Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Saidie's surprises

The little girls and I are settling into our new routine as a trio after 3 weeks of being a family of seven  24 hours a day.  Yesterday we spent some time coloring and making cards, reading library books, doing preschool, looking at picture books and signing books, and tickling.  After eating lunch with Daddy, we played legos and took a little kitty-cat nap before picking up big sister and big brothers from school.  Today we spent the morning playing with the stuffed monkey and the China photos book and watching Dinosaur Train before going to the mall to look for some clothes for the girlies and to the grocery store. 

Some things have taken us quite by surprise with Saidie.  We have found since returning home that Saidie has a very strong will.  She shuts down if she's told not to do something or doesn't get her way.  When she's shut down, she won't make eye contact or respond to her name.  She remains still for a full 5-10 minutes without responding.  One day last week I asked Saidie to hand me a book.  She put it over her head and threw it at me instead, hitting me with the corner of it.  I scolded her and sat her on the floor next to me where the kids and I were playing a game.  Saidie shut down and wouldn't respond for so long that she actually put herself to sleep sitting up. 
Another surprise has been Saidie's inability/unwillingness to indicate her needs.  I assumed that communication would be difficult, but I thought that we could at least work out some simple signs/words to communicate basic needs.  While in China, I began saying "potty" and making the sign for potty each time I took her to the restroom and having her verbalize (as best she can) and sign the same.  After 3 weeks, she still won't tell me "potty" and sign it if she has to go.  Sometimes she just stops what she's doing and stands there expressionless.  Sometimes she goes to one of the kids, but never to me and never does she communicate the need with the sign or word for potty.  Since the second week in China I used the word eat with its sign and the word drink with its sign.  She still won't verbalize or sign either one on her own.  She will very rarely point to what she wants either.  She will parrot it back if I do it first, but can't seem to grasp the ideas.  Probably, Saidie just needs more time, but it's a bit frustrating for us both to not be able to communicate about her basic needs.  It seemed like it came a lot quicker for Maimie and she was quite a bit younger when we started signing with her.  
Finally, I didn't really think we would have too much trouble with sharing since Saidie had been in a foster home situation for her last year or two.  I know she had 3 foster siblings in addition to sharing with all of the other kids in her class each day.  Besides being aggressively possessive with toys, she has occasionally hit with toys.  For the most part, though, I do think Saidie is a sweet child and can be taught to be gentle. And it seems like each day gets a little better than the last. 

One of the more pleasant surprises is Saidie's desire to be a part of all of our family's routines.  Saidie has already learned a few and even initiates some.  She knows that before we eat a meal, we all hold hands to pray.  Saidie loves that!  The first day or two, she wasn't excited about holding her baba's hand.  Now she grabs it first.  Saidie folds her hands during nighttime prayers and is learning that she is supposed to kiss each family member after prayers.  Saidie also loves her evening bathtime routine with Baba and her morning dressing/hair fixing time with Mama.  Anytime is a great time to tickle or play with her siblings.  Saidie seeks out the kids even if they are at the kitchen table doing homework.  

Just received a few haircut photos from Lisa and had to share.  Can you believe I forgot to bring the camera to Saidie's first haircut appointment?  LAME.


Paige said...

I understand... after 18 months we still have these types of issues with Lilah... shutting down, being stubborn, not talking and not seeming to recognize her own needs or to express them.

My advice right now, would be to have your bio kids back off for quite a while and let you and your husband do everything, deal with everything... we obviously didn't do this long enough and are now starting to have our kids back off completely again to try to fix things. I believe it stems from a very coddling foster home...

I hope time improves things quickly for you all. Be patient.

Anonymous said...

It broke our hearts when we read how Saidie shuts down but at least she is responding to the routine of praying, etc. She just needs time. She isn't totally sure of her situation/surroundings and isn't willing to totally trust yet.
Paige was so sweet to respond to you and share her similar situation.
Try to remember it has only been 3 weeks. Hang in there, you made it this far and the Lord will give you wisdom and insight into how to proceed. Just remember my motto--"One day at a time"!
In Christian Love,
Grandma & Grandpa

Jennifer said...

With love, prayer, faith and patience, each day will reveal a new page in the journey with your daughter. When you had your newborns, it took time to adjust to the new routine and you had to learn what works and what doesn't. Each child is so unique and she was magically planned by God just for you. Time will heal her from her past and bring her closer to you all.She is adorable! To be in her little mind must be exciting and yet still a bit uneasy and scary. I can't wait to hear what each passing month brings in your lives with your new daughter. Congrats and blessings to you all!

sunnycalgirl said...

My first thought is Dr. Dobson's book on the strong willed child..She will come around.She has good role models around her..