Payal has now been home almost two and a half months. We celebrated her second birthday last week. She is doing much better overall. Her "love-hate" relationship has slowly changed from about 50:50 to 90:10. I have only been bitten once in the last week. Hitting is decreasing as well. While I am not sure of everything she has flushed down the toilets, the rug she put in the toilet last night simply would not fit. Only one cell phone is unaccounted for as of today. She does not like the phones as when we talk on them, the attention is off of her...she feels the same way about the computer which she colored all over...For the most part, we are just ignoring the undesired behaviors and praising the actions we do desire. The going to bed routine is down to thirty minutes from almost two hours. She is sleeping well. She wakes about twice a night for reassurance, but generally falls asleep within 5 min. She is in a toddler bed on a platform so she is at our same level and can seen and reach us easily. The defiance is better as well. She behaves perfectly in public. Her need to control her environment has decreased...she is more willing to go with the family flow. She is starting to play by herself with a toy for a few minutes at a time beside me instead of demanding to be held every moment.. Those are the basics.
The most significant changes are really not quantifiable:
She seems to want to please us ( she could of cared less if we were happy with her in the beginning)
She is less pleased when we are displeased with her...maybe because we simply ignore her when she is acting out. It was quite obvious in the begining that she enjoyed upsetting me...when I refused to get upset, she then resorted to bitting....This is really hard to ignore as she has very sharp teeth and drew blood more the once.
She is more relaxed...seems less hypervigilant.
She looks me in the eyes when I feed her a bottle.
She asks to snuggle with me and falls asleep in my arms.
She loses track of me when I am home...she is able to leave me with any family member who offers an interesting activity...mine are usually laundry, cooking, cleaning.
She seems to feel that she is a part of the family not a visitor anymore. She asks where missing members are and when they are coming back.
She seems to feel a responsibility toward the dog...initially, she would call him for a treat, give him a treat, then hit him and yell at him.
Now, she is kinder to him and even points out if his food or water is low. She does not yell at him anymore.
She seems to whine less.
Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed, but when I think of the progress we have made in just two short months, I am encouraged.
With two of us working, we have always run a "tight ship". Everyone knows their part and does it. Our two daughters have never been defiant or disobedient...They have been shocked by Payal's behavior. They have essentially been raised in the "picket-fence" American family...kind of like "Leave it to Beaver" where everything works out well by the end of a thirty minute episode. They have always attended a small Christian school and have been quite sheltered. I do not think my 13 y/o even knows what sex is yet...except that it is when two married people sleep together naked (to make babies). This made for a somewhat embarassing scene when she asked the pastor to pray for our family because she thought her parents might be thinking about divorce...When he asked her why, she said because her parents were not sleeping together anymore--they only sleep with the new baby! They have no idea what marital discord even looks like! I did not to know what to say there on the spot...just that the adoption had put a lot of stress on the family. After he left, I had to wonder what he was thinking! But, I had no short answer...It was after this that we moved Payal's bed into the master instead of trying to leave her in her own room and sleep with her there.
So, all in all, Payal is continuing to adjust and does better each week. We feel so lucky to have such a beautiful spirited young lady...who was OBVIOUSLY cared for and spoiled by many who truly loved her in India. We feel her acting out is her dealing with her many losses. We are glad she seems to be working through this now instead of later.
Her two year well baby visit is next week.
Maybe I will have more to report then.