Since being home I have really not had a clue what day of the week it is, and I feel like I can't get a grasp on how long we've been home. I'm lucky if I can tell you what month and year it is these days ;)
So far, Sofia has adjusted easier than our other two girls, however, that's not to say it's been without challenges! It seems that she's dealing with similar issues but overcoming them a bit quicker. Maybe this can be attributed to her resilient spirit and maybe to our experience having gone through some of the same issues as our other two and having a bigger bag of tricks to try this time around. Maybe it's just God being graceful with us knowing we have 3 special little girls 4 and under ;) Whatever it is, we're thankful. And I tend to think she's enough of a ball of energy that we'll have many days ahead dealing with things with her that maybe we didn't deal with with Zoya and Mila ;) So maybe she's saving it all for later HA!
She is no longer banging her head on the wall or the floor at all! She only rocks occasionally now and usually it's more of "dancing" when music is on! She is sleeping fairly well, cries when she is hurt and reaches to us to be held. She loves seeing her sisters and is starting to initiate interactions with all of us a little bit more. She lets her needs be known! If she isn't happy about something, we know right away. She is LOUD. Did I say, she's loud? She loves checking out all the toys, but right now her play mostly consists of banging them together (a good place to start) or throwing them! She likes toys that make noise, imagine that ;) She is imitating a lot of what she sees Mila doing which has been fantastic! Sofia learned to sign "more" just by observing Mila's communication of "more" with me. It's been comical too because if Mila cries, Sofia watches like a hawk. She watches me pick her up and hug her and rock her and tell her it's okay. And then as soon as I put Mila down Sofia does the most pathetic fake cry with hands up and looks at me like "my turn!" She doesn't quite understand why we do what we do, but she knows that the behavior of whining gets her some attention and it's funny:) She copies a lot of what she sees and I can tell that her learning style will be much like Zoya's, through observation of her surroundings and modeling! She is signing "eat" on her own and often throughout the day.
Food behaviors are still our biggest struggle. And they've been a bear! Some days I think she's overcoming them quickly, and then other days I'm reminded just how far we have to go in the building trust department. And to be clear, by food behaviors, I don't mean that she won't eat. I mean that she thinks she is going to starve. She screams and cries at the sight of food when it isn't right in front of her (when I'm preparing meals, or if she sees someone else eating). She would literally (if I let her) eat until she throws up. Clearly she isn't underweight and hasn't been starved, but from what we observed during feeding time in the orphanage, I'm not surprised she demonstrates these behaviors. She did seem to have quite a large meal for dinner, but I think she probably had snacky-type meals during the rest of the day (similar to Zoya). Once a child learns what it is like to be hungry, it takes a lot of time to rebuild that trust and rewire that brain! Right now I think her brain is telling her to eat as much as she can when it's available because she may not be sure when she will eat next.
We've done many things to try and help build trust in this area and help her feel more secure. She eats frequently throughout the day. She has a sit-down meal or snack every two hours. I have stuck to a pretty exact feeding schedule for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks at the same time each day so that she can start to predict when she will be able to eat. But we're not there yet, she still hasn't figured out that food will always be available. Throughout the day we offer her cheerios, puffs, bananas, rice crispies, etc. in very small amounts any time she asks (signs "eat") or if she sees me preparing food or sees anyone else eating. It usually only takes a very small amount (5-10 puffs) to satisfy her. This tells me she isn't really hungry, but just checking to see if food will be available. We are trying to be careful not to create more food-related behaviors in this process (overeating or learning to scream and she gets food every time), and I think we're doing a good job balancing it all. The rice crispies have been a great idea with her for non meal/snack times because they are so tiny and it takes her a while to pick one up, so it slows her down, she's hardly eating any calories with those, yet she can feel satisfied that she is eating. There have been some days where I can see the light with the food behaviors and I'm thankful for that. A couple of days she has been very calm around food and I think she is starting to trust a tiny bit more each day. I don't know what causes a few good days followed by a few bad ones with the food issues, but we'll just keep trucking along. I try not to get stressed during meal times, so she doesn't pick up on it, but honestly it's the most stressful and difficult time of my day.
My predictions for Sofia's near future include lots of joy and laughter, lots of learning new things, making others smile, some tough times we will get through, and at least 2 trips to the ER before her 2nd birthday (God please help me!). ;)
|Sisters in animal print ;) I know some old ladies who would love this! HA!|
|I just love watching how she looks at Mila! She LOVES when others are happy and she can't help but smile too!|
|Sofia can be a bit of a bully (said kindly) even though she is the youngest....it's just her personality ;)|
|It's tough to get her to look away from her food during meal times. When I feed her via spoon she is really good about giving me eye contact to request the next bite :) We'll get there....slow and steady wins the race, right?|
|This is my favorite face she makes! Seen better in the picture below!|
|I know it looks like she is crying, but she's laughing!!!|
|A fan of meatballs! She ate two huge meatballs and I think she may have actually been starting to feel full for once :)|
|And she still loves her baths!!!|