We've started calling Lilah Abeba "The Princess" behind her back. Or actually to her face, but since she doesn't know what we are saying it feels like it's behind her back. :-) It goes something like this:
"Oh, The Princess doesn't want to wear THOSE socks, eh?"
"Daddy, get a napkin. The Princess has something unacceptable on her hands." (like, say, water.)
"Princesses need to wear hair clips AND hair bands? Oh. That's something we didn't know."
She is just so funny! Totally a girly-girl, but then loves to rough house with the boys in all her Princess finery. A great Gower fit if you ask me. But she certainly does have her own opinions on things! And let's just say that the nannies in the orphanage didn't want Princesses to suffer for even one moment, so it seems she was pretty much able to put on her cute little pleading face and do pretty much whatever she wanted to do. So she's got a pretty steep learning curve in front of her when we get home! :-) But over all she is just a joy. She loves to make us laugh and imitate (read: mock) our English! She can pretty much copy cat anything we say- but doesn't quite get all the meanings just yet. But she'll do this thing where I'll say, "Abeba, Mommy said 'no.'" and she'll deliberately mock me in a really silly way like: "Abeba, mamma may mo!" ...and it's pretty funny and it catches me off guard! She has quite the sense of humor.
Friday we met her father. I can't even write about that experience because quite frankly I don't feel like breaking down crying AGAIN. It was powerful and beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. It affected both Mick and I pretty deeply. I think it just worried her. I'm not sure she totally recognized him, and for sure didn't want to go to him. It was hard. Enough said.
There are so many things that I want you to know about her, but I'm tired and haven't really felt good for 2 days now. But I'll put a few bullet points out:
1. She is very independent. Can give herself a bath, put on all her own clothes, fold her towel after drying her hands... It's kinda sad. Like she's had to do so much for herself for so long. Toddlers are independent by nature, but this goes waaaaaay beyond "me do it."
2. I brought some play necklaces and bracelets from home and forgot about them until a couple of days ago. When we found them in the suitcase she immediately put them ALL on and started jumping up and down in front of the mirror saying in Amharic toddler speak: "They brought for me! They brought for me!" (yes, someone had to tell me that's what she was saying) Pretty cute, no?
3. She LOVES to look in the mirror.
4. She LOVES to pretend to put on my makeup.
5. She MUST have chapstick or lipgloss on at all times if possible.
6. She sits very still for like an hour while the staff at our guest house play with her hair! She loves it. But I am HOPELESS with her hair so far. Really. Good thing she likes those headbands b/c you are gonna see her in them a LOT! :-)
7. She has great hand eye coordination. She can take the lid off of her own water bottle, drink from it, put the lid back on, and then tighten it to make sure it's secure. Ben can barely do it as well as she can. (again, with the forced independence.)
8. She actually got me to do something I never thought I would: put make up on a toddler. But she was just so cute asking for just a little eye shadow the other day! And she just loved it so much once I put just a dab on her! Geesh... I'm a totally different mom with her than I have been w/ my boys.
That's all for now. Bed (and maybe some more imodium) are calling, if ya know what I mean. :-/