Monday, May 2, 2016

Four-month checkup

We've hit the four-months-home mark with Sweet Clementine, so I'm back to provide notes for her "Four-month Checkup." (You can find her "Two-month Checkup here.)

We have come quite a long way in four months, but this month's progress feels like nothing compared to the progress that was made from Week One to Week Three. (If I would have written a Two-Week Checkup," it would have included about three words: "Send help now." Those days are long gone, and our family feels more normal, which--as we all know--is a relative term.)

AT FOUR MONTHS HOME, Clementine is:

  • Loud and holding her own with the boys. What a tragedy and blessing to be thrown into a family with two barely-older brothers. That said, she grew up with boys all around her in her foster home in DR Congo, so she was prepared for the beauty and the mess of it. Don't worry about the girl; she can handle her own. She's got "No" on repeat, and she has learned to tattletale, which drives me nuts, quite frankly. But a girl's gotta do what she's gotta do sometimes, I guess. We try to redirect the tattletaling, because we don't let the boys do it, and since she's in our family we won't let her do it either.
  • A sweet little mama in training. She LOVES helping me feed and bathe Oaklee. She LOVES helping with Oaklee's drinks. She LOVES holding Oaklee (but that feeling is not always reciprocated). She LOVES her baby doll, whose name is "Baby." She had about 30 babydolls waiting for her at our house when she came home four months ago, but she wasn't interested in them until about a month ago. Now they are her very favorite thing. She will be such a great little mama. 


  • A sweet little helper. My boys have never just jumped up to help me unload the dishwasher for fun. She does. (It.is.awesome.) My boys have jumped up to help me sweep and such, but they get tired or distracted around Minute Two, so they check out early. She sweeps and sweeps. 
  • Still weird about me doing her hair. She whines and cries, but if Brecken will come hold her hand she turns off the crying immediately. Now I think she just gets weird because she knows I'm over it. As in, DONE with the whining during hair combing. But whatever. Two-year-olds are so illogical.
  • Understanding everything we say, and saying a lot on her own. "I can't do it." "I don't know where he is." She's got this language figured out. 
  • Saying "Bop" for Stop, "Doe" for no, and "Button" for Brecken, which we have adopted as his new name at times. 
  • Praying out loud at night. Her first prayer was approximately 25 minutes long. 
  • Rolling her eyes as a trick. It's HILARIOUS.
  • Liking books.
  • A lot less preferential about men over women.
  • Not losing it in fear of our indoor-turned-outdoor-turned-"fend for yourself"-cat.
  • Stubborn. I tell her to say, "Yes ma'am." It turns into a 10-minute battle, often with at least one meltdown included. I ask her to finish her apple. She doesn't. I tell her she must before she gets up. She will not do something until SHE chooses to do so. 
  • Asking "why" after I tell her to do something. This is why I tell her to say, "Yes ma'am." (Brody is a "why" guy...she may have learned it from him.)
  • Very snuggly with Mommy. She even chooses me over Daddy sometimes. What a change!
  • Semi-choosey when eating. This is a change from two months ago, when she was eating SO MUCH. She still likes to eat, but she's getting picky and I even have to make her sit down for a while and try to eat a few foods so she will have something in her belly. She likes some sweets now, and she ADORES potato chips. 
  • Thrilled to have things that are "mine." She is especially happy about having her own clothes. She often wants me to go to her closet so she can show me her Easter dress. "Clementine's?!" she says. "Yes, Clementine's!" 
 
  • At least an inch taller than she was two months ago. We were told she would grow horizontally then vertically, and we are seeing that happen right in front of our eyes. 
  • Still sleeping like a rock. Once she's asleep, she is down for the count until morning.
  • Into horses. She points at a specific ad in one of our magazines with a women riding a horse and says, "I wanna do it." We may need to find some horses to ride somewhere. (However, we did go to a Dude Ranch in March and she was NOT INTERESTED in getting near an animal of any sort. I think she wants to want to ride a horse, but she can't bring herself to do it.)


And there you have it. She is knit into this family so well; however, we still have our share of problems every now and then. I think the boys are still adjusting to all of the new-ness of this family, and at times that comes out in their delayed obedience, testing us, or extra wild emotions. (Shoot, Brad and I are still adjusting to the new-ness and overall youth of this family. It is downright tiring sometimes.)  Overall, the boys are great big brothers to Clementine and Oaklee. 

Some days Clementine has frequent meltdowns, in which she cries loudly and switches her weight back and forth from one foot to another. Often, when told something she doesn't like, she pulls limp-body meltdowns (mentioned in the two-month report) or puts her head down in disappointment. I see the meltdowns as more "two-year-old" than "newly-adopted-child trauma."

We have a lot of love and a lot of chaos, and most days we could say that we have "just the right mix" of each. Some days, though, the scale is tipped a bit too much to the "crazy" end and we have to hope and pray that tomorrow there will be more love to even the scale. 


(I got this image from a place I can't remember. Imagine that. Oops.)