Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Update

I know it's been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd give a quick update.  We've been home 9 weeks now (at least I think that's what it is) and we are doing GREAT!!  Things are going much better around here since school started and we have a routine.  Dasha continues to amaze us daily with her English.  She speaks no Russian anymore and doesn't want us to.  In fact, if we do use a Russian word, she usually corrects us with the English equivalent.  She's using 3-4 word sentences pretty regularly and can count to 10 and say most of the ABC's.  Some of the stuff she says is very funny.  I love to hear her say, "Oh my gosh!" in a totally frustrated tone with a big sigh.  It's like I'm listening to myself!!  :)  She also asks, "Why, Mom, why?" a lot.  She frequently gets into arguments with her older brothers and they tell her, "Be quiet!" and she always responds with, "No, you be quiet!"  She don't take it from nobody, let me tell you!  :)  While in Ukraine, I was told that Dasha didn't speak Russian well and that she was difficult to understand.  Now that she's speaking English and I can understand what she says, I hadn't noticed any major problems with her pronunciation.  Nevertheless, I wanted to have her evaluated by a speech pathologist just to make sure everything was okay.  Her results were great!  They told me she is speaking like a normal 4 year old born in the U.S. (minus language development), so no speech therapy for her! 

In all other ways, she is just adjusting so well and is such a happy, sweet, helpful, and polite little girl.  Her favorite foods are pancakes, hot dogs, mac and cheese, fruits, yogurt, jelly sandwiches, rice pilaf, and of course, chips.  I've never met anybody in my entire life who loves chips like this girl.  Her favorite is original Doritos and I've got orange stains all over my house to prove it!  :)  She is really doing great with eating a variety of foods.  She's done a complete 180 since she first arrived home and would only eat bananas and refused to even taste anything else.  Now she eats whatever we're eating and will try anything we ask her to try.  We've discovered she likes broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and steak, among other things.  We're working on increasing the amount she eats because, although she's good about trying new things, she doesn't eat much.  We're also working on getting her to eat a bit faster because she is S-L-O-W.  It takes her about 50 minutes to eat one pancake at breakfast.  I'd like to speed that up just a bit if possible so that I'm not cleaning up breakfast and breaking out lunch 30 minutes later!  :)

Dasha loves to watch Barney and the Little People (as in Fisher Price, we have a bunch of videos that came with the toys), color and draw, and play outside with her brothers.  She really wants a bike and has finally agreed to wear a helmet, which is something she was not willing to do until recently, so we need to get busy and look for one before it gets too cold to be outside.  Dasha's favorite thing to do is play soccer.  She enjoys it so much.  She goes in the basement everyday to practice kicking the ball into the goal.  Once our older boys' soccer seasons wind down, we are going to register her for Little Kickers and she is sooooooooo excited!  She knows she gets to wear a uniform and cleats just like the big kids!!  She's actually quite skilled from what we can tell and is very aggressive (I know...hard to believe), so I'm sure she'll be a good player.  It will certainly be fun to watch.  :)

I definitely feel like the adjustment phase is behind us and we are all feeling settled.  Dasha is happy here and glad to be out of the baby house, that much I know because she tells us.  She feels loved and knows that we are her parents and she will be with us forever.  In my opinion, she is fully attached to us and thinks of herself as a member of our family.  Although it's only been 9 weeks, I truly cannot remember what our lives were like without her.  She makes us laugh, frustrates us, teaches us, and inspires us all on a daily basis.  I am so thankful we took a chance and did something crazy, because we have been so blessed by the outcome.


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