I can’t even write on this blog! I wish I had more time to write. Sometimes it seems like by the time things are quiet enough around here to write, my brain just can’t formulate coherent thought. If I write during the day, it’s just plain hard. Take for example right now, Emma has my phone and is pretending to use the camera. She is holding the phone three inches in front of my face saying, “Cheese!” So at this point I can’t even remember what I was going to write about in the first place.
Monday marks the one year anniversary of the day we official walked out of the orphanage in Novograd, Ukraine with Emma and Aiden. I hope to write about that on Monday if all goes well, but promise you’ll forgive me if someone finger paints with poop, eats a stick of butter, styles their hair with Aquaphor, or if all three Toddlers revolt and decide not to take naps.
This post has been interrupted now by three or four time outs. I’ve lost track. Aiden is having issues with being nice today in general. Emma had a great idea and thought I should “trade” phones with her. She thought that she should take my new blackberry that’s shiny and lavender, and give me the old Samsung that doesn’t have service any more. I explained that I wasn’t happy with that trade. And she proceeded to give me a loud high pitched scream that made my ear drums vibrate. The good news about this is that Emma has desires and opinions that are all her own. I know most people are grateful for their compliant child. I am grateful that my child now uses the word “no” very loudly. Of course we correct defiant behavior and talk about the correct way to communicate feelings and desires. We’re not going to just let her going around screaming “no” her whole life. At the moment though, I am glad Emma has typical 3 year old problems.
I’m glad she feels safe enough to scream “NO” at me.
I’m glad she asks for a specific toy, wants to trade, or even demands, “MY TURN.”
Sometimes with our developmentally typical children, we take all those major milestones for granted. I don’t ever remember a time in my life where I was actually excited when one of my children started using the word, “no” on a regular basis. I don’t remember ever being even slightly grateful for a temper tantrum or a strong willed opinion. I have always enjoyed celebrating the milestones in my children’s lives- first steps, first words, first songs, first bowl of ice cream – but never have I appreciated them the way I do now.
Today I am really grateful. Grateful for a little girl who is no longer living life in a bubble of pain. Grateful for a little girl who has healed enough to laugh, make jokes, and tease. Grateful for a little girl who feels safe enough in love that she is beginning to discover her personality and develop opinions. Grateful for playful activity that is actually initiated by Emma- not copied. I am grateful for a little girl who didn’t speak a year ago, and is now the leader in her speech class at school, speaking in 3-4 word sentences, and comprehending English perfectly.
I still remember when the International Adoption Specialist at our children’s hospital told me that children raised in orphanage environments typically lose one month of development for every 3 months in an orphanage, but that most of them after being placed in a loving, nurturing environment catch up within 6 months to a year. Emma really was about 1 year old developmentally, as a 3 year old orphan. She couldn’t walk without stumbling, she tripped and fell every few steps, and couldn’t walk up stairs. She was about 9 months old emotionally I think. The good news is that Emma decided it would be fun to catch up. So with our help, she went back and got what she had been missing. She soaked it up like a sponge. We have a long way to go still, but Emma has made enormous progress in the past year.
It’s book worthy. Really, it is. Someday there will be a book about Emma’s journey to discovering herself and my journey to discovering Emma.
And in case you wondered how I managed to write the last three paragraphs. I trapped the children in the playroom with their very willing daddy and retreated to my very messy bedroom, where I will now take a nap.