I've been thinking about changing the name of my blog now that we are no longer in the process of adopting AND Hannah is no longer a baby. I'm not good at coming up with catchy titles (as evidenced by the current title of the blog!) so I was wondering if some of you out there with more creative juices had any ideas. Maybe I should have a contest to come up with a new title. I'm not sure how blog contests work. Is there any sort of formal etiquette or rules for this sort of thing? What on earth would be an appropriate prize (remember I'm a stay at home mommy, so I'm not made of money)? If any of you veteran bloggers out there want to help me develop a contest to rename my blog I'd be eternally grateful.
Interestingly enough, the fact that Hannah was adopted has been placed at the forefront of my mind over and over again recently as we have had to fill out and discuss medical history forms for a variety of specialists. It never ceases to take me off guard when people are shocked that we are still in contact with Hannah's birthparents and extended birthfamily. A woman (a social worker no less!) gasped today (at Hannah's meeting to begin transitioning out of the early intervention agency) when I mentioned that I could get any information I needed on the medical history form because I would be seeing Tiffany on Sunday. She said, "do you understand how UNUSUAL that is?" I was almost angry about her uninformed comment and popped off,"Well actually it's not unusual at all anymore. Open adoptions are quite common now." I'm sure the irritation I felt showed in my voice. I wish I had been a little bit more polite in my answer, but Jeez! She's a social worker for pete's sake. She should know a bit about adoption AND she should be sure she has the facts before she makes assumptions when talking to someone living open adoption.
To update everyone on all the medical stuff we've had going on lately. Hannah's staph infection is clearing up pretty well. It thankfully was not MRSA, but is was penicillin resistant so we did have to make an antibiotic switch mid treatment. She's still digging at her ears, but since we aren't even finished with her current round of antibiotics I haven't taken her back into the doctor's office. The visit to the orthopedic specialist went well. It turns out that Hannah does indeed have arches, but her ligaments are too loose to hold them up (this is also the cause of her over pronation). We got a prescription for an insert to put in her shoes. It turns out that we were right in thinking that Hannah is more flexible than the average two year old. She had 4 of the 5 clinical indicators of hyper mobility syndrome. Basically her ligaments are so loose that they allow her joints to move past the normal ranges of motion. Watching the doctor examine Hannah, it was really interesting to learn all the things her body can do that the normal body can't do. The thing that freaked me out the most was watching her thumb be bent back all the way until it was laying flat against her wrist and her not flinching at all. I bent my thumb back as far as it would go (granted my ligaments are extra tight instead of extra loose) and was in a lot of pain with still close to two inches to go until I even touched my wrist! Today Hannah bent herself in half (the pike position for all those gymnasts and divers out there) and then separated her feet and brought her legs on past her head until they touched the ground on either side of her head. Then she raised them back up slightly and began separating them until she was basically doing the splits while lying flat on her back. It almost made me ill to watch her. The good news is that as long as she doesn't complain of pain or start to have joint dislocations then we don't have to be worried about this at all.
Hannah has been enjoying the Christmas season thoroughly. I melt every time she mentions the word Christmas because she mispronounces it almost every time. She so rarely mispronounces anything that I have to cherish every instance of it that I can get. Instead of saying Christmas she says Crispex (as in the cereal!). Imagine how cute it is to hear, "I can see the lights of our Crispex tree in the window!" :) For me it conjures up an image of a tree made out of cereal boxes with tiny pieces of Crispex hung as the ornaments. She loves to point out Nativities when she sees them and has an eagle eye for Christmas lights. She's very excited about our family coming to visit on Christmas Day (every day she asks me if the family is coming) and to go see Tiffany (her birthmother), Chase and Kayla (Hannah's brother and sister), Uncle Robert (Tiffany's brother), and Grandma Donna (Tiffany's mom) on Sunday. Kayla is performing in the Nutcracker and Hannah is totally pumped about going to the ballet. She informed me yesterday after talking to Tiffany on the phone that she was going to dance with Kayla in the ballet! She may not make it up on stage (let's pray she doesn't anyway!), but I have no doubt that there will be much dancing going on in the audience during the performance. She also told me that she and Kayla would be wearing dresses, but that Chase was too big for a dress!! Never mind the fact that Chase is a boy, he's simply too big! Next weekend we will be delivering our gifts to the family we adopted through Family Services. I'm really looking forward to Hannah getting her first taste of what it feels like to be generous and help others in need. I think it's so hard for kids to understand what generosity means until you they can actually see how what they did helped someone.
Hannah's newest literary obsession is spelling. The other day she brutally drilled me at the dinner table about spelling. She started off spelling her name-first and middle and then moved on to cat and dog and then to other words she can read easily, but that I did not know she knew how to spell like up, is, it, me, go, the, see, and. She spelled each word just like our local hero Sameer Mishra who won the National Spelling Bee this year. She would say the word, spell it, then say it again. Up, U-P, up. It was so cute. After exhausting the words she definitely knew how to spell, she started asking me for words to spell. I'd give her a word and then she would attempt to spell it. After she tried I'd help her get it correct. She was really quite good at it. She would analyze each word and then do her best to phonetically spell it out using letter names and letter sounds. I was quite amazed. Her scissor skills are coming along quite nicely. I think I posted about her scissor project fascination awhile back. She can operate her scissors independently and cut right where she wants to cut although she can't always stay in a straight line. Now that we've figured out the mechanics of how to use the scissors we can work on fine tuning her control. Yesterday we made paper snowflakes. She got a HUGE kick out of snipping away at the paper and then opening it up to see what she had created. They are currently hanging on our window.
Here's a kids say the darnedest things funny story for you to chuckle about. The day I took Hannah to the doctor to have her sores looked at (the ones that ended up being the staph infection) I couldn't get her into her primary doctor so I took her to the walk in urgent care clinic down the street. Given it is the season for respiratory infections and stomach bugs, the clinic waiting room was packed. When we finally saw the doctor he had to do a biopsy of one of Hannah's sores to confirm that it was staph and to rule out MRSA. When he was done (Hannah was very brave by the way and didn't cry a bit!) he put a band aid on her bottom (that's where most of her sores are) over the one he took the biopsy from. When we walked back out into the waiting room Kyle was there waiting for us-he had stopped on his way home from work. The waiting room was even more packed now that it was past "quitting time." Hannah, excited to see her daddy and anxious to tell him about her experience, proudly and extremely loudly announced for the entire waiting room to hear, "Daddy, I have a band aid on my bottom!" Several people snickered and we got all sorts of kind smiles as we walked out. Though I might have been a bit embarrassed by her proclamation, maybe Hannah's antics managed to cheer up someone who wasn't feeling very well.
Some of the pictures I'm posting are from Thanksgiving. We spent the day at my aunt's house visiting with my mom's side of the family. Hannah was the only kid there except for my younger cousins who are in middle and high school and she lapped up all the attention. As many of you are aware, like many toddlers Hannah loves to be naked. She especially loves to be naked and running. You can guess what this will lead to in college! She might not even need the aid of alcohol to do it! Anyway, it's often a challenge keeping her clothed and Thanksgiving was no exception. My sister started snapping away as I tried to keep my little stripper from getting indecent. I failed miserably. None of these photos are posed by the way, so don't think I'm trying to create kiddie pornography or anything. Enjoy a good laugh while you observe my little streaker.
PS. Someone on another blog I read posted a picture of their daughter that they thought summed up how she approaches life. While I don't believe this picture sums Hannah up, it's a pretty fair snapshot of her approach to coping with her challenges. I was babysitting for a friend whose daughter is 18 months old. She's not super verbal, but VERY active and unpredictable like most toddlers. Hannah's not much for unpredictability so she was a bit stressed during the visit. Much of the time she spent placing physical barriers between herself and Scarlett and chewing on her hands. However, she's ever the observer and doesn't want left completely out of the action so she always had to be near Scarlett to know what she was doing. Notice in this picture Scarlett is busy, busy, busy chasing the cat and Hannah's placed herself on the other side of the filing box and is busy chewing her hands to stay calm. You can't tell in the picture, but she is also rocking herself back and forth which is another calming tool she uses. On a side note, you gotta love the 80's style head band and retro T shirt don't you?