Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Home for 10 days
It is hard to believe we have been home for 10 days.
It seems like we just got here and yet it seems like we have been through so much together.
First of all I have to say that it is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced and I still feel like it can’t be real. I have gotten very used to calling myself Mama and I really like the sound of it.
I also have to say that it is the most frustrating thing I have experienced. The frustrations all come from me—Hannah is great. I feel frustrated when I can’t understand what she wants or needs, I feel frustrated when I don’t know what to do (which is often) and I feel frustrated when I can’t seem to comfort her the way I would like to. I do think that I am a good Mom but I already wish I could be better.
We have done quite a few things for only 10 days and she is adapting well into my life and I hope she feels I am adjusting to her just as well.
She has had a few visitors—mostly family and a few friends. She warms up slowly to men but quicker to women and even quicker to children. She seems delighted to have some one to play with besides just Mom but she clearly seems to know that she stays with me.
She loves to have me around her and wants me to follow her everywhere, even into the next room to retrieve something. She doesn’t necessarily want me to do anything with her but just be there.
She is generally a very happy girl, enjoys everything, and never seems too frustrated when I can’t understand her. She understands me pretty well now but is not talking in English yet. She chatters and sings in Russian and I wish I knew what she was saying. She can sing the alphabet song if she does it with some one. She loves to play with baby dolls and her kitchen and carries her “purse” with her most places. She also loves to have her hair done and likes to do mine—she is all girl.
She has been out to dinner a few times, to bagels and coffee in the morning with the girls, and to church—she did well in all those settings.
She has also been to the swimming pool and has gone cross country skiing with her cousins—she was cautious of the pool at first but once her 8 year old cousin convinced her to go in, she loved it and cross country skiing was a hit from the start—she cried when I took her ski boots off.
I have seen little fits (tantrums) but they subside pretty quickly with “time ins” after which she repeats “I’m sorry Mama”, gives me a kiss, smiles, and goes right back to playing.
She is not very cuddly and does not like to snuggle with me (except at night) but we do get lots of good eye contact—she has really improved in that area. She freely gives me kisses but is not so quick to hug—I mostly get my hugs from games we play.
She is very smart though—she knows that I love the hugs and kisses so whenever I catch her doing something she shouldn’t be doing—she flashes her big smile and runs over to give me a hug and a kiss. How can I be mad then?
We are still trying to figure out the bedtime and naptime routine—that is the only hard thing we are going through right now. For the time in Russia and almost the first week here at home bedtimes were easy and fun. I would get her pajamas and she would be excited to put them on, we would get ready for bed, I would lay her in bed, read 3 books, say prayers, and she would then fall right to sleep while I laid with her. It was heavenly—at least for me.
On Sunday that all changed. She put up a big fuss crying and kicking when it was time for her nap and has continued that for all bedtimes since. The next day she still cried but would quiet fairly rapidly and then cling to me, not letting me put her down in bed but falling to sleep in my arms—it took a while. Now today she started screaming as soon as she saw her pajamas, cried all the way through prayers, but then quieted down nicely in my arms. Once calm she did lie down in bed but took over an hour to get to sleep.
I am not sure why this is changing but some theories are:
--she has realized that she can assert her authority for the first time without bad consequences and is doing so in a big way.
--she is very comfortable and having fun and just doesn’t want to go to sleep (bed)
--she is scared for some reason.
I think and I hope that it is the first reason. I have remained consistent in that once I start the bed time routine I do not quit and let her be up any more no matter how much she protests. I think she needs to know that I will carry through and not give in to crying. I also stay with her until she is asleep—I just feel she had enough time going to sleep on her own with no one to comfort her and I want her to know that I will always be there when she needs me. Also, it helps my bonding to be able to comfort her.
My journey to Hannah was long and difficult. I still don’t have any great insight as to why it has to be that way but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I certainly can’t imagine any different ending. I simply can not fathom Hannah and me not being together. It is the perfect ending to my long journey.
My adoption song is just as fitting as I thought it would be.