Boys…well after a rough first week for Yared it has been Nati that has been struggling with Mari. Mari has decided she adores Yared. She lites up when she sees him and loves to be playing with him. Nati is her competition. She seems to just get that he is the former baby of the family. If he is in my lap and she is playing on the floor she will scream and come over to shove him off. We have made a game of it to try to keep it light hearted. She wants every toy Nati has and she wants to hit him. But the last two days I have seen her softening to him. If she hears the boys playing in another room she will call for them. When I bring her down in the morning she waves her chubby fingers and cries "hi" at them. I am learning to take the extra time to love on each boy so they know they still have my full heart and love. Someone wrote on my FB that "'With each child you grow another heart.' It makes it possible to love them all with your whole heart." That is exactly how I feel. I can sit holding Mari as she falls asleep in my arms and I ache with the growing love I feel for her. Then I walk downstairs and see Nati reading a book and I find a swell of love for him. Only to look over at Yared who is struggling through his math and looks up to smile at me and I find another wave of love. I am so thankful to know there is more than enough love to go around.
Mari she is truly a bundle of energy and love. Sometimes she is so sweet and innocent and vulnerable it is overwhelming what I feel as I look at her. Other times she is frustrated, fussy, complaining no matter what I do and I find myself swamped with the responsibility of a baby. But most of the day I just feel blessed. When I finally got her to the doctor we found out she had a double ear infection. We think that cleared up just in time for another tooth to come in. In the month we have had her, I think there might have been one or two days where she wasn't suffering from a sickness or teething. She is learning more each day. Just in the last two days I have seen her using walking to get from toy to toy. Before this we had to cheer her on to get her to walk. She is no dummy, she has four willing able people doting on her who will happily carrier her from place to place so why should she walk. She has learned to hold on tightly to me when I carry her. This is a huge help as when we first got her she had no idea how to be held. She leaned out and away from you and did not hold on with arms or legs. Now she will wrap her little chubby legs around me and cling to me with both fists. I love it. She isn't all that happy to be in her baby carrier but it is so good for newly adopted kiddos to be strapped on or held that I am still trying to use this at least a bit each day. I honestly think after three weeks home our biggest challenge is sleep. She is just so trained to need a bottle to go to sleep. On a bad night we can have her waking up 2-3 times an hour with screams and cries. We use the empty bottle as a pacifier as she won't take a pacifier but she has to suck something or she'll wind her self up into quite a state. On a good night she is screaming about every two or three hours but just once until you get the empty bottle or a half full one in her. And just when you think it can't go on anymore, it is morning and this beautiful smile will shine at you over the top of her pack-n-play. She sleeps next to our bed for now as she definitely has fears of being alone. We want to assure her with every means possible that she is safe and will never be alone again. She is trying to say words and use hand signs to show what she needs or wants. I can see her getting frustrated when she can't communicate with us. We are so thrilled God chose us to be her parents. We are so grateful for all the prayers and support while we transition to a family of five. It is fun, it is crazy, it is beautiful, it is hectic, it is sweet, it is messy, it is wonderful and it is exhausting and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Pictures in random order.
First beach trip…she ate two handfuls of sand.