Every day I "write" posts in my mind that I'd like to put on the blog. Unfortunately, they've had to stay in my mind as I've not had the time to get them down on the computer. Again -- unfortunately, I've just about forgotten what they are now that I have managed to get to the computer!! :)
I just took a couple of minutes to think back over the week. By far 2 things stand out as making a difference to keeping me sane:
This is Teddy's English teacher. She is such a nice lady, and really did a good job with him over the summer. She was at the orphanage when we picked him up, and stood to wave good-bye with the caretakers as we drove away. Her help got him a really good start on communication with us. More than anything, I think -- teaching him the words and phrases that she did simply helped him to grasp the idea that we really could not understand him. Of course, he still tries often with little monologues that we understand little or none of!! But, he really has never gotten frustrated at the language barrier, and he is very eager to practice the words he knows, and use the English phrases with us.
One day early last week while we were still at the hotel in Sofia, Teddy had LOTS of watermelon for breakfast. I took every opportunity for teaching English, so he practiced the word 'watermelon' a couple of times when I said it. The next morning, he had watermelon again, and proudly pointed to it and said, "watermelon!" OH WOW-- I thought -- what a fast learner! He'll have no problem at all with learning language!! I only said that word one time and he remembers it beautifully! I was SO impressed! Then, later that morning while back in the room, I came across the page of notebook paper that his teacher had given me at the orphanage the morning we got him. It was all of the words and phrases that she had been working with him on. I hadn't really taken the time to look through it completely. I glanced down through the list of 'food' vocabulary, and there was the word, "watermelon!!" Oh well, -- who knows how many times he had heard the word as his teacher was helping him to learn.... but, no problem... I was just glad that he was using what she had taught him!!! :) That list that she had given me seems to have given him just the push he has needed to jump in really easily this week with our family.
The second biggest help by far (and maybe these two are not exactly ranked in order!) is: Home Ec class!!! Before I left for Bulgaria, I had written down as many quick and easy recipes as I could think of, along with all of the ingredients needed. We had agreed that Anna and Sarah would choose the menu for our first week of school and our first week with Teddy as a member of the household. They would go grocery shopping before Dan, Teddy and I got home, and would be responsible for cooking dinner at noon each day. That would give me approximately an extra hour of 'school time' each day. All of the girls -- Rachel included -- have always enjoyed cooking and have helped me in the kitchen a lot. They have cooked meals many times at various occasions, so here was a chance to get school "credit" for it!! In past years, we would make random days special "home ec" days, and would do only baking and cooking together. But, we decided that this year Anna and Sarah would actually let their skills get them a school credit as an elective. They'll be doing other projects as well using sewing and craft skills, but this week, all of their work went into helping mom have an easier time of life!! It was wonderful not to have to think about planning the meal, thawing the meat, or doing the cooking! Dan always comes home at noon for his lunch break ... it's wonderful to be close enough to his office that he can do that... and he always wants more than just a sandwich to get him through the rest of the day. So, he stayed happy with the schedule, and I had time freed up to keep a close eye on everything Teddy was eager in doing.