Yep, it's official! This girl is certifiably NUTS! Which means that she is going to fit right in with the rest of the family!
Last night, as we were leaving the hotel restaurant after dinner, Alexis asked the waiter "Who made the food?" He told her that the chef had made the food and asked Alexis if she would like to meet her. Alexis said yes, of course, and we went back to the kitchen to meet the chef.
We went back down to the restaurant for dinner tonight and, as we finished our meal, Alexis asked the waiter (a different one tonight) if she could speak with the chef. The waiter agreed and we went back to the kitchen to say hello and Alexis told the chef that she had enjoyed her salad and shared the events of the day with her. She obviously made an impression because, shortly after we had returned to our table, the waiter emerged from the kitchen with complimentary cake for each of us from the chef (and it was YUMMY)!
We made three more visits to the kitchen before we headed back up to our room this evening :-) And Alexis learned about ice, tried some cooked squash (also complimentary. . and she gobbled it up) and insisted that she "call" her daddy on the kitchen phone!
As we were preparing to leave, two German gentlemen (whom she had introduced herself to last night at dinner) came down to have dinner and Alexis hurried over to tell them about her day and that she had gotten to eat cake (they speak German and English, but no Bulgarian so I translate for everyone!). She then proceeded to do "Cheers" with them. . .over and over and over again!
Throughout the evening Alexis would call to the waiter and demand things of him (have I mentioned that she is BOSSY!?) such as, "I want to listen to music," "I need to speak with the chef," "Bring me some fries," etc. He was such a good sport (though I actually suspect that she had him wrapped completely around her finger ) and I made sure to tip him well!
This girl has SO much life and personality. She keeps me constantly entertained! I marvel at how well she is adjusting to the major changes in her life and how smoothly she is already adjusting. Having adopted four children prior to Alexis, I firmly believe, at this point, that this is the "calm before the storm" with her, but I think that her transition into her new life will go very smoothly in comparison to some of our other children.
Having observed her in her orphanage with the other children there on several ocassions (and also many children this week), I have come to the conclusion that she was likely the "top dog" in the group of children she lived with. She is used to being able to tell people what to do, to acquire the toys that she is interested in when she is interested in them, etc. without the objection of others. That is going to change when she gets home and I think this is where she will struggle the most. We have MANY strong personalities in our family and I can already tell you that they will NOT tolerate being bossed around, having toys taken from them, etc.
I am especially grateful that we have had the opportunity to spend time with other children this week and I have had a chance to observe her interactions with them because it has definitely given me a chance to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
Lily has had many of these same struggles (as I mentioned before, many children from orphanages have no concept of personal property since everything at the orphanage is usually community property and the children have no personal possessions), but she has made HUGE strides in this area and I know that Alexis will too.
Although Alexis can be bossy and has a difficult time with sharing and understanding personal property, she is a very compassionate little girl. She may struggle with sharing toys, but she ALWAYS shares her food. In fact, she will usually offer what she has to others first, before she eats anything herself. She is also very concerned when others are upset and is quick to respond with hugs/kisses and words of affirmation.
She still pushes her boundaries often, but she is quickly learning that mommy is in charge and that it is important to listen to what mommy says. Although I don't worry as much about attachment issues with her, I came to the conclusion today (after observing her with Toni's brother, Marty) that we will still need to limit interactions with other adults until she is firmly attached to mommy and daddy. While we were at the Embassy for her visa interview today, Marty was playing with her (he is SO great with the kids) and after awhile she started hugging and kissing him, asking him to hold her and to sit on his lap and, eventually, even calling him daddy. Marty, of course, corrected her and told her it was time to go and sit with mommy, but it definitely reinforced to me the importance of Richard and I being the primary caregivers and the primary adult interaction that she has until she is firmly attached and understands that WE are her mommy and daddy (a concept which is still foreign). We will get there, but we will have to be vigilant in order to help her to learn to form healthy attachments.
I feel SO blessed to have Alexis in our family. She is a shining star and she keeps me smiling (and on my toes!). She is such a "perfect fit" and it just reminds me that, each and every one of the children in our family has been hand-picked by our Heavenly Father to be part of this family!