Above you see Patience on April 9, 2007 and 2008. It's been quite a year for Patience. She's the one we've wanted to strangle more times than any other. When she came home, her English language skills were terrible. She took almost all her cues from Joshua. As a result, when she would get into trouble or need to talk directly to us, we would have extremely frustrating conversations. We didn't realize how little she really understood until Joshua went off to school in September, leaving Mommy and Patience with 7 hours a day to communicate. That first month was brutal until I figured out that she wasn't trying to be horrifically disobedient. She just didn't understand me and wouldn't tell me so. Once I realized that I needed to back way up to converse with her, things improved. Patience still is quite far behind in her speaking skills, but she has come so far. She still doesn't understand everything we say, but she can hear me make a mistake in my speech from a room away. "Mommy, you call Garty Joshua!!" She also picks up on words and phrases that she hears in music and on the radio. After a conversation with the kids about Barack Obama when a door hanger was left for us the day before the primary, she now triumphantly announces his name when she hears it on the news in the car. (She still doesn't pronounce it correctly, but she knows it when she hears it.)
Patience definitely has some emotional issues going on that have expressed themselves in bathroom problems at various times throughout the year. Just when we think she's over having accidents, lying to us about those accidents, and not telling us when she needs to use the bathroom, she has another round of problems. We had a good 2 months or so that ended a few weeks ago. Now we're having problems again. We know this frustration will eventually end, and we just try to encourage her positive behaviors in this regard. We're just thankful there aren't more signs of emotional adjustment issues.
Physically, Patience went from a size 3 last year to a 5 or 6 now! She has gotten very long in her arms and legs. Since we had nothing to do with her physical appearance, I don't think it's conceited to say that she is going to be gorgeous-- tall, thin, great facial features, and beautiful skin. We're going to need to keep a close eye on her as a teenager.
When Patience isn't testing our patience, she is such a joyful girl. She loves to laugh and has such a gorgeous smile now that her 2 front teeth aren't rotting anymore. Her personality has blossomed as her English has improved. She loves to joke and tease. Her favorite trick is to hide things behind her back and tell me that she doesn't know what happened to them. I then say something to the effect of, "Oh no! Where do you think it is?" Patience responds, "I don't know" with very exaggerated arm motions and shoulder shrugs. Then after I worry a little more about the missing item, Patience triumphantly produces it and laughs hysterically. Remember, I didn't say she is funny. She just thinks she is.
Patience was and will always be our cuddler. When she came home she was so starved for attention. She wanted to be held constantly and was inappropriately affectionate with strangers. The first time Joshua and Patience went to a store with me, I talked to a cashier for a moment only to turn around and find them holding hands with the next person in line. The poor woman didn't know what to do! While the extreme neediness has disappeared, Patience will still take any love she can get. She loves to give hugs and kisses. Sometimes she sits on my lap and rubs her face back and forth against my cheeks for no apparent reason. It's a bit weird but sweet. We're pretty sure it's impossible to avoid falling in love with our little girl.