The Abraham Family’s Journey to Russia to Bring Home Their Daughter

June 2, 2009

6 Months

I can hardly believe it has been six months since Miss Alexis Katerina became an Abraham. Even more amazing is that it has almost been a year since we first got a glimpse of her sweet face. We knew all along adoption would be a good thing for us, it was after all completely a "God Thing". But we seriously had no idea how much our precious Lexi would enrich all our lives. We have been truly blessed!

Everyday is not sunshine and roses. I don't want potential adoptive parents or anyone else to get the wrong idea from reading our blog. The difficult days come right along with the good days. Adjusting to new family dynamics can be hard on everyone. Lexi is a typical head strong toddler who cries when she doesn't get her way. Whines when she is tired. Gets into things she shouldn't and then runs away when you tell her to stop. She does not respond to the word "No" very well. She tries to monopolize my time and especially my lap. I am constantly over analyzing everything she does to determine if it is normal toddler behavior or if is post-institutionalized behavior. Should I worry? Start interventions? What if... [fill in the blank]...? But my heart tells me that she is dong just fine.

There is no such thing as a perfect child, but, all I can say is: Wow, she sure is perfect for us!

Here is Lexi's 6 month progress report:

~ 8:00 - 8:30 am she wakes up ready to take on the world. She is still sleeping in our bedroom. She sleeps very soundly and doesn't cry out for us at night, but her room just seems so far away. I like having her next to our bed so we are the first thing she sees in the morning (and vice-verse). When she wakes from her naps, she will stand up and call out "Mooooom meeeee" until I come get her out of bed. She takes two naps on most days and goes to bed with no hesitation at 8:30 pm.

~ I'm not sure when I became "mommy" instead of "momma" like she used to call me, or "mom" like the boys call me. But it is very cute how she says it. However, for some reason, she has started calling Martin, "MaMa" instead of "DaDa". He corrects her every time and she just grins. I am beginning to think she is just teasing him. She's silly that way.

~ She still has a healthy appetite and eats a variety of foods. She really doesn't like a lot of meats unless it is finely chopped or sliced very thin. She has mastered the spoon and fork and rarely spills a drop. As I mentioned before, she is a very silly girl. The other night at dinner, she kept putting spaghetti noodles on her head and then grinning at us. The boys got a big laugh out of that which only encouraged her more. When she is finished with her yogurt, it becomes hair gel. She cracks herself up, plus she knows it is a sure fire way to get to take a bath!

~ We took away the bottle at around 18 months because she really didn’t need it anymore. She never even asked for it once. She drinks everything from a sippy cup. In fact, now when she is thirsty, she'll insist that we follow her to the kitchen where she opens the refrigerator door and points to exactly what she would like to drink. Her choices are milk, pink milk, SunnyD, or water.

~ Bath time is still a favorite and, yes, there have been a few potty “incidents” in the tub recently (The boys refer to it as 'floaters" or "turtles".) You'd think I would learn already. But by the time I see the familiar expression on her face, it is too late. There must be some connection to warm water. (At least now I know a trick for potty training her to go #2 in a few months.) I usually bath her after her morning constitution, but sometimes we have places to go and can't always wait. I hesitate to even discuss this topic here, but hey that's our reality. Since it is probably the worst thing I have to deal with, I think we are doing exceptionally well.

~ She loves the swimming pool, especially the hot tub/ spa (which stays luke-warm) because it is like her own little baby pool. She will float around in a inflatable fish or with arm floaties. She likes to walk around the rim of the spa. She enjoys playing Ring Around The Rosie and thinks it is fun to go under water when "we all fall down". But there will be no relaxing for mom by the pool this summer. She is a busy body, in and out, in and out, in and out, big pool, spa, big pool, spa, in and out... you get the the picture. The fountains are also a great source of entertainment for her!

~ She still loves to sit in our laps and read books. She will follow along and make animal sounds and point to them. She must turn the pages herself. Most every animal she sees is still a kitty cat, but more and more lately she will moo at the cow and bark at the dog photos. I've even heard an oink or two.

~ She still loves to climb and is very good at it. We have to really watch her close. She has almost mastered the climbing wall on our playset. Slides, swings, gliders... the faster the better! She can run fast, jump high, kick and throw balls, and dance in circles. She is very comfortable playing with her brothers for as long as they are willing to entertain her. She gets a little clingy at church because I teach Sunday School every other month while she goes to the nursery. The nursery workers say she always has a good time playing and stops crying as soon as I am out of sight. It is still hard to leave her though.

~ She is very affectionate and will give hugs and kisses to Mom, Dad, her brothers and dogs. Yes, I said dogs. For everyone else, she will gladly blow kisses. She definitely holds on tight when I carry her. She's like a little Quala bear. In fact, when she is not ready to be put down, she will hold up feet up in the air like a gymnast. She must have some very strong stomach muscles.

~ While she understands EVERYTHING we say, she does not talk a lot. Unless, you include "Whinese". She babbles and sings in the car and will occasionally use the few sign language motions we taught her. We have not seen as much progress in her speaking skills as we have in everything else. I am not too worried about it though. Garrett was speaking in complete sentences at 18 months while Nolan didn't speak at all until he was almost three years old. Both Preston and Liam benefited from a few months of Speech Therapy and that may be in Lexi's future too. It's really too early to tell. For now, if she wants something, she will take our hand and show us.

~ She goes through phases with the tantrums. I have noticed that this coincides with her being over-tired or wanting to play outside when we really need to be inside. The girl loves to go. If she sees anyone putting on shoes to go somewhere, she immediately grabs her shoes and brings them to me. Nothing makes her happier than getting to go somewhere... anywhere. Well, except maybe ice-cream.

~ She has grown by leaps and bounds, but seems to be slowing down somewhat. When we picked her up from the Baby Home in Novokuznetsk, she was wearing 6-9 months clothes with room to grow. Today, she is wearing 24 months to 2T. She went from size 3 shoes to size 5 1/2 or 6. Her hair has grown too, but sometimes it is hard to tell because the longer it grows the tighter it curls. When it is wet, it hangs down to her shoulders.

~ Her brothers still adore her and get very excited about every little thing she does. Garrett said he thinks Lexi enjoys being adored. Liam recently told me; "Mom, Lexi may not be the cutest baby girl in the whole wide world. But, she is to me!" I agree!


Kami said...

Aww.. What a sweet, sweet post, Kim! I love hearing about Miss Lexi and can't believe that she has grown sooo much! We both came home about the same time with our little ones and I can't believe it was SIX months ago!! Where does the time go? Happy six months home Lexi!

Lindsey Carney said...

What a great update! She is so adorable! Where has the time gone since we returned home!? Our kids are growing like weeds!

Jackie said...

Kim- how is it that on this side of the adoption time goes back to it's normal warp speed. Seems like it was such a short time ago that we were waiting together!

I love the photos of Lexi- she is definitely growing and changing! Take it from one who doesn't see her every day. I loved the update on all she is doing! I need to post one as well.... when I find the time. :-)

tammy said...

i loved the update! she is absolutely precious. her curly hair is wonderful. it sounds like she is just doing wonderfully!

Melissa said...

Great update! She has really grown and her hair is adorable. I love those curls. What a cutie!

Carrie said...

Thanks for the great update! Lexi is just too cute and she is perfect. Isn't it amazing how they just fit?

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog for a while now and I think Lexi is absolutely a little doll.
I am sure that things are not always perfect around your home with her but she is a toddler and I do not know of any toddler that is an absolute perfect child at all times. LOL!! They have to learn how far they can push Mom and Dad! LOL!!

You were talking about swimming this summer and I wanted to tell you about something I saw this weekend at a pool party. There was a little boy who was 20months old there that was wearing a Swim tube trainer and it was really cool. He could go in and out of the pool without much help and could just float around without someone always having to be holding on to him. I looked it up and there are several different ones but the one they had was like a shirt that had the float attached to it. It really worked good too.
You may already know about them but thought it might be worth mentioning. I am also the type of person that freaks out with little ones around a pool so if "I" thought it worked very good then you can believe me on it.
I worked in Children's hospital in ICU and saw a lot of near drownings so I am not one to trust all these floatie things they have out there. LOL!!

Thanks for sharing your daughter and family with us.


Barb said...

Very sweet! Thanks so much for the nice update. Lexi is just so adorable.

Troy and Rachel said...

She is beautiful!! I can't believe you've been home 6 months now!! Thanks for her progress report. I enjoyed reading it. She sounds like she has a good sense of humor, which I'm beginning to think is a very Russian trait!! And don't worry, Daniel kisses dogs too and says "excuse me" to the cats when they are in his way!!

Settle Family said...

Lexi is so cute!!! I love to check in and see the progress that Lexi is making. Ava and her are so close in age that she serves as a great gge. Ava is making great progress in everything but speech is progressing slower too. What progress the girls have achieved to understand what we are saying to them in a totally different language!
Congrats on being home 6 months Lexi!!!!!!
Nicole and Ava

Jen said...

What a difference every month makes! Every month they seem to grow and change so much. It is truly amazing!

I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like she is too good to be true and wonder if maybe I am missing something. Do we just trust our momma instints?!?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Kim ... what beautiful pictures and as has been stated a great up date. I'd like to see a picture of you when you were her age. I think she looks a lot like you.

Miss you bunches, Auntie Bunner

jeanette wunderly said...

Great post! She is so adorable and has such happiness in her eyes!

Kristine said...

She is SO precious. The photos are wonderful. Glad to hear that she is doing so well.

She sounds a lot like my oldest daughter..tough but pink and know what I mean I am sure.

Janine said...

It looks like she is doing so great! I can't believe how big she has grown in the past 6 months. What a cutie pie! From your post, Lexi has a lot of personality traits to Emily, being silly, tom girl, running away from you, head strong, loves to climb, runs fast, loves water, be on the go, etc Must be youngest sister to all brothers thing. And some I think must just be a girl thing?. knows what she wants, whines, temper tantrums, affectionate, loves to snuggle, read books,..that's Emily too. :) Glad everything is going so well! Looks like the boys are enjoying their summer too!

findingourdaughter said...

Just precious!!! Her curls are gorgeous!!
God bless!

Old DAN AND Little ANN said...

I know what you mean by not knowing what you'd do without your Russian addition. We feel that way about Dmitry. Not only do Lex and Dmitry give us a chance to parent the missing gender, they give us insight into how precious our Heavenly, adoptive Father's heart is toward us. We are his special needs adopted kids! :) I can't believe that Lex could be any cuter than before but sure enough... the longer those curls get ... WOWSER! She is a a knockout. I'm just smiling from ear to ear to read how God has blessed the Abraham family ... and all because they listened to His voice directing them and obeyed. Wow! What a testimony!