Friday, September 5, 2008

My colorful 4 year old

My little Katie is learning the difference between

Will you hold me, please?
Will you help me, please?

Both of which are almost always a resounding YES.

She's also learning her colors.
She knows the words to say a color but is having a hard time understanding that this yellow crayon is and always will be yellow.

She will guess a color, looking up in the corner of her eye to pull a color name out of her brain and announce: BLUE!
She get's all excited looks at me for confirmation that she's correct.

I will tell her in a fun loving way, "Noooooooooo it's yeeellllllooooowwww". She repeats my word saying yellow in the same way I say it (sing-songy)

Then I will put it on the ground in front of her, pick it right back up and say "What color is this?" and she will say "ummmm, Pink!"

I don't get upset and God has graced me with patience.
Though, I get confused sometimes. Is she color blind? Is she faking it?

But I know she's not color blind because I did a little test-game.
I put 2 blue blocks, 2 red blocks and 2 yellow blocks in a pile and mix them up (scattered on the floor in a small little area).

I will pick up a blue block and say "here is a BLUE block." She repeats me. Then I will say "Can you find the OTHER blue block?" and she instantly goes and gets it's mate. I can do this with all the colors. So I know she's not color blind.

So then I wonder, hm, is she faking it? Does she love the individual time with mom so much that she makes up wrong answers to keep me there engaged? For peets sake the girl goes to the bathroom with me, so not sure how she could be feeling like she needs more time with me.

Velcro baby.
Saran Wrap baby.
Always clinging.

But of course, I know I've got a 4 year old who's been through more in her little life than it seems anyone should ever have to go through in a lifetime. Death of a mother. Abandonment by her father. 2 years at an orphanage. Life in an impoverished country. Then, a move to America.

So I play a similar game a few days later with 1 red block, 1 blue block and 1 yellow block.
We go through all three colors together repeating and touching the blocks having a great time being together.
Then I will pick one up and say "What color is this?"
"uummm greeeen"

Okay. We don't even have a green block in this game. We haven't said the word green since Wednesday. I test her by looking a little annoyed thinking that maybe my annoyance isn't worth faking it. I say gently but in an annoying way "Katie. What color is this?" As if to say, C'mon, you know the right answer, what is it?

She looks a little puzzled and says, now in a whisper, "uummmm, green?"
Okay, silly girl. That's the same wrong answer. Whispering it doesn't make it more correct.

I lift my eyebrows, give her a look that says "try again".
And she says "Yellow."

"Sweet girl, it's Red."
She falls over backwards laughing and says "oooh, it's red." in a way that sounds like Oh, yeah, of course it's red!

While preparing for Adoption, I knew I'd be up against some hard things in life. What exactly those hard things would be was always an unknown. So it limited my preparation to read up on the exact and specific issues and how to handle them.

However, I assumed that there would be learning delays. So even though I don't know exactly where my children may be delayed, I am expecting them somewhere, somehow in their learning ability.

My research tells me that almost all children who grow up in an institutional environment experience at least some form of developmental delays but these delays can be rectified through special attention and/or therapy.

Right now I'm going to be giving my girls very.special.attention.
Oh so special.
Specially lovingly.
Specially patiently.
Specially prayerfully.

I'm not worried. I know Katie will learn her colors eventually.
Just like I did with Amy when she was little, I will narrate our day and identify the colors of everything we're touching or looking at as if it's normal conversation.

"Good morning, Katie. Here, come sit on the blue couch with mommy and we'll snuggle with this red blanket."

"Time for lunch, Katie. This red cup is yours, this blue one is Amy's and this yellow one is Yolanta's."

"Good night, Katie. Oooooh, I like your pink pajamas!"

After a while, after more games, after more healthy nutrition to help her brain function better, she'll get them.

I will help you, baby. I will hold you, baby.


Blessed Mama of 4 said...

She'll get it... if it isn't until she's 6 or 7, that might seem like something to be concerned about now, but in 10 years, it won't make any difference. A loving home that encourages and supports will take her further than knowing her colors at the age of 4.

And she's way too cute...

Youthful One said...

She's a smartie!

I'm sure it has more to do with all that she has been through than anything else. The language change/challenge alone is something else, on top of the many other major issues she's faced in her short little life.

How very delightful to enjoy such a game with such a precious love!

How even more delightful to answer her helping and holding requests with a yes!

Tiffany said...

I bet it is more of a language thing than an inability to identify the colors. With her parroting habits I bet she will catch on quickly!

So much to take in and memorize in only two months... and they are doing SO well. It is truly amazing.

The Haiti Lady said...

This is the EXACT same thing Nikaya does to me...she is 4 years 4 months. I just had her tested for preschool and she shows delays in Concepts (colors, shapes, items are on, in, around, on top of etc...) The Preschool teacher said that often times kids learn these types of concepts when they are 1-3 years of age in daily life...having been with Bparents that do not communicate like we do, orhanage life etc, can cause this switch to be slower to activate. I would say that if it continues after they have been home for over 1 year, I would seek help outside of the home.

christa jean said...

God chose well when He chose you to be her mother.

SuperDave said...

1 fish
2 fish
I wish I knew fish.

ohhollyf said...

My son does this and if i hadn't seen him do it in the orphange I'd never believe it, LOL
The "nanny" was teaching a simple task while I observed, he couldn't do until she walked out the door, then when she came back he cound no long accomplish the task. He still does it at age 6, because he desires the extra attention.Sometimes I don't mind, others I call him out on it.
He also has a speech delay and visual understanding trouble, but he has a heart of gold :)

Molly W. said...

You are an amazing mom Julie, 3 blessed girls you have there.