Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sleep Wonderful Sleep

Those are the words I'm longing to say. As many of you know, we've pretty much always struggled with Hannah's sleep and how to teach her to go to sleep and stay asleep. We had high hopes for her weighted blanket and while it does seem to have helped some, it has not been the miracle we had been hoping for. Besides having a sleep study done, the developmental pediatrician recommended that we try melatonin an hour before bedtime. I've been reluctant to go out and buy it (it's an over the counter supplement that your body makes naturally anyway) because I just hate the thought of having to give Hannah anything even remotely close to medicine if I can help it, but this week pretty much sealed the deal. I'm willing to try it and I went out and bought some today. Not only has Hannah been having trouble falling asleep, but she's not been sleeping through the night again either. She's been waking up between 2-4 times a night crying. She's obviously tired and cranky throughout the day because she's not getting a restful night's sleep and this makes her much less able to cope with her other challenges. Last night for example she was up a total of 3 times. She also got to bed late because of church. Thankfully she pretty much went right to sleep. Then today she had preschool and then her friend Addie came over. There were some really great moments to their play date, but also some really rough ones. Twice Hannah hit Addie when there was unwanted physical contact and several other times she went into hysterics when Addie disrupted her lining up of Little People, tried to interrupt her petting of the cat, or did not want to play with her pattern blocks in the "right" way. Normally there are a few incidents each play date, but nothing quite this rough. The hitting of other kids is definitely a newer development that I am not pleased about. On a positive note, we have both the sleep study and her psychologist appointment scheduled. The sleep study is next Tuesday and the psychologist is March 5th. I'm glad the sleep study is so soon because we so need some help. I'm not looking forward to the actual study though. I don't think it's going to be a fun night. I've had a sleep study so I know what all it entails and frankly I'm a bit skeptic about how they intend to keep all the electrodes on Hannah and keep her in the bed. I know this is a pediatric sleep clinic and it's what they do, but still. I'll believe it when I see it! It should be interesting to say the least.

For some reason Hannah has picked up the word "bummer" from somewhere (I'm not sure where) and has been using it quite frequently and in the proper context. I'm sure I've said it before since I grew up during the word's heyday, but I don't use it regularly so I'm not thinking she'd have heard it enough from me to truly understand what it means. Obviously she's heard it somewhere and often enough that she's inferred it's meaning quite adequately. Two of my favorite incidences of her using the word both happened this week. They may not sound as funny written out as they did in person, but I've got to put them on here anyway so bear with me. The first time she was pretending to leave a message on one of her phones for her friend Addie's mom. The message I heard her leave was this, "Hi Kim! How's Addie? Is she still coughing? Poor thing. That's a bummer. Bye." The second time was just yesterday. Our kitchen floor was a little wet from melting snow and therefore slippery. Our old dog, Abby, came trotting around the corner and slipped. Her back end went right out from under her and she fell to the ground. Hannah saw it happen and turned to me and said in a concerned tone of voice that was almost fake, "Aww, Abby fell. What a bummer." I had to bite my lip to keep from cracking up laughing at that one. You probably had to be there to know how funny it was. I think it was the tone of voice that did it for me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And the Winner Is. . . . .

Drum roll please! The winner of my first ever bloggy contest is M over at Incipient Turvy for coming up with the new name for my blog-Adopting the Spectrum. I think it fits perfectly with what I write about. I spend a lot of time talking about open adoption and it's almost impossible to blog about Hannah without some mention of her particular strengths and challenges that land her a spot on the spectrum. So, there we have it. Welcome to Adopting the Spectrum. Congratulations M! Just email me your mailing address ( and I'll mail you your book right out. Thanks to everyone who came up with such wonderful ideas. I really had a hard time choosing one. It was quite a tight race.

Yesterday was such a good day! It started out rough, but Hannah really turned it around and we had a great day together. We both really needed that I think. We had a nice time at the library. We met Kimberly, Hannah's DT, there and we did therapy there. The youth room was packed with kids since schools were out due to Martin Luther King Day. We had planned on meeting some friends there so that I knew there would be at least one kid there for Hannah to interact with, but it turns out we would have been fine anyway. Besides our friends we had planned to meet, we also ended up running into Hannah's gymnastics teacher and her two children who we have become good friends with. Hannah really likes Miss Heather's son Dawson who is 5. He's the protective big brother type and really likes taking care of Hannah. Heather's daughter Audrey is only a few weeks older than Hannah, but as is her nature, she really doesn't interact much at all with her. She definitely likes her in theory, talks about her all the time, but in person she'd prefer to stick with the older kids. An interesting change to this preference began happening this weekend however. Our friends that we met at the library have two children, a boy Zach who is almost 4 and a little girl, Ashley who is 18 months and not very verbal at all. Hannah really likes Zach, although he's much more physical than she can handle sometimes and often pushes her personal space boundaries. Still, the two of them typically get along pretty well. Typically Hannah enjoys babies from afar, but doesn't like their unpredictability when they are moving around and screeching and such. We went out to lunch after church with Zach, Ashley, and their mom Laura this past Sunday and Hannah spent the entire meal tickling and giggling with Ashley. I was stunned. Not only was she the one initiating the interaction, but it was with a younger child who doesn't speak at all. Normally she has no tolerance for those who can't communicate on her level which really hinders her ability to get along with her age mates. Then, yesterday at the library Hannah was running around like a crazy woman chasing Ashley up and down the aisles of books (I know, not acceptable library behavior and normally I'd be putting a stop to it, but my little girl was choosing to interact with someone on her own, and someone younger than her no less!) and tickling her and giggling like mad. She had a blast. I was so proud of her. Very intrigued by the development and wondering if this would transfer to other younger children or even her classmates at preschool, but proud none the less. We also met another little boy Hannah's same age who has PDD-NOS (the alternative diagnosis the developmental pediatrician said she psychologist might come back with if she didn't quite agree with the doctor thought about Asperger's). I was really interested to talk with his parents and for Hannah to get to spend some time with another kid who gets it and shares some of her same challenges, but he was much less verbal than she is and was pretty hyper and this made her very anxious. I was not successful in getting her to interact with him at all. She wouldn't even say hi or look at him really. Her hands went straight into her mouth and she started gnawing away at them. After they left and Dawson and Audrey arrived, Hannah was able to recover and have a good time again. It was very interesting for me to see her get herself regulated again. It used to be that once she started getting anxious there was nothing we could do to stop it and now she can actually stop her anxiousness if we help her and even turn it around and get back on track. After the library we went out to eat with Laura, Zach, and Ashley at Chick-Fil-A. After eating the kids went into the play place. It was crazy in there- very loud and kids running everywhere. Hannah actually played a bit and went up in the tubes and down the slide several times. Towards the end she came over to one of the benches and laid down. I thought she was just getting tired since it was close to nap time and she had had a very busy morning with lots of kids to deal with and that always wears her out, but later in the day totally out of the blue she told me that she laid on the "blue couch" at the restaurant because the boys were too loud and she needed a break. WOW! I think that's pretty impressive. She was over stimulated, but she didn't melt down. She took herself to a quieter (not by much, but still quieter) place and did what she needed to do to keep it together. Once again I was so proud of my little one. From Chick-Fil-A we headed on to her doctor's appointment to recheck her ears. She was still pulling at them and this weekend she said her ears hurt. This time there was no infection, but her ears were still filled with fluid which the doctor said is probably causing her discomfort. He doesn't want to do anything about it though until we have her sleep study which it seems like will be soon. Riley contacted me yesterday, but of course I wasn't home, to schedule her appointment and it sounds like the wait won't be months like we had thought. Her doctor thinks her enlarged adenoids are probably preventing the fluid from draining from her ears and he wants to see the results of the sleep study before he sends us off to an ENT. I just hope she doesn't end up with yet another ear infection in the mean time. Poor things had constant fluid in her ears and several infections for 3 months straight now. Thank heavens her hearing doesn't seem to be affected by it. We'll know more about that next week though since I finally got her 2 1/2 year hearing test schedule. We've done so many of them it's hard to believe that after this one we will only have to do one more unless we notice any problems down the road.
Well, that's all for now. I'll keep you posted on the sleep study and the hearing test. I can't imagine that the sleep study will be a pleasant experience. I didn't enjoy mine when I had it done and I at least understood why they were doing the things they were doing, but who knows kids can surprise us.

PS. Here's more pictures courtesy of Hannah! You can totally tell she's spent way too much time around photographers. Now she's staging photos and laying down and moving around in creative ways to get just the perspective she wants! I suppose that's what happens when your mommy and grandpa are amateur photo freaks and your aunt is a professional photographer. In this last photo that's her foot in the way. She's laying on her back and holding the camera up in front of her to take the picture of her My Little Pony that's she's pulled out of one of her precious lines specifically for this photo op!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


First off, just a friendly reminder that if you want a chance at winning Daniel Tammet's book Born on a Blue Day you have until midnight tonight (Sunday the 18th) to submit your name for my blog. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's suggestions. You are all so creative!

Now, moving onto the real reason for this post. I find it interesting that most times that I find Hannah role playing of her own volition it is a reenactment of a situation that is difficult (or at the very least unpleasant) for her. For example, she puts her stuffed animals and Little People in time out and gives them reminders, she fixes food at her kitchen and then pretends to eat it or feeds it to me, she does her entire bedtime routine to put her babies and stuffed animals (and tonight me!) to bed or down for a nap, she even takes her own temperature or takes her baby doll's temperature. All of these activities are ranked extremely low on her favorites list, but yet when she's playing on her own she chooses to think about them and recreate them. I wonder why?

Another thing I find interesting is Hannah's fixation with my hair. She's always liked playing with it and stroking it and pulling it, but her fascination with it has really ramped it up a notch recently. Right after Christmas I decided to get my hair cut. Because I was planning on making quite a drastic change (I cut off 14 inches) I prepped Hannah for it extensively. I showed her about how short it would be and we pulled my hair up to see what I might look like afterwards. I expected her to either be totally freaked out when I came home or intrigued for awhile. Thankfully she didn't freak out, but her fascination with my hair has lasted for much longer than I ever could have expected. It's been over 3 weeks now and she still comes up to me, grabs both sides of my hair and says, "I love your hair Mommy." Until I got my hair cut she'd never said anything about the way my hair looked before. She's also still asking/stating "You got your hair cut?" and "Your hair is short?" pretty much every day. I wonder exactly what's going on in her little 2 1/2 year old mind that makes this change so captivating for her.

This past week has been a bit rocky because we've been stuck inside A LOT and I don't just mean inside like we haven't played outside. I mean inside like we didn't leave the house for 3 days straight even to go to the mailbox and get the mail because it was below zero the entire time with windchills that were even colder at around -30 degrees Fahrenheit! There's only so much of each other Hannah and I can take without other human contact and we were totally at each other's throats before the weekend rolled around. Thankfully Kyle didn't have to work this weekend and it finally warmed up to a balmy 8 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday so we got a bit of a reprieve. Today was much better. We went to church and out to lunch with friends. Hannah even took a good nap. Here's hoping that tomorrow will be just as good. We're going to the library (we haven't been in almost 2 weeks which is unusual for us) so that should be a nice diversion.

PS. Just in case you were wondering about the choice of photos for this post, all of these pictures with the exception of the first one were taken by Hannah herself. When our camera started frizzing out on us this past fall we gave it to Hannah to play with once we got our new one. It still works, although it frequently takes blurry or split image photos. She's a photo taking machine just like her mama and takes dozens of pictures every single day! What a chip off of the old block. I'm so proud!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Google Searches

First, don't forget to enter my contest to name this blog. If you haven't already read Born on a Blue Day it's awesome so get those brains going.

Since adding the feedjet stat tracker on my blog I have been very interested in seeing how people find my blog. Most people without a direct link to our blog address find it by linking off of someone else's blog, but sometimes it comes up in google search results for various things. Some of the searches it is pretty obvious why our blog came up, anything pertaining to adoption for example since Adoption is the first word of the blog title, but other searches leave me scratching my head as to how on earth we managed to make our way into those results. Since I first started tracking, here are the things typed into the Google Search window (typos and all) that resulted in my blog being clicked on.

hyperlexia iq

the bads of adoption (I have no idea how we made it into that one!)

velveteen rabbit strep


body parts definition knees shoulders

adoption journey blog

dinosaur dreams

what dinosaurs adoption is (what on earth were they searching for?!?)

my baby adoption journey 2008

burning up shivering vommiting

baby delibrately bangs head

baby adoption blog

strongest antibiotic for pneumonia with prescription

gymnastics teacher ornaments

noah's dentist trip blog

should baby sit up with pneumnia

first dentist

positive of head shoulders (huh?)


baby autism extremely laid back smiles

babies room temperature pneumonia

dinosaur dreams

spontak family tree

Hannah autism Natalie

aspergers in girls news video

nurtured heart

how to dress 3 weeks baby

head circumference off the charts 18 months (this one just makes me smile even though I know why Hannah's blog comes up!)

baby disobedient 18 months

adoption blogs

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My First Bloggy Contest

I mentioned awhile back that I feel my blog needs a bit of a name change. Hannah is no longer a baby and we are no longer in the adoption process (although adoption is a life long journey) so it seems fitting that the blog no longer be called Adoption Journey and Baby Updates. I've toyed with making the title something to do with our entire family, something to do with Hannah's name (her name was a big secret when we started this blog), or something to do with our soon to be newly inducted status of special needs family. The big problem is that I don't have a creative bone in my body. I admire all the funny, inspiring, clever, or just plain neat blog titles of the many blogs I follow. Here are just a few of them: MOM- NOS, the incipient turvy, Lagniappe, Pancakes Gone Awry, Pomianowski Pandemania, Good Enough Mama, good fountain, Life with Two Busy Boys, A Quiet Life. You get the idea. They all have creative titles and I want one! Here's your homework. Come up with a fun or just plain creative title for my blog and leave it in the comments section of this post. I'll have Kyle help me choose the winner and then the winner will receive their prize, a copy of Daniel Tammet's Memoir Born on a Blue Day. If you've not read it or heard about him before, he's a British man who has Asperger's Syndrome who is also a Savant (think Rainman). His book is brilliant and a quick and easy read. He's also got a new book out called Embracing the Wide Sky (well it's been out since October, but still it's new to me since I just learned about it) that I'm dying to read. Once I pick a winner I'll post it on the blog and the winner should email me their mailing address and I'll send you out your book. I'll leave the contest open until midnight Sunday January 18th. That ought to give you plenty of time to get your creative juices flowing and name my blog! Good luck and may the best title win!


There are days when I feel like I've got this Mommy job wrapped up. I find brilliant solutions to impossible problems, stop tantrums in their tracks, and juggle endless numbers of tasks with a smile on my face. Then there are times when I feel hopelessly unqualified for this amazing responsibility I have been charged with. I'm an impostor struggling hard to keep my head above water and the level is rising more quickly than I can tread water. This week I feel unqualified. I think as an adoptive parent I maybe feel more pressure than some non adoptive parents to get things right. I want to somehow prove that I am indeed worthy of this amazing gift God (along with Tiffany and Mike) has blessed me with, to prove that a mistake was not made in choosing me to be Hannah's mommy. I try to do my best, I truly do. I know in my mind that's all I really can do, but still . . . . I can't stop my heart from wanting the very best for my little girl and wondering if maybe all my ignorance will permanently screw her up. This week just did not help put those worries to rest.

Parenting Hannah is so hard. I want to raise a kind hearted, loving, and respectful little girl who loves the Lord and serves others before she thinks of herself, but I haven't a clue how to go about doing that. Hannah's an only child so I don't want her to grow up spoiled, feeling entitled, and thinking she's the center of the universe. She also has challenges to overcome that most other kids her age don't have and I don't want to create unrealistic expectations for her. There are times when these two desires of mine butt heads and I don't know which should take precedence. Throw the fact that Hannah's one smart cookie into the mix and that she already knows how to manipulate the system and I find myself at a loss for how to handle so many situations. It is often unclear to me when a particular undesirable behavior or action is the result of normal (or not so normal as is often the case with Hannah's creative ways of getting herself into trouble) toddler disobedience or a result of something over which she truly has no control. If she's being disobedient I don't want to let it slide and allow her to get away with being rude, disrespectful, or just plain honory, but at the same time if she can't control what she's doing or the emotions she's feeling then I don't want to punish her for behavior that isn't her fault. Still, if I let her get away with too much that she does have control over then I could see her smart little brain sensing weakness and thinking she can just take control whenever she wants and that would not be a good thing. There are just so many factors to throw into the mix. With some things it's easy to know what's disobedience and what's her simply being overwhelmed. In social situations the culprit is most like sensory overload, but at home when being asked to do something that she has successfully accomplished multiple times before it can be harder to tell. To make matters worse, Kyle and I often disagree on the course of action in these cases so we are left wondering who truly is right. For example, Hannah doesn't really like brushing her teeth, but this is something we can usually at least muddle through. But the last 3 nights in a row, teeth brushing has been the scene of a battle of epic proportions ending in tears (both of us), time outs, and even a few reminders (AKA spankings) over disrespectful behaviors as a result of the tooth brushing. Brushing her teeth has never had quite this violent of an effect on Hannah and the interesting thing is that I haven't had any problems with her brushing her teeth in the mornings this week-just at night. So, I'm left wondering if she's simply being disobedient and trying to get out of something she dislikes because she thinks she can or if there is something more going on that I don't realize and she can't control that is making teeth brushing simply unbearable for her. Because in any situation of crisis proportions (or even minor obedience infractions for that matter) there is a choice to be made in a split second about how to handle the situation, I've had to decide how to handle her meltdowns while in the midst of screams, flailing arms, and kicking feet. Each time in this particular battle I have chosen to view this as a disobedience issue and treated it as such. Kyle believes the opposite is true. Though we both have chosen our side, neither of us is fairly confident of our stance. There seems to be no reliable way of knowing for sure what's going on in this case. If there was an Idiot's Guide to Parenting your Brilliant Child Who Just Might Have Asperger's and Definitely has SPD I'd buy it in an instant no matter how much it cost. I'd skip the introduction and turn right to the chapter on How to Not Irreversibly Screw Up your Child Because of your Idiocy. Alas, no such book exists. Believe me, I've scoured Amazon looking for it! Instead I read blog after blog searching for mothers like me who are bravely going where (I can't really say no mom has gone before since I've read way too many blogs for that to be the case) most moms have never been before and I find solace in knowing that while I have no mommy friends in person who share my struggles, these women are out there and they do understand. They share their stories and I read and laugh and cry right along with them as their children amaze, confuse, and frustrate them. I am so grateful for the Internet and all those who help me get through each day even if they never know how much they've done.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Doctor's Visit

God truly is in control. I know this, but it doesn't stop me from worrying, from trying to help things along, from wondering how on earth I'm going to help my baby. Really I need to just let go and let God do His work. He knows my little girl better than I do and He knows what she needs. I worried the whole way down to the developmental clinic how I was going to make this new doctor see what we see at home, how on earth I could possibly explain exactly how crazy Hannah's meltdowns can be without sounding over dramatic and like a crazy mother while my child sat perfectly content to read a book or write with her crayons. I wondered if this new doctor would think, like so many other (well meaning I'm sure) people have told us, that we were just over reacting because we were first time parents. I wondered if I would drive away angry, frustrated, confused, and feeling like I really was crazy.

I should not have worried. In the 2 1/2 hours we met with the developmental pediatrician Hannah displayed the entire range of her behaviors from the scary to the brilliant (the good, the bad, and the ugly as I like to think of it). I need not have even brought my laptop in. When the doctor came into the room Hannah was busy lining up her crayons, balancing them on end in a perfectly straight line and did not even look up to see who had come in the door (this after having literally asked me 50 + in the 15 minutes we had been waiting in the room if the new doctor was coming now!). She kept at her lining up and realigning for a few more minutes and then decided to grace us with her presence. Hannah conversed with the doctor like a mini adult discussing gymnastics, her new Little People house she got for Christmas, and her horses, but was unable to articulate (or maybe even imagine) what she might possibly do with the Little People in the house (besides line them up and set them up in different situations, but then she didn't even tell her that). Next she quickly and correctly identified the colors of all of the crayons she had lined up, as well as the rest of the crayons in her bag (why stop at just a few?). This entire time she had been sitting on a rolling chair that also swiveled and had been twisting the chair (and herself of course) from side to side in a constant motion except for while she paused to place a crayon carefully on it's end in line. Shortly after identifying her colors Hannah twisted a little two hard in her chair and bumped the table the crayons were lined up on causing them all to fall over and some of them to roll to the floor. At this point she totally flipped out and had a major meltdown. She threw herself to the ground screaming and began trying to bang her head on the tiled floor. I won't bore you with the gory details, but suffice it to say that the doctor was able to witness a brilliant example of a typical meltdown and the head banging behavior we had been concerned about (neither of which I had ANY video of!). Hannah eventually recovered with some deep pressure bear hugs and rocking and went on to read a book to the doctor, write her name, rhyme some words, and cooperate fully in her physical examination. Then, when it was time for the doctor and I to discuss the concerns Kyle and I have, Hannah became bored and cranky and had several typical toddler tantrums when she didn't get her way or receive the attention she wanted which was a nice contrast to the unprovoked meltdown of earlier in the appointment. She also displayed some sensory seeking hitting, avoidance of confrontation (she actually tried to run out of the room instead of look me in the eye after I had said No! to her), and chewing and biting on inappropriate objects. Though it was a LONG session and not what I would normally consider a good day by any standards, I was so grateful that the doctor was able to see so clearly what I was going to try to explain.

Eventually the doctor explained her observations and gave her recommendations. She said that first off Hannah needs to meet with a psychologist for a diagnostic assessment. She explained that in cases like Hannah she makes a joint diagnosis with the psychologist after the evaluation. She said that in her opinion she strongly feels that Hannah will be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and that we will find that she also has a VERY high IQ. The final and official diagnosis will not come until after the psych eval, but for now at least we know we aren't crazy. She also conferred that Hannah has definite sensory issues and that her sleep difficulties are not normal. Apparently her tonsils and adenoids are enlarged and could be causing some sleep apnea which could be exacerbating some of the problems Hannah already deals with. She recommended a sleep study and then a visit with an ENT specialist to determine what to do in that department. She also said that if we can't get Hannah in to see the OT that we want to do her sensory evaluation for formal diagnosis in a reasonable amount of time then we could go back to Riley and their clinic would do the sensory eval as well. So, it looks as if we will be making several more trips back and for to Indy in the coming months for specialist appointments, evaluations, and follow up appointments, but for now it just feels good to get the ball rolling.

As I drove home from the appointment and even now as I type this post, I am still processing this all. Though we've had suspicions of Asperger's and knew that something wasn't quite right it still comes as a bit of a shock. Even though a diagnosis doesn't change any of the day to day challenges and gifts Hannah has, doesn't change who she is, it still smarts a little bit to have someone lay it out there in front of you so matter of factly like that. To say, yes your daughter does have a problem and she will most likely always struggle with it. No parent wants to hear that even if they already know it's true. Without a diagnosis there is still hope that it will all one day magically resolve itself. Then again, with a diagnosis there is hope too I am starting to realize. There is hope that she will have access to services and supports along the way that will help her to become a successful and thriving adult one day who can argue the pants off of the best trial lawyer in the country! :) I'm sure I'll go through struggles and doubts and probably some self pity as we move along this path, but for now I think I can go to bed relieved that God has my little girl tucked safe in his arms and that everything will work out according to His plan.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What I Wished For

You know that old saying, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it," Well I stated in my last post that I couldn't wait for February to get here so that we could meet with the developmental pediatrician at the Riley Clinic. Well, late yesterday afternoon we got a call from the clinic to say that there was a cancellation and would we like to come in early. Of course! Early, however, meant tomorrow! Yikes! My paperwork wasn't all filled out. I hadn't compiled a collection of videos of Hannah displaying the behaviors of concern. I didn't have any videos of her at school. AND worst of all, I had NO videos of a serious meltdown. I know, I know, I should have been compiling these all along and there should be plenty of videos if the behavior is abundant enough. . . . but you see I don't want to video Hannah doing stuff just to video tape her and I certainly can't command meltdowns on cue. Who wants to sit and tape their child having a meltdown anyway? Besides, there are much more important things to do during a meltdown like making sure she's safe, others are safe, and seeing if she might be coming out of it. So, we will be going in tomorrow sans meltdown video and with a crude assortment of videos I was able to dredge up that highlight some of the behaviors we worry about and I hope that my descriptions of the rest will be sufficient for now.

As for other updates, Hannah was being quite a stinker the other day at the dinner table and was playing around with her food instead of eating and then shoving entire chicken nuggets in her mouth and screeching. I warned, threatened, even came close to bribing her to chew her food and not to talk with her mouth full because she could choke. And then it happened. The screeching abruptly ceased, her eyes popped wide open and her mouth moved noiselessly. My heart stopped for the briefest of seconds, but before I could even jump from my seat she turned red faced and began to cough. The nugget shot out across the table and Hannah stared at me unphased as if nothing had happened and continued her babble while I sat unable to breathe, think, or speak. Once I recovered I of course lectured her about talking with her mouth full and how she had just choked on her food and that would not have happened if she had waited to talk until she was done chewing. All the while I'm lecturing, Hannah has begun to eat finally and is repeatedly assuring me that "When I'm done with my chicken I will talk," even as she is currently chewing and talking at the same time. We battled the entire rest of the meal over this. Not once did she stop talking and chewing, nor did she stop informing me that she would talk once she was done eating! UGH!

Hannah has become really interested in coloring inside the lines lately and is quite perfectionistic about it. She will carefully move her crayon back and forth to fill in all the white space, but still lacks some of the control to be completely precise. When she moves her hand just a little too far or too fast and the color shoots outside of the lines she will say, "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh" over and over again until I am able to reassure her that it really is ok. This type of perfectionism seems to be everywhere these days. If she gets stuck while saying the Lord's Prayer she will become really upset after trying once or twice to get past a tricky spot and say, "I don't know the words, I don't know the words, I can't say it." It doesn't matter that no one told her to say it, that she was just reciting it on her own in her car seat. If she can't remember it then the world might just as well be ending. The same thing happens with her phone number. We hadn't practiced it for months and then the other day she randomly decided she was going to say it and starting reciting the numbers over and over, but kept getting stuck at the same part. She eventually became so angry that she started hitting herself in the head!

Hannah has been quite interested in stoplights for the past month or so. She can be quite the little backseat driver too! It doesn't matter if the other cars ahead of us aren't moving yet, green means go and we should be going! She'd fit right in in NY City! She knows that green means go and red means stop and what the turn arrows mean. This week she asked for the first time about the yellow light. I briefly explained it to her and then she was on to another subject. Tonight we were driving home from therapy and it was already dark out. We came up a hill and there was a sign with a yellow flashing light cautioning that there was a stoplight just over the top of the hill. Hannah called to me from the backseat, "What's that yellow light mean, Mommy?" I told her it was a warning about the stoplight coming up. She said, "Does it mean slow down." I had to think about it a bit and then decided that yes it did mean slow down. So, I rephrased my answer and said that yellow lights mean slow down or warning. Then she saw a car ahead of us turn on it's turn signal. It flashed bright yellow. She asked, "What does that yellow light mean, Mommy? Does it mean slow down or warning?" She'd caught me again. "That light means that the car is going to turn right. It's called a turn signal." She still needed clarifying, "A turn signal means slow down or does it mean warning?" I said, "I guess it means both. It means warning, I'm about to turn. You should slow down so that you don't hit me." Like lightning she was on to the next question, she'd seen brake lights go on. "Do those red lights on the car mean stop?" "They tell us that that car is stopping and we might have to stop too so that we don't hit them," I said. The car then let off it's brakes and started to speed up. "Where are the car's green go lights?" she inquired. That did it, I was stumped. How can you refute such logic? If cars have red stop lights and yellow slow lights, why then DON'T they have green go lights too? She waited patiently for me to answer as I stalled trying to think of a decent response. Thankfully an interesting song came on the radio and I was saved the embarrassment of being out thunk by a toddler. Why hadn't I ever stopped to consider why cars don't have green go lights. Sometimes her ability to reason so adult like astounds me. It makes the tantrums and normal illogical moments of toddlerhood that occasionally sneak into my days seem so out of place. Can you believe she only turned 2 1/2 years old today?!? Seriously what little 2 1/2 year old girl even gives a hoot about the similarities and differences between traffic lights and vehicle lights? Only my little girl, only my little girl. I'm so proud of her. Happy Half Birthday Hannah!