Yesterday I took Claire to a doctor who specializes in foreign adoption medicine. She will do a very thorough post-placement exam and then pass the recommendations onto your regular pediatrician who usually isn't up to par on issues seen in children adopted internationally. The doctor was wonderful and spent nearly two hours with us going over every.little.thing. The end of the visit brought tears though because Claire needed to have blood drawn to check her immunity levels for vaccinations given to her in China and many other tests to check her overall health. Thankfully the phlebotomist was very quick and accurate and it only took one stick. Still though, she was public enemy #1 and I was #2.
One concern from the visit was Claire has lost 3 lbs since coming home. On a child who only started out at 42 lbs that is nearly 10% of her body weight. She is constantly hungry and I am constantly feeding her so I was very surprised to see that she not only didn't gain any weight but actually lost so much. We will continue to feed her every time she says she is hungry and monitor her weight. The doctor said she sounded like a child with a high metabolism (she never stops moving!) so that combined with the stress of this transition probably has her body in overdrive. With time it should get better and until then we will shovel as much high calorie, healthy food as we can into this tiny girl.
Claire is pretty used to Toby now; I've even heard her say several times "I love you, Toby." When we leave the house she is person that locks Toby into his bed. At first I laughed because I think she enjoyed it a bit too much but now she blows him a kiss and tells him he's a "good boy." She has to be the person that runs upstairs and unlocks his crate when we get home too; although she doesn't have much competition for this job because the other three kids usually fight over who has to do it. The neighbor has a big dog who ran over here over the weekend when we were outside. She completely freaked out and started screaming so she definitely has a fear of dogs still.; J jokes that she just tolerates Toby because he doesn't go away.
She is learning so much English every day. Today I heard her say "mommy, come here!" and I followed it up with "please?" so she repeated it with a please. Now I've heard "mommy, come here please!" all day. I guess she's making sure I get the exercise I keep saying I need.
The doctor yesterday told us that most kids are age appropriate in conversational English in 6 months. That just shows how incredibly resilient and amazing children are!
After the trip to the school that upset Claire I realized that we needed to start talking about Claire going to school in the near future. She needed to know (in her limited understanding) that she wasn't going to stay home with mom forever and that she would be going to school with Emily and Matthew. So, that day after the kids were home from school we got out the calendar and wrote "Claire School!" on March 23rd. She's been counting down the days since then with excitement and when we went to the school this morning to check out the book fair she said "Claire school?" so I think she understands and she seems excited.
I have spent many hours with Claire working on ABCs, numbers, shapes, colors, phonics, etc. She is doing remarkably well. She can now say the entire alphabet and can recognize almost half of them visually. We work on the sound of the letters and with the help of catchy Leap Frog songs she's starting to catch onto phonics. We count to 30 a lot but she also knows the numbers by recognition up to 100 and I've heard her count on her own into the 60's. She knows and can recall the shapes circle, square, oval, triangle, rectangle and sometimes diamond. She can do addition up to 10 but I haven't tried subtraction. She can write her name without being told the letters and she can recognize that 'Claire' is her name and will say it out loud. She knows the seasons winter and summer and we're working on spring and fall. She knows that winter is cold and summer is hot. When we ask her what is winter she wrap her arms around herself and say "I'ma cold" and then fan herself saying "I'ma hot" when we say summer; she is such a ham!
A funny from today:
We ran to Walgreens to get more lotion for her skin. The doctor thinks the itchiness of her skin is related to allergies of some kind and recommended that we lotion her up twice a day to keep it hydrated. While there she found a cash register in the toy aisle and did her "Claire?" and point the cart. I told her no and then saw it was clearanced to $5 and thought it would help me teach her about money so I changed my mind and let her get it. We've played with it a lot today but the funniest thing was when she showed me the total and it was something like 193828192 and I responded with "Oh my goodness, I don't have that much money!" She excitedly ran back to the cash register, pulled out the credit card and smiled. One swipe of the card and the total was 0. What a great teaching...not! So I told her "oh honey, we don't use credit cards in this house, unless it involves a trip to China."
When we first got home I had intentions of posting a picture of Claire every day so we could look back and see her changes in the first year. Yea, that lasted all of about 4 days and then Meme went home and real life took hold. I do have pictures from most days so I'm really going to try and get them uploaded.