Sometimes I think we're going forward pretty quickly with Miss Aleksa. Other times it's like we're just taking babysteps forward and LEAPS backward!
Today has been... the latter :)
We worked on colors again today-- brought out the counting bears and sorted them into cups by color. The cups are the same color as the bears... should be a basic concept of sorting with the added benefit of continuing to learn the three basic colors. Red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow, red, red, red, red, red, blue blue, blue, blue.... yeah, you get the idea. That's what we did for about 45 minutes today (ok, not 45 minutes straight...). And by the end? Aleksa still had NO idea why we were putting them in different cups, why each one went in the one that they did and not the others, and hadn't caught on to the color names whatsoever. Everything is "Lell" which is her version of yellow, the only one of the three colors she would attempt to imitate.
I know-- repetition, repetition, repetition... and I can do that! Repetition really doesn't even bother me. We could do this for the next 3 weeks, every day, for 45 minutes, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't bother me a single bit.
Actually, what is SAD and FRUSTRATING at the same time, is that every single time that I hand Aleksa a bear and say the name of it, she sits and stares at me. Even after we'd been doing the activity for such a long time and then a break and then came back... from the very beginning she would take the bear and sit there. She wouldn't look at it, look at the cups, look at me. So I'd show her the bear, make her look toward it, say its name, and point toward the cups. She'd put it ABOVE a cup and sit there holding it. Using the same words every time "Put it in" became this chanted mantra around here. She wouldn't release the bear.
Then, when I went to have her release it, she'd scream. Yep, like I was pinching her or burning her... THAT kind of scream. But really, I was just trying to help her release the bear so we could go to the next one. Each time she got it right (even after 2 or 3 or 4 tries... yes, there were only 3 cups...) then I'd give her a fruit loop. I learned quickly at the beginning that she had NO motivation to do this and didn't want to try in the least. She was distracted and staring to space rather than doing what I was helping her to do. She couldn't care less.
When food came out, THEN she listened... a little. In the end I sent her to sit and color (with red yellow and blue crayons) at the kitchen table because I was tired of 1- her screaming during every single match, and 2- her not caring or trying to figure out what we were doing.
Yes, I realize that is totally a lack of patience on my part, but goodness, we've done this many times, and I thought it would at least be starting to sink in a little by now!
In other areas Aleksa has been exerting her independence as well, and showing us that she understands more English as well as that she is more comfortable around us and at her new home. She has been 'exploring' other areas of the house which aren't where she usually is told to be. The kitchen, living room, closet room, guest room, and boys' bedroom. She's also been manipulating and attempting to get other kids in trouble!
Several times now she's picked up someone else's glasses and brought them to me while pointing at the other kid and yelling! She wants me to put them back on and she stomps and pouts if they don't get in trouble! She takes her OWN glasses off and throws them half way up the car or hides them in the toy box... but if someone else takes them off, they should get in BIG trouble...
Just yesterday I brought Aleksa, Wesley, and Micah to the pediatrician. Aleksa was told 3 or 4 times in a row not to touch the iPad, that it was playing a book and that would stop it. She kept doing it. I kept putting her hands away from it and saying 'no.' I looked away to do something with Wesley and saw her grab Micah's hand out of the corner of my eye. She put HIS hand on the iPad! I told HER no, again, and Micah too. She did it two more times, using his hand, and would wait until I was involved in something else in the room to do it, but I saw her do it each time!
At nap times Aleksa is "being nice" and is throwing any toys she finds around the bedroom into Lynae's crib. So all the toys have left that bedroom... She's on the top bunk, but if I don't follow her in to bed and make sure she goes right up, then she sits and gets into stuff.
Aleksa is SMART. She has figured her way around "in the system" and survived three years in a mental institution and five years in an orphanage in Ukraine. She knows how to manipulate VERY well! She also knows how to freak out to try to get someone to stop doing whatever they may be doing which she doesn't want. That is a GOOD thing when it comes to kids taking her toy or hurting her! I'm sure it came into play with food, too, in her former settings. Now, however, she screams if someone looks at her toy (or she just gives them to them... she goes back and forth on that...). She screams if you take her hand to get her to do something, or if you lead her to do something (for instance taking her upper arm instead of her hand when directing her toward the 'right' answer on an activity).
So, this morning between getting nowhere fast with colors and sorting, and having her scream at every instance when she was being redirected, it really felt like I was just banging my head against a wall!
I know "this too shall pass" and she will figure out what we're saying and most likely will learn English and will catch on to more of the verbal parts of what's going on, thus understanding more... We know that eventually she'll learn to both trust us and respect us, because those are two major things that we work on with our 'new' kids. But right now, we haven't got her trust, her respect, or more than 20 seconds of eye contact. One of these days... And until then, I'll just keep plugging on...