Sunday, January 27, 2013

The sleeping arrangement saga continues

So if you are following our blog you know that we are co-sleeping.....and have been since we met little miss on Sept. 4th.  When I say co-sleeping, what I really mean is ....well, Joshua, Lauren, and I start off in the master bedroom king bed..... Brad (daddy) has taken over the guest room and sleeps there.  Usually at some point in the night - both kids are nearly laying on top of me they are so close to me.... I can't turn over, and I wake up ever few hours pushing them to their designated spots and trying to get comfortable myself.  It's misery!  Sometimes Joshua gets tired of being pushed and moves to the guest room with Brad - and even at times he goes to his room.  He's so jealous of Lauren sleeping with me, that he just can't get beyond the fact that surely he needs to sleep with one of his parents, so he accepts daddy as second choice. 

Well, two nights ago - Lauren woke up in the middle of the night - she seemed to be very unsettled, so I took her to sleep with me in Joshua's bedroom -- not sure why I did it - but thought, you know, we need a change in scenery.  Joshua stayed in the master bedroom -- at least for a bit... until at some point he realized he was by himself and moved to the guest room.  Lauren and I slept like babies in Joshua's bed... his mattress is a bit softer than our tempurpedic mattress in the master. So around 12:30 - she was sleeping soundly in Joshua's bed....and I decided to move back to my bed!!  I placed a pillow next to her body, hoping she would think someone was laying there....and off I went.  I actually got to sleep by myself in the master from 12:30 until morning!!  It was awesome!!  We cheered for Lauren the next morning, sleeping by herself!!

So, last night I decided it was time to make one more step towards Lauren sleeping alone in her room.  We set up the blow up mattress in her room and I slept there while she was in her toddler bed....of course she settled in to her bed after her brother agreed to come join her -- she called out to him and patted the bed showing him there was room for him..... she NEEDS him sometimes so badly.  :)  So it was so cute the two of them in the toddler bed snoring away.... it was about 12 am and as I laid on the blowup mattress with my back aching I decided, yep another night of me escaping to my own bed....and up I got.  I got settled in, pillows stacked, comforter and quilt just right ..... off to dream land until...... 12:35 am.... yep about 30 minutes later I hear, "momma, momma"..... I go into the Lauren's room and she's slipped off the side of her bed and sat on the floor -- now you see this bed is soooo close to the floor she can actually sit on the edge of the bed and her feet touch the ground.  So I'm betting she rolled over and noticed I wasn't in the blowup bed any more and decided to get out of bed - but didn't know where to go -- so she called out. 

I swooped her up and held her tight and we went back to the master bedroom bed and slept til morning.  This girl..... is so attached to me for sleeping.... it's really a struggle.  I'm going to try again tonight, and again tomorrow night.... and perhaps one day in the not so far off future she will sleep all night in her room alone, Joshua will return to his bed and I can have my husband back!  In your list of adoption prayers, won't you add our request for secure sleeping?? 

I know co-sleeping is highly suggested for bonding, but I think I'd reconsider this decision if I had it to do over again.  Maybe co-sleeping for nap only -- or something like that.  It is so very hard to break this cycle. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Before and After

Joshua was looking at our blog and noticed the header now says "Life with Lauren" - so he decided to write a post :) Here goes..... his thoughts, my typing......

On the first day of Lauren there was alot of changes. There were sharing things, there were good things and bad things.

On the second day we had Lauren, my mother said to me.... "Joshua, you need to share your toys".

On the third day of Lauren at night time we had to put a pillow between the boys and the girls....and by the way, Lauren did not like the boys and the girls together (King bed -- daddy and Joshua vs mommy and Lauren).

On the fourth day of Lauren my mother said to me...."we need to get her some easy puzzles".

On the fifth day of Lauren she falled asleep at nap time.

On the sixth day of Lauren my mother said to me..."we need to get play doh".

Four months later....................................................................

We come home and watch cartoons every day except on Saturday and Sunday.

She pushes me off the chair to see TV!

I pick her up from school sometimes and she runs to me.

She can't touch my Leggos.

She says purple, apple, moma, daddy, bye-yah (which means brother in Marathi), night-night, hey, ok, no, chocolate, amen, woo-woo (which means dog barking), ball, go, pee-pee, stinky, there it is, bye-bye, hello (hallow -in her accent), eat, diaper....and the list of words is growing.

And she loves her family.....especially me!

Your friend, Joshua

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The sounds of our house

Night time brings special moments with kiddos and daddy - usually a variety of routines but here are just a few wonderful sounds of our home right before bed......

Lauren:   "daddy....daddy....daddy..." - as she motions for him to pick her up to pull the string on the ceiling fan light.

Joshua:  "daddy....go long" - as he throws the football across our bedroom

Lauren: laughing as she trying to catch the football -- and doesn't have a chance in the world... at least not yet.

The game stomp: - plays in the background --- 1-2-3 stomp!

Lauren: sleepy laughter that makes me giggle - as Joshua chases her -- she calls out for "daddy...daddy...daddy"

Joshua:  "come on Lauren, let's go read from daddy's kindle"

Lauren: "do-da-loo-da-doo" which equals "come get me"

Brad: "have you kids brushed your teeth???"

Me: "it's time for bed"

Brad, Lauren, and Joshua: "ahhhhhhhh.....really??" .... with Lauren's adding "NO!"

You gotta love the sounds of a happy house.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Slumdog Millionaire

So for years I've wanted to see this movie.  Whenever someone found out that we were adopting from India they ALWAYS asked, "have you seen Slumdog Millionaire" - and my reply always was, "no......"

Well today - on one of my days off this week - I took Lauren to preschool and headed to the library to check it out to be able to see it BEFORE the kids had to be picked up.  It's rated R - and Brad has a belief that he doesn't watch any R -rated movies, so I had to find just the right time when I would be alone to see this one.  Honestly, I can see why it's rated R - especially if you are not used to seeing massive slums or abused children - but it doesn't have all the typically sex scenes or really bad language that would command the R - rating.  Parts are certainly hard to watch .... but poverty is painful....and the darkness of the world is also certainly painful.  Tonight the kids and I go to church for small group - so I'm going to try to encourage Brad to see it while we are gone.  It's not the typical R-rated movie.  We'll see if he makes this one exception.

This is NOT a movie for children, though - mainly because I don't think little ones should see street kids stealing money, food, or stuff.... and some of the violence, particularly toward children would certainly rock their world.  Their imagination doesn't need to go this far - we like to keep their hearts smaller than what this movie would show.  Our kids also don't understand poverty.  Brad and I have traveled to Kenya, Africa and actually walked through very large massive slums, so this part of the movie didn't surprise me that much.  We've also witness through our travels kids on the streets and the survival instincts that they have, so again much of the movie was quite believable.   

For all you PAPs out there - I decided to make a few comments on the movie - and only our India trip perspective. 

1.) The movie takes place in Mumbai - which is where we went for Lauren.  Although our exposure to Mumbai was very limited - we didn't see the massive slums as shown in the movie.  While I'm sure they are there - just google Dharavi and you will see real pictures of the largest slum in Mumbai. Thankfully, we were not exposed to this...I don't think my heart could have taken it.  Our time in Mumbai was spent mostly in our nice hotel :) 

2.) One thing you will see is street kids begging in the traffic.  This is so very hard to take - one article I read about how Indian people feel about the movie Slumdog is that "India people have become numb to children begging on the streets".   I think Indian people also don't like Slumdog because it seemed to exploit the poor in their view - and showed very little middle or upper class of India - which is certainly a reality.

3.) What we did see while in India is street kids, or at times kids with what appeared to be their momma living in a make-shift tent along the sidewalk.  You will certainly see things in Mumbai and New Delhi that you don't see every day in most U.S. cities.

My advice to any PAPs, DO NOT bring the movie up while in India.  I think it is very painful to have some of the depictions of life for street kids portrayed on film in this way.  I think it is hard for the people of India - but also there is no easy solution to the problem either.   I would recommend the movie; however, if you like movies for pure enjoyment - if you want to see the underdog prevail, stuff like that....and of course if you want to see a love story. 

I'm not sure if I will ever show the movie to our children -- I mean like even when they are grown adults, I'm not sure I would encourage them watching it.  I'm not sure how Joshua would take it -- or Lauren for that matter. More likely for our family is that one day ..... many years off, we will travel to a little village in Kenya and serve on a short-term mission trip with this amazing ministry called Worldwide Hearts and Hands.  Here is their website.

This ministry cares for orphans that are often living with an extended family member or someone that has just agreed to take them in.... they live in the Rift Valley villages and have very, very little.  This ministry provides school uniforms, and pays school fees for upper grades to keep kiddos in school.  They EVEN pay for college fees for those kids interested.  It is amazing how keeping these kids in the village (away from the city of Nairobi.... away from an eventual life in the Kibera slums) is a safer better option for them -- and they are learning and growing ....and one day hopefully going to college and getting a job.  It is a wonderful ministry.  I can see our family taking a trip like this to share with our kids the realities of poverty in a much more loving positive way.   Meanwhile, watch Slumdog, take it for what it is, enjoy it.... don't put too much stock in the movie ... India is much more than just this movie....and when people ask me now if I've seen the movie, I will say, "yes, it certainly shows some of the many sides of India".  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

So far greatest challenges - sensory and sleeping - tips for families

So we've been home now for nearly 4 months and Lauren is doing very well.  Her speech is gradually getting better in English with her favorite words : apple, purple, night-night, and (unfortunately) "no".  She's gaining in confidence which has brought on some behavior issues.  Only when the incident is over do I often realize it is ALL sensory related.  On the sleeping issue:  I can sum it up like this -- I only wish we didn't do the co-sleeping.  I know it's been great for bonding - this girl is certainly attached.  But it is impossible to get her to sleep in her room ... in this area, we really need help... and will likely seek that out this week with a counselor that is trained by Purvis' team and knows alot about adoption and is a trained family therapist.   

So to share a bit of info. with all of you.  I found this great summary of sensory stuff - so I've copied here below.  I'm going to go on the limb here - but to say - that more than likely if you child has been in an orphanage - (and not a home setting) - you child will probably have some level of sensory issues.  Understanding sensory is the BEST thing you can do for your own peace of mind :)

Here is the article source from the internet: (it has a bit more explanation - but I really liked how they explained the 7 categories that I've copied here below).

There are seven categories of symptoms in sensory integration dysfunction.

These are:

Visual: the ability to accurately process and respond to what one sees.

Olfactory: the ability to accurately process and respond to different smells.

Oral: the ability to correctly process and respond to input in the mouth.

Auditory: the ability to correctly perceive and respond to a wide variety of sounds.

Proprioception: the ability to sense position, and process input from joints, muscles movement and changes in position.

Vestibular: the ability to process and respond to information about gravitational changes, movement, equilibrium and where your body is in space.

Tactile: the ability to accurately process and respond to information from the skin regarding touch, movement, pressure, or pain.

This link provides even a way that you can almost "self-diagnose your child by looking at what your child does and see what category that it falls within. - see below or hit this link.

Below are listed the 7 sensory groups and symptoms suggesting possible disorders:

Tactile: Avoidance of touch, high pain tolerance, poor coordination, cleansing of hands and/or other body parts often, dislike of grooming (brushing teeth and/or hair, etc.), placing hands or fingers in mouth often, continuously in motion, walks heavily or on toes, avoids particular textures in food, clothes, or other substances, and dislikes wearing clothing, clothing tags, socks, and/or shoes.

Auditory: Over or under reacts to loud noises, tantrums easily or appears to ignore others, covers ears frequently, repeated humming or singing to self, evades large groups of people, listens to TV, radio, etc., at unreasonably elevated volumes, bothered by environmental commotion, impediment of speech, tearing and/or crumpling paper or other such items, and keen to sounds others disregard.

Visual: Views items (toys, books, etc.) close to face, positions objects in rows, repetitive opening and shutting of doors and/or drawers, continuously turning lights on and off, enthralled by shiny and/or reflective items (mirrors, glass, etc.), frequent rubbing and/or squinting of eyes, agitated with nearby movements in environment, aversions or exercising overdo caution when shifting between different types of floor coverings, and appears overly sensitive to light.

Taste: Gnaws on items (toys, clothes, etc.), places fingers and/or hands in mouth often, prefers food either bland or extremely tasty, prefers to eat only a few select foods (finicky eater), trouble brushing teeth: gags, chokes, etc., and rejects food items that appear to be altered in color or usual appearance.

Olfactory: Frequently complains of certain odors, avoids places that are aromatic (kitchen, bathroom, restaurants, zoos, etc.), does not like group settings, commonly sniffs food before and/or while eating, repeatedly smells everyday household items, gags and/or vomits when around specific odors, and smears feces and/ or loathes to be soiled.

Vestibular: Panics when upside down and/or tilted to one side, terrified of feet leaving the ground, becomes nervous around water, hills, and/or stairways, continuously in motion, affecting attention and communication, seems to move awkwardly, repeatedly jumps and/or spins (may appear calmer after such activities), and may not enjoy riding in vehicles (becomes ill from the movement).

Proprioceptive: Trouble with fine motor dexterity (grasping tiny objects, drawing, writing, coloring, pouring, etc.), poor coordination, prefers rough play, often breaking toys and other items, positions body in strange stances, gets pleasure from falling down, dangling by arms, and/or jumping, has trouble using silverware correctly: prefers hands, and has a tendency to support self by clinging to other people, furniture, and other secure items.

Per the website: Our physical senses are intended to assist us. Deficiencies in these areas encourage a variety of visible behavioral difficulties. Identifying these distinctions early allows the necessary actions to be implemented. Sensory issues may be altered with treatment. The capacity to understand the world would become less complicated for those affected. Realistic encounters within their environments would become more productive and less confusing.

So for our little miss here are some of the things she does:
She has a high pain tolerance (we're told nerve endings are not developed so she doesn't feel pain) - that will develop over time. She likes clean hands, constantly brushes her teeth (she has some amazing white teeth), when she's in her "sensory seeking mode" - she's constantly in motion, loves to listen to music (and has it VERY loud), likes to turn on and off lights in the house, chews on things in the house (toys, plastic straws, etc -- but so does Joshua - he's very oral), spins in circles making herself dizzy, before her feet braces she fell often and was quite unbalanced and had underdeveloped coordination (she has gotten sooooo much better with feet braces and through PT), absolutely LOVES to be dangling from her arms, swinging upside down, bouncing, moving around the house touching EVERYTHING etc.  So our general understanding is she's tactile (which explains why after an episode with her last night she calmed when playing in the bath tub -- she loved the feel of the water running through her hands), some auditory, visual and taste (we think only slightly), with high vestibular, and proprioceptive.  You may say.... if she loves to hang upside down then how can she be vestibular (because they don't like their feet leaving the ground)... we've been told that SOME of these things listed above depend on whether the child is either hypo-sensory or hyper-sensory. So for a hyper-sensory (sensory-seeker - vestibular can be oppositeloving the things listed above -- (i.e., she LOVES to have her feet off the ground, loves dangling, swinging, etc.) - Hope this makes sense. 

A bit more on hypo- verses hyper:!sensory

The two sides of sensory dysfunction are hypo-sensory or hyper-sensory.   Hypo-sensory children tend to want to cover themselves up.  They use blankets, pillows, or anything that is soft and squishy to make them feel like they are in a cocoon. (this is an addition by Renae:  these kids often need their surroundings quiet and calm - very little noise, even the turning on of a furnace in the home can bother some of these kids).   

The other end of the sensory scale is hyper-sensory.  These children tend to like to be spun really fast or go on rides that are fast and really bumpy.  Because we don’t have access to carnivals everyday, furniture becomes a great replacement.  They will jump off the couches, off the stairs or just fall on the ground so that he/she body feels that impact, usually with no regard for safety.  They will seem that they can't  get enough physical activity or sensory input on certain days.

For Lauren, she is clearly hyper-sensory - but it seems like it comes and goes -- it's not ALL the time, but she certainly needs some sort of sensory input every day.  All of this we are told will help with OT - but if you recall from a previous post, we stopped OT (we will likely do it again in the future).... instead we are giving her sensory inputs when the need comes up.  We are told however that OT actually helps "rewire" the brain - develop all those connections that didn't get connected early on and these sensory issues can go away with time.  So for now..... we take life a day at a time, we play, read books, and live life.  

Your first task is to deterimine if your child is hypo- or hyper sensory.  Once you know that - then evaluate the 7 categories to see which one seems to fit your child.  After that, we're told put them on a "sensory diet" - doing certain things and taking certain steps -- this is about where we are - so still learning this area.
Hope all this helps.
All the best from our busy family to yours.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rockford Christmas pics - part 2

Prior post was getting so large with all the pictures - decided to split them up :)  This post is a few opening gifts, some playdoh time and last but certainly not least the train time in the basement with papa (Joshua's favorite thing to do while in Rockford).

Playdoh time lasted over an hour!  Lauren loves playdoh.

Joshua even joined in.... he wasn't going to let Lauren have Grandma totally to herself for too long. :)

Learning to cut (with a plastic knife) :)

Rolling - and keeping a close eye on bye-ah.

When Joshua slips into the basement - daddy and Lauren play with Joshua's new beyblade dome.

Two conductors.....

Even daddy and Lauren check out the basement.

Papa picks her up to see.

Until next time ...keep the rails rollin'

It's a Rockford Christmas - Part 1

Well, a little behind in posting - but thought it would be fun to share our time in Rockford, Illinois at Brad's parent's house.  We did take pictures of opening gifts - which Lauren figured out real quickly, but of course she moves so quick I can hardly catch her..... most of here is how we spent our time :)

Sepora Playworld -- this place is high and BIG - we have a similar play place in Lexington that Brad takes the kids to often to give me a break -- so Joshua and Lauren are very good at climbing :)  Plus it's great for core / trunk building for little miss.

Lauren called daddy to play too.
 Look at me up this high!!!
 and even daddy

Bump, bump down the walking slide

Joshua decided I was taking too many pictures of Lauren and not enough of him - so he actually started smiling for my pictures!!  Everyone says he looks just like me, but in this picture he is totally Grandma Blunt with those droopy eyes :)  - Love that!

 I see you......

"do-da-loo-da-do".... come get me.....

Can you find me in this pic?.... Joshua??

We are beat!! (As grandma looks on with joy)....and Joshua takes a spot on the floor to rest.

Brad's sister, her husband and their two girls did the music for Christmas eve service at their church.  Musical family! They did a great job.  The candle lighting part was interesting.... we only pretended to light Lauren's candle as all the other ones were lit -- well, that didn't go over well, and we "got the Marathi".... our new phrase for when she's fired up and gives us a long string of Marathi letting us "have it". 

The best pictures are always those not in a formal pose. :)

Joshua and Papa - one of his favorite people.

Rockford Christmas - Part 2 follows.......