Friday, September 21, 2012


Home to us, but she isn't so sure.  She kept her backpack ready by the door just in case we were going back soon.

Survival Week.

Exhaustion.  Illness.  Depression.   More exhaustion.  Discouragement.

Yes.  These are the words that describe our first week home.

I'm not surprised by this, just weary and ready to move on to another stage.

There was very little sleep on the plane.  Claire didn't want to wear her seatbelt so that became a battle we had to fight occasionally.  The plane served special children's meals to her, but she wanted mommy's food.  I didn't really care.  With my fever and sore throat, food wasn't really on my list of things to care about. 
It was cute food, even if she didn't want to eat it.

Happily, we only had one wet diaper.  The rest of the time, the desire to have an excuse to get up and walk around kept us running to the bathroom.  Of course, the favorite time to declare an urgent desire was when everyone had food on his or her tray table. 

I was so thankful for Mickey Mouse videos.  Those at least kept her attention for a few minutes here and there.  

Hannah said she could color or cut for hours.  We haven't seen that.  She does nothing for more than 2 or 3 minutes, and most of the time she just refuses the books, crayons or puzzles.

The plane just touched down and Claire became a US citizen.
The first few nights were miserable.  She slept an hour or so then woke up.  We quickly gave up trying to sleep in our own beds.  I put an air mattress on the floor next to her hoping that would help.  For several nights, she had to check in with me every 20 minutes or so.  The last few nights, she has slept 3 or 4 hours at a time before waking up.  She will usually go back to sleep for a few more hours if I insist that she get back into bed. 

I'm not sleeping much.  The air mattress isn't comfortable, and Claire is a noisy sleeper.  She talks, moans, and makes all sorts of odd noises while sleeping.  So thankful that Kelly took a shift last night so I could actually sleep through the night.  Things actually looked a little more hopeful this morning after I had slept.

It is weird around here because we are all in bed by 8 p.m.  Kelly and I are still coughing and having sinus issues along with general aches and tiredness.  Claire seems fine physically.  I'm praying that she was already immune to whatever bug we picked up.

Our goal for these first weeks is potty training.  This may take a very long time.  She will need to recognize the need with enough time to get someplace.  Besides that, she will not go into the bathroom without me yet.  My goal is for her to be potty trained, not me.  Time is on our side.   It will also require lifting the lid, pulling down pants, etc.  Right now, she prefers to stand in front of the toilet and wait for someone else to do everything.  Sigh…don't know what this is about, but she basically does nothing right now.  I'm still holding out for wiping, flushing, washing hands and turning out lights.  Maybe in 10 years????

We must have some major regression going on here.  I looked at all the developmental charts that tell me she can function in the range of a 4-6 year old depending on the skill.  What I see in front of me is a child functioning like a 2 year old.  She can't go up or down stairs or walk on sloped ground.  She isn't dressing herself, even struggling to pull on socks and getting them upside down.  I'm struggling to resist the panic of thinking, "What if this is all she ever can do?"  

I know better, but I’m sick and very tired.  I think I’m regressing some, too.  All I want to do is sit somewhere and cry.  But, I keep on fixing food, cleaning up messes and trying to help Claire feel safe.

The most exasperating thing is that she will not do anything.  She sits on me, or next to me, or stands staring at me, but will not play with anything.  She eats when I put food in front of her.  When I try to build with blocks, do a puzzle or play with playdough, she just says "no" and pushes it away. 

I know she is homesick.  Her only topic of conversation involves where every child she knows is.  If they are in America, she doesn't get why she doesn't see them.  How do you communicate to her that our house isn't all of America???

We tried sidewalk chalk, but after a couple of scratches, she was not interested.
Yes, this week is about survival.  It won't stay like this.  I'll get better.  Claire will start to sleep.  We will all find ways to have fun together.  It is just going to take time.  We have time.  You just watch.  A year from now, I won't even remember how miserable this week has been.
At least mommy and daddy can have fun building with blocks while Claire watches.
She did like trying on mommy's watermelon socks.

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