Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where Are We Now?

6 Months ago today on a sunny-ish, breezy day in Vladivostok, I took custody of a little sprite named Tatiana Elizabeth. I always think of our big anniversary as the day we got home, March 29th - so imagine my surprise when I realize the "anniversary" of my court date (3/10) had passed AND today is the "anniversary" of the day Tatiana made her big escape from the Artem baby home.

It's almost hard to remember that pasty white, scared girl, who was excited and nervous all at the same time. She was sweet and smiley, and yet cried almost every time she left the "Duck" groupa in Artem. She was pretty much Queen Bee in her room -- one of the oldest. This was probably one of the things that also held her back a bit.

At almost 2 and a half, T barely said 10 words in Russian. She understood everything you said - she just wasn't speaking much. She would say mama, dya dya (uncle), cuck-co (peek-a-boo), dock dock (knock knock), and her favorite, nah (here). Beyond that there were a couple words here and there, but that about sums it up. She didn't understand sippy cups and straws and essentially every night to go to sleep she had to cry and rock herself to sleep. If I tried to soothe her, hold her, she just cried harder - almost as if she thought she was in trouble. She HATED riding in the car. Instant tears - in fact she'd cry upon the sight of our driver.

So where are we now? Just 6 months later?

Remember that old theory of Nature vs. Nurture? Tatiana is a PRIME example of that! I don't intend to criticize the baby home she came from. I truly believe that a majority of the baby homes in Russia mean well and do the best with the limited means they have. However, there's nothing like having so good old fashioned mama (or daddy! or both!) bonding time. Tati has flourished in the last 6 months.
As SHE told you in her last post she's working on going potty on the potty. She usually won't tell you she has to go, but if she's put on the potty - she'll go. She can almost go a whole day in a dry pull up.

She LOVES to talk and sing. This girl has a HUGE vocabulary. She knows almost all animals and what sounds they make. Her favorite is the dog - much to her kitties dismay! She knows all her body parts and will tell you all of them. She's got her ABCs down through about K - and then she'll transition into "Twinkle, Twinkle".
She'll "read" books for hours and loves to be read to. In fact, in all 3 of her favorite bedtime books ("Goodnight Moon", "The Going to Bed Book" and "Two to Cuddle" she literally can end EVERY sentence in the book. So I read the sentence until the end -- and she finishes it. It's hysterical. She's also really into coloring these days and because of this can identify most colors. This is just a recent skill, and sometimes she still gets confused but it's huge progress!
She still rocks sometimes at night. And she'll do it sometimes when she's singing but for the most it's minimal. No crying when she goes to bed, in fact she'll tell YOU when it's naptime. At night time sometimes she'll fall asleep within 5 minutes and sometimes I'll hear her in her room singing and talking about her day for 30 minutes! She's very happy and content. Car riding is also now a non-issue. Like any two (almost 3) year old, she gets bored and antsy, but she likes going for rides now.

In so many ways she's becoming a typical toddler. She has her temper tantrums sometimes and her favorite saying right now is "I WANT...". I still need to practice my patience with her sometimes in these stages! But overall she is an adorable, SMART, little sprite who walked into my life permanently 6 months ago today. What a ride it's been!


Jeanette said...

Wow!!! T has grown so much! You are doing a fabulous job, Mom! I'm so happy for both of you that you found each other :)

Nichole said...

Congratulations!! Time flys when you are having fun. What a difference 6 months makes!!

Heather said...

It is amazing how fast our Artem graduates flourish! It is hard to believe how fast the time has gone already. T has grown up so fast. Thanks for sharing her with the rest of us!

Roger and Joanne said...

I'm so happy for both you and T. She absolutely sounds like she's flourishing. I certainly hope Niko (at age 2 1/2) will be able to perform all those amazing skills after being home six months.
You're right. It just takes time, nourishing and working one on one with.
It's funny, I was just going to email you and ask about her rocking at night. Niko still does it. But, as I see T has slowed down quite a bit, I'm hopeful he will too.
Whatever you're doing keep it up, she's GREAT!

findingourdaughter said...

Oh grown up on the potty! She is so cute and has changed so much......I miss her tiny little self, wish I could see you guys.
Hugs and Great job momma Amy!

Gloria said...

T has grown so much in six months! She is beautiful and adjusting so well! You are doing a great job! They say the kids are lucky well I believe we are all the lucky ones! It sure shows in all of your pictures! Thanks for sharing your adventure. it certainly has helped ours.

Over-Caffeinated X 4 said...

Could this child be any cuter? Seriously! What a little doll she is! So glad to hear things are going so well. If you find that extra dose of patience you're looking for, please let me know, I've lost mine a time or two over the years and could use a spare around for such occasions. :)

Lindsay said...

What fantastic progress. Congratulations mama!

Troy and Rachel said...

Enjoyed T's post and this post immensly - her personality is so big!! I'm so glad things are going well!!

...and T - this is from me to you - I agree with your Mama - even if you want to be the next Van Gogh - you need to keep your ear!!

Dea said...

Our daughter was also Tatiana. We brought her home a year ago, and I see so many similarities between the two! She was 19 months when we picked her up from the Prokopyevsk baby house. She wasn't walking, talking, or eating solids. Now, most people can't see any differences between her and other children born in the States (except for her size, and everyone assumes she was a premie, which she was...)

Tatiana is doing great! I love reading your posts!