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!