Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Hannah absolutely LOVES her gymnastics class. She asks to practice her moves all the time. She's really into doing forward rolls and learning how to jump. I actually have her doing both on video. Kyle took her to class today and he said they were even doing the wheelbarrow. I haven't seen her do it yet, but I can't wait to try it out after she wakes up from her nap. She also loves doing all the stretches that go with gymnastics and I like it because it gives me an incentive to stretch too.

Here's some videos of Hannah singing. They aren't her finest performances, but she seems to clam up anytime we get out the camera and then all she wants to do is listen to us sing and then maybe, just maybe she'll chime in with a key word here and there.

This first video is of her helping sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat. It's one of her favorites since we also sing it at gymnastics while we are doing stretches.

In this video we are singing The Wheels on the Bus, but Hannah keeps wanting to sing a different verse than I'm singing! I guess only her favorite verses are worthy enough for her to sing!

Ok, it's been a month since I started this post. Our computer crashed and we had to have it in the shop for quite awhile. I vowed to not go too long in between posts and have to write novels again, but this time it wasn't my fault!

Hannah continues to love to read her books. She will often sit by herself and read them out loud or read them to me if I ask her. She has several books that she has every single page memorized and can say at least the key words or ideas on each one! It's so neat to hear her reading and see that she's actually saying the right thing for the right page. It doesn't take her long to memorize a book either. We can check a new book out from the bookmobile and she will have it completely memorized (if she likes it of course) within 2-3 days worth of reading! It's amazing what the human brain can do. Along with her reading books, she's still doing a lot of singing on her own. She will just randomly break into song while she's playing. It's very cute.

Lately she has been extremely stubborn and has been getting lots of time outs. Her two biggest offenses for getting time outs are hitting and refusing to say excuse me. The other day she was so dead set against saying excuse me after she burped that she actually asked for her time out mat! Today she was at it again and had 4 hysterical timeouts in a row before she finally relented and said excuse me after Kyle told her that she wouldn't be allowed to leave her room until she said it. She's going to be a tough teenager I bet. It is interesting to see her personal take on discipline though. For example, she saw her friend Evelyn get in trouble one day and get her hand smacked. Now if she sees the pets or any other child misbehaving she will smack her own hand and say "BAD!"

Hannah has been really interested in counting and has now mastered counting aloud from 1-3 and can occasionally count to 4. Usually though she skips straight from 3 to 5. She doesn't really know what the numbers mean yet, but she loves to point to each thing as she counts them out and enjoys the praise she gets when she says the numbers in the correct order. Today she really made me laugh. She was playing with her Whinnie the Pooh piano and she hit the key that says, "One, 1 egg." As soon as she heard one she immediately finished the sequence by saying, "2,3. Yeah!" and clapped for herself. She cracks me up sometimes.

Even though it's not officially Christmas yet, Hannah has received a few gifts already. One of her favorites is a tea set that has characters from her favorite movie, The Backyardigans, on it. Hannah is absolutely obsessed with the teapot and all the fixings that go with it. It came with the pot, 2 cups and saucers, a sugar bowl and spoon, 4 bracelets, a tiara, a ring, and a purse. After only 2 days we managed to lose 3 of the 4 bracelets and Abby chewed up the tiara pretty good! I actually think that the bracelets are not lost, but that Abby ate them given the state of the tiara when I found it on the same day the bracelets went missing. Then, yesterday the last bracelet went missing. The missing pieces to this set really bother me because I HATE for things to go missing. I take a complete inventory of all of Hannah's toys every night and look for and always find (except for that darn cow's butt from the fridge farm! that still haunts me!) anything that isn't immediately visible. Anyway, Hannah loves this tea set and plays tea all the time. One day I caught her having a tea party with her monkey. The monkey was wearing the tiara and she was pretending to make him drink the tea. The funniest part about this whole thing is that she calls the teapot a "peapot." She can say both the word tea and the word pot, but when she puts them together she ALWAYS says "peapot." It makes me smile every single time.

We were pretty worried about putting a Christmas tree up this year because we thought that Hannah would be really crazy about it and pull ornaments off and break them or knock the whole thing over, but we shouldn't have been worried at all. She has been awesome about it. She is VERY interested in it, but she mostly just looks or touches the ornaments gently. To be safe we only put non breakable ornaments that we weren't worried about her tearing up where she could reach and any breakable ones that we just couldn't bear to go without at the top. We left off all of our glass bulbs :( and any ornaments that need hooks instead of string. One of Hannah's current favorite pastimes is to point to each and every ornament on the tree and tell me what it is. She calls this "Ooking" AKA "looking." She also loves to have us ask her where a certain ornament is and then she'll point it out. It didn't take her long to have pretty much the entire tree memorized! Once again, there's that amazing human brain at work. Another funny thing that has come up this Christmas season is that Hannah thinks that Santa Claus is Noah (from Noah's Ark). In Evelyn's Noah's Ark the Noah has a long white beard and Santa has a long white beard, so I can see her confusion, but it's still pretty funny. She gave her gymnastics teacher a good laugh over that one!

Lately Hannah has been really interested in peeing in the potty. She loves to come to the bathroom with us and say, "Pee in potty." She is quite intrigued by flushing and really wants to give it a try, but so far I've been telling her that only big girls and boys and mommies and daddies that pee in the potty get to flush. Hopefully this will give her some incentive to go once it's finally time to start toilet training. Other than a keen interest in the potty, Hannah doesn't show any of the other signs of toilet training readiness so I'm definitely not going to push it. She's so stubborn that I could see things going horribly wrong and her holding it for a week or something if we tried to teach her before she was really ready!
Over the past few weeks Hannah has developed a bit of a crush on Evelyn's daddy, Jason. Whenever he's around Hannah wants to be near him and when he's not around she asks about him. She says his name in such swoony voice and then sighs longingly afterwords that it sounds like a schoolgirl with a HUGE crush. She stretches out the "A" sound and gives the first syllable a really funny inflection. If she doesn't get over this soon it's going to give Kyle a complex I think!

Hannah is getting really good at recognizing people from their photos even if they are older photos and people have different hairstyles, wearing glasses versus contacts, etc. She has her very own photo album that she loves to flip through and name each and every person she sees in the pictures. I have several people who aren't in the book yet that I need to take some current pictures of so don't be surprised if you see me coming at you with my camera the next time I see you!
A couple of weeks ago we had a really big snowstorm come through that dumped about 10 inches of snow on us. Kyle was so excited to take Hannah out and go sledding or at the very least play in the snow. We got Hannah all bundled up in her snow pants, mittens, parka, hat, and snow boots and then took her outside only for her to decide that she wasn't quite sure about that stuff called snow. She liked the look of it, but really didn't want to touch it or walk in it. In the end she came around a little bit, but it still took longer to get her all dressed up to play than she actually spent outside playing in the snow!
One of Hannah's favorite jobs at the moment is giving the dogs treats when we put them in their crates. She loves to yell for them and then close the door and give them a treat once they are inside. When she calls for them she says, "Abby! Pum! Ella! Crate!" That "pum" is come in case you don't speak toddlerese! She hears us giving orders to the dogs so much that the other day when Kyle was watching her and she wanted me she called, "Mommy, Pum!" :) Here second favorite job is helping Kyle give the Christmas tree water. She knows where we keep the cup and will go get it, take it over to the sink for Kyle to fill it up, and then run back over the to tree and lay down and look underneath as Kyle pours the water into the tree stand. Then she puts the cup back where it belongs and waits impatiently for the next day when she can do it all over again!
Ok, I have lots more updates, but I'm going to go ahead and post this one and then make the rest of the updates a second post so people don't get too bored reading this all at once!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Arky Arky

Hannah has been having an absolute blast with the toys that we borrowed from Evelyn for the week. Sarah and I decided that we ought to do toy swaps with the girls so that they don't get too bored with their own toys and then will be more excited about them when they return. This past week we borrowed Evelyn's Noah's Ark and her dome playhouse. Hannah absolutely loves them both. She sits in the dome and reads books, plays with the cats and even pets the dogs! It has a little door on the front with a working doorbell and Hannah loves to push it and say, "Ding Dong!" The ark has been a huge hit too. She loves the animals that go with it and can now name them all. She loves to put them into and take them out of the ark over and over again, line them up on shelves, and even pretend to make them eat out of her nesting cups! The best part about the ark is that she's become interested in the story of Noah in her Bible and now also loves to sing the song Arky, Arky. When she ask for the song she says, "No-nah, Arky?" The verses are pretty complicated, but she loves them and listens closely for her favorite words and chimes in with them at the right times. It's so cute to see her doing it.

Hannah continues to take an interest in helping do household chores. She asks to dust almost every day. It's gotten to the point that I've set up a special swiffer duster just for her to play with because she's so obsessed with it. She still likes helping feed the pets and has now graduated to actually scooping the cat food out of the cans. She'd love to do the dumping part too, but she's not quite tall enough to do that yet. She also loves to help with laundry. Her favorite part is pushing the baskets full of dirty and clean clothes to the appropriate place in the house. She chants, "push, push, push" as she does it too!

Gymnastics continues to be a blast for both Hannah and I. She's learning so much there. It's amazing. One day she just sat down on the floor and started doing some of the warm up exercises and calling out the correct positions as she did them. It's neat to see her doing the pike, straddle, tuck routine all by herself. :) She's starting to attempt forward rolls by herself ( I always have to correct myself when I say somersault since apparently that's not the appropriate gymnastic term!) and to do the table top which is apparently a precursor to the back bend. It's kinda like the crab walk thing we used to do in gym class at school. Today she tried to do her handstand all by herself, but just couldn't quite walk her feet all the way up the wall to the vertical position, but she did managed to wedge her feet against the wall so that she was at a 90 degree angle and support her body with her hands that way which I thought was cool. She really likes her teacher and will now go to her willingly for just about anything. She even gave her a spontaneous hug today! We actually found out the other day that her teacher attends the same church that we've been trying out and Hannah is in the nursery with her daughter! It's a small world I guess. It's been awhile since I started this post and Hannah can now do a forward roll all by herself. She is so proud of herself every time she does one. I caught her doing it on tape yesterday and she kept wanting to do more and more of them and for me to take a "picksher" so she could watch it on the camera afterwards! It was so cute. She's also started to try to jump, but all she can really do is do toe lifts. She bends her knees, balls up her fists, and pushes up with all her might, but her feet never leave the ground! I'm sure she'll be hopping around everywhere soon since she loves this gymnastic stuff so much and it's one of the skills they are working on. If Miss Heather says to do it then Hannah will try her hardest to do it!

Hannah is quite good at her shape sorter now and likes to branch out with it now and pick out all of one shape and put them all in before she moves onto another shape. She won't say the words for them spontaneously yet and she can't point the right type when we ask, but she can definitely tell which ones go together and group them that way. She's really interested in their colors right now, but at the moment everything is green to her. Maybe she just likes how that word sounds! Who knows? She's also been using the blocks for stacking and making towers. So far her record is a tower 3 blocks high. She's almost managed 4 several times, but just hasn't been able to do it yet. She is so funny when she's stacking though. She lays down and gets this serious look on her face and moves her hands so slowly and carefully. Its like she's playing Jenga or something!

Hannah is now pretty much an independent eater. I'd say the only thing I haven't let her try to feed herself if soup. She could probably do it, but right now I'm too scared to give it to her. Unfortunately, soup is one of her favorite foods so I'm still doing my fair share of feeding! I'd say she's pretty much mastered the art of using the spoon. We haven't introduced the fork yet, but so far she's been able to do everything she needs to do with the spoon. I love that I can put a bowl down in front of her filled with food and she knows not to just pick it up and dump it. Don't get me wrong, accidents still happen like when she's chasing around a piece of greenbean that just won't get on her spoon and she pushes the bowl right off the tray in her attempt to corner the greenbean, but all in all she's a pretty neat eater. I'm definitely grateful for that. I've seen pictures of some other babies feeding themselves and it's not pretty. Right now one of Hannah's favorite library books is about babies learning how to eat and she thinks it's hysterical that the babies have food all over themselves. She can basically quote the entire book, (there's not too many words) and calls it the "oh, boy!" book because the first two pages say, "Oh, Boy! What a mess!" She likes to tell me on each page where the babies have managed to get the food-on their nose, chin, hair, etc.

Hannah did something yesterday that shocked me. I've been working with her on getting her to try to tell us when she's wet or has a dirty diaper, but she hates having her diaper changed so she says no everytime we ask her regardless of whether or not she needs to be changed. Well, yesterday when she woke up from her nap I walked into her room and instead of saying "Hi!" like she normally does she said, "Stinky, wet diaper," and then grabbed the front of her diaper. It was as clear as a bell. I was so surprised. I said, "Hannah do you need your diaper changed?" and she said yes. I took her to the changing table and sure enough her diaper was really wet and it was poopy. I praised her over and over for telling me about it. So far she hasn't done it again, but it's a start anyway.

We had been having a really good stretch of bedtimes and naps with Hannah, but now she's started waking up in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's easy to get her back to sleep. I just go into her room and lay her back down, cover her up, and turn on her music and leave. But other times she just will not go back to sleep and cries for a half hour or more. She's also started using stalling and manipulation techniques to get us to pick up back up out of her crib. She's been telling Kyle she has a stinky diaper when it's hardly even wet and then when Kyle picks her up and checks she's got what she wanted which is to be in Daddy's arms and then she refuses to go back to sleep. She starts talking about stuff in the room, asking for food or drink, or even saying that something hurts. Today she fell asleep in the car when we were coming back from having lunch with Kyle. She stayed asleep when I brought her into the house, but I didn't want to lay her down in the crib with her parka on so I tried to take it off of her. Well, the sleeve got stuck on her arm and I ended up waking her up. When I saw that she wasn't going to immediately go right back to sleep (even though she's only napped for 5 minutes or so) I went ahead and started her naptime routine. I turned on her humidifier, read her a story and sung her two songs. Then I put her down in her crib. She wasn't asleep and had no intention of going to sleep. She screamed for 30 minutes as I listened on the monitor and then started saying "stinky, stinky." I hadn't changed her diaper before I put her down so I thought there might actually be the possibility that her diaper was dirty so I went in and changed it. It wasn't dirty and it was barely wet. She'd tricked me just like she does Kyle. I put her back in her crib and she screamed hysterically (her I'm super mad cry, not a sad or scared cry) for another 30 minutes while I listened on the monitor and then started saying, "hurt, hurt" in a pleading voice. I ran into her room thinking she might have got her arm or something stuck through the slats of the crib and she was standing there looking absolutely fine. I asked her what hurt and she said her teeth. I wasn't convinced, but I got out the oragel anyway. I told her to lay back down on the crib and I'd put her medicine on her. Usually if her teeth really hurt she's so relieved when we tell her that we're going to give her some medicine that she immediately stops crying and opens her mouth. This time she was obviously hoping I'd pick her up out of her crib to apply the medicine because when I said lay back down she started to scream again (she'd stopped crying the minute I walked in the room). I put the oragel on her gums just in case and then walked back out of the room. She screamed for another 20 minutes before finally falling asleep exhausted. The doctor had no advice to help us with her sleep disturbances and we are really out of ideas. We've given several different methods of teaching Hannah to go to sleep on her own a try over the last year and none of them have proved effective for Hannah. There are times that I worry that she has some sort of a sleep disorder and that I'm being cruel for trying to force her to go to sleep when she just can't do it. I know first hand how hard it is to deal with a sleep disorder and I would hate to think that I'm hurting and not helping Hannah with our current sleep strategy, but really it's too hard to tell if a toddler has real sleep problems or not. UGH! I really want to help her, but we just don't know what to do. Nothing has helped a bit.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Important: Please Read (Part 2)

Kyle: I am sorry that my first post to Hannah's blog is in response to a family conflict, but I feel like it's time for me to end this debate. Having waited a few days since our initial post on the subject, I think I better understand the opinions of some of our family and friends. As such, I will try to use this post to address some of the questions we have received. Before I do, let me first say that our stance on this matter was not Natalie's decision alone to make, and that I consider the personal criticism of her completely unfounded, inappropriate, and extremely hurtful.

In terms of our stance on Hannah's birth family, it is this simple: we expect acceptance. Period.

This does not mean that they have to be invited to every family function. I agree that this would be asking too much. However, in regard to the event that touched this debate off, I strongly feel that uninviting them without our knowledge was unnecessarily brusk and hurtful, and this is what we are taking stance against, as it shows a genuine disrespect for them as people. Separately from their presence at family gatherings, Hannah's birth family is every bit as much a part of Hannah's life as any other family members. Consequently, we cannot allow anyone to behave negatively toward them, as it certainly does not show the values that we are working very hard to instill in Hannah. Although I do not understand why there is any discomfort in the first place in treating Hannah's birth family like any other part of the family, I am trying to accept this fact.

Please understand that we truly want Hannah to be able to spend the Holidays with her family members (all of them), but don't yet know how this can happen. For the time being, let me personally request that those of you who voiced concerns to us in this matter, especially those that were particularly critical of Natalie, contact Natalie and I directly to discuss your opinions so that this situation does not escalate any further.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

For those interested

For those interested in learning more about relationships in open adoptions, here is an excerpt from an article from Adoptive Families magazine. To read the article in it's entirety click on the link following the article.

A Lasting Relationship
Treat birthfamily as if they were extended family members: your child will benefit.

By Brenda Romanchik

"Open adoption is not designed to make the adults involved comfortable; it is about providing for the needs of a child. Much of the open adoption experience is awkward, especially in the beginning. Many birthparents in the crisis of planning for an adoption, or in the throes of grieving, look upon continuing contact as too painful to contemplate. Many adoptive parents just want to be a family, without the added complication of visits with their child’s birthfamily. Open adoption agreements that are guided by these feelings that occur around the time of placement do not allow contact to ebb and flow according to the needs of all involved, most importantly the child.

Patricia Martinez Dorner, author of Children of Open Adoption and Talking to Your Child about Adoption, encourages us to see open adoption as another form of blended family. In adopting, adoptive parents are welcoming the member of one family into their own. When birthfamily are accepted as extended family members, it gives the child a sense of wholeness. Children in these situations do not have to worry about “splitting their loyalties” between two families, because they come to see their adoptive family and their birthfamily as one. In the early years in particular, birthparents and adoptive parents take up the responsibility of maintaining connection with each other. A toddler or a child cannot carry the burden of connecting his two families. An adopted child whose birthfamily and adoptive family come together in a positive way will grow up with greater certainty. There is a saying that the greatest gift parents can give their children is to love one another. I think this applies not just to married couples, but to all parents.

Putting the open adoption covenant into practice

Treat each other as the family members you are. You don’t have to spend every holiday together, but, at the very least, you should find ways of remembering each other on holidays and birthdays. There is a tendency in open adoption to create artificial boundaries that one would never dream of imposing on other family members, friends, or even acquaintances. When considering the contact you are going to have with each other, instead of asking “Why?” ask “Why not?”

Let the child be the witness.

Ask yourself, 20 years from now, what will my child think of my actions? Too often adoptive parents and birthparents base their actions on reactions of fear, insecurity, or uncertainty. If you think about the contact you have with each other as building memories for your child, decisions will be based on the child’s needs, not solely on the needs of the adults involved.

Be there when it is important to be there.

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it seems impossible to coordinate schedules and activities. However, as my mother often says, “Ninety percent of friendship is showing up.” Birthparents need to make time to be present at a dance recital or a basketball game. Adoptive parents need to extend the invitations to these events, and to “show up” at important events in the lives of birthfamily members. Have fun with each other. Remember that, in open adoption, birthparents and adoptive parents choose each other for a reason. Focusing on your similarities will help you relax and enjoy yourself."

Important: Please Read

Recent events have necessitated this post. Kyle and I regret that we must draw a line in the sand, but it is for Hannah's best interest that we have made this decision. There have been some among our family or friends that have expressed negative attitudes towards Hannah's birthfamily. They have been referred to as not her "real" family and believed to not have as much right to spend time with Hannah and the rest of her family as her "real" family does. They have been purposely excluded from family gatherings. Though we have tried our best to educate all of our family and friends about open adoption and about the importance of Hannah's relationship with her birthfamily, our efforts have failed with respect to some of our loved ones. We will no longer try to dance around this issue.

Therefore, it is in Hannah's best interest that we make this statement. Everyone who truly loves and cares about Hannah and wishes to be a part of her life WILL accept each and every member of her birthfamily. You may choose not to love them or even like them, but you WILL be an adult and accept them for the important role that they have in our family and be polite whenever they are present. You WILL NOT make any negative or otherwise snide or insinuating comments about them to us or in front of Hannah. We will no longer attend (or allow anyone to attend at our house) gatherings in which Tiffany and Mike and their families are not welcome, should they wish to come.

We regret that it has come to this, but Kyle and I have discussed this issue at length and prayed about it fervently and we know that it is the right decision for us and for Hannah . If anyone wishes to comment on our decision you may send us an email. We will not be discussing this issue any further on the telephone or allow any negative comments on this blog.


Natalie and Kyle

PS. For those wishing to learn more about relationships within open adoption, there is a separate post dealing with that immediately following this post.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

16 Months Old

It's so hard to believe that Hannah is 16 months old already! The months since her birthday have just flown by. When I think about how only 4 months ago she was not walking at all and now she's running everywhere I am amazed at how far she's come. I was watching a video of a new adoptive couple's infant and they were so excited that he was grunting and stretching and managing to put his fingers into his mouth. I remember those days! Now it seems so silly that I ever got all worked up about some flailing around of the arms, but I did. Back then that seemed just as exciting as jumping in leaves and naming colors! It's funny how your perspective changes.

Hannah had a good Halloween this year. She wore her Squirt costume again even though it was a bit small on her. She looked really cute in it and had fun passing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters. She loved how she looked in her costume and kept running into our bedroom to look at herself in the full length mirror and say "tur-tell."

Hannah is enjoying talking on the phone more and more lately. She will actually listen to what the other person is saying and answer the questions they are asking her which is kind of neat. It is funny though that if I tell her to tell someone on the phone that she loves them, she automatically says, "Nigh, nigh" right afterwords like she thinks it's time for bed!

At the moment bedtimes seem to be going ok. We did have a really rough night last week where she cried for literally hours during the middle of the night, but other than that there have been less tears and quicker falling asleep times than in the past. I hope this continues. I am ready for her bedtime battles to be over! The daylight savings time switch has thrown Hannah for a loop again. Once again I didn't start adjusting her schedule before the change and then it hit, bam! Now both she and the dogs are waking up at their normal time which is really an hour early and demanding to eat. I actually think it might be the dogs waking up Hannah, but it's hard to tell. Anyway, it hasn't seemed to matter how much later I put Hannah to bed, she still wakes up an hour earlier than I want her too. UGH! Looks like I'm back to being an early bird again.

The other day Hannah went with both Kyle and I to vote (she got to go twice and get a sticker both times!) and she had a great time there. She loved that they were passing out stickers and she gladly wore her "I Voted!" stickers all day long and even stole mine! Something that was very interesting about going to vote was that the vote center was in the building of our old church. Hannah probably doesn't remember going to church there since she was only about 6 months old when we switched churches, but recently a friend we had from that old church passed away suddenly and I had to take Hannah with me to memorial service because I could not find a sitter. We sat in the back and I prompted Hannah many times to be very quiet and said "Shh" a lot. Well, as soon as I walked into the building with her to go vote Hannah turned and looked at me and said, "Quiet, Shh. Mommy Shh." I couldn't believe that she remembered that and that she knew that this was a building where Mommy had told her she must be quiet. Later that evening Kyle went to vote and he took Hannah with him and she did the same thing to him. She told him, "Quiet, Shh" as soon as they walked in the door of the church! She's such a smart little girl.

Today Hannah and I went to visit a friend of ours who has a little girl who is almost 6 months old. We had to pick up some baby items that they had borrowed. While we were there Hannah got very jealous while I was holding the baby. She even went so far as to come over to me, put her hand on my shoulder, lean around and give me a kiss on the lips. She looked so sad. It was like she was saying, "Mommy, don't forget about me!"

Not this weekend, but next we are going to go speak at IAC (the agency we worked with to adopt Hannah) and talk with couples that are currently waiting to adopt at a support group meeting. Both Tiffany and Mike are coming to speak too so we will get to have an extra and unexpected visit before Christmas. I'm very excited to see them both and for them to see how much Hannah has grown since her birthday. When I was talking to Tiffany on the phone the other day to confirm our plans Hannah just jabbered away to her and she talked to Mike on the phone about a week ago. I can't wait to see their expressions when she starts having a conversation with them. That should be so fun.

Hannah is really starting to get interested in pretend play. She's been rocking her baby doll in my old doll cradle and then pushing around her walker while I run the vacuum and pretending she's vacuuming too. She even makes the sweeper sound while she pushes and she pushes and pulls it back and forth just like I do the sweeper! The other day I got her this little barn with plastic animals that go inside it and Hannah has been taking the animals in and out of the farm and making them run around and make their sounds and lay in their beds and pretend to eat and all sorts of other imaginative things. Tonight she was playing in her Tupperware cupboard and she pulled out an empty peach container with out a lid. She started walking around with it tipped up to her lips and was pretending to drink from it like a cup. When she would take it away from her mouth she would kind of smack her lips and say, "Mmm. . Good!" That really made me laugh! It makes me smile seeing her make those connections for herself and to see her engaged in playing solo.

Even though I really like that Hannah can and will play by herself, I'm getting a bit worried about her lack of interest in socializing or playing with other children. When placed in a group of kids Hannah doesn't even really acknowledge that they even exist, not even to go over and take their toy away or anything! If she wants a toy that another kid has she will come to me and ask "Please, help" but she doesn't interact with the child at all. Is that odd? Wouldn't most toddlers just go try to take what they want? Hannah doesn't even seem interested in playing beside them or watching what they are playing. She just takes her toy or book off to the side by herself somewhere and does her own thing. If one of the other kids tries to come over to her either she moves, or cries because they are invading her personal space. I've been trying really hard to get her out to places where there are other kids for her to interact with like at the library, gymnastics, the play place at the mall, but so far I haven't had much luck with getting her to play or even interact with anyone at all.

Another thing I worry about is that Hannah is so sensitive. She cries if another child bumps up against her or even invades her personal space a bit. She gets jealous and seems betrayed when she sees us paying attention to other kids. And, when she thinks she is in trouble she will go hide somewhere and sit and cry silently, just tears and no sounds at all and she looks so sad and hurt that she was reprimanded. We always have to go pick her up afterwords and give her lots of kisses and hugs and tell her that we still love her even when she does something wrong. Is that normal? I really have no judge to gauge Hannah's social development by so I have no idea if all these things she is doing or not doing that I am worried about are perfectly normal and par for the course or if I really do need to be worried and trying to teach her more social skills.

Last Friday Hannah and I went with my friend Kristie to the barn to visit her horse and give Hannah a pony ride. Hannah was a bit intimidated by Jake while she was standing on the ground, but she did eventually pet him a bit and even brushed his legs! BUT once we got her up on Jake she was in heaven. I had taught her to say "walk on" to make Jake go and "whoa" to make him stop and she gladly told him walk on to start him up and then even started saying walk on when she thought he was slowing down too much! When it was time to get off Hannah refused to say "whoa." It was as if she thought that if she didn't say the word then she wouldn't have to get off! All week this week Hannah has been saying "horse, Jake" every time she sees a picture of a horse or one of her stuffed horses. Yesterday she was down crawling on her hands and feet in that old elephant crawl she used to do and was going through the house saying, "walk on, Jake, walk on!" and then neighing like a horse! Last night when Kyle was feeding her dinner Hannah kept saying something that he couldn't quite figure out what it was. He thought she was saying walking, but when he asked her if it was that she said no. Eventually he figured out that she was saying walk on and then she started saying "Jake" and then walk on and horse. Kyle asked her if she wanted to go ride Jake again and she said, "Yes!" She's turning into a little equestrian after all. That makes me so happy!
I don't know why it still shocks me when Hannah communicates her wants and needs to us so clearly since she's been doing it forever, but each time I am always taken aback at how sophisticated her knowledge of what she wants and when she wants it is. For example, today we were outside raking leaves. Hannah was having fun jumping in the piles, digging through the leaves and inspecting all the tiny details of various leaves. After we had been outside for about a half hour Hannah was playing in a pile of leaves about half way across the yard from me. All of a sudden she got up, walked over to me, touched my leg and said, "All done rake. Eat hungry." I looked at my watch and it was 3:05pm which is her normal afternoon snack time. When I didn't pick up the rake and immediately start walking to the house she made her request again, but this time she added her signs just to be sure I understood her. She said, "All done rake, all done. Eat, eat." She signed all done and eat as she was saying the words.

Here are some more videos I managed to get uploaded last night. Enjoy.

This one is of Hannah carrying around a plastic bag. She loves to carry bags, purses, or anything else she can loop over her arms around the house.

These next two videos are of Hannah practicing using her spoon to scoop up fruit out of a bowl.

Here are two videos of Hannah playing with the loose corn at the pumpkin patch.

Here are several videos of her petting the animals at the pumpkin patch.

Here are some videos of Hannah supposedly resting when she had pneumonia. I'll let you be the judge of whether or not this constitutes resting!