Yesterday marked two weeks with Kate. Here is an update:
Adjustment to our home/family:
She’s doing great! She loves Sophia and Ella and is playing well with them. She is beginning to want us to hold her where before, she really didn’t. Over the past couple of days, she has started calling Tim “Daddy” and me “Momma”. We had tried hard to go with “Mommy” simply because it’s different from the word she called her foster mom, but she seems fine with this. She understands some of our routines already. For example, when I start setting the table, she is climbing into her booster.
She has really turned on even more since we’ve been home. She loves to make us laugh. I think once she’s settled in more, she is going to be a very happy little girl. We are already getting lots of smiles and giggles.
Many of you have asked how we are communicating with her. This is at times easy, and at other times very difficult. More or less we use a lot of sign language and gesturing as we emphasize key words. This worked for me as a classroom teacher with ESL students, and it’s working great with her. Sometimes I feel like we are playing charades, but it’s working!
Tim and I know a handful of Mandarin words, so we’ve also used these basics we know (water, milk, juice, bathroom, I love you, etc.) to get us through the first two weeks. We learned a little of this through Chinese lessons a few years ago, but most have come through Sophie’s “Jade Goes to Chinese Kindergarten” DVDs. :) Sunday night, Soph said, “I don’t know how she understands what we are saying, but she does!” It’s simply the result of a three year old brain (think sponge) and the fact that she’s hearing English 100% of the day. It’s not like she’s taking a one hour class each day. I agree though, it’s amazing where she is at this point with language. Some words/phrases she recognizes include: Daddy, Mommy, Ella, Sophia, dog, Lucy, shoes, bye bye, let’s go, potty, drink, eat, hungry.
On a side note, Kate is tearing our house apart. I know, I know, I said she’s organized. Here’s the problem: Everything here is new to her. She doesn’t know what things are, where they go, what our expectations are, etc. She just gets stuff out and moves it from one room to another. It doesn’t help that we are unorganized right now — laundry is piled up everywhere, China souvenirs are everywhere, and basic household chores aren’t getting done because I’m too sleepy to do them. If I could get myself organized, she would probably pick up on our routines.
The latest — She apparently removed my wallet from my purse last night or this morning. I have no clue where it is. Normally, I’d say to a three year old, “What did you do with my wallet?” Can’t do that in this situation. Guess I’ll just keep looking.
Kate is doing so much better than I dreamed possible. That first 24 hours were so stressful and upsetting not only for her, but the three of us as well. I’m so proud of her. She’s so brave for going with the flow with a group of strangers. I can only imagine how much better things will be two weeks from now!