Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Sleep Over

Hannah had her first sleep over last weekend. We kept her best friend Eveyln overnight so that Sarah could surpise Jason with an early birthday present. The girls did great! I was mildly concerned about getting them both to bed by myself (Kyle's been working nights and weekends 4-midnight for the last few weeks) since Hannah doesn't always like to be alone and Evelyn needs calm and quiet to fall asleep and because of Hannah's issues with screaming herself to sleep. So, my plan was to really talk up to Hannah that Evelyn needed to go to bed (she goes to bed an hour before Hannah does) and emphasize that she needed to be really really quiet. I told her that she would get to watch a movie while I put Evelyn in her crib. I wasn't convinced that this would work, but it was the best idea I could come up with. Hannah was AWESOME and sat and watched her movie quietly and didn't move an inch until I got back when she said, "Shh. . . Eva's sleeping." Evelyn of course went right to sleep, she has NO PROBLEMS going to sleep on her own thank heavens. Hannah finished her movie and had her snack and then it was time for her to go to bed. I decided to not chance letting Hannah cry and wake up Evelyn so the plan was to rock her until she feel asleep (no matter how long it took) and avoid the whole issue of screaming. I reminded Hannah that we needed to be really quiet because Evelyn was sleeping and that we couldn't cry at all because that would wake her up. I told her that she needed to be sure that Ernie didn't cry and wake Evelyn up either. She held him tight and we read two books (one more than normal) and then sang our songs. I shouldn't have worried about how long it would take to rock Hannah to sleep because she was asleep before I finished her first song (we usually sing her two)! She must have played so hard with Evelyn that she was beat.

Speaking of Ernie, we have been making some progress in the Ernie department. I've done some serious talking up of Ernie and it seems to have helped because she's been asking to hold him and let him look at the pictures in her books before bedtime and naptime. She's been tucking him under her arm while we read and sing and always asks for me to sing Jesus Loves Ernie :) Usually when I put her down to sleep she tosses him towards his special pillow, but every now and then she will actually hold onto him and a few times I've gone into check on her on a night when she's chucked Ernie when I layed her down and she was actually holding him while she was sleeping. So, maybe just maybe Ernie will be a help. We've had some good days and some bad days as far as naps and bedtimes are concerned. Today was a bad day. She DID NOT want to even go into the room for her nap and was back to not wanting to let Ernie see the pictures, but eventually she held him. She wouldn't settle down though. She fidgeted throughout the whole story and her songs. Settling down is usually not her problem-it's actually falling asleep once she's in the crib that is the problem. Today though she screamed and screamed and screamed. She is finally asleep now though so I'm at least happy she'll get some rest. An old problem with sleep is also back again too. She's back to waking several times a night in an absolute panic. I'm almost positve she's having nightmares because it goes from silence to an ear splitting scream and she's standing bolt upright. As soon as I go in there and say shhh and touch her she crumples to the bed and is almost immediately asleep again, like she wasn't even really awake to begin with. It's been happening every night for the past week at 11pm, midnight and then a few more times throughout the night. I know it's hard on her not getting a full night's sleep and it's definitely hard on me too since my meds make me pretty groggy if I'm woken in the middle of the night. Hopefully this will soon pass like it did 6 months ago.

Hannah has been getting really into eating like a big girl and loves to use her new plates. We recently started trying to teach her how to use a fork (we've tried before, but were unsuccessful because she would get way too frustrated and start throwing food!) and she LOVES it. She's actually pretty good at it already. This makes me happy because if we can start keeping food on a plate or in a bowl and always use an utensil then this will cut down on cleanup time after meals and snacks dramatically. That would be nice :) Now I just wonder when I need to start phasing out the sippy cups. I've attempted the use of a big girl cup with her a few times and she's actually not too bad, but I guess I'm still too scared to let her go completely on her own yet like I was with the soup and the spoons!

Hannah's play has been evolving lately to include a ton of pretend play. She likes to put a blanket over her climber and pretend it's a zebra house. Don't ask me why it's a zebra house, but it is. Sometimes it's a zebra cage or zebra crate, but ALWAYS a zebra. This was NOT an idea I put into her head, but I do get pulled in to play the zebra a lot :) She's really into bear cawling around th house and pretending to be lots of different animals and she wants me to do it too. I have to get down and follow her and make the appropriate noises. The problem is that sometimes I don't know what the appropriate noises are! Anyone know what sounds a camel or a giraffe make? Another thing she loves to do is play a game she calls Super Grover. She watched this Sesame Street video from the library where grover was teaching kids to be a super hero like he was, Super Grover, and they had to pretend to put on a helmet and cape and then put their arms out in front of them and run around saying woosh, woosh, woosh like they were flying. Apparently Hannah really liked this idea because one day (about a week after we had taken the video back to the bookmobile) she came up to me and said, "Mommy play super grover" She wanted a cape which I quickly decided would be one of her old receiving blankets (I had to have one too by the way) and then she grabbed one of her little people animals and handed me one too. We had to pretend to fly around in circles in the house making wooshing sounds and holding our animal. With each trip around the house we had to stop in the library and switch to a new animal! It's pretty cute and it can keep her entertained for sometimes 20 minutes at a time which is nice! I get some exercise too which is nice since we're stuck in the house so much now that it's cold.

Hannah is still really into dancing and her favorite 2 songs at the moment are Day-O and Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte. She loves to jump around and sing them and of course dance to them with Daddy. She knows they are on the IPOD so sometimes she will even try to go start it herself when she wants to listen to her songs. We've got several videos of her dancing to them so now I just have to get them uploaded to google so that you can all watch them and laugh. :)

Speaking of videos. Here's one of Hannah reading with Grandpa from a long time ago that I uploaded and just never got around to posting on her blog.

Here are those videos of Hannah dancing that I was talking about.

Here's some old videos of Hannah practicing some of her new gymnastic skills.

Here are some videos of Hannah playing with her baby dolls.

Here is Hannah practicing saying her name.

Hannah and her friend Addie saying cheese for the camera.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

18 Month Check Up

Hannah had her 18 month well baby appointment last Friday and she's still growing like a weed. She weighed in at 26.6 lbs and was 34 3/4 inches long. She's past the 99th percentile in height and head circumference and in the 75th for weight. Once again, when they plotted her weight for her height (and didn't account for her age) she was only in the 25th percentile. She's still a tall and skinny girl.

We finally got the doctor to give us some advice on how to get Hannah to go to sleep without screaming herself to sleep. He gave us several ideas and told us to pick one and try it for a week or so and that by then we would know if it was something that might work and if not then move on to the next thing. One of the things he suggested was taking Hannah to the store and letting her pick out some special things just for nap time and bedtime. So, we went to Walmart and bought a new book, a stuffed Ernie, and a pillow. Hannah was REALLY into choosing her special things and was very excited about trying them out. She was hugging Ernie and laying on the pillow in the shopping cart the entire time we were in the store, BUT when it came time to actually try out the new things at nap time later that day she didn't even want them to be within sight! If I even suggested that Ernie might like to sleep in the crib with her she would start pleading, "no, No, NO!" with a note of hysteria in her voice. Same thing with the pillow. It's been a few days now and I can at least get her to let the pillow and Ernie be in her crib, but other than that she doesn't want much to do with either of them. She will push them as far away from herself as she can get them with them still being in the crib and then proceeded as normal crying herself to sleep. So, tonight a few hours before bedtime I decided to do some more talking up of Ernie and the pillow. We took them both out of the crib and sat on the floor and talked about how Ernie was scared to sleep alone and how when Hannah's scared sometimes a hug and a kiss from Mommy helps her to feel better and maybe that would make Ernie feel better too. We hugged and kissed Ernie and told him that it would be ok. We showed him how to sleep on his pillow and we layed on it with him. We read Ernie a story and let him sit on Hannah's lap (she sat on mine) so that he could see the pictures. We sang him a song (Jesus Loves Ernie!) and then put him to bed on his pillow in Hannah's crib (it took some convincing that it was OK for Ernie to borrow her bed for his nap! She wasn't too keen on this idea at first!) and covered him up, said good night, and turned out the lights. Later when it was time for Hannah to go to bed we checked on Ernie to see if he was asleep yet. Oddly enough :) he wasn't so I asked Hannah if he could sit with us and listen to her bedtime story. She didn't want him to, but I pressed the issue pretty hard. I got him into the chair with us and kept her on my lap (and kept her from throwing him off the chair!). Then the battle began on letting Ernie sit close enough so that he could see the pictures. Amidst fervent protests of , "No Ernie! No Ernie!" I managed to get Ernie right up next to her and level with the book and just kept reading and ignoring her pleas. After the book was done I wiggled Ernie over closer to her and sang her her songs. Eventually I even got her to rest her hand on Ernie's head (and sort of brush his hair) while we sang our last song. When I put her in her crib I thought I was being sneaky as tucked Ernie under her arm, but she immediately grabbed him and slammed him onto his special pillow as far from her as she could get him! We may have made some progress tonight, but who knows. The real test will be tomorrow's nap time because nap times are always the worst in the sleep department.

We can tell that Hannah is starting to get that time outs aren't any fun and that she wants to avoid them if she can because she has started to run away when we announce that she is getting a time out! She's also begun to do whatever it is that she thinks will get her out of a time out once it's been announced she is getting one. For example, if the infraction was refusing to say excuse me, as we are carrying her to her mat she will frantically start saying, "excuse, excuse excuse!" Then when we go to get her at the end of the time out she will immediately say, "excuse!" :) Unfortunately this knowledge that she doesn't want time outs hasn't really changed her behavior before the time out yet, but hopefully that will come.

We've been talking a lot lately about the difference between doing something on purpose and on accident. One of the reasons for this is that she will purposely throw something from her highchair such as food or her sippy cup and then she will say, "uh oh!" This used to begin the conversation about how it's not "Uh Oh!" if you do it on purpose. Now, however, deliberate throwing of food or cups is an immediate end to the meal and time out. We've also been working on saying we are sorry for the things we do wrong, especially the things we do that hurt people. She HATES to say she's sorry and will sometimes get time outs for refusing to say it just like when she refuses to say excuse me. Well, yesterday I got confirmation that she actually does understand when saying sorry is appropriate and that she knows the difference between doing something on purpose versus an accident. She was eating her snack and went to put her sippy cup down on her tray and pick up a grape, but she accidentally set the cup on the edge of the tray and it fell to the floor. She looked at me with a panicked look in her eyes and said and signed sorry! I was so proud of her! I praised her over and over and told her what a big girl she was for saying sorry without being told to say it and how I knew that it was an accident that the cup fell on the floor. She seemed really relieved and then also proud of herself too. That's my big girl! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More Christmas Pictures

I have so many Christmas pictures that I wanted to share that I couldn't fit them all in the regular posts. So I'm making a separate post just for them. For those of you who don't like to read my long posts, this should be right up your alley.

The Count

Hannah continues to be a counting machine. She counts almost everything she can find. She can go all the way to 10 by herself although she hasn't grasped the fact that each number corresponds to an object so she'll continue counting after she runs out of objects by simply counting the available objects over until she reaches her goal! :) She gets such joy out of counting that she reminds me of The Count from Sesame Street. When she gets to a predetermined number in her head she then claps for herself like mad and cheers.

Sleep continues to be an ongoing battle. I keep thinking we've got it because we will have several days of cry free bedtimes and naps and then we have a day like today where she absolutely refuses to go to sleep. She is currently in her crib alternately crying and calling out to me or just shouting out random things that she thinks will get my attention. There are days when I wonder if she is old enough to know that she can say certain things that will get her out of her crib such as "I'm hurt/hungry/thirsty/etc" It's on days like this that she goes through all of those biggies in succession trying to see if any of them will work. Right now she's saying, "Tell Mommy, oh baby, my baby. Crib please pick up."

Tomorrow she has her 18 month well child check-up so hopefully the doctor will be able to offer some suggestions for our sleep issues and will be able to give us some insight into what she might actually be thinking and if she could be deliberately playing the "Help I'm hurt!" card on purpose just to lure us into her room. I will also be interested to see what her growth is. She doesn't really feel much heavier than her last appointment to me, but I do think that she's grown height wise. I keep taking her to the shoe store to have her feet measured because I think her shoes are getting tight, but each time I go they tell me that she's still a 6.5 extra wide.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

18 Months Old

Hannah is officially a year and a half old! Last weekend someone asked me how old Hannah was and I was taken aback when I had to say 18 months. That just seems so old for my little girl! Some good things are coming with her new age and maturity. Some of her stranger anxiety is lessening-FINALLY! We went to a family Christmas on Saturday to see family Hannah hasn't seen since last Christmas and she did great. After 15 minutes or so to warm up she was running around like she owned the place. That made me so happy. She's also been using 3 and 4 word sentences a lot to express herself which is really nice. For example she will say, "Mommy do it please," when she wants me to do something she is pretending to do like be a cow and "eat" the "grass" on her play mat. Or "Daddy's chair move it," when she wants me to pull out Kyle's chair so she can stand on it to look out the window. Every day I am amazed by something she says. Lately it seems like she has a one track mind. If I try to distract her from something she wants or wants to do and I think that once I get her down for a nap or interested in something else she will forget about it, it almost never works. If I tell her we will do something after her nap it is ALWAYS the first thing she asks about when she wakes up, even before I get her out of her crib! One day I told her we would be going to the bookmobile after her nap and I heard her saying on the monitor when she woke up (I wasn't even in the room yet!) "more new books please." She even surprised Sarah when she was asking for a cracker and Sarah told her she would have to ask me about it when I came back into the house. The moment I stepped through the door Hannah asked, "Mommy, cracker?" Sarah was shocked. Her memory is always cause for my amazement. She seems to just know so much that I don't even intend to teach her. For example, one day she was in her crib and supposed to be taking a nap. Well, she wasn't sleeping and hadn't been for 40 minutes. She was alternately crying and just randomly talking and then all of a sudden she started asking every person, animal, and object she could think of to get her down. She went through mommy down, daddy down, Abby down, Ella down, Sadie down, Penny down, Pap down, Kevin down, Grandpa down, Mamaw down, Papaw down, Zeke down, Toby down, Sarah down, Evelyn down, Jason down, Sidney down, Heather down, Kristie down, Jake down and on and on using duck, zebra, lion, elephant, etc. The crazy thing was that she naturally grouped all the things/people who went together into family groups or equivalents. For example she did Kyle and I and all of our pets together, she did Kyle's family together, she did Sarah and her family and dog together, etc. She even put all the random animal names together and furniture together!

It's been interesting lately to see her learning from other people. For example, her friend Evelyn says "upy" when she wants picked up. Hannah has always just used the word up and then up please to indicate she wants picked up, but all of a sudden she started using upy after spending a day with Evelyn. It was funny because we knew she knew that wasn't the right word to say because if we pretended not to hear her she would completely change her tactic and say "Up, please!" :) Another example is sneezing. When Hannah sneezes or when someone else sneezes we always say bless you, but we had never instructed Hannah to say it. Now she ALWAYS says bless you to anyone who sneezes or coughs. It's very cute. She has also learned how to say excuse me properly. Instead of just saying, "excUse" she says, "Excuse Meeeeee". It sounds a little snotty at the moment like she's back talking, but I'm pretty sure she's not doing that yet! We'll work on the delivery after she gets the idea of it a little better!

Lately she's been much more affectionate and has been giving spontaneous hugs and kisses and I love yous. She's even started asking Kyle to turn his head from side to side so that she can kiss each cheek over and over again. It makes me smile when she asks for kisses!

She's really getting into being a "Big Girl" and doing absolutely everything for herself. She can now feed herself exclusively, even soup or other liquids such as cheerios with milk. This actually makes things difficult sometimes because when I try to stop her from dumping something when she's not paying attention she gets really angry and throws a tantrum. Speaking of eating, she has two more new teeth that finally came in. Now she has pretty much all of her teeth except for her last set of molars. I will be so happy for teething to be completely over. She's not been a good teether and it will be nice to be rid of at least one more thing that can potentially make her cranky!

Hannah spends a lot of time talking about Jesus. She's been praying a lot on her own and reminds me to pray at meals sometimes. We've been working on bowing our heads and closing our eyes (along with folding her hands which she's mastered) when we pray and the other day she just climbed up on the couch and said "Pray Jesus" and folded her hands, closed her eyes, and bowed her head and then sat silently for a brief moment and then said "Amen" I was so proud of her.

We finally took the rocker off of her bike and have been letting Hannah push it around the house with her feet. She can almost reach the pedals now, but can't quite extend her leg all the way to actually pedal. I'm sure this spring she'll be able to reach them and will be rearing to go!
This winter our family has been plagued with our share of colds, sniffles, and stuffy noses. Hannah finally had her first doctor's visit with no tears and she even bravely let them take her temperature and look in her ears and mouth! Her congestion forced us to get the dreaded aspirator out again and by the end of it Hannah had actually stopped struggling while we did it. In fact it was as if she was putting up with it just so she could get to the good part which this time was twisting the cap back on the saline solution that we squirt up her nose first! She is also honing her skills at blowing her nose and is very interested in everyone else blowing their noses too! Speaking of doctors, today I had a doctor's appointment that I had to take Hannah with me to and while the doctor was entering some information into the computer she get very excited because she wanted to see the "pishurs" on it. Because we do so much digital photography, Hannah thinks computers are made for nothing but displaying pictures of her and she is very surprised anytime there is a computer somewhere else that doesn't have a picture of her on it!

Back before Christmas we went to visit Tiffany and her family and Hannah got to see Tiffany's brother Robert for the first time since May. Every time Robert has seen Hannah since she has been born she has screamed bloody murder whenever he held her. BUT for some reason this last visit was different. Hannah really warmed up to him quickly and they became fast friends. I wonder if it's the facial hair (Robert recently let his beard grow much longer) since Hannah seems to have a thing for men with facial hair. We got some great pictures of them together and when we were walking into the church to see the twins' Christmas play, Hannah wanted to hold Robert's hand! It was really cute. Ever since Hannah has been asking about Robert constantly and completely fixates on his picture in her photo album. I know it made Robert feel good and I'm happy that Hannah is developing closer bonds with all of her birthfamily.

Ever since Hannah had her last bout with pneumonia and the x-ray tech gave her a sticker, Hannah has been very intrigued by stickers. Then, she started going to gymnastics and she gets either a sticker or a stamp on her hand after each class. That pretty much sent her into full fledged sticker obsession. This is pretty much a pain in the butt since she likes to take them on and off of the various things she chooses to stick them on and then they lose their sticky and they get lost and she has a fit when she can't find her sticker, but I have managed to find a bright side to the obsession and use it for my benefit. Lately Hannah has been asserting her independence which has caused some serious obedience issues. Consequently we try to praise her like crazy whenever she does obey without a fight. So, here recently, I've been saving all those crazy stickers that charitable organizations send me (like Easter Seals for example) and using them as rewards/incentives when Hannah obeys. She is so proud of herself when she earns a sticker and sometimes even wants to call Kyle at work and tell him about it! I'm thinking that if this sticker obsession continues until she is a little bit older then I may have hit the jackpot in the discipline department because she is also devastated if she loses a sticker for being disobedient or naughty. Maybe, just maybe stickers will be the key to a quick and painless toilet training.

Hannah got several new art related supplies as gifts for Christmas and she's really been enjoying trying them out and releasing her inner Picasso! She got some Crayola first markers and paints and some new crayons from her grandpa and she LOVES to use them to color the pages she gets at gymnastics and at the bookmobile. She also got this cool little magnetic drawing lap desk from Kyle's aunt and uncle that she is crazy about. It even has these little magnet "stamps" that are animal shapes that she can stamp on the desk and then it all wipes clean with one swipe of the ladybug lever and you can start all over. It's really cool. Even I like playing with it. The best thing is that it's designed for kids 18 months and up so I don't have to worry about safety concerns like I would have to with a normal magnadoodle or the equivalent. Hannah loves to pretend she's writing her name on the screen and even pretends to spell it out. She knows several of the letters in her own name although she doesn't usually get them in the right order when she says them out loud as she pretends to write. I can't wait to try this toy out in the van the next time we need to take a road trip. We let Evelyn borrow it when they took their trip back to Minnesota for Christmas and we heard it was a lifesaver.

Hannah has always loved to be tickled from since she was really little. Once she learned the signs for more and all done and then the words more and all done she also loves to get you to start and stop tickling her on command repeatedly! For the past few weeks she's branched out in the tickling department from just being the tickled to now also being the tickler. She loves to tickle me and of course announce what she's doing by saying, "tickle, tick, tick!" as she's tickling me. She's also started trying to tickle the pets which is pretty funny to watch. I'm not so sure that the dogs or cats really get it, but they've been good sports about it so far.

To update everyone on Hannah's love of numbers, she has officially mastered counting to 6 and has even counted to 10 a few times on her own too. It's been so exciting to watch her just explode with knowledge the past few weeks. She's had a color learning explosion as well. She can now accurately name red, blue, green, orange, and pink about 95% of the time. She gets yellow and purple only about 75% of the time, but I think that's pretty good for an 18 month old. It seems like her favorite thing to do these days is to count or play the "color game" which is pretty much either me pointing to something and asking her what color it is, me saying "Hannah find the (insert color) (insert object)", or her matching colors. She likes to have me pull out a green block and then ask her to put all the other blocks of the same color by it. She loves to do that sorting game. To her everything is a game and she just soaks it up and constantly asks for more. She's just so bored when she's not learning that she gets herself into all sorts of trouble.