Friday, September 12, 2014

Aw, honey, it's okay!

Our daughter is a master communicator. She loves people. Like Isaac, she will play with toys as long as they keep somebody playing with her. She picks up expressions and cues into moods. At one year old, she can already make fun of herself.

Check out this video and pay attention around 36 seconds in. She starts out explaining to me that she would like to spoon the soup her dang self, and moves into something else entirely. This kind of transition happens all the time with her. She savors every opportunity to laugh and to make us laugh, too.

Her ease of adjustment seems to be nothing short of miraculous. Today I wondered: what would she do if her foster mom walked in the room this very minute? Would she run to her and not want to come back to me? It’s not that I’m jealous or greedy for her to pick me! Pick me!, it’s that I wonder how the calibration of her heart has changed. What’s going on in there? I wish I could see this all from her view, and in that way not miss anything she needs.

This is FangFang's Etch-A-Sketch, but Isaac made a cool picture.
He does stuff like this in the morning because he likes to get up before everybody else.
I had to take a photo quick before she shook it up.
I made her cry the saddest cry the other day. As we were leaving a store and getting buckled back into the car, I was struggling to get her hands through her carseat straps. I had to take a toy from her hand for a minute, which of course she then twisted and reached for and started to protest. When I said, “Wait!” a bit too sharply, she took one surprised look at me leaning over her space and started to wail. When it didn’t stop right away, I saw both boys had started to tear up a bit, too. It bothered them that none of our voices were soothing her. That “mom” wasn’t enough in that moment.

It reminded me of that first day, holding her on the couch at the Children’s Welfare Institute while she sobbed and hiccupped on the back of her hand. I ended up pulling over almost as soon as I had taken off so I could find a way to comfort her and I was so relieved when rubbing her cheek worked. It just sounded like a deeper cry, a more sincere one than the average frustrated tired toddler. Remember how I said we keep reading more into everything she does? It felt justified this time.

She's fond of bling.

She wants to wear a tutu and have two hair clips?
It’s almost unfathomable, the amount of adjustment kids are asked to attempt. Even this tiny master communicator, even if she were more mature in terms of language and logic, she would not be able to tell us what this is like for her. What she needs when she's freaked out and cries extra long. We still would not be able to share the whole experience with her. It would feel good to say we’ll give her all the love to magically cover the places we don’t understand, but I’m not sure it’s adequate. I'm not looking for reassurance and I'm fine if when she's older she has no interest in making her adoption a central theme in her life; we're a great fit as a family. It's just that I want to know all the parts of her, even the places where she has had loss. In a lot of ways, I am grateful that she came to us so young that we will be the only family she remembers. That we have all these years set out ahead of us to snuggle her in, to "get" her.

She has my heart, and all of her dad’s and all of the boys’. We are so proud of her and stagger around in love in a soup of cheesy feelings thick as Velveeta. A big part of me cannot wait for her to know that in her bones.

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