Gained 4 lbs
Grown almost 2 inches!
Today marks the 3 month anniversary of Giselle’s arrival into our family. I am happy, and so – SO relieved to say that “everyone” was right. 3 months has been a big milestone in feeling like we have reached somewhat of a new normal for our family.
Even though Giselle doesn’t look too happy about us being “Finally Together”, I think she secretly is….
The first month or two after her arrival feel like a blur. It’s probably better that way. I was reading through my journal recently and while I don’t write often, I have tried to be very honest in what I do write because I need to be able to look back and see that she has (hopefully) grown and changed.
Sept 17, 2012 (starting week 6 of cocooning)
Slowly we are adding some things to our days, but our days still feel very long and lonely. I am so tired of feeling like a failure at this. Today I had serious PMS – along with weeks without decent sleep -along with Giselle being so cranky from weeks without decent sleep… It’s a bad, bad combination.
We have good moments. We even have some good hours. But often this is what the day often looks like;
~ Giselle wakes up grumpy because she has been awake fussing from 11:00pm-4:00am. ~She is mad when Amara strokes her cheek at the breakfast table, and hits/spits/bites Amara.
~She is mad when Amara touches her chair at the table, and SCREAMS
~ She is mad because Amara is playing with a toy she had an hour ago. And SCREAMS!
~ Screams when Amara wants to sit and play with her. Screams when she is hurt, or when the hurt simply could possibly have happened.
~Amara freaks out when Giselle has a toy she has never played with but now she suddenly wants. Amara isn’t obeying at all (yelling “NO!” to me at every thing I ask/tell her to do something)… and she certainly isn’t innocent in all the reasons Giselle is screaming.
~Amara is having rages 1-2 times per day. They stress me out more than anything. The blank, glassy look in her eyes at the end of one breaks my heart. I hold her and weep. I want my happy, love-song singing girl back!
Honestly… while I think Giselle is cute, and I’m so glad she is home… and while there are moments where I do really feel affection for her, I often feel as though I don’t like her. And yet at times she can be very sweet, funny and so, so cute. Can you say GUILT?
We have seen this sad face so much in the past few months… but it is becoming more rare – Yay!! Thankfully this time she was crying because the photographer picked her up and she was NOT impressed. That’s a good sign she knows who her family is and isn’t willing to go with just anyone!
~ Giselle and Amara woke at the same time, and crawled into my bed for morning snuggles. Amazing – there was no fighting over who could be the closest to Mommy!
~ Giselle ate her breakfast well. That is usually a good sign…
~ The girls played in their room off and on, running into the kitchen with their baby dolls in the strollers. Sitting on the stools talking on their “phones”.
~Managed to gather Giselle’s stool sample for our third round of testing for parasites (I’m sure she still has them).
~ Lunch, then off to naps. (YAY!)
~ Amara wakes up first and watches her movie.
~Giselle wakes up and starts watching the show but isn’t really interested so she sits on my lap and reads books with me.
~ After the movie, they have a snack and run off to play. Amara puts on a music CD in her room and they dance/play with their polly p*ocket toys. I can watch them play from a video camera in Amara’s room – they do so well! I make supper.
~ At dinner, Giselle refuses to feed herself. It isn’t that she doesn’t like the food, she just doesn’t want to feed herself. So it becomes a power struggle as this is becoming way to frequent. She ends up sitting at the table for an hour, then off to bed. She is very restless in her sleep tonight, so I can tell it will be another long, long night.
All in all – I think Giselle had one time out. That must be a record!!
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, my mindset is a thousand times better right now because I have had 5 nights of good sleep. One of those nights I actually managed to sleep completely through the night! It has made a huge difference in how much I am able to handle, how much I can give affection even when I don’t necessarily feel like it at the moment. I like my little girl right now. Of course I love her – there has never been a question of that. But sometimes like and love can be worlds apart… and right now I am rejoicing that they are closer than they have ever been.
The most amazing thing is seeing little signs that Giselle is still bonding and attaching to me even though we have had such a rough start together. Lately I keep thinking about one of the signs of attachment – when a child runs to you and shows you a toy they have found/are playing with. I couldn’t remember her really doing that. Today she brought me toys to see at least 3-4 different times. It’s these little things that we completely take for granted with our biological children – but they are cues that they child is attached and feels loved. Somehow, in all of my own sleep-deprived, stress induced temper tantrums, this little girl has still allowed her heart to open up to me. To show me affection, to trust me with her love.
Recently I wondered silently to myself when she would come and tell me she loved me on her own accord – without it being in response to me saying it to her. Literally 2 minutes later, she came running to me for a hug. I knelt down and gave her a big squeeze and she quickly said “Love ya, Mommy!” and ran off. It was God’s gift to me. Letting me know that He is still the one in control in the midst of this slowly calming storm.
It’s not only Giselle who has improved. Amara is a completely different kid than she was in the weeks after Giselle’s arrival. She is back to being… herself. She sings love songs to us. She dances. She makes us laugh. The biggest change I see in her is because of Giselle. I see her sitting and playing with her toys. I can honestly say that Amara’s room was rarely a mess before Giselle came as she didn’t really play with her toys. Now, her room is a disaster from all the stuff they have been playing with – and I am so happy! Amara used to just get into things she shouldn’t. I felt like I was running after her all day and couldn’t take my eyes off of her at all. Now she is normally playing something with Giselle or they are sitting and reading books together. She will play with play-dough for long stretches. She will play pretend MUCH more than before. And she is starting to take her big sister role more seriously. To watch out for Giselle and be her protector. I am delighting in the growth I see in her. I love watching her just seem more settled and happy as she has a play mate with her all the time now. Giselle is generally happy to follow her around and play what she wants to play, so their personalities are a great match that way as Amara likes to take charge. Yes, they still fight over toys. Yes, some days I can’t take my eyes off of them for a second or someone is screaming, but those days are more rare.
Not that long ago I seriously wondered if our family would every recover. Amara especially. Now I see it confirmed when I knew God told me Amara would need a sister. And obviously Giselle needed one too. Kylar is just a great stabilizer. He loves to rough house with Giselle, and make little games to play with her. She is generally more willing to listen to him and co-operate than Amara is, so they have a lot of fun together (and Amara is learning to co-operate with Kylar more if she wants in on the fun).
Giselle adores him. She often goes to him first when she has had some little thing that hurt her, and he always directs her to go to me for comfort (the big owies are automatically mine). He loves being the big brother, and playing the role of protector and can’t wait for the day he has a reason to stick up for them for some reason. I have always said he has the heart of a knight, and having little sisters really brings that out in him.
*photographs taken by Julie at www.papercastle.ca She is passionate about adoption, so all her adoptive families get a 10% discount. Thank – you Julie!