Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Ballerina Princess is Seven Years Old!

At lunch today we were re-living the early days of my little Ballerina Princess.  

First there was the time that she bit Lawyer/Social advocate Boy.  It was the day after she came home from Kazakhstan and she found a small toy that was truly something she shouldn't play with.  He saw her holding it, took it from her hand and as he was replacing it with a more age appropriate toy, she leaned over and took a nice big chomp out of his thigh.

"She bites!" He screamed in terror.  Poor boy.  It was his second biting sister.  

Ballerina Princess, of course, was only defending what she thought was rightfully hers.  After spending 4 long weeks visiting her at her orphanage, I knew that she was very used to bigger children simply snatching food and toys away from her.  The reaction was not unfounded, but still had to be corrected.  Correcting someone with such puffy cheeks and tender spirit is not a very nice job!  Plus, she cries so easily! 

Not long after that, was her land mark visit to the zoo.  We were all looking at the Rhinos, who had nicely decided to pose for the crowd as close as they could to the viewing area.  People were "oooing" and "ahhing" and taking pictures.  My Ballerina just raised  her pinkie (a function of club hand -- she points with her pinky!) and said,  "THAT RHINO!  HE AIN"T GOT NO BELLY BUTTON!".  That's when I realized that she is turly cuteness incarnate.  

Then there were the Cinderella years.  Starting at about 2 1/2 she fell in love with the Disney version of Cinderella.  When she had her second hand surgery at Shriner's, the nurse came in and asked her what her favorite movie was.  

"Tinderewlla" she replied without hesitation.  

I was shocked because she had only seen the movie one other time, and that was 3 months earlier during her first stay at Shriner's.  We ended up watching the movie over 20 times during the next 5 hand surgeries.  Each and every time she laughed at Gus the mouse when he accidentally shouted "Happy Birthday" to Cinderella upon giving her their homemade ball gown.

"Hahaha! He still thinks it's her birthday!" she said at least 20 times.  

It wasn't funny after the third viewing.  It became like a training session of self discipline for me.  How many times could I watch the same movie with the same kid having the same reaction and not rip open the DVD player and smash the disc?  

At least 20.  

When she was barely three she was picking out fashion accessories that went with her clothes.  Shoe shopping with her was an absolute hoot. The flashier the shoe the better (was that early Russian influence in her life?)  She would pick her dresses according to her play -- what matched what.  Flip flops were love at first sight.  In fact, there is still a sparkly pink one stuck in mud somewhere in the woods behind our house!

She quickly showed us that she is elegant and graceful.  Rob has even noted that she pukes gracefully.  One night at dinner we tried to convince her that she really does like lima beans.  After putting a few in her mouth, she turned toward Rob, gracefully moved her arm to second position, tilted her head and the puke merely rolled forward out of her mouth like ribbons flying in the wind around a maypole.

Okay, maybe the other kids wouldn't describe it that way, but it sure did look like that to me.  And, that was her miss. Usually she's on top of the action when it comes to puking.  This kid has actually started to puke and HELD IT IN HER MOUTH while she ran to the toilet!  A virtually mess free puker, every mother's dream. 

Now that she's seven, though, things have changed.  For instance, she no longer likes dresses because they are too hard to play in, according to her.  Although give her a couple bottles of nail polish and some good light and she and Nappy are occupied for hours.

She still loves to dance and performed in her second ballet recital this past spring.  However, she's also joined swim team and confessed to me that she might like swimming even more than ballet!  

And, her favorite movie is now "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" rather than Cinderella.  

I expected her to change.  She was a sullen, sad child when we first me her.  For over two weeks of visits to the orphanage, she wouldn't even make eye contact with us.  She would stand with her hands in fists, scowling at the floor.  If we held her it was like holding a plank of wood as she would hold her self so tensely.  Both Rob and I thought that we had months, even possibly years, of attachment therapy ahead of her.  However, I'll never forget the day I took her out of the orphanage.  I swear I could see the shackles fall off her and she began to heal on that very day. 

Now, she's a kid who spends her days adding sweetness to everything, but is also not afraid to tell an older sibling "You wanna knuckle sandwich?" when she's mad at them.  She loves to draw pictures of herself, mommy and daddy, all holding hands and standing, of course, under a rainbow.  The sun is shining in her pictures, in fact it often even has a smiley face.  

So, to my button-pushing, plumbing-loving, gadget-playing, engineering-slanted, math loving, swimming, dancing, beautiful girl, "Happy Birthday!  I thank God everyday for the day your were born!".


Lorraine said...

Happy birthday to a girl who is beautiful inside and out!

Amy said...

She is 7 already?! So hard to believe. My baby turns 4 in a couple weeks here. Where does the time go?