Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Isla!

Isla (pronounced with a silent "s") turned 4 years old two weeks ago.  I really can't believe she is four.  Maybe it's because she still is so little, maybe it's because her speech is a bit delayed, or maybe it's because she loves to be picked up, carried, and cuddled so often; whatever the reason, I'm still a bit in shock that she is 4 years old.

When she was right around 8 weeks old she moved to eastern DR Congo.

She had her passport picture taken (on the kitchen floor on a white towel :)

Along with big sister Natalie, Mommy, and Grammie, she left the U.S. to join Daddy in DRC

She loved life in Congo.  Here is a christmas picture from after her first birthday.  It's in our front yard.  

Isla was (and still is) a very sweet little baby/toddler.  She rarely every threw tantrums, was laid back and just went with the flow.  Because of all the malaria mosquitoes in our house at night she usually ended up sleeping in bed next to me (as I was breast feeding).  If I rolled away from her, she would often pat the bed in her sleep until she found me again and then just put her hand on me as she slept.  She was also very quiet, rarely talking.  Maybe all this is why I made my most regrettable parenting mistake with her when she was 1 1/2 years old.   At that point we were fostering a set of twins that were being adopted to the U.S.  Lauren and Noah were only one month younger than Isla.  And she loved them like siblings.  I really think, in her mind they were her brother and sister and she was a triplet.  They were with us for 6 months.  Well, on the day they left to travel across the country with their new mom, I packed them up in their land-cruiser and told them goodbye.  It was really rushed as we were all running late.   I forgot to tell Isla they were leaving.  I forgot to let Isla tell them good bye.  I didn't tell Isla anything about it.  

And then to make matters worse, I had no idea why she would stand at the door and cry all day, every day, for the next week.  It wasn't until the second week that it finally hit me that she thought they had died.  Her little brother and sister had disappeared on one day and because she couldn't talk, she couldn't tell me that her little heart was broken and she was grieving them day after day.  It took her a long time to get over their absence and I will always regret not taking more time to prepare her for their departure.

Natalie, Isla, Lauren, Noah, Mia, and Ellie (yes, life was just a "little" crazy).
Isla remained her sweet (quiet) quiet self through the next year.  Enjoying life, loving her sisters.

Christmas, two years old.

Finally when she was three, she started talking spontaneously with words we could understand.  Her first sentence, "I'm a monster, and I'm going to eat you up!".  Yes, the sweet little thing has a very vivid imagination and is often making up stories about dragons, monsters, and giant spiders eating her doll's legs.  One day, when I picked her up from preschool, I noticed all the kids with face paint on their faces.  You know, things like butterflies, rainbows, and similar happy pictures.  When Isla turned to me, what did she have on her face?  A skull.  Yup, you read that right, she had a skull on her face.  That's how we roll around here.       

Happy 4 year old birthday, Isla, we love you!

And some final shots of the three littlest girls of the family at christmas, just because they make me smile.  

Mia, Isla, and Ellie


KrisDy Lynn said...

Your girls are precious Holly! Happy birthday Isla!

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday Miss Isla! - Love Rebecca