Friday, June 29, 2012

Forecast = Storms

 If you read my blog, you know I keep it real. I share, because I want families starting out to understand this is a long journey. For the millionth time, this is the stuff I wanted to know before we traveled. I knew the attachment issues in the first days home, but what happens after three or four years?  And I can answer for all the sunshine and rainbows are storms. Sometimes they come in and pass quickly with a light sprinkle. Other times they create a torrential down poor.  It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Sidney’s emotional state regress. It was a reminder my tough survivor is equally fragile. 

Sometimes I can identify the trigger, and other times, I’m not so lucky. Typically, it’s a sight, sound, or smell. During those times, I remember as hard as it is to watch it all unfold, it’s healing. She’s working through something. As quickly as it moves through, I see the sun peaking out from behind the clouds. Gone are the murky sad eyes, and usually something random is said about China. She’s processing her story at a four year old level. 

Can you tell I spend a lot of time finding random drawings around the house? I love her flowers!

Thank goodness my girl will be back on her regular schedule next week. I’ve shared we send her to daycare three mornings a week for a couple of hours. She needs structure. When there’s no structure or things change, she’s typically ripe for an episode like we experienced this week. So, next week we are back on track with her daycare provider back from vacation. 

OK, I’m off to create 4th of July treats. Hopefully, my next blog will be more festive and fun!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A little of this, a little of that

 My kitchen is knee deep in VBS decorations, modge podge, cardstock, and all things VBS. Chaos is reigning our house, and I’m trying to find some semblance of order. I’m exactly a month from the event. As usual, I am sleeping with a pen and paper by my bed and waking up in the night, unable to go back to sleep while thinking about what needs to be done. It’s all worth it the first night the kids walk in.  

I got to see my cousin AnDee again this weekend and wasn't afraid. We had a great time together!
Outside of creating curriculum for 50 kids (it will be closer to 75 by the event), we are finally, blessedly into a summer routine! Speaking of structure, I’m finding another way to keep peace in our house over summer. I was introduced to the marble jar by another adoptive mom. The crux of the marble jar is good behavior and helping with chores. Marbles are added for positive behavior. Negative behavior like mouthing off, pinching brother, deciding it’s appropriate to have a fit for no reason, backtalk, and any other numbers of negative behaviors mean marbles are subtracted. I like it, because more often than not they receive them for positive behavior. I only need to threaten to take a marble from the jar, and I’m typically met with a willingness to cooperate. It’s been a great way to help Sidney understand the consequences of her actions. I’ve written many times she has sensory issues. 

Tom and I were talking the other day about her sensory issues.  We talked about how hard it is to help other people to understand. We’ve never had her formally diagnosed. I am nervous about doing so, because her issues are typically mistaken for ADHD. That’s a scary thought. We continue working with her in other ways keeping her on a very strict schedule, keeping lots of sensory activities available.  I also went on Pint*rest and found a list of sensory activities. I will post what I found in a day or so. If it helps any other sensory parents, activate an account on P*nterest and pull up the word sensory. I was amazed!

Humor me with one more vacation picture.
 OK, off to cut up 10 packages of tissue paper.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finally, a moment to blog!

We spent 7 glorious, and uninterrupted, days in the north woods. We were so far north, we didn't have cell service! I'll admit, I started sweating a little. No cell service? Then I realized, it was a blessing in disguise. Uninterrupted family time without phones ringing. It was beautiful! I'd like to say we could have stayed anywhere without cell service. I'm ashamed to admit, I enjoy creature comforts. This year I requested something outside of a campsite with a real roof. Not only did I get a roof, I got wifi! 

Today, we decided to swim. I remembered my rambunctious little girl getting overzealous last year in the pool. I had to watch her at all times. Meaning, she doesn't have any fear. She'd barrel into the water without looking twice. But, last year, like my stubborn German self, I decided she wasn't going to need one of the neoprene swim vests I saw other kids sporting in the pool. No, I didn't need one as a kid, and I wasn't buying into the gimmick. Guess who's eating her words? A neoprene swim vest is being shipped. Another mom was visiting with me, observing my struggle. She commented she had the same issue, and she had a swim vest in her size sitting in the car. I'll admit, I tried it thinking it wouldn't work. It's genius! She stays afloat, and she's learning to do more things independently in the water.

Eli is still in the shallow end. He's not ready for over his head, and that's fine. Hopefully, it will be like everything else he takes at his own pace.I've learned to never hurry him.  10 years old is such a combination of growing up but maintaining some amount of innocence. He walked up to me with a serious question while wearing his goggles upside down with water floating on the bottoms. I love it!

I know. I'm backlit!
 OK, back to all things VBS. I'm behind from vacation.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the earth! Three guesses where we are? Vacation! As it turns out, there are places cell reception can't reach, but mom can still have access to wireless internet. I'll have more time to update in a couple of days, but here's a couple of photos!

Look mom, my favorite "flow -ders" (flowers).

Daddy attempting to sooth an out of sorts girl on the first night. And to clarify, yes we put a life jacket on her when she goes on the dock!

The Dora pole  got an extra workout this week!

And, in case you think I've forgotten about the 10 year in this family, he dodged photos the entire time!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diva Visits the Dentist II

Sidney, Eli, and I were off to the dentist early this morning. She had two more cavities to fill. A combination of giardia and general lack of nutrition in the orphanage left her teeth susceptible to cavities. 

My China cousin AnDee is awesome. So's my cousin Andrew with all this candy at his graduation party!
 From what we can gather there were many, many meals of congee with “meat and vegetable mineral.” If I had to wager a guess, she either never had meat with vitamin replacement. Lately, we’ve been able to persuade her to eat meat. She’s always talking about being little. Obviously being only 37 inches and 27 lbs. doesn’t interfere with her ability to do anything. However, I tell her “you want to grow up big and strong, right?” When she responds to the affirmative, I’m able to get her to eat it.

Hey mom. Do you notice a recurring theme today? Sugar! Mom never lets me get away with this much in one day!
Right now I’m watching a slightly groggy Sidney engrossed in a cartoon. Last time she fell asleep immediately following the appointment. She’s kind of stumbled around all morning. She’s given medication for a couple of reasons. Most important, she will have surgeries as she gets older. How many, we don’t know. For now, her hands look good; however we want her comfortable in a medical environment. Fear only makes a child unable to cooperate. So, our doctor prescribes something we give her at bedtime the night before and an hour before the appointment. There are still tears, and she’s still not happy, but she doesn’t fight them, content to sit while they do their job. 

Vying for Grandpa & Grandma's attention. s
Eli was a trooper. Again, he wanted to come along for her appointment. There’s an element of comfort having another kid along. He’s so protective, he wasn’t going to have it any other way. I explained beforehand, she was going to cry, but she was not in pain. I could tell as he heard things in back going on, he wasn’t happy about his sister. But, he’s a stoic guy. I’m not sure why, because nobody has to guess how I’m feeling at any given moment. So, he sat there quietly, but I could tell he was relieved when her appointment was done.

Can our cousin Andrew have a carnival themed graduation party every day?
 Ok, off to the routine of the rest of my Monday.