Four months ago today, Gwendolyn came to us scared, tired and hungry. She cried for 45 minutes straight. I didn't have the right words, hugs or caresses to make it all better. In fact, I seemed to only make it worse. But I was optimistic since I knew her reaction to this new and frightening situation was normal. Still, when the orphanage Director told me (through a translator) that our child "always smiled", I was skeptical. I'd never seen her smile. Just her stoic little referral pictures and now this wet, hysterical face.
45 minutes later, she'd taken a bottle and fallen asleep in my lap. She slept all the way back to the hotel and when she woke up, she was a different child.
I know we got lucky with Gwen. I know other new parents earn their "wings" (aviator talk) with a much more strenuous test. She is our little darling! Not perfect but perfect for us!
Here she is this morning modeling the sweater her Granny (Andrew's wonderful mom!) made for her. We worried that she'd outgrow it before Winter set in. We're happy to see that she hasn't!
We went to the mall today, as we do every morning. She got lots of compliments on the sweater and she seemed to enjoy the attention. She's very social now. It's just been in the last month or so that she'll walk up to strangers and interact with them. This is especially true if they're holding a cell phone!
My arms know how to comfort her now and that's such a beautiful thing! She *wants* me and I'm so honored to have earned that!
Family life is good; her relationship with Daddy is amazing, she likes her big brother (who works hard to pretend like she doesn't exist!) and she's loving to the kitty although, at times, it seems like it's more of a "tough love" thing. Fortunately, Kitty has some masochist in her and she seems to enjoy the rough handling!
Gwen says many words -- but not on command. Mostly, she uses language to get something and not to label it. She'll say "in" or "again" but not call something by its name. She does, however, do the cutest immitation of our cat's meow. I'll try to catch that on video and share it with you.
I thought she had no name for me but it appears that I'm "Baba". I've tried to correct her by showing her that the bottle is BaBa and I'm Mamma but she still smiles and calls me "BaBa" and hugs me. How can I refuse that?! I'm assuming that all the times I asked her if she wanted a Baba and snuggled with her in the chair must have taught her that I'm the Baba and the container with the warm white beverage is some other unnamed thing. I might understand the confusion if I was breastfeeding her!
Update: I finally got around to measuring Gwen and was pretty surprised to see that she's grown 2.25 inches in the four months we've had her! I had to actually draw a line on a piece of paper to see how much that really was. It's the height of a D battery. Or the width of an iPod. It's a little bit more than three postage stamps. Her hair hasn't even grown this fast! I know all full term babies are around 20 inches at birth and they grow pretty fast but this was super fast! It must be Mamma's good home cookin'!