I've been taking the twins to Katy's pre-school on Wednesdays so I can spend the day with Katy and the girls have been doing very well interacting with the other kids (as expected) and also with following directions and participating in activities. When I drop them off we exchange hugs and kisses and they head straight to the table to begin their activities always seeming to be very excited to get started. When I pick them up, they're usually out playing with the other kids and I stand there until they notice me which is usually only a few seconds. I'm very happy to say that once they do notice me they come running and squealing and jump into my arms and give me big squeezes. Camryn has always been much more demonstrative then Courtney and usually sees me first but once Courtney sees me she comes running too and jumps into my arms. She is such a copy cat that I'm not sure if she would come running on her own if she were to spot me first but I really think she would. Things at school are going so well and they're gaining so much from their time there that I'm going to start taking them on Mondays too for a few hours.
Both girls are very affectionate - they love to be held and will lay down on me for long periods of time. Camryn can lay there for a long time while Courtney gets a little fidgety after a while but still likes it. Courtney's a little monkey and likes to climb up on me and wrap her legs very tightly around me. She's so light that it's no effort on my part to hold her! This is a kid who didn't know what to do with her legs or arms while being held just a couple of months ago. They both just mold into me now when they lay down and they're always considerate of each other and make room. They don't make room for Katy however and, in fact, if Katy is laying with me then Camryn gets a little jealous and tries to squeeze in between. They both like kisses - they like getting them, they like giving them, they like blowing them and they like mimic-ing them. Courtney is so cute and puckers up her little lips while Camryn doesn't bother with the puckering a lot and often just gives teeth kisses! They're both so sweet and loving that it's a boggling to me how they managed to survive the institutional environment without losing that desire.
I think things are going well as far as our attachment and bonding is going and with the "catch up" in their development. I was concerned about the amount of time they were forced to spend in the orphanage and the difficulties in adopting "older" children. I, by no means, feel that we're totally "out of the woods" but I do not think that attachment difficulties are going to be a big issue for us with the exception of allowing it to grow normally. Both girls are open and willing to participate in a loving relationship which is a great relief to me.
Other notable improvements:
Both girls had a wandering eye although Courtney's was much more noticeable then Camryn's. Camryn's has pretty much been gone since getting home except for when she's tired. Courtney's was still pretty noticeable up until last week when after doing prescribed exercises for a couple of weeks it seems to have pretty much disappeared. She looks straight at you now and both eyes seem equally strong. I thought we might have to put a patch on her but she actually has very good vision and the eye doctor doesn't see any problems there.
Courtney is not exhibiting much of the autistic behavior that she was earlier. The only real hand flapping that I see now is in my rear view mirror when the music is on. She's conducting back there and when I start snapping my fingers I can see her doing it too! She loves music and her favorites right now are "itsy-bitsy spider" and "twinkle twinkle little star". She pretty much is singing during all of her down time.
Both girls have very good appetites and seem to have adapted quickly to the eating habits around here. Courtney seems to be a bigger eater than Camryn although they both vary day to day which is just as they should be doing. I don't worry anymore if one doesn't eat much of a meal as I know now that they're not starving or malnourished any longer.
I feel all is going well here for now and everybody has settled in. Everyday I think things get a little better and, at times, a little easier. Things aren't so new anymore and we're all in enough of a routine that life is seeming to be a lot more calm and relaxed. No more stress and unexpected surprises - the twins know what to expect now as do Katy and I which makes a big difference in the ease and enjoyment of our days.
Katy is doing great as well and loves having sisters. She's really mellowed out a lot with them and has learned how to temper her advances - she's not such a "bull" around them now (usually) and is actually very sweet with them at times. She misses them on our days without them but I know she actually likes our special days as well. She loves being the "big" sister (she's actually quite small!) and tells me daily of some of the benefits of being the big sister. She also has really gotten into helping me with dinner, helping get her sisters dressed in the morning, etc. which has changed her a lot.
So, I'm pretty happy with the way things are going and, now that I'm feeling better (had a bad head cold that sapped every ounce of energy I had, or so it seemed), I feel very optimistic and excited about our days ahead. It's such a joy to watch all 3 girls grow and learn while our relationships get stronger every day. Can't really think of anything that beats it!