(Edited with additional content: See below)
I can hardly get my mind around the fact that 4 months ago today we held Selah in our arms for the first time. She felt so good in my arms, yet she held herself very stiffly. The expression on her face for the first few hours was one of curiosity and mistrust. She did not cry one tear, yet we could tell she was very uncertain of her new arrangements.
She must have been thinking something like, "Who are these odd looking folks I've been handed over too? Are they some new His Hands volunteers I will hang with for a few days? Will we laugh and play and have a couple bottles of milk together? Or is this something completely new...?"
Selah did start to relax over the next few days. We began to see some lovely smiles and she even broke out her infectious laugh on a few occasions. She didn't have a clue who we were or why we were together, but she did seem to trust that we would take care of her. She had a long way to go, however, to begin to understand the permanent and unconditional love of a family.
I am pleased to report that Selah has come far in attaching to her new family members. She connected with me first and would get nervous if I wasn't close by and now has started to cry if I leave the room. It took a bit longer with daddy, but sure enough, she wants this strong, handsome fellow to be around her as often as possible. She cranes her little neck to see where he has gone, and gets quite fussy if he doesn't return soon. Noelle, on the other hand, had an instant connection with Selah. I think Selah saw and felt something familiar in her new sister. These two laugh and wrestle and squeal and play like nothing I've heard. Eric and I LOVE it. :)
Selah has also started to call us "Mama" and "Dada". Oh what a wonderful sound! She only says it when she's in the mood, but when I hear that simple word, my heart sings! One other new development is that Selah is learning to cuddle--one of my favorite things to do. :) It was many, many weeks where she would sit stiffly in our arms when we held her, but now she will relax and snuggle right in. Ahhhhh... :) Our baby girl is learning about Family and Love. Thank you, God, for this wonderful gift!!
Now for some developmental milestones---
~Selah has learned to eat solid food, pretty well. ;) She is cutting tooth #9 and does a little chewing, mostly sucking and mashing her table food and some stage 3 baby food.
~Selah learned to clap...and knows what it means (i.e. "Good job, Selah!"). She loves to join in the applause at church or if she sees/hears it on tv.
~Selah is learning to wave hello and goodbye.
~Selah's sense of humor is really developing. She loves to make goofy faces so everyone laughs. She thoroughly enjoys diving her whole body onto anyone laying on the floor. And she finds it extremely amusing to try to feed her bottle to family members, or stick her paci into mama's mouth.
~She recently starting walking! Not a lot, but several steps here and there, until she realizes what she's just done and gets nervous. ;) I suspect it won't be long before we are chasing that short chubby legged girl all around the house!
~Now this is a big one. Selah is learning to sleep through the night!!! What an answer to prayer! Seriously. Going to a comfort a crying child or calm a laughing child several times a night leads to extremely exhausted parents (and big sister, who is also often awakened). It is a challenge to parent effectively, or do anything effectively, for that matter, on little sleep. So I praise God every night Selah sleeps through, or even makes it past 5:00am. We are starting to feel energy again--woot!!
~more to come...