Happy Birthday Kitties!...and More About Sasha
I can't believe Coco and Fifi are two! I remember completleting our "first adoption" so well...seeing them for the first time, at two months old, I couldn't believe that these tiny things would be ours for the rest of their lives. Now, I can't imagine life before them!
I feel the same way, already, about Sasha. My family ran into another family we knew today, who had an adopted daughter from China. The mother said to us, "It's just a miracle, isn't it?" I watched Sasha smile and wave at them coquettishly, then run and bury her face in my legs. I couldn't imagine a greater miracle.
She's doing so wonderfully. Like I said, she'll immitate everything in a snap- when Kristian has a nosebleed (the poor thing suffers from them frequently) she'll grab a paper towel and hold it over her nose; when someone in the family sneezes, she immediately tries to, too (though she can't really conjure one unnaturally.) She still displays actions we think she learned at the care center- she pretends to make her stuffed animals wave at us, and today she even grabbed Coco's paw and made her wave. Her physical abilities are excellent, though we're still working on language. For a child who spent the first 12 months of her life listening to one language, the next five months another, and the next time month TWO more, naturally it would be confusing. It didn't seem like she picked up much Amharic at all, so we think that she kind of gave up trying to learn. But she is gathering words now slowly but surely. Her first word was "Papa", which she still says when she sees my dad. Her most clear and frequent word is "bye-bye"; literally, whenever there's any indication that she or someone else is leaving, she'll wave and say it over and over again, even if it's just leaving an empty room in our house. She also says "hi" when she waves, though "bye-bye" is more common. She says "kitty" very distinctly as well, giving very definite pronunciation to the t's. She attempts to say "peekabu" which is more like "ababu"- she played it with the trees outside today, which she thought was hilarious (like I said, very strange sense of humor.) As far as names in the family go, we're having a little more difficulty. She for sure says "Papa", but we haven't really heard her use "Mama" in the right way. She says it, but she doesn't connect the word to her mom. Whenever she does say it though, often mindlessly, my mother responds; our theory is that eventually she'll make the connection herself if my mom keeps answering to it. When we point to her and say "Sasha", she'll point to herself and say something like "Papa", but she doesn't respond at all when we call her name. As for the boys, she tries to say a hybrid of their names, but only when she's repeating us or hears us calling them. She hasn't attempted to say my name at all, but I'm not concerned since "Susanna" is a little hard to say. I'll wait to be insulted until she can say everyone else's name clearly and not mine :-).
However, her receptive language is really good. When my mom says, "Sasha, do you need a diaper change?" she'll march herself to her room and reach her arms out to be lifted onto her changing table. We're working on teaching her her body parts; so far she'll point to her eye and mouth when we say the words, and she tries to say them herself; "eye" is almost perfect and "mouth" is some kind of "mmmmmm" sound.
Overall, she's just a very, very good girl. Her behavior does reflect that she's been a little spoiled since coming into our care, but only in a very normal way- while she was perfectly happy to go with the flow when we first met her (and she still is really good that way), she does fuss sometimes if we have to take something away that she wants- but again, only normal for an 18-month-old, right? As far as moving her from place to place, she's quite calm about it- none of the tantrums or fits I see from other kids her age. I admit that she is very spoiled with attention though- we often call her the queen, and the rest of the family is her entourage! She's definetely picked up on it. If she hurts herself and starts crying, she immediately seeks the sympathy of everyone in the family. If my mom is there to pity her and no one else is, she'll fake-cry (very obviously) when she sees someone else in order to get them to give her attention. Even if she's totally over it and someone walks into the room 10 minutes later, she'll pretend to cry again just for the sympathy! It's so funny the way she picked that up by herself- but I think she's always been like that. When she was at the care center, we received a report saying that she'd refuse to eat if the nannies didn't personally feed her. Of course I don't want her to grow up thinking she's Paris Hilton, but I think that she should be allowed a length of time after coming home where she can keep the rest of her family under her control. At some point she has to figure out that the cats won't always obery her, though- she still hasn't figured out that they're not human, and still mimes to them to bring her things and gets angry when they won't take what she's offering them. Hmm, maybe she's not quite as smart as I thought...(just kidding :-))