Monday, December 2, 2013

Home for Three (Now Four) Months

I started this post over a month ago. Now she's been home for almost four months. 
We've been home for almost three months now.
Time has flown by so quickly and yet it feels like she's been with us forever. It's already hard to remember what our family life was like before she came.

She's doing great. She's still the most easy-going, happiest 2-yr-old that I know. She has her "2-yr-old moments" sometimes, but they don't last long.

Every morning, she bounces in her crib when we come to get her. She can't wait to get the day started!

She loves every member of the family more and more everyday (and her favorites continue to be Daddy and Peanut...but she still has tons of love to go around for Mommy and LittleBit too).

Communication - she understands pretty much everything that we say to her. She associates a new word once with an object, and she'll know it for next time (for example, if we tell her "Go get your blanket" and show her once, she'll know to get the blanket the next time we use the phrase). She's really good at speaking out words like "Dada," "Mommy," "Bye-bye," "Thank you," and "Please" in the right context.  As of recently, when we tell her "Say ____," she'll repeat one-to-two-syllable words really well. And like a typical 2-yr-old, she loves to use the words "No" and "Mine."

She LOVES to go out. If we tell her, "It's time to go ______," she'll immediately run to get her shoes. She can put on and take off shoes by herself. After we spend some time out somewhere, she'll fuss a little about getting back into the car seat (she's figured out that this means going home).

She loves going over to PapaG and Mimi's house just as much as the older girls do. When I leave her there, she happily waves and says "Bye!" to me. It's the same with church nursery. At the same time, she's very happy to see Allan or me again when we pick her up. She puts on the biggest smile, often time squeals, and comes running towards us with her arms opened wide. Cutest thing ever.

She continues to love every moment she spends with her sisters. I am constantly amazed by how well the three of them play together. They make her laugh and she is so, so, so happy when she's with them. They adore her and couldn't be happier to have her as their little sister. Peanut is SO PROUD to show her off. The other day we were at a pumpkin carving party. One of her friends said about Mini-Lu, "She's from China, right?" Peanut smiled proudly, stroked Mini-Lu's head and said, "Yes! She's MINE!" Peanut loves it when I bring Mini-Lu to visit her at school. She constantly comes over to give Mini-Lu a hug...she shows her off to all her classmates.

If you're a parent of a girl, you know that girls come with drama. It's fun to see how each of our girls demonstrates a different type of drama. Peanut is our angry drama. LittleBit is the typical drama queen. I would describe Mini-Lu as calculated actress drama. When she brings her drama, I can tell that it's totally thought out in her head before she acts. She's thinking in her head, "Now what do I need to do in this moment for me to receive attention?" For example, the other day she saw that when LittleBit came crying to me with her owie, I gave her a boo-boo patch. She paused for a second - she then put her hand on her forehead and started whining to me. She's one smart cookie!

Lastly, I want to give you a glimpse of her amazing, compassionate heart. After church on Sunday, all three girls were playing on the grass with their friends. After a while, LittleBit came to me crying that Peanut won't play with her. Mini-Lu was close by watching and listening as I tried to console LittleBit. I then said, "Why don't you play with Mini-Lu? She wants to play with you." It's as if Mini-Lu understood everything I was saying. She immediately grabbed LittleBit's hand, actually tried to pull my hand away from LittleBit, and kept talking to her as if to say, "Come with me, don't worry, I'm your friend. Come with me." She kept trying to lead LittleBit away from me to come play. Something told me that Mini-Lu understood exactly what was going on, and she wanted to help LittleBit feel better. She is amazing!!! And we really can't take much credit - we've sensed this kind of heart from her since Gotcha Day. God created her with such a loving heart, and I believe her orphanage did such a wonderful job of cultivating it.

Back to current time (early December). We just returned from a trip to New England to visit Allan's family, and Mini-Lu enjoyed every moment of it! She instantly captured the heart of every family member and friend she met. She traveled well, ate well, slept well, and loved playing in the snow with her sisters. She overcame her fear of dogs significantly at Auntie La's house. Now she loves to spot dogs and say "Doggie!" 

Here are some pictures from the last few months.  

Flower girls for PapaG & Mimi's 25th Anniversary

Playdate with Ella (also from China)

1st trip to the pumpkin patch

1st trip to the beach!

Another pumpkin patch!

1st Pumpkin Carving Party

1st Halloween

1st Operation Christmas Child

1st trip to New England

Playing in the snow

Guitar lesson from Grumpy Mike

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