6 months have gone by since we met Elliott in China, spent a crazy two weeks there, and brought her home to her forever family.
Some things I want to remember about Elliott at 6 months home:
*She smiles with her whole face. We saw her sweet smile from the very beginning, but I didn’t realize how guarded even her smile was. Over the past few weeks I have looked at her grin in person and in pictures and realized, she doesn’t hold back her smile anymore. Her cheeks scrunch up, her eyes get squinty, and you can see how her smile lights up her whole face.
*She says “No” constantly. Learning English is quite the lengthy process. We work on new words all the time, but we also make an effort to work on the language she most needs (ie communicating her needs, identifying people, etc). For months she did this thing where she would turn her head to indicate she did not want something. It drove me a little crazy, so I worked on teaching her to articulate “no”. My mistake! She walked around for about two weeks just saying “no” nonstop.
*She is smart. Sometimes frustratingly so. She can figure out how to reach things, how to open things, and how to get to her end goal. One day I was sitting on her step stool in the kitchen returning a text. She came and pointed at it, wanting me to give it to her. I told her no. She walked away, turned back around and came back and signed/said “help”. I got up and said “sure! what do you need help with?”. She grabbed the stool and walked away. She’s a tricky one.
*She spends most of the day taking role. “Mama?” “Dada?” “Bubba?” (she can’t say sissy yet). Sometimes she’ll throw in “Mimi?” or “Emmie?” (her next door neighbor bestie). Or her current fav, “Amy!!” On repeat. All day. Over and over again.
*She is STRONG WILLED. She has many opinions.
*She has a serious mullet right now.
*She’s becoming more and more independent. She likes to sit in her own chair at the kitchen table and eat much of the time now.
*She really likes to play with Campbell and Bennett (on her terms). She and Bennie chase each other around the house. She lets Campbell dress her up with clothes, accessories, and purses. Her comfort level with interacting with them as siblings has increased significantly.
*She has been giving hugs and kisses for a while, but she has started freely giving affection without being asked lately. She decided she wanted to kiss me the other day and kept pinning me down to aggressively kiss my cheeks. She was hugging me yesterday and told me “love you” with no prompting. It is beautiful to see her feel trusting enough to freely give her love and to see her understand the give and take of family.
*She overall does very well with the ebb and flow of our daily life, but she will tell me “home” sometimes when we are out. She likes to be home with her people.