September 2011


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Has it really been 3 months? I feel like I’ve been in a daze for the past 12 weeks, I can scarcely believe it’s been that long. It’s been a tough time, but so rewarding and worth it. I am honored to have the privilege of caring for this little girl. She’s the light of my life.

Overall, I would say that T’s adjusting pretty well, 7.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. The first few weeks were very tough on her, though. She tends to shut down when she’s under stress – she gets very still and quiet, and her little face gets so serious. She would play quietly, she would smile with a little coaxing, and she always let me kiss and hug her – but she was pretty clearly freaking out on the inside.

I don’t want to make it sound worse than it was, though. There were lots of wonderful, happy moments, but she was struggling the first few weeks. Especially compared to her demeanor now, where she is a singing-dancing-laughing-mischievious little cuddlebug.

Sleep

The toughest thing on both of us, was that she had a lot of trouble sleeping at first. [Who am I kidding? She still doesn’t sleep.] Hours-long meltdowns would occur whenever I tried to put her down, even though she was exhausted. It was so heartbreaking and I felt so helpless. I would get as close to her as she’d let me while lay curled up on the floor, her body shaking, sobbing her little heart out – all the grief and fear and stress that were keeping her from getting good rest – until she would finally, finally collapse in my arms and close her eyes.  I still cry whenever I think about that time. My poor kid, she has been through so much in her short little life. She still struggles to fall asleep, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was the first month home.

Food

She was a picky eater at first. Here’s a list of the foods she liked when she first came home:

1. pasta with tomato sauce

2. scrambled eggs

3. Cheerios

 

After 2 months home, she liked all of the above, plus:

4. boiled potatoes

5. boiled carrots

6. saltine flavored Goldfish crackers

7. chicken drumsticks, but only if I fed her from my plate

No fruit, no oatmeal, no other vegetables unless I sneaked them in her pasta, not even sweets. I was convinced she was going to get scurvy or something.

 

Suddenly, approximately 10 days ago, she started to show more willingness to try new foods. It was like a light came on in her head: hey, there are lots and lots of foods in the world, and some of them are pretty tasty! Applesauce, oranges, meatloaf, green beans, vegetable soup. She’s developed a sweet tooth, especially for ice cream. And she would eat ketchup plain with a spoon if I let her.  Such an American girl, already!

 

Language

She still says quite a few Ethiopian words, and is starting to say a few English words. I’m compiling a list of the words she says and I’ll create a separate blog to talk more in depth about her language. I’m hoping that being in day care will speed up her language acquisition. I feel like she understands almost everything I say to her, but I’m worried that she’s a little delayed.  I’m hoping that being in day care will help her to catch up quickly.

Day Care

T started day care last week in preparation for when I go back to work. Her HH training certainly helped her to settle in easily – her teacher said she’s the most well-behaved child in the room already. Well, that’s certainly nice to hear! Especially since she’s been super defiant at home this week. She’s also been a little more clingy and needy. This is normal transition stuff and I hope that we get it all out of the way before I go back to work full time.

Me

This has been such an overwhelming time. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not depressed or anything like that. It’s all good things, really. I’m so happy to be a mom and I feel so blessed that T is my daughter. She’s bright and sweet and funny and affectionate. She’s also stubborn and a little mischievious and needs me to be 100% focused on her 100% of the time.

As a single mom, well, you never get a break.  Enough said. I’ve been exhausted and I’m dropping balls all over the place. If I owe you a phone call or an email or a visit, please accept my apologies if I have been remiss. I guess T isn’t the only one who’s had an adjustment period; I’ve had to find my own new routine. I’m getting there, slowly. My resilient, tough little cookie of a daughter is my role model in this regard.

 

I’m not abandoning this blog, just so you know! New-mom-exhaustion and computer troubles have sidetracked me, but I’m back now!

 

I’ll be back later this week to catch up on what’s been going on since the last time I wrote. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to somebody special.

Meet Princess T