Monday, December 10, 2012

1 Month Home

Its been 4 weeks...a full month... since Callie came home. This past week was the first of a new month, meaning busy time for mama at work, the first one we've encountered since she's been home. As so, with the exception of Monday, the rest of the week was mine to spend with Callie and I would say this week was slightly different than those previous... more so characterized by testing of boundaries.

Monday was the only day I went to work. The act of me leaving with the twins is perhaps the most difficult thing for her to deal with. When she sees her sisters getting ready and going down to the car with papa, the tears are inevitable. She will throw her arms around my waist and beg me not to go. After prying her off, mama is left with a 30-45 minute unconscionable sobbing. We have learned that this can be eased by allowing her to get fully dressed alongside her sisters and sometimes going for a short car ride just to get out the house. While we think she is mostly upset by me leaving and not being sure when/if I'll return, there seems to be part of her that simply wants to get out of the house.

The remainder of the week was my turn. Since the twins normally accompany me to work, on days where I don't work, we've work out the arrangement where mama leaves early and drives an hour and half out of her way to drop them off at school and in the afternoon, Callie and I load up in the car and do the same drive to fetch her sisters. While very inconvenient for everyone, we feel it is necessary for the girls to see their friends at school and us be able to focus our attention on Callie during the day. She does struggle the same with her mama leaving in the morning, but to a lesser degree than papa. By the time the afternoon gets here, I get several questions that infer as "where is mama?" By the time the afternoon gets here, she is very excited and rides very well to go get her sisters. She becomes instantly excited when we pull up to their school but is still very shy inside around all their friends and teachers. On the ride home, since she sits forward facing in between her two sisters who are still rear facing, she's constantly talking to them and passing things to them. When we finally get home, there is a made dash of children excited to see their mama... Audrey now facing contention with Callie on who gets to be held/hugged until the table is set for dinner.

I started this post off with this week was different, characterized by more testing of boundaries, and that has come in the form of sleep. This week, I have instantly become unsuccessful in getting her to take her afternoon nap. We'll get changed into our pj's and into the bed and I'll settling down on the floor of her room like I always do, but she has now instantly tries to sit up/stand up, talk, and whatever else to remain awake. When I lay her back down and place the covers over her, she becomes upset and latches on with a tight bear hug. Breaking this bear hug causes instant sobbing. No longer will remaining in her room within line of sight eventually result into napping. We sat in total darkness for over an hour sobbing before eventually giving up. We haven't been too worried as at 4.5yrs old, she is really at an age where naps are becoming optional, and since we've spent so much time in the car, she usually gets a solid 45 minutes there anyway, but was such a good napper just a week ago, its like the switch just flipped. But this may also do with her attachment to papa, as mama was able to make her nap this weekend where I haven't been. But her bedtime routine has also suffered from more sobbing and extended time trying to get to sleep, but mama is always able to work her magic and once asleep, she has remained pretty steady in staying asleep until around 7:00am, so for that, we are thankful.

We also concentrated on having our 2nd and 3rd sessions with our student translator. Where I would say the first visit was characterized by head down, almost sobbing, these visits she has become accustom to him in the room where she will play and resume her normal business largely ignoring him. But while she doesn't typical respond, she does understand and acknowledge what he says to her. Also, he's been able to catch some of her chatter and while not in direct response to his questions, he is able to understand most of what she is saying. One misconception I've witnessed is just putting someone who speaks and understands Russian in front of her, doesn't immediately establish communication. Just like with any unfamiliar English speaking person, she is shy, reserved, and closed off first... just because they know her language, doesn't change her reaction to new people. However, I've found if we're able to spend time and take the focus away from her, she'll eventually start to open up. But we fell no one outside our home gets to witness her true rambunctious, chatty nature that we experience every night... but this will only come with time, for now, you couldn't imagine they are the same child.

As for everything else, our expectations are exceeded on a daily basis. She has become completely comfortable with Audrey and Harper and we have not had a single fallout between them as I was prepared for. She loves to do things for her sisters, hand them their bottles, help with bath time, even tries to instruct them to do things in Russian. Harper loves having someone to chase around and Audrey remains fascinated by what her big sister is up to. Bath time continues to be an all time favorite and potty time is no trouble. Eating continues to be hit or miss depending on the food choices, but largely we have no problem getting food into her. We've had no more breakdowns over communication or lack of understanding each other for several weeks now. She's picked up a handful of English words, even used her first English word "hot" in context last week. She is also intrigued by learning the alphabet and the alphabet song and will sing and pronounce the letters along with her various toys that do so. Her favorite letters are the beginning of her name "C" and "A" and she struggles the most with "W". Perhaps what I'm most amazed with is her ability to soak of new things so easily. She only needs to see you try something once before she's repeating it, and thats without language involved. It just further reiterates how amazing and smart she is and only needs to be given the opportunity and she will flourish.

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