When we got Julia back to the hotel, she was still just taking it all in. The first thing she did was sit in one of the chairs at the small foyer table and start rocking, a bit confused and scared. We took our coats off and that began to ease her nerves a bit to realize that all of us were getting settled here, at least for the time being. The rocking stopped and she got up to start checking everything out. She walked behind us from room to room, again just trying to take it all in. She saw her favorite backpack and it was a welcome distraction for her. She went back a bit to the routine of take it all out, play for a second and put it back in.
Once she started to seem more at ease, I took the opportunity to pack our bags. It took some gradual progress because that started to make her worry too. We realized that packing up the camera in the backpack was always the sign to her at the orphanage that we were leaving. I am sure her poor little heart was panicking all over again. They took me here to a place I don't know and now they are leaving again?!? We rocked with her and comforted her and soon we had her helping to show her that it something that the three of us were doing together.
It wasn't too long before she was momma's little helper, following me from room to room and helping me bag up anything that might leak in our travels. :)
Peculiar thing that we are still trying to figure out--she HATES the thought of the stroller. Not entirely sure why, but whenever we had to move it--let alone trying to put her in it just once--she protests in a big way. The saddest whines and hands on her head and everything. Good thing she is a whopping 26 lbs so it's not too cumbersome to carry her for a bit.
Anyways, back on track--we had everything packed up and ready to head for the train by 9:45. Our driver made sure we got to the right place and helped us load all of our bags in. We were so grateful for this because we were told that this train was coming from the Crimean Sea and this was not the first stop so the train would only be at the station for five minutes. Talk about pressure when you are loading two adults and a six year old with a month's worth of belongings onto a train! We got on and got settled and Julia was, again, all smiles! We got her changed into pajamas, nestled her a little bed in between the benches and we were on our way to Kiev.
This was the first time we were really exposed to her rocking as a self-soothing thing. She happily climbed down onto her little bed and then it began. It was so intense to see and it seemed like I could actually feel my heart hurting for her. She grabs onto her ear, arches her neck and rocks herself like a baby. It just engulfed me in emotion to see and I was almost immediately crying. I knew to expect some kind of behavior and we are SO grateful that it is nothing self-destructive but it is still just so....almost excruciating to see. I know that for her it is just a behavior--a habit as normal to her as letting my hair down to sleep is for me. But to see it and to know why she does it and how her story led to her needing to comfort herself to sleep, there was no joy that soon she'd outgrow it or relief that she had parents to comfort her now. It was just hurt for her little heart and all those years that no one's heart hurt for her.
Robert rocked with her for a bit to try and settle her down though she really did not seem upset. She was content with it and when he decided to lay her down, she went back into rocking and was asleep pretty quickly.
When they knocked on our door in the morning to tell us that Kiev was the next stop, I woke up to a smiling happy girl in her little bed.
She was so happy to wake up with us and rode the last hour of the train like a champ! No motion sickness, no fussing. Just excited to be there and be with Mom and Dad.