My update from this past week….

1. Livi is still very moody and emotional but for the past two or three days, I suppose you could say there has been some improvement. We have been ridiculously consistent and strict about the things that really matter. The things that don’t, we’ve been able to let go of a bit. We had one day of taking away about 4 of her favorite toys, but she earned them back the next day and has had a slightly better attitude since.
2. We got confirmation that we get a little bit of subsidy for preschool costs. Not much. Only $25, but it will help. We still haven’t received or budgeted for Sofie’s Child Tax Benefits so we figured we would just not count it and it will pay for Livi’s preschool. We also decided not to put her in until February. That way, she’ll just get the half a year and actually be 3.5 years old. We told her she gets to go yesterday and she was SO excited! She knew about the possibility but now that she knows it’s going to happen she is ecstatic. I wish I had had a camera to capture how big her eyes got! 
3. We finally bought a second double stroller! Well, we did buy a second hand one before Sofie was home and it turned out to not fit us well at all. I sold it and got my money back. So, I finally decided which one I wanted and I’m really excited for it 🙂 Yes, this is what excites a stay at home mom, and yes I know it is a little sad. It is the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Sit n Stand. Sofie definitely needs to be strapped in and Livi walks or ride her bike most of the time but will take a ride for long hauls. We figured for for walking to preschool we should get the sit n’ stand. 
4. We heard from MSP about Sofie’s care card and got some very disappointing news. They want another form which they didn’t ask for in the beginning and are telling me another 4-6 weeks! Argh!!! So frustrating. We got the bill for her hospital bill the other day too. We are so not accustomed to paying for our health care. One pediatrician appointment and one hospital visit is costing us almost $1000. We’ve been putting off  non-urgent health care appointments but if this goes on much longer we have to figure out how to pay for it. This is so frustrating. 
5. We decorated for Christmas today! Jon’s rule is December 1 or Advent, whichever comes first. It was mostly fun 🙂 Fresh baked boterkoek, egg nog, hot buttered rum, Christmas music and decorations! No tree yet. I think we’ll get a real tree again and want to wait to the week before Christmas to limit the yelling “no touching!” to Sofie. 


“Thank You that she can now relax those survival skills and 
learn to look to a mama and daddy for what she needs.”

This quote come from a blog that I’ve been following. A little girl just came home from Bulgaria. She is nine years old and only 10 pounds. You can check out the story HERE. It is heart wrenching and amazing. I can’t believe this little one is still alive, let alone might actually live! 

The quote above actually made me cry this evening because I have seen Sofie relax her own survival skills. Although, she was so lucky to not have been in such dire straights as little Katie, she has her own story. We will probably never know that story completely but I know she was alone. Sofie had to go through her first three years of life an orphan. She was not touched enough. She was not stimulated to learn, communicate, or even play. She cried and no one came. She sat in wet or soiled diapers for hours and broke out in rashes on her bum. She was force fed to the point where it hurt. She wasn’t allowed to put anything in her mouth for fear of spreading germs or being dirty so she had very little oral development. She never knew love.

She some how survived. God protected her until we could get to her. She tried to control her eating and tried not to eat but it was forced upon her. She was a mere 19 pounds at 3.5 years old. She hit anyone who got to close to her when they were un-welcomed. She pulled hair for attention, even if it was negative. Her eyes darted when she was afraid but made no sound from her mouth.  She had to rely on her own tiny means to get through the days in her crib alone, staring at the children through bars. She would rock, click her jaw and tap her teeth continuously just to get some stimulation. She had never been out side the gates of the orphanage. 

Sofie is discovering what love is now and learning how to be in a family. She has all but dropped her rocking. I only see it a few times a week now, instead of the hourly habit it was just a few short months ago. She only clicks her jaw a few times a day instead of a few times a minute and I don’t remember the last time I saw her tapping her teeth. She is realizing she doesn’t have to be in charge of her survival anymore. She is starting to trust that Mommy and Daddy get to take that responsibility off her tiny shoulders. All she has to do is be a kid. All we have to do is love her, and that is so easy to do. Literally watching her body relax over the last few months is such a gift. Seeing her smile when we come in to the room she is in is priceless. 

Honestly, all my fears of not attaching to her are gone. I’m attached. I feel like her mommy completely. I don’t remember when it all exactly came. It was much more gradual than with Livi but I’d say it was pretty locked in within the first few weeks. The first few days in Bulgaria we so surreal. I was in awe of her. The first few weeks at home were hard. I was frustrated with her but wanting to be in love, holding on to the knowledge that it would get better and feeling my love ever so slowly grow. As things settled down, we figured each other out and when we figured the sleeping issues out everyone was happier and much more loving. I was sold, attached, a real Mommy again. 

Sofie is showing a lot of signs of attachment now too. She follows me around and cries if she think I’m leaving her. She smiles at us and even looks for us when we are with other people. She listens to our promptings better than too strangers. She is still very social and in-discriminant who plays with her.  Part of it is the un-attachment but we figure she also has a really social personality.  Sofie has also found her voice. I’d even say she borders on loud sometimes! We promote fun yelling contests… I think we might regret that one day. You can actually hear her laugh now! She cries loudly now too. Not in the panicked way she did in Bulgaria, but just like a typical 3 year old complaining or upset with something. She is realizing that she can cry loudly because Mommy or Daddy will always come. 

I’m thankful that Sofie is such a strong little girl was able to survive until we could get to her. I’m also thankful that she is trusting us, looking to us, loving us and feeling loved. She doesn’t need to just survive anymore. She gets to flourish. 

Jekyll and Hyde

About a week ago it seemed like a switch flipped for Livi. She is hot and cold. She can be so helpful one second and completely deadly the next. I don’t know how to parent this and I’m starting to react in ways that I hate. I need to change something but I don’t know what or how.

She was terrible today. I cried and I don’t do that often when it comes to parenting. I’ve always been quite sure with the choices I have made when it comes to parenting. Livi was a really good kid and I thought I could take some of the credit for that. Then this week happened. She has been defiant as often has she has taken a breath. She mimics what we say in that sassy ten year old voice with the head nod to go with it. She yells at us and tells us she is going to do the opposite of what we have asked her too. She says she can’t calm herself down or that her “story” says she has to do whatever. (She got the story thing from the cartoon Super Why where they have to zap a word to change the story and have the characters do something different. We thought it was cute at first, but now? Not so much.) Tonight, she lost the privilege of going out on a quick shopping trip with Jon and threw a huge tantrum. It even involved throwing furniture! 
I’m at my whits end. I’ve tried be really strict and I’ve tried talking everything out to a painful degree but neither have seemed to help change the behavior. I’ve tried giving her extra attention but doesn’t seem to be enough to help. She enjoys helping me in everyday things and has been a super big with all the casseroles I made this week. She takes a lot of pride in helping us. She can be the happiest little angel be a helpful little bee and switch before I can even realize she is switching. Jekyll and Hyde. 
Like I said, today was rough. I’m hoping tomorrow is better and even if it isn’t I hope that I have the strength to handle it better. Will this pass or is this what the next 20 years are going to be like. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. 
At least I’m not this mom…