Daniela has developed a really cool relationship with Peter over the past two weeks. She has interacted very well with him and he with her. She has taken to mimicking his vocalizations (we call them whale noises) and playing keep-away with his beloved and well-worn pillow. She teases him in a way only a sister could get away with – hiding her food from him when he approaches, taking the front seat and relegating him to the rear seat in the car, and playfully taking his food away from him and taunting him with it. Peter adores her!
Today, Daniela got up, ate breakfast and got ready for church without one prompt from us. When we got to church she intentionally left her phone/music/games in the car (a first). She interacted with others in the congregation and she seemed to be listening to the message. that is, she seemed to be listening when she wasn’t playing with and poking at Peter. She would jokingly and playfully pushing him away when he got to close to her on the pew. All the attention made him very happy!
After church, we carted Peter off to his camp for the week. It’s his vacation from us nagging parents telling him to pick up his clothes, slow down and mind his manners at the dinner table. HE’S FREE! He was very excited to be there but we weren’t quite sure how she was going to react to his being away for the week. Was she going to isolate in her room? Was dinner going to be as entertaining without Peter there (she commented at breakfast that he eats so fast because he is afraid someone will take his food away from him)?
Funny aside – one of Peter’s special needs cohorts at camp seemed to have a special attraction to Eileen (he kept repeating “Peter’s mom”). Then when she was bent over the dufflebag as she was unloading it, her friend came and stood right behind her staring at the exposed skin on the small of her back. I wasn’t appreciating that attention so I stepped in the breach, reminded him that I was her husband and redirected his attention to the other end of the room. I think those few seconds just made his week!!
We get home and Eileen made spaghetti at Daniela’s request. She was immediately taken to task for breaking the spaghetti as she put it in the pot (Daniela and I concur on this point). Daniela took over the reins and finished making her spaghetti with cheddar cheese, margarine and ketchup! It was gross but Eileen was a trooper and ate a small portion. I was fortunate to have been at the grocery store when all this was happening. Dodged a bullet there!
Later, Daniela asked to download some music using the computer. I readily agreed and got her started. She was doing great except when it came to searching for some Russian songs – our computer doesn’t have a Cyrillic alphabet. So I showed her how to use a virtual Russian keyboard and then copy and paste it in the music search engine. Voila! She was very pleased. But wait, there’s more. After an hour or two of downloading she turned and asked via translator app if she could make something sweet and delicious for us! We enthusiastically approved and she went hunting on the internet for recipes. Tomorrow is Napoleon Pastry Pie and Tuesday is Potato Pancakes!!!
We went out to grab a little light dinner and while there something magical seemed to occur. I believe we had the beginnings of light dinner conversation in broken Latvian on our part and some English on her part!! WOW!! Eileen called me a “pensionars” – senior citizen – and Daniela and she laughed (so did I). Then Daniela said “Do you speak English?” fluently. This was immediately followed up with us saying “Kas jauns?” – What’s up? Daniela responded with “I am a tourist” and “I’ve lost my traveling companion.” We laughed and laughed as Peter – her traveling companion – was away for the week.
All in all an outstanding beginning to the week.