready to eat lunch with her brothers. She wakes up soooo happy and always greets us with a smile, unlike a some of her brothers. :)
~ She plays again and we practice teaching her baby signs, colors, and simple words like "open" and "close" and "Hi" and "Bye", etc. She loves to sit in my lap and read books and has an amazing attention span for books considering her young age. She will point to all the pictures and pet all animals in the touch and feel books. She waves good-bye and understands when I say "close the door". She is also really good at turning light switches on and off.
~ Afternoon nap is from 3:00 to 4:30 or 5:00.
~ She eats dinner with everyone at 6pm. And if she didn't have a bath after breakfast, (and sometimes even if she did) she's due for an evening bath. Otherwise, we just play and read books again.
~ She loves our dog and cats. She tries to meow everytime she sees a cat go by. She also definately knows Wookie's name. She is fasinated with his squeakly ball and will throw it for him to fetch. She also tries to call his name when hears me calling him. She really enjoys rubbing his back.
~ Bedtime is 8:30 pm. That may seem a little late for a baby, but it works for us. She really doesn't get fussy before bedtime and on New Year's Eve she made it 10:00 pm without so much as a whimper. In fact, Garrett wanted to know how she can go from being so happy and playing to sound asleep so fast.
~ She does a lot of babbling, especially with her toy cell phone, my real cell phone, and our house phone. She has the best conversations with herself. Sure wish I knew what she was talking about. It's so funny to hear the boys' reaction to her babbling. We'll be in the car and she'll make some little sound like she is singing and Liam will yell, "Mom, she said "Da! Isn't that great!"
~ She says Mama and Dada, mostly in context, but sometimes not. Martin came home the other day and as soon as she saw him, she yelled Dada!!! and held her arms out to him. It made his day! She says Mama to me constantly. However, she was sitting in my lap while I catching up on my fellow bloggers last week and when she saw a photo of Kar and Ilya she pointed at the screen and said Mama. I guess technically she was right, it just wasn't her mama.
~ She is learning a few baby signs like "milk", "more", and "done" but she only does them if I do it first. Does that count? She can drink from a sippy cup and from a straw, but prefers her bottle.
~ She has very little interest in the TV, but loves anything with music. It doesn't matter what is on the TV as long as it has music. Last weekend, Preston and Garrett were playing Madden '09 on the Wii and Lexi was dancing to the music. She really enjoys hearing the boys practicing the piano and even tries to accompany them.
~ Much to my delight, she has started hugging and kissing her little glow worm. And she loves to push her teddy bear in the walker. Maybe baby dolls will be next!
~ Her eating has slowed way down. She is still not picky and will eat just about anything we offer her. But now she will stop when she is full and she if sees her brothers eating, she'll stare them down until they share, but she doesn't get upset if she doesn't have anything to eat too. The first week with her she literally would not stop eating until every single morsel was gone. We had to limit the number of cheerios we put in her snack cup because she did not have an off button and there was no prying that snack cup out of her hands until it was empty. That's not the case anymore. She even loves to share her food with her family now too, including the dog. The other day, she insisted that Preston eat one of her sweet potato Gerber puffs. It was so sweet that I took a photo of them. Preston grimaced and said he couldn't smile with that yucky thing in his mouth. He was a good sport about it!
~ Lexi started walking last Saturday although she still crawls when she wants to get somewhere in a hurry. Determined to catch her first steps on film, I have a ton of video footage. I am making a cute video for the blog in my spare time, LOL! At first she would only walk to Garrett. She would fall on him and he'd give her a great big hug and fall over backwards. She LOVED that! Later that night, she started to walking to Nolan and by Sunday she was walking to Preston too. She pushes her little push toy around everywhere. But the funniest thing is the box of rags that she pushes around. It is just her height and makes a perfect walker. Heck, why spend money on toys?
~ She looks at me when she bumps her head or falls down and is happy when I go to her to comfort her. But she doesn't come looking for me to comfort her yet, nor does she always cry. The other day I noticed she bit her tongue and it was bleeding, but no cries at all. I'll be glad when she knows it's okay to cry and seek comfort from mom and dad.
~ She hangs on with her legs and body when I carry her. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it is something she had to learn and become comfortable enough with us to do it. At first she was like carrying a sack of potatoes. She always wants to wrap her legs around my waist while I'm trying to remove her to another room to change a stinky. It's so funny because I have to hold her at arms length because you never know what might be escaping from her diaper area!
~ My mom and I took her for her first photo shoot last week at Wally World. (Hey, don't knock it, we were lucky to get that far.) She did perfect which resulted in me not being able to choose one pose over another so I just bought them all. At least since it was Wal-mart, I'll get 50,000 photos for less than the sitting fee at a fancy-smancy photography studio. Although I have been in contact with a "Celebrating Adoptions" professional photographer in our area. We are waiting until our buttercups are in full bloom to use her services.
~ The boys are still fighting over who gets to sit by her in the car and at the dinner table. They are so good at entertaining her and will even get her up from naps and fix bottles. No takers for dirty diaper duty yet.
I also want to say that I am so proud of Liam. He had not shown an ounce of jealously over his new little sister. He is still our snuggle bug and lap child, so Martin and I make sure he is still getting his one on one time. But I really expected the transition and loss of baby status would be much harder on him. He adores Lexi and always tells me how cute she is. He had just turned three when we started the adoption process. I think since it took so long to complete and he is now almost five made a huge difference in his maturity level and being able to handle the changes. As I look back at our agonizing wait, I can clearly see God's perfect plan. Hindsight is always 20/20 and the end result was sooooo worth the wait!