Is a mess.
And I mean that in the best way possible. Usually.
She is spunky.
And "too much."
She is wearing size 3 and 4t clothes currently, size 6 diapers, and has just outgrown size 6 toddler shoes.
We call her Abigail, Abby-girl, and Sister. She calls herself "Abidail."
She wakes up at about 7 a.m. every morning (or a few minutes before that). She lays down right after lunch and takes a 3-4 hour nap (!!!). And then she and Gabriel both go down to sleep for the night at 7 p.m. (or as close as we can get to that).
Abigail is into everything. Floss. Toilet paper. She helps herself to water from the Berkey water filter (usually, but not always, making a mess in the process). She has been caught trying to start the gas stove...with the lighter (one of the problems of a toddler being TALL, she can reach everything). And here is her latest mischief - from just this morning:
|E was making coconut milk, and A decided to turn the blender on herself. This picture can't fully illustrate the mess on the floor, and cabinets...and Abigail.|
Because of everything in this previous paragraph, we do not leave Abigail alone. Like, ever. So that means that during school hours someone is always with her - either me, while the biggest 4 are doing independent work...or one of the four bigs if I am with another big doing one-on-one school time.
I am planning to work with her more this summer (famous last words?) to train her to play independently for a little bit at a time (30 minutes?), in a way that will keep her and our house safe.
I am also planning to start working on potty-training in the next couple of weeks, now that we're done with school. I think she is ready (more famous last words?), and would already be potty-trained by now if I had worked with her already. She is very interested in training and using the potty...and she is VERY interested in the Frozen undies I bought for her ("Let it doe...let it DOE!!").
Abigail loves music and singing. She will break out in song as we're riding along in the van, singing along with all the Contemporary Christian songs playing on the radio. It is so precious!
She also loves reading.
|She is reading Girl of Mine here.|
And playing with her little dolls.
Some of her current favorite books are Goodnight Moon, Belly Button Book, and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? .
|Enjoying LK reading Mr. Brown...|
Abigail loves the chickens. She gets so excited every evening when she knows it is time to head out to do chicken chores.
She loves feeding them....
...and helping with them.
I try to distract her from wanting to help actually carry the eggs into the house....because the eggs sometimes get the worse end of that deal.
I have to watch her carefully when she is throwing chicken feed around, otherwise it ends up in her hair.
I like it better when she just dumps it out into one pile...like here:
Abigail was trying to hold feed out to one chicken here...
...but when all the other chickens ran over and dove in, she got onto them and yelled, "No!"
And then turned around and walked away proudly..."I told them!":
|Notice the chicken feed dust on her left cheek.|
Abigail loves wearing her backpack:
These pictures show the very first day she ever wore jeans. Size 4t. So cute on her...but they make her look so grownie!
Abigail is (most of the time) a very good eater. She is not usually picky, and if she doesn't eat something good at one meal...she usually decides it looks ok after all, when she gets that same plate back at the next meal. (wink)
We have intentionally handled mealtime differently with Abigail than we did with Gabriel. When Gabriel began GAPS at 19-mos. old, we were afraid he would make a mess with soup, so we fed him. That wasn't a good way (to put it nicely) to train him to eat independently. So we let Abigail feed herself...messy soups and all.
And she actually does a pretty good job.
But we always cover her belly/lap with a kitchen towel AND use a bib. They end up a mess...but it is totally worth it...and we certainly think she'll end up a better/neater eater quicker.
|This is a smile|
Abigail is very much a girly-girl. She loves having earrings in. (Now if she will only leave them in and not take them out and lose them!)
She loves having her fingernails painted:
|This is a smile|
|Showing off her pretty nails to LK|
Abigail loves looking "preetty". So it actually wasn't too hard when I had to switch out her winter clothes for summer clothes....because she didn't mind trying all the pretty stuff on:
Wow. What a journey we have been on with hair this past year.
The above picture was taken yesterday. The next two pictures below were taken April 2015 (a year ago) when I first began doing "protective" styles on A's hair.
Looking at the difference in the lengths of the braids gives me some encouragement.
|This is a smile|
I must be doing something right for her hair to be retaining length.
I have learned so much through the hair/skin care groups I'm in on FB. I don't know what/where I'd be without the wisdom the "WOC" (women of color) share on there. (And the wisdom from the other "WAP" (white adoptive parents) who have been at this longer than me). (I didn't make up any of these abbreviations...just reporting the facts)
I have also learned so much from experience this past year. Mostly I've learned what NOT to do again. What things seem to leave her hair feeling drier (not good/healthy). What looks/styles I don't care for on her. Even looking through these photos for this post is helping to cement in my mind things I want to do different in the future...and never do again.
My go-to style is random (or "asymmetrical") parts, into ponies with braids. Usually 5-8 on her head. (This is a simple style that is very culturally appropriate...seen on precious little black girls all over, around our area anyway. I probably see ponies into twists (or jumbo twists) just as much...but braids hold much better and longer than twists do on A's hair). It is simple to do...but still probably takes me about 40 minutes to install. This style will usually last at least 3-4 days now, and sometimes I can push it a little longer.
What I have been working on lately has been cornrows. I so badly want to get this down. When done well (which I have done a time or two), these will last a whole week...which is great for our time, and healthier for her hair (less manipulation).
|My inspiration for this style found HERE|
I have the basic mechanics of cornrows down, but I need to learn how to do it quicker, neater...and less fuzzy. Right when I finish the braids, they sometimes look more like 3-4 day old braids, instead of fresh-off-the-presses. Is it my technique? Am I not using the right products? Probably a combination of both.
|Ugh...it is hard to even post this.|
I am determined to get this down. I can't pass along to Abigail how to take care of and style her beautiful hair if I don't know.
I have been very impressed with Abigail's increasing ability to sit for her hair sessions. She used to get antsy near the end of a 30-40 minute session. Now she can do amazingly well when I do a whole head of cornrows, which can take me 3-4 hours (it shouldn't take that long, but it does right now).
And then....I have to take her styles back OUT.
Here are pictures of the most recent de-installation, a few days ago:
I use a rat-tail comb, and lots of patience:
If I got impatient (waves hand), I could very easily break off the ends of her hair, and quickly lose much-sought after length.
This session took me about an hour. But she was all smiles.
What a trooper!
What would we do without this girl?
You can't help but smile when she is around...and up to her usual antics.
She is never still (which makes picture-taking interesting for this total novice.)
And full of adventure and mischief.
She very quickly wormed her way right into all our hearts...and is there to stay.