It's been a busy week here as we continue to settle into our new family of four. Ellen is doing remarkably well for having so many changes thrown at her at once. She's picking up English extremely quickly, and sometimes I have to remind myself not to speak in sentences that are too complicated-- it's easy to forget that she doesn't understand everything.
She won't usually tell us when she doesn't understand though, which makes for some frustrating moments on both sides. Usually if she doesn't understand what I'm saying, she'll just answer "Yes" to it and hope that was the right answer. I found out a few days ago that the poor girl hadn't understood my explanation of how to turn on the shower during our initial tour of the house, and so she had actually been taking baths and then washing her hair in the sink the last few weeks rather than ask me. She'd never used a bathtub before coming here, and I thought she was just taking baths because she liked them and not because she didn't know how to turn on the shower. Cue the Bad Mommy Guilt Trip Syndrome.
But I'm happy to say she now understands how to use the shower, and as a result the personal hygiene standards have gone way up around here. I was having a hard time figuring out why I was having to push her to wash her hair when she was taking two showers a day in Thailand. Problem solved. Hooray!
She comes from a culture and environment that doesn't encourage her to ask for help or admit she doesn't understand something (and also she's a teenager), so it's probably going to take her some time before we're able to bring home the fact that she's not only allowed to ask questions, but encouraged to do so. It's something we'll keep working on. In the meantime I'll keep asking her to repeat explanations back to me to make sure she understands. It annoys the bejeezus out of her, but at least I know she's gotten what I'm saying.
She had a friend come over to hang out for the first time this weekend, which was pretty exciting for her. It was neat to see the girls getting along so well, and I got to see a few new things from Ellen in the process-- she demonstrated some of her magic tricks and taught her friend a dance she'd made up to a Thai music video. Her friend taught her the "chicken dance" and the "hokey-pokey," so she's now prepared for pretty much any roller skating rink session ever. She's a quick study. Right now when she's with me she's really shy around groups of kids, but it's obvious that she's naturally outgoing and I suspect that once she has more English she'll dive right in to the social scene.
We're definitely having our "teenage" moments, and also I am going to have to get used to spending a lot more time at the mall (we spent four and a half hours there this weekend "just looking") but for the most part things are going really well.
Connor, I'm sad to say, is not doing so well. He had five seizures yesterday-- all the new kind-- and he's not sleeping well. They're slowly getting more frequent and longer. He keeps waking up to have a seizure at two or three in the morning and then having a hard time getting back to sleep. I wasn't going to take him to school this morning since he had such a rough night (and had already had a seizure today), but he woke up around seven thirty and insisted that he wanted to go. So I ended up taking him in, since he's not sick and evidently wasn't going to catch up on sleep even if I kept him home. I've got a call in to the neurologist, and hopefully we'll hear back from him soon. I'm wondering if these seizures are a different type, and if his medication needs to be changed as a result. We'll see what the neurologist has to say.
At least he hasn't caught Ellen's cold yet. She's had the sniffles for about a week, and one of his nurses was out with the flu earlier in the week. The last thing he needs is to get sick on top of this whole seizures mess.
Hope he feels better soon!
5 days ago