Monday, June 13, 2011
Jie Jie's Progress
I have a truly brave and resilient little girl. She is doing wonderfully well. I am, too. The more I get to know her, the better mother I am to her.
One of the most important things I've learned is that when she starts whining or wimpering during our lessons, she is not tired of the lesson, but overwhelmed. For example, today I started putting the letters she's learned into words she knows, such as EAT and HAT. Then I asked her to write them. She couldn't do it. The old me would have said, "Of course you can! Come on!" The new me wrote the letter E and had her write it, then I wrote A, then she did, and lastly the T. After we did that, I wrote the first two letters and then the last, having her do the same right after I did. Then, I wrote all three letters and she was able to do it. She is a VERY visual learner. Not only did breaking it down help her in concentrating on one letter at a time, but as I wrote fluidly, connecting the letters into words, she paid very close attention and learned finer details such as how closely the bottom left side of the A came to the H, in HAT.
This then developed into a game where she asked me to spell the words she knows, like ice cream and the names of the cats. I then took it a step further and wrote the letters she hasn't yet learned and had her write the ones she has learned. I think that today's lesson was our most fun and successful so far.
Bedtime is a breeze. She's always been a good sleeper, and went down quite easily, but now she goes down like a dream. I used to lay with her for awhile, usually until she was asleep, but she began turning that time into play time, prolonging bedtime for up to two hours, sometimes resulting in a meltdown. This was fine when I knew she was grieving, but then it evolved into tired child tantrums. After the third or fourth night, I put her down, said I was going to feed the cats, and walked out. My room, where she sleeps, is off the kitchen, so she could easily hear me right on the other side of the door. For the first two or three nights, she stayed awake, but was quiet, for an hour or so then needed a drink then fell asleep, now she falls readily asleep. Her sleep is less active, too, with less talking.
It's been at least three weeks or more since we've had any meltdowns or crying related to grieving. She doesn't look at her China pictures any more before bedtime, but they are always easily accessible. We still talk about the people in her life in China regularly in a good way. She talks a lot about swimming with them. I don't know that she's ever been swimming, but she may have.
We've gone over a week without a single tummy cramp. I've finally got the hang of her meals. No asparagus, even though she likes it a lot, because she can't digest it, and a LOT of FRESH fruit. I also got the amounts of things just right.
Her feet are improving, and I'll devote a post entirely to her feet soon.
Her English is coming along very, very well. She says entire simple sentences in English with few Chinese words, like, "I like ice cream. I bu (don't) like cake." We communicate very, very, very well for two people who don't know the other's language.
She's got a great throwing arm. At a church carnaval this weekend, she consistantly got 2 out of 4 bean bags into a game that no one else got any in and 3 out of 4 in one that others got only about 1 or 2 in.
Jie Jie is very brave, intelligent, funny, happy, and very industrious. She'd rather help me weed the garden then jump on the trampoline while I weed myself. She has a great sense of humor and takes advantage of spontaneous moments to play charming little jokes on me.
I am so proud of this little girl and all she is! There is just too much to write about her.