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.
Since we met Natalie in China almost 4 months ago she has gained 2 pounds, 1 inch of height and a shoe size. Of course, Louie's giant paw still dwarfs her little foot.
Our four year old and our two year old currently weigh 131 and 20.6 pounds respectively. Guess who's the boss?
I wish I had taken a picture like the one below when we first got home with Natalie. Her hands have grown so much. They look huge to me now compared to when we met her.
One of Gary's friends gave Natalie a doll stroller that their child had outgrown. We gave it to Natalie and it was an instant hit.
She and her baby strolled around the house (both backward and forward) for about 20 minutes while I was preparing dinner.
Checking on baby.
Will you leave me in peace now while I play with my new stroller?
When I told Natalie it was time to wash hands and eat she got extremely upset. I guess she wanted to stroll all night long. Despite her protests we had dinner. As soon as we were done she was right back to strolling until it was time for her bath. This morning before school she told her baby and stroller bye-bye. I think I know what Natalie will be doing for a good portion of the weekend.
Currently, Natalie's favorite book is Molly Moves to Sesame Street. When she is looking at the book on her own I have noticed that she always gravitates to the page that contains the picture below. We pretend that the people shown are Baba, Mama and Natalie. I appreciate the fact that the father is orange, the mother is lavender and the little girl Molly is green - showing that physical homogeny is not what defines a family.
Yesterday, Natalie was laying on her stomach on the kitchen floor looking through this book while I was cooking. When she got to this page she stared at it for a while, kissed it, and then laid her head down on it like she was snuggling up to one of us.
Just now as I was typing this post Natalie saw the below picture on the screen and said "Baba". She came over and kissed the computer screen several times. It seems that Natalie is really starting to understand what it means to be part of a family and that she loves it just as much as we do. Every day she has a little more confidence that when we leave her at daycare we will be reunited at the end of the day. Until a week ago Natalie would break into tears of relief and desperately cling to me every time I picked her up from school. Now I am greeted by a big smile, a hug and lots of unintelligible, happy chatter about her day. She loves her friends, her teachers and all the fun things they do during the day, but I think her favorite part of the day is when she says "bye bye" to school and starts mentioning the other family members she wants to see "Baba" and "Doggies".
Last weekend we celebrated Natalie's 2nd birthday - her first one as part of our family. We all had a wonderful time opening presents, going out for pizza and then coming home for cake and ice-cream!
I was trying to show Natalie how to blow out her candles while keeping her from sticking her fingers in the flames. She was able to grasp the concept but still needed a little bit of assistance.
Natalie enjoys gifts of clothes just as much as gifts of toys. This skirt was one of her very favorites.
Natalie with her Mama and Grandmama
More purple - hooray!
Natalie writing her thank you notes.
Please overlook the strange outfit Natalie is wearing in the below video. She was fascinated by a skirt she received as a gift from her grandmother and wanted to try it on immediately although it clashed a bit with her black tights :)
When you shop at Amazon.com please click on the above logo to do your shopping. You will be supporting LWB, an organization that provides many orphans in China much needed surgery, food, education and love.
"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.