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.