Thursday, October 18, 2012

Breaking the Bubble

Well the bubble burst. Any adoptive mom understands positive school behavior is met with cautious optimism. As I picked up Sidney a sad face looked up saying, “I got in trouble Mommy.” After confirming the information with the teacher’s assistant, I fastened her into the car seat to hear the words I already understood. “Mommy I couldn’t keep my hands down. I want to be a good girl.” We spent time in a loud bright wedding reception over the weekend, meaning sensory overload.
I spent time after school visiting with her teacher on the phone. She let me know it wasn’t anything overly dramatic. She simply couldn’t keep her hands to herself.  She so understood, commenting that she is still young, and if you factor in her age with the amount of time she was in the orphanage; she spent more than 25% of her life in this unhealthy emotional and physical environment. She ended by saying “We will give her all the love and respect she deserves.”  This comment was an answer to our prayers. As adoptive parents we say a lot of prayers that teachers might get our kids individual needs. It’s tough to distinguish sensory behaviors, but she fully gets it.
But like everything else with a four year old, one part is up when the other is down. I’ve talked a lot about getting Sidney to eat. Between giardia and a lack of food, she has a very different attitude about eating than Eli had. Let’s just say at 4 years old he ate with gusto. She’s started asking for seconds and saying she’s hungry more often. This is a huge obstacle we’ve crossed.  It also helps that she’s old enough to communicate the importance of nutrition for her overall wellbeing.
We have a check up on hands at the university hospital next month. We are praying surgery isn’t needed, but I know with growth comes the need to tweak and adjust. If you’re just tuning in, a hand reconstruction was completed on each hand, in two different procedures, six months apart. She’d only been home six months when we had the first procedure. Its delicate work but doubly so when you’re working with only three fingers on each side and tiny hands.
I’ll push not to do another reconstruction if it’s not physically necessary. Her dexterity is so good. However I know if something physically needs to be done, it’s a blessing to know we can provide the best. It’s also advantageous to get it completed and fully healed before kindergarten starts next year. And according to Sidney’s preschool teacher she’s a “good little student.” And as moms of girls from China, we all kind of grimace when people repetitively say “She’s so tiny, she’s so small.” Sidney’s teacher is allowed. I don’t think she’s five foot.
Okay off to see what’s in my work que.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And so are the days of our lives...

If there’s a word misspelled or a statement that doesn’t make sense, I apologize in advance. Mom cracked her glasses in half at the nose piece this week (whereby much cursing ensued), and I’m relying on a pair that I wore when Eli was born. Yes, 10 years old. I feel like drawing the blinds and staying in my house until the new pair is selected and on my face. Let’s just say the older pair isn’t doing me any favors.
Mom is working, working, working, and it’s been amazing for the balance in our home. I’m sure there are more capable stay at home mom moms out there, however if I have a period of three hours to get something done I’m going to find a way to put it off. If I only have half an hour, I’m busting it out at record speed. With this newly found sense of urgency in our household,  mom is no longer picking up after people, kids are taking ownership for their rooms, and basically doing what they should have been doing all along. I notice it was easier to simply do it myself, however that was a greater disservice to my kids. Besides, I told Eli if he ever gets married, he’ll be fully trained for his wife.  To that I received a huge eye roll. And I’m not beyond rewarding my kids for helping around the house. I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve I’ll post about another day.
Dad's been busy with the fall heating season, so he's seems extra fun when he has five minutes.  
Ah, my trombone player. It’s been quite a school year for Eli. If you recall (I think I wrote about it), he was struggling the beginning of the year with a different teacher and higher expectations. My belief is that he was hurrying to get his work done, and he couldn’t see. We took him in for an eye exam and found out he has moderate nearsightedness. Poor kid has probably been struggling to see a long time. I thought he would be excited, but instead he was hesitant prior to the exam, saying he probably wasn’t going to need them. After the doctor made a comment about guys needing tools for things, and glasses being tools for your eyes, he was on board. We are waiting to get the glasses, and we will post a photo or the big reveal!
And onto the little torpedo. School is still smooth. I’ve been reassured if anything is going on the teacher will let me know. Last night was an example of how far we’ve come. We went to a puppet show for 4 year olds in our school district.  The entire hour was sitting on the rug. I don’t think she would have tackled someone on the rug or started poking at them, but based on the extreme nature of her sensory issues last year, I can imagine she might have gotten up and started running around. Instead, she sat completely mesmerized by what was going on in front, only to get up and come to me when the monkey took center stage. In her defense, he was kind of creepy.
Off to finish up some work and hope the extended care can take Sidney this afternoon while I go pick out new eyes. She decided to wake up at 4am, and guess who decided to take a nap at 7:30AM?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings

I’m looking at my blog from last week, and I’m finally getting around to posting it! Two kids in school and one mommy picking up extra work projects is creating less and less time to blog! We’ve had a crazy couple of weeks between getting back into the school routine and going out of town. First, I have to report many prayers have been answered with Sidney’s smooth adjustment to preschool. Granted, we are still very much in the honeymoon phase, however I haven’t seen any teachers bringing her to the car that look like a deer in headlights. So far, so good.  So, where to catch up? Let’s start with last weekend.
Sidney = So much art work, so little time.
We couldn’t miss our adoption agencies reunion picnic. What an awesome time we had talking to other adoptive parents and celebrating families made through adoption. While Tom and I chatted with other adoptive parents, there was easy conversation on all topics surrounding our kids. Words like LID, all she wants is carbs, sensory issues, have you had surgeries, special needs, and so many phrases I could fill the page were a normal part of the vocabulary. It’s a huge support for our family to get together with other China families.
While selfishly Tom and I were excited for the opportunity, we were somewhat worried about Sidney’s reaction. Her reaction to Ch*nese people is typically one of fear.  And why wouldn’t it be? The last time she was around Chinese people of any number was in China which included being thrust it the arms of two large people who probably looked like aliens. There’s fear and frustration on her part. It’s obvious she doesn’t understand why she feels uneasy and easily upset or why she needs to be in close physical proximity to Tom and I.  I was surprised to see her frequently going over to Eli to be picked up and held. Eli was her shelter. And like so many other times she has been around other Chinese people or a Chinese accent, she had night terrors a couple of nights afterward. This is common. Typically, she doesn’t have night terrors right away. It’s after she calms down. It’s her minds way of processing all that is going on.
After ten years of having built in playmates right next door, our neighbors are moving. I thought Eli might be the most impacted. He’s played with them since the age of three. But I noticed myself avoiding looking over at the empty porch today. I can hardly think about not standing in my kitchen yelling at the kids to get along or come in. Change isn’t easy, but we are lucky to have had playmates all this time. It will be interesting next summer.
And I don’t know if I’ve shared, but there is a very boisterous trombone player in our home. Eli started in band this month. And it was MUCH louder than I could have anticipated inside my home. Sidney frequently stands at the bottom of the stairs and yells, “EEEYYYAIIIIII (Eli)!!!” She has an authoritative voice like she’s in charge. At least she likes to think she is!
OK, off to the next project.