Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Fine With That

So Hannah totally sucked the wind right out of my sails the other day. As many of you know, she's a spirited child and we've struggled to come up with the right method to manage her discipline. "Normal" methods didn't seem to work and we were really at a loss until we discovered the Nurtured Heart method last winter. Hannah totally "gets" the system and understands that her behavior earns her her privileges and if she doesn't follow through with good behavior then she doesn't have the credits needed to purchase her privileges. Well, the other night I had reminded Hannah multiple times that she needed to hang up her coat because she had dropped it on the floor upon returning home from school and just left it laying there all afternoon for the dog to curl up on! When it was almost bedtime and I informed her that if the coat was still on the ground when we did her credit review she would not receive full points for taking care of her coat and shoes she calmly informed me, "I'm fine with that. Mommy, I'm fine with not getting all my money." I was stunned. What was I supposed to say to that? If this crops up again, and I'm sure it will, then what am I to say? What leverage do I have if she's ok with the loss of privileges for not doing her chores or displaying appropriate behavior? I relayed this story to her OT yesterday and she said, "Wow, that's the kind of snarky comment you expect out of a teenager." She's totally right. Any suggestions? I'm really at a loss here because if the Nurtured Heart credit system ceases to work then I really don't know where to turn to.

Speaking of Nurtured Heart, Hannah did the sweetest thing yesterday and I just have to tell you about it. When she woke up from her nap she knocked on her door like always to be let out and when I opened the door she was there waiting for me with her fist tightly clenched. Before I could even say "Good Morning!" (I know it's not morning, but that's just what we say when someone wakes up around here. It works for us!) she immediately launched into a flurry of words. "I have money in my hand and it's 10 cents and I want to go to the museum and it costs 10 cents so lets go to the museum." I was once again stunned. Before knocking to get out of her room she decided what she wanted to do, checked her list of privileges to see how expensive it was, checked her piggy bank to see if she had enough money to do it, counted out the correct amount and then informed me of her choice. This girl can totally plan! Unfortunately, she had taken her nap MUCH, MUCH later than usual and by the time she finally woke up it was nearing 5pm. The museum is in Providence and takes about 15 minutes to get there. It closes at 5pm. No museum for Hannah. :( The poor thing was devastated. Huge crocodile tears welled up in her eyes and began to roll down her cheeks. She pushed her head into my stomach and sobbed. I felt so bad for her. I really wanted to be able to take her to the museum, but we just couldn't. We worked out a plan though. She will save that 10 cents. She won't spend it on anything else and on Thursday (tomorrow) we will go to the museum for our Mommy-Daughter Day. She's pretty stoked about it and I'm so proud of her that she was able to recover relatively quickly from this disappointment. That's my big girl.

Today at lunch time I'm meeting with Hannah's new preschool teacher just to touch base and try to learn how things are run in her new classroom. This new teacher isn't very good about communicating what happens in the room on a daily basis so I guess I'm going to have to step up my end and do some detective work. Adding to the problem is that I drop Hannah off at school before the "preschool" portion of the day actually starts and pick her up after the academic day has technically ended so I don't even see her teacher. In fact, I've NEVER seen her teacher. This will be my first time ever laying eyes on her. Hannah adjusts much better to the transition of going to school if she is one of the first ones to arrive and can slowly adjust to the social situation one child at a time rather than being dropped off into a group of kids that are already engaged in something. We've learned that the hard way, hence the before care drop off even though it's not needed for our schedule since I don't work out of the home. She also has a difficult time with the transition from school back to home so I have to time her pick up so that she is one of the last students leaving and there is not much going on so that she doesn't think she's missing out on anything and feels a sense of closure. She can't be the last one there though or she begins to panic. Pick up can be tricky, but I've mostly got it timed well these days and we can extract her from the building without too much pain. Fridays are another story though because they get to watch movies on Friday afternoons and there is never enough time (even if she was the last one to leave) to watch the entire movie in the time period allotted so that means she has to leave mid movie and that is not easy for her. She's a finisher. She HAS to finish the things she's started before she can move on to something else and every Friday it's a given that she's not going to be able to finish that movie. We deal with it, but it's not a pretty sight. So, wish me luck that this meeting will go well. I will be interested to see if they have noticed any of Hannah's academic strengths in the new classroom. I know they were giving her extra stuff to do in her old classroom since she was so far ahead of her peers, but I don't know if that's happening in the new room or not. I'm sure she's academically ahead of the curriculum and hopefully that was shared by her previous teacher, but who knows. I haven't been able to speak to the teacher and of course I get nothing from Hannah. According to her they play on the playground-period. I'm lucky if I get that out of her. For a girl that loves to talk, she's very closed mouth about what goes on at school. That's why teacher communication is so important for me. I like to be able to talk with her about her day and if I know a little bit about what they did I can prompt her into telling me a bit. If I have nothing to go on I'm pretty much dead in the water.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Here are a few Hannah updates relating to previous posts that I never followed up on. We've finished the initial protocol for the therapeutic listening and have deemed it a fail. Hannah was compliant and we faithful about following all the rules, but it really didn't make any difference at all. The only thing we noticed was that whatever Hannah was working on WHILE she was doing the headphones, she was HYPER focused on, but that benefit ended once she stopped listening to the headphones so it didn't really benefit her if there wasn't any carry over. We saw no improvements on regulation, either sensory or emotional. We tried, but it just didn't work for us. We didn't really have anything to loose though. Our only costs were $40 to rent the equipment and buying a discman player which we can use for other things and our time. It was worth a shot.

Hannah went to the allergist last night to follow up on that suspected latex reaction she had after her dentist appointment. Apparently there is no official skin test that can be done for latex allergies so the offices make their own preparation. Hannah survived the scratch test and showed no allergies to any of the things they tested for. The doctor said that doesn't necessarily means she is NOT allergic to latex so he is sending her to have a blood test done to find out since they are apparently more accurate. I wonder why they couldn't have just done that test first, but then what do I know. In the mean time he wrote her a script for an Epi-pen as a precaution should we ever need it. That is pretty scary to me, but then I guess I'd rather be safe that sorry. She does have a lot of birthday parties coming up to attend. Apparently balloons are big culprits in latex reactions in kids.

Hannah appears to be doing well in her new classroom although I'm not as impressed by the new teacher's communication about what's going on in the classroom. Maybe I'm just one of "those" mom's, but I still like to be in the loop and know how she's doing, what they did each day, if she ate her lunch, etc. Is that too much to ask?

Lately she's been playing quite well with other children. I worried that I'd never get to say that, but it's happening! She has even on occasion joined up with random kids out in public to play. The other child always has to make the first move, but at least Hannah has agreed to play several times and not just ran and hid behind me. The other night at the doctor's office while we were waiting for her allergy testing a sweet little 6 (almost 7) year old girl started playing with Hannah. She wanted to read her a story out of a magazine, but was occasionally having trouble with some of the words. My little girl actually HELPED a first grader with reading! Together the two of them worked through the story and when they were done the other girl turned to Hannah and said, "You're a really good reader." and Hannah actually said "Thank you," unprompted. I was proud of her on so many levels for that interaction.

Hannah's imagination has really taken off lately. She likes to play with her friends when they aren't here so she turns them into imaginary friends basically. It's pretty funny. Then there's her pretending to be someone else that is equally as funny and heaven forbid if you forget to address her as whoever she is pretending to be because she just won't respond. Today while getting ready for school she was Super Girl Grape Banana Spontak and I was to address her as such if I wanted to accomplish anything and get out the door! Usually our pretend characters are Mommy __________(insert animal) , Baby_________, Grandma _________. This morning was different. She had a very specific name and by golly she was only answering to that. I couldn't even simply omit all mention of a name and just say, "It's time to brush your teeth." I had to say, "It's time to brush your teeth Super Girl Grape Banana Spontak" Eventually she was so kind as to let me leave off the Spontak part, but I still had to get the Super Girl Grape Banana! Parenting a 3 year old is a riot sometimes!

I've still been busy with the new business, but things seem to be going quite well. We are actually making some sales already and recovering a bit of our start up costs which is nice. So far I've covered 2 horse shows and my sister has done one thoroughbred race and we've sold quite a few prints from them. Now if we could just start making some sales on some of the fine art photography that is up on the website we'd be golden! If anyone's planning on redecorating a room please stop by the site and take a look. You might find something there you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE. We offer framing and matting too if you choose so are a one stop shop! Check us out!

Well, that's all the updates I have for now. Enjoy your weekend!

Photo Notes:
The pictures are from back in March when Hannah had her ear tube surgery. They even had portable DVD players and a selection of family movies for the kids to watch!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Great Escape

So my little escape artist is at it again. Since we have a fully fenced (4ft in some places and 6 ft in others, wood not chain link) back yard and I have a window over the sink in my kitchen through which I can view the majority of the yard I often let Hannah play outside in the yard while I fix dinner. I leave the back door and kitchen window wide open so I can hear her call or scream and I make sure I can see her every 2 minutes or so. I have a difficult time opening the large heavy gate that hangs on it's hinges and drags the ground to get out of the yard so I knew it would be next to impossible for Hannah to open. In my mind there was no way for her to get out of the yard other than coming through the house and I'd be able to see that. She was safe in the yard. Earlier in the week after a particularly rough day I sent Hannah out to play while I fixed dinner. As usual I checked on her out the kitchen window every 2 minutes to be sure I could see her. Unbeknownst to me, while I wasn't watching Hannah was hatching a plan to get out of the yard. She managed to move a large heavy duty trash can (the big grey kind people keep in their garage) off our deck and across the yard over to the fence and place it up against the fence just on the other side of our rolling trash barrels. Then she used two of her sand buckets to build a flight of stairs to use to climb up to the top of the fence and then over onto the top of our other trash can. She then slid down the side of that can using the pull handle to help her. Next she got her tricycle and pulled it out to the sidewalk and was getting ready to take off down the street when I made my next check and realized I couldn't see her in the yard. I ran into the backyard and was able to see her out by the street. Instead of having remorse for what she had done, she was actually proud of herself for figuring out how to get out of the yard! I didn't think it was possible for her to get out of the yard, but this just goes to show that where there's a will there's a way and with a seriously smart, stubborn preschooler who's mad at mom there is definitely a will! She was dead set on getting the heck out of dodge! Besides being amazed at her ingenuity, I can't believe how quickly she carried out her plan. She had to have thought out all the steps in her plan before she carried it out because she only had 2 minutes to get everything in place and get out before I noticed. That's quick and takes some preplanning! What on earth am I supposed to do now? Now I have both a dog and a 3 year old that can scale the fence and escape! That means they are currently both on house arrest which is a bit of a pain. Here's to hoping that eventually I can trust them both again to turn them loose back in the yard!
Yesterday Hannah about gave me another heart attack, but this time it was because of two things she said to me. First off she told me that, and this is an exact quote, "Jesse really loves me. When he grows up and when I grow up he will be my husband and I will be his wife and we will be married." Oh my gosh! She's starting a little young don't you think? Jesse, by the way, is a little boy in her new class. Then, she followed that doosey up later in the evening after commenting that her PJs might be getting too small that she thought she was growing a baby in her tummy!

Friday, April 09, 2010


Hannah had a dentist appointment yesterday and she did really well. She was a model patient. I was so proud of her, especially since the rest of the day (before and after the appointment) she had a hard time keeping herself together! However, within minutes of leaving the office Hannah started complaining that her arms itched. She was tearing into them like crazy and when I looked into the backseat at a stoplight to tell her to stop scratching I saw that her face was beet red and that she had a rash all over her arms and face. Her nose was also so stuffy that she was breathing completely out of her mouth and her eyes were watering like crazy. Moments later she started scratching her face too. When we got home I checked her over and the race seemed confined to only areas of her skin that were exposed, areas where the dentist and hygienist had touched her. I started thinking she was having an allergic reaction and wondered what it could be too. At first latex didn't even cross my mind since she's been to the dentist before, had 2 surgeries, and spent two weeks of her life considered infections and everyone who touched her had to wear gloves. She's had plenty of exposure to latex and never had an issue. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the dentist office was the only thing out of the norm for the day and the rash was really only was in places where she had been touched by the staff who were wearing gloves. Not to mention the fact that all the symptoms appeared immediately upon exiting the office. I started googling latex allergies (what would we do without the Internet) and sure enough I read that an allergy to latex could develop after repeated exposures and that mild symptoms were exactly like what Hannah was displaying. Today we gave her some benadryl to try to get the itching and swelling (her cheeks are all puffy today as well) under control and I called the doctor and she agrees with me that it could very well be a latex allergy so we have an appointment to meet with her this afternoon. Please wish us well and pray that this ISN'T a latex allergy that could potentially escalate in severity as she grows older, but that it's some other benign contact dermatitis and not a life long problem we'll have to deal with.
Photo notes: More pictures from our recent house guests and Hannah riding her bike. Notice the concentration on her face! Again, gotta love that 3 year old fashion sense in these pictures! Click on them to see them full size to get the full effect.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Mischief seems to be running rampant at our house the last few days. Between Sally the Wonder Dog and Hannah, I'm terrified to turn around and see what has transpired while my back was turned most minutes! For your reading pleasure, here's a small sampling of the mischief these two yahoos have come up with the past few days.

Sally the Wonder Dog: In one day, shredded a Verizon super pages phone book, a catalog, one of Hannah's froggy slippers, and Hannah's Easter basket that had arrived in the mail from Mamaw only the day before (major tears transpired after that one). She also jumped the fence and ran away, dug under the fence and ran away two streets over and we couldn't find her (someone found her and called the number on her tag), and slipped her collar and ran away from me while I was trying to wrestle her back into the house after one of the previous escape attempts. That's just one day people! Most days are fairly similar lately with the wonder dog. Do you think she hates us? Is she trying to drive me nuts? Maybe she's a secret agent and this is some exotic form of doggy torture (too much watching Chuck!).

Hannah: Escaped my bedroom on Saturday while I was out cold (stupid cold knocked me for a loop and I was pretty much unconscious) and snuck downstairs to open the package that Baba sent her for Easter. She got her craft scissors and expertly slit the packing tape on the box like she's seen me do dozens of times and then quickly unloaded the contents of the package. Then she slipped out the front door and was chatting with the neighbor girl from across the street! Kyle comes home to find her outside and me still upstairs sleeping! I'm still shuddering to think about what could have happened! Needless to say, there is now a hook and eye lock on the inside of our bedroom door near the ceiling to keep further escapes from happening if I'm incapacitated. Yesterday, after being told she could not have any M & M's before dinner, she quietly went up to her room. When I called up the stairs to ask her what she was doing up there she responded, "I'm just resting on my bed." That should have been my first clue that something was up. That girl NEVER voluntarily rests. When Kyle went upstairs to see what she was doing he found her sitting on her bed eating M & M's she had snuck upstairs from the Easter basket (same one that is now destroyed) Mamaw had just sent! Sunday on the way home from church she had gotten a time out for using mean words and each time she was released from her time out she would growl at us, thus getting herself put back into time out. After a few cycles of this she started reducing the volume of her growl to make it less menacing and then progressively increasing the volume until it earned her a time out just to see how far she could push it. Kyle was sitting in the front seat driving and trying his hardest to not dissolve into a fit of laughter. Put these choice incidents on top of the normal every day 3 year old defiance and disobedience and you've got a mama that's pretty close to pulling her hair out! I live in constant fear of what these two will come up with next!

For those of you who follow regularly, you know that we are currently living in Rhode Island. If you follow the national news, you also know that Rhode Island was particularly hard hit by the flooding that plagued much of the East Coast last week. While we escaped any damage, the flood came within a mile of us and devastated many of my husband's coworkers homes and properties. Several of our favorite restaurants, shops, and parks were under several feet of water. The damage done to our community was unbelievable. I would venture to say that many of the businesses that were wiped out by this flood will never reopen. Many, many people are currently trying to rebuild their lives, homes, and help others while also dealing with the stress of being out of work because the place they work is closed for the foreseeable future. In an area that was already facing economic hardships, this last straw may well be the death knell for many. I would appreciate prayers for my neighbors, friends, and community members who have a long road ahead rebuilding their lives. If anyone is interested in seeing photos of the flooding, check out the Rhode Island Flood March 2010 gallery on my website The images are shocking to say the least so please be prepared.

Despite the flooding, the closed roads, and crazy traffic, my aunts and cousin managed to make it out to visit us last week. We had a blast visiting with them. Both Hannah and the Wonder Dog were spoiled rotten. Maybe missing family is what has sparked this recent burst of mischievousness from both of them! While they were visiting we took Jo, Terri, and Becky to the dog park, Oakland Beach, Chuckie Cheese (doesn't everyone take their house guests to Chuckie Cheese?), and Provincetown, MA in Cape Cod. We weren't the most exciting hosts, but we enjoyed their visit tremendously. I hope they had fun too. The flooding definitely limited where we could go and what we could do, but still, I don't think we are all that exciting in the best of conditions! It sure was nice to have visitors though. We hadn't had anyone come out since before Christmas. Hopefully this visit will start a string of guests now that the weather is warming up. Anyone out there want to visit Rhode Island?
Photo Notes: Pictures are from an egg hunt Hannah went to at a playground near our house and pictures from our most recent house guests Jo, Terri, and Becky. If you are wondering about the TAPS sign, they are huge fans of the TAPS people on the Sci Fi channel and they just happen to be headquartered in Warwick, RI so we had to stop by for a quick photo op!