Sunday, April 23, 2017

6 months a Frank

A couple days ago I found Jinna Rai looking at this poster, which she had found stashed behind my dresser, kept with a few other signs that various family members made for the night they met us at the airport 6 months ago.

She could pick out the letters and realized her name was on the sign.  I told her what it said and she wanted to know who made it.  When she heard it was her cousins, she said, "Niiiice!"  and "Sweet!"  She wanted to look at it and play with it off and on all day.

Then the next day I found her with the quilt Mom made with all of the friends' and family members' names on it.  I pointed out to her the squares with names that she would recognize and told her, "All these people -- ALL these people- - have loved you, Jinna Rai!"   I think she understood... mind-boggling as it must be.

She is starting to understand more about what it means to be loved. I know it will be a lifelong lesson for her -- as it is for us all -- but I love that she is starting to get it!

At this point her English is quite good. She understands pretty much everything and can communicate in good sentences.  Some of her enunciation is still a little rough, but we generally get what she says.

A couple days ago she was telling me she wanted something, but I was in the other room so couldn't quite understand.  "You want ICE?" I asked, knowing that she doesn't even like ice.

"No," she said.  She paused for a second, and then described it to me by saying, "E for eggs.  I want EGGS."  Pretty clever girl!

She is on the verge of reading basic words, having mastered the letter sounds for the most part.  This week she's been a little confused about why "China" starts with "C," so I've been introducing the "CH" blend out of necessity.

Speaking of China, she is looking forward to going back someday.  She says she wants to go back to see the guide that she met the same day she met us, Flora.  I'm not sure why Flora holds such a special place in her heart, but she does.

A couple nights ago as I was tucking her into bed, she started telling me that in a hundred days, when she turns 17 and is very big, she is going to back to China without Pete and me.  ("No Mommy, no Daddy, by myself.")

"Will you come back?" I asked.

"Yes, in a hundred days," she said.

She definitely has a strong will in her, but that is nothing strange in this house.  She likes to do things that are against the rules... writing on furniture, taking my stuff, refusing to clean up, etc, but can be quick to repent -- if it's her idea.  Sometimes we have conversations like this,

Me:  WHO wrote on this wall??
Jinna, sometimes sheepish, sometimes brazen:  Me!
Me:  Jinna!  You are not supposed to do that!
Jinna:  I'm sorry!!

And then she's so cute that her "punishment" is rather weak.

But other times we have conversations like this:

Me:  Jinna, you need to apologize for ruining my envelope.  Say you're sorry.
Jinna:  ----
Me:  Jinna??  Tell me you're sorry.
Jinna:  -----

She just stares at me with a stoic face. The discipline cycle goes on a little longer on those days.

 She loves her siblings, and her siblings love her.  Strider loves to amuse her, Rayna loves to take care of her, Colsen loves to protect her, and Miles loves to partner with her in all kinds of crazy antics.  And she delights in it all.

There are a few hard moments here and there... like when we tell her to do something and her immediate response is, "WHY?"  We put up with that for a couple weeks, and then told her she had to stop asking why.  Now whenever one of us uses that word in legitimate contexts, we hear her pipe up, "Don't say WHY!"

Her other classic response to anything we say to her right now is, "REALLY?"  Yes, really, Jinna Rai.

Really, Jinna, we are so glad you are a part of our family!  It's hard to believe it's only been half a year;  you've belonged here forever.

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