Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaps and Bounds

Alanna is doing great! And that is not just a sugar coated update. Her stimming has gotten so much better. Especially in overwhelming environments, I've noticed her looking around and taking things in rather then just hitting herself in the head. What I really love is she will look at something for a minute, then look at me, like "are you seeing what I'm seeing? Is this all OK?"
She is very attached to me. She seeks out my attention first and foremost. She will crawl up to me and pull on me to pick her up. And she will yell and at me if I walk through the room and don't stop to pick her up. I was sick with a stomach bug one day last week, so my husband took care of her all day. The next morning when I finally emerged from my bed, when she saw me she started whimpering and crawling toward me as fast as she could.
She will still stick her hands out to anyone for them to hold her. But I'm her number one choice! Momma loves that!

And, last weekend she pulled up!! And she has been doing it ever since. I was sitting having my coffee and reading blogs. One minute she was playing on the floor the next she was standing holding onto the couch next to me. I screamed "Oh My Gosh, Gary GET THE CAMERA!!" But make sure my face is not in the picture since I just woke up, ha!
She loves to play peek a boo, and anything that even remotely resembles a blanket she tries to put on her head to play. She loves to take her bib off too, so in these pictures she had pulled her bib off and tried to play peek boo. She forgot it was there and started eating again.

She is growing so fast. I don't think she has gained any weight because she is always on the go. But she has certainly grown in length because she has grown out of most of her 12 month clothes and sleepers. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grrr, for real?!

Not all of you know me in real life. So you may not know that we are military, well my hubby is so that means we are. And we were due to PCS (move) this summer. We had orders (official paperwork) with a report no later than date (the day he has to report there) of August 1st. Our movers were scheduled for July 14th the kids and I were leaving here June 30th to go to some family events. Because see were had orders to Wright AFB in Dayton, OH, 4 hours from my family, 1 hour from my best friends family.
My husband's boss recieves the news Friday afternoon, the position has been deleted, the job no longer exists, our orders are canceled. Military family nightmare come to life! What the 29744780q8423 oh oops let me try again $&%&^*. Whatever LOTS of bad words!!

NOOOOO. We had a lease signed with half an acre 3400 sq feet. My sister is due with her first baby in October. Officers normally move every 3-4 years. Robins AFB is our bermuda triangle, does anyone know we are still here, does anyone know where here is? We have been here 4.5 years. That's 2 extensions worth, my children are growing roots here, it scares me.

And we rent the home we live in now, we will find out Monday if we have to move out of it, because since we were moving, they found new tenants.

We don't know when we will get new orders, they say not till spring. Not sure if that's for sure or not. Couldn't find a whole lot out because we go the news on a Friday afternoon.

I am soooo thankful we hadn't bought a house where we are going, can you imagine? Yes, I know this could be way worse, as we reminded our children when we broke the news to them. My hubby has a job, etc... But man, does this stink.......

Disclaimer: yes, I know God has plan, yes I trust that. I am always up for an adventure. My human issue is I am not patient and I hate not knowing what is happening next. I make the ideal military wife, at 3 years I want to know where we are going and when, I'm ready!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

NOT that kind of Swinging!

Oh, my. So, I was looking at my stats this afternoon on blogger. It will tell you all kinds of things about your blog, like now people get to it. Such as links from other peoples blogs, facebook, and what words people have googled that lead them to your blog.
So when I read that 3 people had come to my blog by googling, "swinging for the first time"
My mind said "why would someone google that?" How many people google about someone swinging for the first time. Then it hit me, sorry I can be a little slow.
NOT that kind of swinging.
If you typed that as a google search and ended up here, maybe God is trying to tell you exactly how far off the target you are.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Disclaimer

A lot of times when an adoptive parent writes a post like I did yesterday they will get a nasty comment on their blog, something to the effect of, maybe you should not have adopted if you can't handle it, etc....
Then the person has to post a disclaimer, something to the effect of, I love this child, they are mine, I do not regret adopting them, etc..... Basically defend themselves. Why do have to do that? If a new birthmom is crying becuase she's having a hard time breastfeeding her newborn, or if a birhmom posts about their son with ADHD and how frustrating her day was, do we say to her, maybe you should not have had that child, NO!
I love my Lanna girl to the moon and back, there's your disclaimer.

Another thing I love is my online adoptive Mommy friends. What a huge resource of support of knowledge. As soon as one Mom found out I was upset about the stimming she offered to call me right away and lend her knowledge. It is like therapy talking to another Momma who can understand, truly I felt renewed.
So many different opinions came pouring in. I love different opinions!
Just a FEW of the things that helped me have a new percpective yesterday:
Alanna seeks out my love and attention, this is not typical of a child with autism
Brooke sharing that her adult brother with DS has always stimmed. Now he has a toothbrush that he lightly taps against his hand.
Another DS Momma sharing that her daughter stimms.
Those are just a few, everyone's comments, prayers, etc.... were so helpful. I have been holding in my worried for several weeks, I should not have done that, it was eating me up.
I had several Mommas thank me for posting it, saying they had either dealt with it or are dealing with it and were afraid to post about it.
That should not be the way we feel. The number one audience reading these blogs are other adoptive parents or hopeful adoptive parents. Why can't we be honest about our struggles. Doesn't it help us and others?
Alanna did not feel well yesterday, I'm sure that is why she was stimming soooo much, and it was just the straw that broke the Momma's back, you know how that is if your a Momma. This morning she is back to being herself, With lots of interaction and lots of stimming!! As long as we have the interaction I am a Momma with a happy heart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stimming makes me cry

Feeding Alanna breakfast ended with me in tears. No matter what I did, how many times I called her name, tickled her, squeezed her hand, played airplane with the spoon, etc.... she would not make eye contact and she would not stop stimming. Hitting herself in the head, growling, hitting herself under the chin, flapping her hands, staring out of the corner of her eyes at her hand.
Let me rewind to Gotcha Day. When they handed her to me, she would not look at me, she simply diverted her eyes up, to the side, etc... anywhere except to me. She hit herself in the head and growled. "She's acting like she's autistic" I thought in my head. It scared me, I'm not going to lye. And as Serge asked me if we wanted to adopt her, I said yes, with a huge smile, when in my mind I was thinking, "I don't know, is she in there?" Maybe that behavior is normal for a 16 month old with Down Syndrome.
Whew, this is hard to type about the child I love so dearly, the child I can barely stand to be away from for several hours, the child who rarely ever sits in a stroller because I love to carry her around in my arms, close to me.
That night I layed in bed, exhausted from the crazy ride to our region and our 10 minute meeting with our new daughter. I remember thinking, I can't do this, we will just tell Serge we can't do this, we will just go home, she is so young and cute, she will get adopted by another family for sure, a family more equipped to deal with autism. Why did God even lead us to adopt such a young child, we wanted to adopt a 3-4 year old. We could have saved a child from being sent to the institution. I prayed and fell asleep.
The next morning I felt better, and of course after another visit with her I was in love, she made eye contact, played with toys, etc... She was still stimming and growling, but she was certainly in there. And those behaviors aren't unusual for a child who has spent their lives in an orphanage with no stimulation.
The stimming seemed to get better for awhile not as much hitting herself in the head, when we met her she had rough spots on her head from hitting herself so much. But she has added more stimming behaviors that we didn't see before.
She hits herself under her chin with the tips of her fingers
She flaps her fingers
She smacks herself hard in the face, I hear this when she wakes up in the morning and when she is trying to go to sleep at night
She rocks violently back and forth in her exersaucer
She never used to stim violently when I layed her down to bed. Now she does, and she sits up and rocks and hits her head on the crib, and she gets up on all fours and rocks really hard back and forth. I liked it much more when she layed there and sucked her thumb till she fell asleep. I just recently discovered she was stimming to go to sleep. From now on I will be holding her till she goes to sleep then laying her down.
It took a long time for her to respond to her name, but not only her name and sound being made would not make her turn. Yes, we do have a hearing test scheduled.
Now she does turn once in a while when we say her name. Sometimes not at all and sometimes only after we say it a couple times.
She is smart. She will not clap on her own, but she will pick up my hands and put them together so I will clap. She plays Peek-a-Boo, but she has no reaction to it, but I assume she likes it, because she puts things like birp clothes or shirts over her head to play. She never laughs in response to something, only to things physical like tickling.
I'm describing all this so I can input from other parents.

When we take her places, of course the stimming gets worse, because there's so much more going sensory input. I've noticed it makes people uncomfortable. They stare. Sometimes they ask why she is hitting herself, or growling. They will say hi but she diverts her eyes, and pull back her hand when they touch her. So they never ask to hold her. People have said things to her like "why are staring at your hand" "what are you staring at" "she must see something we don't", etc....

Yesterday was a good day, we had Drs appts to go to and she did not stim nearly as much as she usually does when we are out. But she is making up for it this morning. After feeding her breakfast I put her on the floor in the living room and I went into the kitchen to cry and to make my coffee. When I looked in on her she was rocking back and forth hitting herself over, and over, and over. I called her name, but of course she was in her own little world.
When I sat down on the couch with my coffee she crawled over and put her hands up to be picked up.
We work with her face to face for hours everyday. Playing, singing songs, doing hand motions. I have some deep massage I've been doing, which she normally does not stim through, this morning she did though.
I don't know if she's autistic. But it scares me so much, why, because I don't want her to be stuck inside herself. Noone wants their child to not respond to them.