Monday, March 8, 2010

5 Weeks Home

I don't always find the time to update the blog, but I know our family and friends are interested in how things are going, so I am trying to give semi-frequent updates. To be completely honest, things are going very well now. Valencia had a full week of school last week and she was a different kid -- I don't know if it's thanks to school or because she's been home for several weeks now (probably the combination of both), but she's really adjusting and her behavior is soooooo much better and she just (for the most part) acts like any other kid. It's hard to even explain what I mean by that because it's so many little things -- now when we come home she wants to go play with her toys and go play with Tallie, but it wasn't like that before. Or if I ask her to do something small or to not do something small, like "can you hang up your jacket", or "put on pants -- it's cold outside", etc, there's not a big to do reaction of protest with crying, pouting or major defiance. The meltdowns could happen over anything - the wrong color of spoon, so we just never knew what to expect.

She's catching on to how things work in our house and her new life, and what behavior is acceptable and what is not. And understanding that and having well defined rules seems to give her security and allow her to enjoy herself and just be a kid. We're not 100% there -- she still constantly asks what is and is not ok to do, funny things, is it ok to drink some of my water, do I need to eat this before I eat that on my plate, and she points out everything (and I mean everything) Tallie and Beckett do - to make sure they're doing what is right. So from my 5 weeks with her I really think she is a good kid and wants to do what is right, but she doesn't always know what that is, even when it seems obvious to us, and she has 2 1/2 years of orphanage life and the way the kids there behaved that influences her behavior. But she's getting there and it's amazing how different she is now from when she first came home -- and it's only been 5 weeks! It's also amazing how much English she knows. She is able to say the basics and get by -- the other day she was trying to tell me something and I could see her frustration. She was using the words she knew but they weren't exactly what she needed and she knew it but she was trying to make due and I was just not understanding what she was trying to say. Moments like that are hard because you see what a big change this is for her and how frustrating it can be. But kids are AMAZING and resilient.

Everyone always asks me how Tallie is handling the change to our family. She too is amazing. She has been blessed with the sweetest personality and naturally loves everyone. I hope it is something that will always stay with her. She adores Valencia. They definitely have their moments as all siblings do, but overall she loves it. We colored valentines back in February and after her third one for Valencia I suggested she make some for other people too. I was writing thank you notes the other day and Tallie wanted to write one too. She said Valencia did something nice for her that day so she was going to make one for her. I took Tallie and Beckett to the gym to play one day while Valencia was at school and Tallie made friends with a little girl there and in their conversation the girl said she was 5 and Tallie immediately responded "my sister is 5." And the funniest of all was one night when I went to check on the girls after they were asleep. I was fixing Tallie's covers and she rolled over and said "Valencia" in her sleep. I think she's very proud to have a sister.

The girls decided to have a pajama party with their toys -- it's 2 in the afternoon.

A game they invented is "church" -- they get out scriptures and say prayers and line up their toys for a lesson. Pretty funny to watch. Notice the tap shoes - gotta love that.

Last night after dinner Jared made the girls go outside and run laps -- they had WAY too much energy and were driving us crazy so he thought this would help.

I have to include a picture of my cute little guy: