Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Okay Mommy

We've been hearing, "It's Okay, Mommy/Daddy" a lot lately whenever we tell Hannah to either do something or stop doing something and she doesn't want to obey. We've really cracked down on the "NO!" so she's been censoring herself a bit and has switched it up to "It's ok" AKA I'm not going to do what you want me to do. I plan on doing whatever I want to do. Though it's pretty creative and it does make me want to laugh sometimes it's driving me crazy. I keep having to take deep breaths to stop from going off the deep end.

To top things off, it's getting really frustrating (for both Kyle and I and Hannah) that Hannah can't hear. We are only 1 week into our 4 week wait before we head back to the ENT and I find myself constantly wondering how on earth we are going to make it that long if her hearing doesn't start improving on its own before then. It's to the point that we basically have to shout everything we say to Hannah VERY slowly and 3-4 times before she comprehends what we've said. I listened to her talk to my mom on the phone today and it was all I could do to not laugh as I heard Hannah saying, "Huh?" over and over and over again. I lost count while trying to keep track of the number of times she said, "I can't hear you." My poor girl. :(

On a happy note, we had Hannah's first parent teacher conference at her new preschool last week and we came away from it feeling very pleased. They do assessments on the children every 3 months using a skills inventory based on their age in months. When Hannah started she was 2 standard deviations below the norm in the social and emotional areas. Now, 6 months later, she's scoring completely at grade/age level in both of those areas! YAHOO! Now I know we aren't out of the woods yet and that some of her deficits will become more apparent as the social demands grow, but this assessment confirmed what I was already observing which is Hannah is making great strides in her social skills under the guidance of her teachers. I am so proud of my little girl. And to boast a little bit more, she also maxed out her scores on all the verbal, academic, fine motor, and gross motor skills on the assessment as well. :) The only "bad" thing the teacher had to tell us was that Hannah often "questions authority" AKA she's stubborn as all get out! and has a hard time listening to her teachers when she doesn't want to do something. The good news is that even though she often balks at what she's told to do, they aren't seeing any meltdowns when they push the issue and make her do it anyway. She saves that for us! When Miss Karyl was explaining about the gross motor portion of the assessment, one of the skills listed was throwing a ball overhand. I asked if they needed to have any aim at this point or just be able to chuck it wherever it will go. Karyl assured me that chucking it was just fine at this point and then told us a little story. She said that Hannah is actually developing quite good aim from playing with one of the other little boys in the class. Because of the extremely cold weather the kids haven't been able to go out on the playground very often so they've been spending a lot of time in the gross motor/sensory room. They have a kid's basketball net in there and Karyl pointed it out and said that Hannah plays with the hoop a lot because "Antonio is a big fan of playing basketball and Hannah is a big fan of Antonio!" I had to laugh about that one because it's true. Hannah is definitely a big fan of Antonio. Those two are like two peas in a pod. My girl really does like her boys. Practically all of her "friends" are boys and sadly this has always been the case. Even as an infant, she's always preferred men over women. I'm looking for this boy crazy trait to diminish a bit soon, but I won't hold my breath. As a side note, I had a note about this little story written down on some scrap paper to remind me to put in on the blog and Hannah found it and read perfectly and without any help, "Antonio is a big fan of basketball and Hannah is a big fan of Antonio!" and then laughed like crazy! UGH! Now I not only can't spell words out loud that I don't want her to know, but I have to be careful what I write down and where I leave it. I may just have to start writing anything I don't want her to read in cursive! Seriously, I shouldn't be having this problem with a 3 year old!

This past weekend the full moon wreaked havoc in our house. Hannah was WIRED to the max. She was running around and shrieking and jumping, and singing at the top of her lungs and grabbing everything she could touch. I thought I was going to go crazy. At one point I was trying to get her to try on some summer clothes from last year to see if any of them still fit (so far only a few do!) and I could not get her to stay near me long enough to get one article of clothing off and another one on before she was off and running all over the place. I found myself becoming almost hysterical and grabbed her by the waist and gave her a little shake and said quite manically "Hannah! CALM DOWN!" Kyle came into the room at that point and said, "Natalie, don't shake the child." It was then that I realized I was over the edge and I needed to pass her off for a little bit or I was going to lose it. I think things are back to normal now, but really it remains to be seen. She had a rough morning getting ready for school, but that's not unusual. We'll see how she is when she gets back from school. It's not too terribly cold outside (in the 20s as opposed to the single digits before the windchill) so maybe they'll get some extra playtime outside to run the crazies out of her.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Thursdays around here are Mommy-Daughter Day. There's no school, no therapy, no place we HAVE to be. Normally we try to plan fun activities like story time at the library, a trip to the museum, a day at the beach, etc. Lately Mommy-Daughter Day has not been fun. A full day with no set routine has simply been torture for Hannah and therefore torture for me. Today however was amazing. Despite all the things I did wrong (no nap, hopped from store to store, stroller confinement for large chunks of time, two meals at restaurants, changes of plans at the last minute, a doctor's appointment . . . . ) that should have made the day horrible, it was perfect. Hannah and I had a delightful day together. I was worried that the day was going to be bad when Hannah started the day by sneaking out of my bedroom while I was still sleeping, going downstairs to the kitchen, and getting some candy and eating it. She was not pleased when I took the remaining candy away from her and I only narrowly avoided sending her into a meltdown. Still, she managed to recover and the day we had together left me feeling energized and thoroughly refreshed. I needed this day. It's going to get me through many rough days.

One of the things Hannah and I did today was buy new shoes. Her feet have grown and I was not looking forward to having to buy her new shoes so soon after the hard time we had finding shoes that would fit with her braces. We really like the shoes we found last time and I was dreading giving them up. Walking into Stride Rite today, a quick scan of the shelves told me there were no shoes that were a similar style to her old shoes. Apparently that style of shoe is not a spring style. My heart sank. As I began to search for the next best solution I came across some boxes stacked on the floor that didn't have samples sitting out on top of them. It turned out that they were all the pairs they had left of Hannah's old style of shoe and they were on sale. They were seriously on sale. More than half off from what I had paid before. Now, all we had to do was measure her feet to see if any of the remaining pairs fit. Cue Angels singing. . . . . . We had a match! So, Hannah and I walked out of the mall with her wearing the same shoes that she wore into the store only the next size up. I was thrilled and so was she.

Another excursion we made was to a new ENT. I liked him. I'm picky about doctors and so far I haven't been super pleased with Hannah's doctors here in Rhode Island. The only one of them I've liked is her orthopedist and the brace shop technician that fitted her for her AFOs. This guy is nice. He was thorough. He had a good rarport with Hannah. He listened to her history. He made his recommendations based both on her history and my concerns. I was pleased. That's what I want in a doctor-someone to be my partner in keeping my daughter healthy. His exam confirmed that Hannah's ear infection is gone, but that there is still fluid filling both ears. She had no detectable movement in her ear drums when he did the tympanogram. No wonder the poor thing can't hear. Kyle likens talking to Hannah right now to speaking with a mini octogenarian. I have to say that I agree. I constantly feel like I'm stuck inside that old skit "Who's on First?" Now we know why. The doctor recommends waiting 4 weeks to see if the fluid drains (normal protocol is 4 months). They'll then recheck her ears and run a hearing test. If the fluid is gone and her hearing is normal then we all shout, "Hooray!" and do a happy dance. If there's been no change or things have gotten worse then we'll have to risk another surgery and put in new tubes. In the meantime we're going to try some dietary intervention to see if we can get things under control. A month ought to be enough time to see if we can make any difference. We're starting with some probiotics and then we'll see where we go from there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Irrational Laughter

This past weekend was rough at the Spontak house. Kyle has some sort of viral throat infection, thankfully not strep and I caught a particularly nasty stomach virus that KICKED MY BUTT. Consequently sensory diets were not high on our list of things to do and poor Hannah received very little quality time Saturday (Sunday Kyle was doing a bit better and was a fantastic Daddy even though he still didn't feel tip top), dare I say little attention period! As a result of the lack of heavy work and attention, behaviors skyrocketed on Hannah's end and we had little patience for dealing with them appropriately or heading them off at the pass. It was a vicious cycle. On Sunday I watched as Hannah disobeyed and then smarted off to Kyle as he attempted to discipline her (I don't even remember what she did or said) as I sat completely devoid of energy, dizzy, and just trying to keep what little was in my stomach in there. For some reason the absurdity of the situation struck me and I began to laugh. Laughing made me more nauseous and also hurt my overtaxed abs from all the vomiting. The pain became so intense that I was crying all the while still laughing. It was such a WEIRD sensation. I wasn't laughing so hard I was crying in the normal sense, but yet I was laughing and crying at the same time and unable to stop either. Kyle and Hannah just stared at me confused. Luckily I didn't get screamed at or hit (Hannah doesn't really care for other people's laughter because she usually thinks it's directed at her although this time in a way it was so she might have been justified at being upset!) and I managed to somehow not throw up all over the dining room. The odd thing was that after that bout of irrational laughter my mood was much better even though I still felt awful. Nothing pleasant or good had happened, just more of the same, but the simple act of laughing uncontrollably cheered me up. I guess that maybe laughter really is the best medicine.

The new bedtime routine is going pretty well. Last week Hannah slept completely through the night for the first time since at least May. It may well have been even longer than May, but we know for sure that we hadn't had a full uninterrupted night of sleep since moving into the house. It was amazing how refreshed I felt that first morning. Hannah was better behaved too. I'm sure lack of sleep has been making us all cranky and impatient. Hopefully the success continues. Oh, and she's also managed to stay dry on her own ever since we stopped waking her up to pee as well. Yahoo to full night's sleep and no more pee soaked sheets!

Just within the last week Hannah has realized that she can read. I mean she's known she can read for a long time, but now she'll actually pick up a book independently and read the words she sees rather than making up her own story or just looking at the pictures. Before she would only actually read a book if asked to read it. If left to her own devices she'd much rather make up her own version of the story. Last week though, something switched. She's been asking to read to us instead of asking us to read to her. She's been reading aloud in the van to pass the time. She's independently and almost without conscious thought using the skills she has to make her life easier and more informed. For example, she'll see a piece of paper on the counter, look at it and read what it says and then ask questions about what it says. She'll read the titles flashed on the screen before her Curious George TV shows start so she knows what to expect. She's checking the school calendar to know what the day holds before I tell her. Reading has switched from being something she could do easily, but chose not to do, to something she does without thinking like adults do. It's now something that just happens. She sees a word and it's read. It's like she can't not read it now. Not only is it read, but it's processed, understood, and used to her advantage. I have a feeling a whole new world has just opened up to my little girl. It's going to be exciting, but heaven help us as we cope with all the new information that brain of hers is going to be packing!

Hannah seems to have handled Kyle going back to work quite well. I guess I underestimated her. We had a few rocky days, but on the whole she's done fine. We're still trying to getting back into the grove of our old routine, but that will come I think. I hope it will anyway!

The last few days Hannah has been eating like crazy. She's been consuming more food in any given day than I normally would! I know she's grown lately because Kyle pointed out to me that her houseslippers are definitely too small for her (yet there's no way I'm going to be able to get rid of them until I have a replacement pair!) and I felt her shoes today and I'm pretty sure it's time for a new pair of them too. That's one of the drawbacks of her being able to do her shoes completely independently is that I don't have a daily check on how her shoes are fitting. She certainly hasn't mentioned that they are too tight, but they definitely are! I've also had to retire several shirts and pants this past month. Come spring time I'm going to have to buy her a whole new short sleeved shirt wardrobe because I don't think she has more than one or two that could be worn alone and be considered decent. The clothes in her closet right now are shirts sized 5-6 and pants 4T (a little short, but at least they'll stay up!) and dresses 5-6. Her current shoes are 11s and her slippers were 11/12s. She's only 3 1/2 for pete's sake! This girl totally is going to out grown me before she's half way through elementary school.

Friday, January 08, 2010

And It Begins Again

It seems that our almost one year reprieve from near constant ear infections and fluid in the ears is over with. This morning Hannah complained that her ear hurt and when preschool called to tell us to come pick her up because they thought she had pink eye Kyle took her to the doctor and it was confirmed. She does indeed have an ear infection as well as pink eye. The worst part about it is that her ear tubes have slipped out of position in both ears (we found out they might be starting to shift in October). It appears that she got an infection pretty much immediately after the tube had moved out of place. This does not bode well. The way I see it (I realize I'm jumping to conclusions, but I have lots of experience with Hannah's ears to go on) we have two options. First we could just let the tubes fall out and go through the cycle of constant ear infections again and risk Hannah having hearing loss from the fluid building up on her ear drum again like last time. OR we can put Hannah through another surgery to replace the tubes and hopefully get another reprieve from the constant infections, but risk having a recurrence of the post op pneumonia she had last time after being under general anesthesia. I don't like either option. I suppose a third option is that we do nothing and the infections just never come back, that this infection was just a coincidence, but somehow I don't think that is a viable option or a likely outcome. Oh, and to top off poor Hannah's ear infection and pink eye she also started complaining of a tummy ache around lunch time and then finally threw up right around dinner time. I was actually pretty worried about this day. The last time Hannah threw up (not counting the times she's made herself throw up when she was angry) she was only a year old and not really old enough to remember how it feels. I was worried about how she would react when the day finally came that she got sick to her stomach. I expected her to be hysterical. After all, it's a scary feeling to not be able to control your body. I shouldn't have worried though because she took it like a champ and was actually fascinated by the products of her efforts. I suppose it helped that her vomit was bright purple thanks to some blueberries! After throwing up we gave her a bowl to take around with her in case she felt sick again and wasn't able to make it to the toilet. When it was time for bed (she actually ASKED to go to bed around 6pm tonight by the way! That about gave me a heart attack!) she said that she thought she needed to take the bowl with her. Just a few minutes ago when she got up to go to the bathroom she told me that now she was just like me because she had her own bowl by her bed (I have gastropariesis and frequently throw up a night) and she sounded so proud! Great! That's not exactly what I had imagined her wanting to emulate about me! The funny part is that she was concerned that Kyle doesn't have his own bowl. She even offered to share her bowl with him if he needed it. How generous of my little girl :) Then the final nail in the coffin today was that both Kyle and I are pretty sure that we both have pink eye too!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

3 1/2 Years Old

Yesterday Hannah officially turned 3 1/2 years old. At the rate she's going she just might drive me insane before she turns 4! She absolutely cannot accept what you say without a fight. If you tell her the sky is blue, she will say, "No it's not. It's green." If you say, "It's time to eat dinner," she will say, "No it isn't." On and on and on it goes ALL. DAY. LONG. every single day. It's to the point that I don't even know how to handle it. No amount of discipline or ignoring it seems to make any difference what-so-ever. Every time she utters "No" my blood pressure raises just a little bit more so that by the time it's bedtime I'm a quivering mess. Is this amount of defiance typical in a 3 year old or are we just horrible parents? Someone please throw me a bone before I lose it on my intensely opinionated 3 1/2 year old.

Night-time potty training is going quite well for Hannah. I honestly can't remember the last time she had an accident at night. We were waking her up right before we headed to bed to take her to the bathroom one last time and that was working quite well until she started waking up and not going back to sleep. So, we stopped waking her up to see if she would start having accidents again and so far so good. She's been waking up on her own at least once a night to go to the bathroom and thus far she hasn't had an accident. The only problem is that it hasn't really helped with the night waking/not wanting to go back to sleep. She's averaging 3-4 times getting up a night. I would say that only 1 or 2 of those times does she actually need to pee and the tantrums she throws when we try to insist that she go back to sleep are spectacular. It seems like every time we solve one sleep issue, another one rears it's ugly head again. At least for now at least she's falling asleep initially each night quite quickly. Getting ready for bed though, that's a different matter entirely. We are currently in the process of trying out a new bedtime routine to try to cut down on some of the trauma associated with the simple task of getting ready for bed. Wish us luck that we'll have some success.
Next week is the week that Kyle will probably go back to work as long as he gets to go ahead from his surgeon. I'm nervous about how Hannah's going to take it. We've been doing our best to prepare her, but she's gotten awfully used to Daddy being home all the time. She likes Daddy taking her to school and picking her up. She likes having breakfast with him in the morning and just generally getting to spend so much time with him. I'm going to miss him too, but I'm going to also have the added stress of dealing with the behavioral outbursts that I'm sure are going to happen. At least school will be back on a somewhat regular schedule so she'll have 3 days a week that she'll be distracted.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Christmas Day Terror

I'm sure by now that most of you have heard about the failed terror attack on an airplane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day. However, I bet none of you have heard about a smaller, less publicized terror attack that succeeded on Christmas Day 2009, masterminded by a 3 year old girl.

The Scene: Christmas Day 2009 in a small cape cod somewhere in Rhode Island.

Casualties: One innocent beagle who refused to press charges.

The Plot: Hidden in an innocent looking Hello Kitty backpack, 6 contraband stocking stuffers were smuggled into a library located in a quiet New England home. One stocking stuffer, a self-inking Christmas stamp of the starlight mint variety, was removed from said backpack and used to launch a heinous attack on a small, forgiving beagle (who wishes to remain nameless). When the residents of the home noticed an eerie silence had settled over the house they panicked and ran to the scene to witness the unspeakable atrocity. The suspect, who later expressed remorse for her actions, immediately and proudly claimed responsibility for the crime . The weapons were confiscated for the remainder of the day until the suspect could prove she had rehabilitated herself.

The Crime

The Sentencing

The Punishment

PS. If you have trouble deciphering what the crime is in the first picture, double click on it for an enlarged image and the evidence should become quite clear!