|D getting into the recycling - but what the heck - it was just too darn cute!|
We have been on a rollar coaster here at the V house. When we came home from Russia, we had no idea what was in store for us. We did absolutely no research on how to raise a toddler that came from an orphanage... and we were hit with a culture shock. No one told us otherwise, and I just assumed life would change because we would be adjusting from a 3 person family to a 4 person family. And we would also have to deal with some jealousy issues with the kids... but I had no idea that my daughter would barely show me any love and affection. I didn't think at her slight age of 3 that we would hear her cry wolf when she "needed" to go potty. I never thought she would bite, hit, bang her head, etc.... and throw monster fits when she didn't get her way. I never thought I would have to baby-proof everything at this stage of her life. I never thought she would shun me a million times a day - and just when my heart couldn't break into any more pieces, she would turn around and stomp on it once more.
Deeana prefers her father. Not because he is a kind gentle man. But because... it happens. No one knows why some children turn on their mothers. They could be infants and not realize they are bonding and attaching to their "new" mom... or they could be older and have been institutionalized longer and traumatized emotionally. We have come to assume (through research) that Deeana is putting me through a kind of test, she is showing me the emotions she feels. She is scared and powerless. And she is trying with all her might to see if she can break me down and make me leave.
When you meet Deeana, she presents herself as a timid and shy girl. She may quickly warm up to you, either by playing peek-a-boo, or smiles from the other side of the room. Eventually, she will stray from my lap or Michael's (yes in this case she will sit on my lap, when strangers are near). She will then become very cherry and hyper and engaged with strangers, leaving mom behind in the dust - shunning me as usual. This is probably an attachment disorder behavior and I see Deeana behave this way at the store, with my girlfriends, with therapists, etc.
Deeana is also a fighter, a strong-willed, and a very persistent little girl. If you tell her no - to her it means, "let's try that a couple more times and see if they REALLY mean no". In the adult world we know these are great traits to have, but to get her mommy to break through that hard shell and let me in - is like knocking down the Great Wall all over again.
So, now Michael is back in school teaching. I have more of an opportunity to spend time and bond with Deeana. Little by little I see improvement. She can now speak over 25 words and she said her first English sentence just the other day... "Hayden, no close the door!" - Hayden had closed himself in the office to play a game for quiet time. She still prefers to be Hayden's shadow by day and Papa's companion at night. During the day I struggle with her to eat and play by herself - all of which are almost impossible.
Come bed time, we are utterly sleep deprived. Hayden sleeps in our finished basement and finds it "Cool!". This is to avoid being woken up a dozen times a night. We feel like we have brought in a newborn who has no idea what sleep is! We "nap" in her room until she falls asleep, which until we get the air mattress (tomorrow) is the best scenario. She can then wake up either 20 mins after we leave the room or every hour or 2 hours. She has a hard time soothing herself to sleep when she is alone.
We have had a few "play dates", my best friend and her son is about the gist of it. We really haven't had much family over - not because we don't want to, just because of people's schedule. She does love shopping though - ooops! :) If we go out somewhere, she always yells "SHOPPING!". She is going to be broke when she gets birthday money or an allowance.
Right now we are just riding the waves. I know things take time... when given the choice of Mama or Papa, who knows when she will run into my arms and give me a kiss or a hug. These days, those chances are slim. But I know the possibility is out there... making it there is the hard part. It's not easy.