Ally eats very well. She likes almost every food we've given her. She is starting to leave a little food and letting me know when she's full. Right now, we feed her every couple of hours. This has helped her to relax and learn that she doesn't need to worry about being hungry.
This week she has learned to drink from a sippy cup. She still can't drink from a straw, but being able to drink by herself from the sippy cup has encouraged her to drink more.
She has gained 2 1/2 pounds in 18 days.
She happily takes her vitamins.
Instead of being rough and dry, like when we first got her, her skin is now nice and soft.
We've had snow and for a few days we had ice, so she hasn't had any appointments yet. She will need to go to the dentist. She'll be getting to the doctor soon too.
The first week at the hotel, she only let me rock her the first night, after that she wanted to be put in her bed to rock herself to sleep, but every night since we've been home she has let me rock her. She totally relaxes and lays her head on my shoulder and falls asleep while I rock and sing to her. I thank the Lord for this every night.
She sleeps about 13 hours straight. In the morning, she smiles when she sees me and reaches for me to pick her up.
When we visited Ally in August and the first week we had her, she didn't like soft blankets or anything for comfort. Since she's been home, I rock her with her blanket and cover her with it when I lay her down. Now, she loves her blanket. She lays her head on it for comfort and hugs it.
She is taking independent steps and walking more and more.
She LOVES to play. She has a bin of "Ally's toys". All of her special things. She's getting more confident that they are her own toys and she just loves them. Her favorite things are her music toys, balls, books, Magna Doodle and some magnet toys.
She loves her bath now.
She pretty much ignores the pets.
She understands the words and signs for "eat", "more" and "all done". She responds to her name. She understands "push the button" and will push the button on her music toy. She understands "no", but listens better if I say it in Bulgarian.
Often when she cries or seems out of sorts for no apparent reason, I take her to the chair where we rock for bedtime. I grab her blanket and she will usually lay her head on my shoulder and let me rock her for a few minutes. After that, she seems to feel better.
She is rocking less and sucking on her tongue and grinding her teeth much less.
She interacts and plays with us. She loves for us to get on the floor with her and everyone loves to play with her and help her walk.
More and more she will come to us and let us hold her.
One thing I've learned...persistence pays off. I've learned to offer something 2 or 3 times. It will look like she's stubbornly refusing at first, but when given another chance, she'll often accept it with a smile.
She still has a long way to go in learning to trust, but who can blame her. It makes me so sad that we are on the list of people who loved her and left. For five months we didn't come back and she didn't understand why. At the orphanage, they gave me her photo book when we left. It looks very worn. When I showed it to her a day later at the hotel, it made her sad and she cried so I put it away. It breaks my heart to think that having the book all those long months made her sad...adding to the memories of us, but also perhaps the confusion of wondering where we were and why we didn't come back. Breaks my heart.
I want every day to be consistent for her right now. A consistent supply of food and enough to drink. Comfort. Parents and siblings who love her, talk sweetly to her, make her feel important, cheer her on, care for her, comfort her, hold and hug her. A soft, warm bed for sleep when she's tired and opportunities to play, learn and explore when she's not. I'm hoping that when there are enough consistent days put together, she'll trust that this is for good.
She is so full of personality. She's so smart and spunky and when she's sweet, she is so very sweet. It amazes me that God planned her for us and us for her. Such a perfect fit...our God really knows what He's doing.