|So After Valentine's Day, It's Spongebob's Birthday Right?|
Every month since Dasha has been home, there has been at least one holiday and a birthday or two (or four). It's been a great way to introduce her to American culture and to get to know the calendar. She started with Daddy's birthday and Thanksgiving, then a bunch of birthdays in December followed by Christmas, then New Year's and Valentine's Day. She loves to go through the months with us out loud by telling us which holiday or birthday comes next. We had been telling her about St. Patrick's Day, and she still isn't really sure what a leprechaun is, but she goes along with it anyways. Since each month has also had someone's birthday in our huge family, she still kind of mixes up what a holiday and a birthday is. I realized this right before Valentine's Day when she kept saying, "So after Valentine's Day, it's Spongebob's birthday, right?". I would say, "No, after Valentine's Day, it's St. Patrick's Day". Then a lightbulb went off - she thinks St. Patrick's Day is when we celebrate Spongebob's friend, Patrick's birthday. I could not stop laughing when I realized that is what she meant. We have a lot of moments like that now, when we realize that, yes, she understands almost everything we say, but a lot gets lost in translation!
I try not to let her see when I do laugh about things that are so cute and funny, because she really takes offense. I guess she doesn't notice us laughing at all of the kids and the funny things that go on in our now ridiculously crazy house with four kids. Also, she is so terrified to talk to anyone except her family and close friends for fear of being laughed at. Just last night when I was putting her to bed, I was talking to her about how I want her to start talking to her teacher at school. She has still not said a peep to her sweet teacher. She now talks a little bit to her friends on the playground, but never a word in class. When I brought it up last night, she actually started crying and said that she doesn't talk in class because she "is afraid that her friends will smile if she does". Translation - she's afraid they will laugh at her. I asked her if anyone laughs at her when she talks on the playground - nope. I told her that those are the same friends in her class. No one is going to laugh at her. We will keep at it. Now I am starting to add some good old-fashioned bribery into the mix to see if that helps. We'll see....I think that people who do not know her will be amazed when they hear her talk and find out that she has only been here for THREE MONTHS. Totally amazing vocabulary, if you ask me!
We find out more and more about her life before us each day, too. She is starting to remember more and more things, and tells me about them all the time. Today I found out that she actually got to go on a bus with several kids from her group two different times and visit the amusement park that we took Jacob to in Kazakhstan. She lit up when she talked about the rides, and it was so cute to hear she and Jacob comparing notes on their favorite rides in that park. It is great to finally hear a nice story about her past. So much is just so dreary. We know for sure that she has never been in a swimming pool. This past weekend in California it was 80 degrees, so we took the opportunity to go to our community pool with the whole family. She was so excited to put on her new bathing suit and jump in the car. She was also very excited to put her hand in the water. She was not so excited to get in, though. Unfortunately, she didn't figure that part out until she was already IN the water with Daddy. I have never seen a look of pure joy and utter terror at the same time, but she perfected the look, complete with a squeal that was the perfect mixture of joy and fear. Looks like we will be starting swimming lessons right away for this little girly! Can't be afraid of the water in this house!:)
Her nightly prayer asking, "and please God, make my hair long" is paying off. It is really amazing to see how quickly her hair is growing. We can actually get it all into one ponytail in the back now. If you think that just one year ago she had a totally shaved head at the orphanage, it is pretty spectactular. Works for me, because I now have her totally convinced that her hair is growing because she drinks milk and eats protein, something that has been a huge struggle. Now she gobbles up anything I put in front of her, as long as she knows that it is good for her hair. Ah vanity - the price of being such a princess!
She also has three loose teeth - yes THREE. This would be more exciting if she had more than 12 teeth total in her mouth. I know that she has to lose baby teeth to grow her adult teeth, but I was really hoping that she would be getting some of the missing teeth in before losing any more. Hopefully she can hold on to those teeth long enough to make it for portraits next weekend. We have had really nice portraits done of each of the kids when they turned one. The portraits are on the wall leading up our stairs. She knows exactly where her picture will go when it is done. I got her a really pretty dress that will do double duty for this and Easter, and she has been planning her hairdo all day today. I can't wait for this other tangible piece of evidence to show her that she belongs here and is ours forever. I think she really knows that now, but every little bit helps! We are also just waiting on a court date now to do a readoption here in California. Since she wasn't in the court room when we were granted approval to be her parents in Kazakhstan, I think it will be so special for her to be a part of this. Plus, at the end of it, she will have a birth certificate that is in English and is easily accesible any time she needs a copy in her lifetime.
I want to also say congratulations to our friends the Reeds, who just returned from the shortest adoption ever in Kazakhstan for the adoption of a sweet little girl. God really does plan each and every one of our children, whether born of our bellies or born of our hearts. You can tell that their new daughter is meant to be in their family when you see the cute pictures. Mike, Nancy and their 12 year old daughter Abbey all have curly hair. Their newly adopted daughter is probably the ONLY child in Kazakhstan that also has curly hair. Meant to be! We will be praying that the waiting period goes very quickly and that their new daughter is home in the blink of an eye!
If I don't see any of you before then, have fun on Patrick's birthday! :)