These are some of the words Natalie has learned to speak since she came home 3 1/2 months ago. She understands almost everything we tell her and usually finds a way to communicate her needs and desires to us even if she doesn't know the exact words.
Last Sunday Natalie was hungry when she woke up from her nap. I asked if she wanted a cracker and received a head shake. Bread and cereal were also turned down. I happened to be holding her when I went to the stove to stir some broccoli that I was sautéing. Natalie said "hot". It was the first time I heard her say the word and told her she was right that the broccoli was hot. We walked into the dining room and she started frantically pointing to the kitchen and saying "hot, hot". I finally figured out that she wanted some broccoli, but didn't know the word for it. She was improvising by saying "hot". I served her a small bowl of broccoli which she quickly ate. She signed for "more" and ate a second bowl.
After her veggie snack, Natalie went into her room grabbed her closet door knob and clearly said "jacket" - another word I had never heard her use before. She perused her jacket collection and chose her warmest one to wear around the house while she was playing. It was probably 65 degrees outside that day, but Natalie didn't care.
It's amazing to me that after less than 4 months exposure to the English language Natalie speaks about 50 words and understands at least a few hundred. She is like a little sponge soaking up knowledge every day. It's such fun to watch her problem solve and learn to communicate in her new world.
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"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.