Esther is doing very well! She has really surprised me. Some of the highlights are:
We have made major improvements in her eating....she is now able to eat most anything, and has preferences of what she does and doesn't like. Her chewing still looks awkward as I think she tries to swallow or mush with her tongue first but she is getting it and popcorn is one of her favorites. One day she ate four handfuls of Fritos-that takes some chewing! She will ask for more food if she's still hungry or pout if someone has something she wants. She still doesn't drink liquids much but has started asking for water on her own and once even got it herself when she brought me a cup and I asked her if she wanted a drink. It no longer takes her forever to swallow it down. She is still very sensitive to extreme temperatures in foods or drinks.
We are working on potty training and even though she hasn't yet been able to tell me when she has to go, she is able to hold it until the next time I have her try. She didn't respond to any kind of bribing motivation (stickers or candy) but praising her when she is dry or when she has gone works very well. I haven't changed a dirty diaper of hers in over 2 weeks!
She's a bouncy girl (loves the trampoline), loves to move and copy what her siblings are doing. She will copy words, hand motions or the games they are doing. I was sitting with my hands folded on top of my growing belly while Esther sat beside me. I look over and she's copying exactly what I was doing. She's quick to smile and has a great sense of humor, responding well to tickles and teasing.
I take her every where I go so we have had lots of opportunities to train and see how she handles grocery shopping, dr apts (hers or others), dentist and eye apts, etc. She does great-no fear like Ben had, unless she's getting a shot.
She is on the growth chart at 5% and is slowly growing. She's only up .8lbs since we had her weighed the first week home but she is also a lot more active now.
Esther loves to brush hair (her doll's or anyone in the house who has hair may find themselves guinea pig, but she is quite gentle!), and is learning how to play with toys.
Her hair is very thick and is slowly growing longer so it doesn't stick straight up in a pony as much as it did a few months ago. I'm looking forward to twin pigtails and mini braids this summer. She is very accepting of hugs and cuddles and will seek it out on her own.
Little things we have been working on are having her dress herself, sitting like a lady with her skirt down, cleaning up her dirty dishes or trash, leaning over her plate and wiping off her face when dirty between bites, not playing with trash, following basic directions, climbing over the gate (that blocks baby Ruth from climbing up the stairs), learning colors, counting and the words to simple songs, getting up into the trampoline on her own, climbing up the ladder and going down the slide on her own, responding with 'hi' when someone says hi to her (she will sign 'I love you' if someone says it to her), getting into/out of the van and buckling the top part of her seatbelt without help...
Speech is coming along. She will say anything you tell her to but her pronunciation isn't always clear. She is NEVER quiet and she chatters a lot but we have no clue what she is saying most of the time. She can name everyone in the family. She will repeat instructions I have given her or one of the other kids to her doll (like 'no rock'-she rocks when she's pouting so I usually ask her to stop, no touch, etc) and she has a good ear for the tunes of songs even if she doesn't know the actual words to it. Her sisters hear her humming familiar songs very early in the morning when she wakes up. She won't get out of bed but she hums and wakes them up, which they aren't quite enjoying, especially those who aren't early risers! I haven't yet heard her ask any questions or try to tell me something directly. She's great at following my instructions if I keep it simple so I know her vocabulary is growing. I have great hope that it won't be long before she is able to communicate with us in English as she learns the words to do so. She has tried getting away with pointing at what she wants and even though I can usually guess, I have her copy the request with words 'can I have a drink please?' etc.
We are working on getting an MRI scheduled next month to check her back, her ears cleaned out and hearing rechecked in June and a blood draw to recheck thyroid level again. The dentist didn't go well on round two either, so we are working on warming her up to that. Two of her front teeth have come in since she has come home, unfortunately behind her baby teeth, which are no where close to being ready to come out now that nothing is behind them to push them up. Those will likely have to be pulled out. She does well with me brushing her teeth for her but she hasn't figured out how to spit yet.
Esther is a sweetheart, full of personality and we are blessed to have her as our daughter! Can't wait to see her progress over the next three months :)
Meanwhile, we are trying to finish up school and prepare for the arrival of our baby boy this summer!