Just 2 days our sweet little Katie learned how to say NO! It sounds more like nyoh- I told her it was time for a nap and she looked at me and stomped her foot and said, "nyoh mommy!" I was so excited! I said "Katie- I'm so proud of you! You said no mommy! Say it again!NO MOMMY!" She would not repeat- as my reaction was quite the opposite of what she was expecting. It was really cute and while I'm sure soon I will tire of the word, hearing no mommy is music to my ears after 3 months of loud grunting/squealing/yelling when WE don't get it right. She is by far our most stubborn child, so this fits right in with her personality, and for now I love to hear it!
Some small but important facts we have learned about Katie medically-
1. she does NOT have DeGorges Syndrome- something both our pediatrician and cardiologist wanted her tested for when we did her bloodwork at the UAB adoption clinic-it is very common to have this syndrome with her heart defect
2. all her other blood work looked great (they double check for hepatitis, HIV, and lots of other "stuff"- all negative)
3. her hearing is perfect (tested at UAB)
Because I have missed blogging so much about the last couple of months I will not bore you too many details- I have lots of pictures I can post to show the highlights. Mostly what we are working on daily is speech- she finally is trying to say EVERYTHING and it's just hard for her! Everette and I can understand a lot of what she says, and she understand almost everything we say- but her pronunciation on so many letters is unclear that it is a challenge for everyone. We have started the ball rolling to get her help- but b/c we are on the cusp of her 3rd birthday, we have to go through Homewood Schools (instead of the state) and I've heard that may take a while- lots of meetings and paperwork . Hopefully by March she will be in speech therapy. In the meantime we play charades a lot, and she repeats over and over what she is trying to say- this week he favorite thing to say is "eber eber mommy"- yes, she wants to hear Taylor Swift's We are NEVER EVER getting back together. Between her and Edie I think pop culture will be a hit at our house- which is funny b/c it's never been my thing- figures.
Our first trip to the beach was in November and it was priceless. She loved the indoor pools and the view of the intracoastal waterway where we watched boats and dolphins. The first beach encounter was awesome. She at first would not let her feet touch the sand- like she didn't trust that it would hold her weight. When she saw Edie and Charlie running around on it, she decided to give it a try but only for a second. I held her for about 10 minutes and we touched the sand and looked at the water (ever thought of how you would introduce the beach to an alien- is it a beach, or is it sand, sea or ocean- or just water, and the waves and the tides going back and forth)- anyways she was fascinated by it all and in awe of the motion of the waves. She still moves her hands back and forth when we talk about the beach and tries to explain how they went in and out and then claps. By the end she was running in to the water up to her knees and didn't want to leave:) I can't wait for summer.
Halloween was a hit- her favorite animal is an owl (which we can hear from our front porch on some nights)- so she dressed up like and owl and once she figured out that everyone was dropping candy in her bag- she was ALL about it. Miss independent- didn't even want me to help her walk up stairs to people's houses- I had to stay on the sidewalk and watch. She was very cute.
Thanksgiving was really fun b/c I got to introduce her to my dad's side of the family- our closest 50 relatives descended upon my aunt and uncles house- and besides being clingy- she loved it.
On Christmas morning - we stayed home for the first time in 7 years- she learned to say "open" and signed more after each present. She loves to sing her own version of jingle bells, and can identify Santa Claus from a mile away. Anything with lights on it - tree, bush, star, was a "dismus tee"- and say that in a high pitch and excited voice and that's what it was like driving around Homewood every night over the holidays (every house on our street has a small lit tree in their front yard).
She has started going to preschool a few days a week- at first I went with her and stayed until she got to know her teachers better- and then left her for an hour one day, two hours the next etc....She was really not sure about it before Christmas, but since we have been back, she LOVES it. She has such a type A personality so far, that I think she relishes in the comfort of a predictable schedule. She has taken ownership over her beloved backpack- even unpacking it each day and emptying her lunch box and hanging it back up (note: when we pull in the driveway after school- I unbuckle her- and until she is out of the car by herself, up the steps, in the house, everything put away- I am not to be involved or she will be VERY UPSET) It's pretty amazing to watch how she needs to have control over certain things, and is so needy in others. I'm sure orphanage life will affect her for a long time.
She has had some hard moments over the last few months- not sure exactly what triggers these moods but it often happens after waking up from a nap. She can be inconsolable- in a stiff and rigid body position, crying, screaming, hitting the floor- and I can't do anything at first but lie down beside and try to get her to hear my voice. Sometimes I just pick her up against her will and rock her and sing (this is harder than it sounds- she is strong when she wants to be) until her body eventually relaxes- 15- 20 minutes later. I've read that it could possibly be night terrors, but it happens during the day sometimes too when she is angry about something like having to share when she feels she shouldn't have to. It's hard to watch, and I can't help but think from all the literature on grieving that grieving is exactly what it is. It breaks my heart each time, and it exhausts both of us physically and emotionally. I tell her SO many times each day how much I love her and that we are her mommy and daddy forever. She is starting to shake her head in affirmation most days when we talk about it and says "choo choo mommy's baby, choo choo daddy's baby." Yes my sweet girl, fovever.
The kids are starting to play together more, even without Ev or I being present- and it's a beautiful thing to see, even if they are fighting over toys. It's how it's supposed to be- a family spending time together and laughing, playing, sharing, singing, helping each other, comforting one another, arguing, pinching, hitting, biting :) - and it makes us feel good that she is more and more a part of this so that we almost can't remember when she wasn't here with us.
And- not that we are dying to leave our kids a lot- but we are finally able to have our babysitter come over so that we can have a date night or go out with friends or to a movie- just in the last 4 weeks- so it's nice to be out of the "newborn" stage.
Enough! I make no promises of posting soon- but hopefully now that the crazy holidays are over it will be easier.
See pictures below!
That's all! Happy New Year!