Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Monday, January 17, 2011


palindrome: a word or phrase spelled the same way forward and backward EX: mom, race car, did

For years we have worked with Hannah to teach her how to engage another person to play (both someone she knows and new people in public, like at a park or play place). One of the biggest skills we have worked on is introducing herself and asking others what their name is in return. Lately we had seen a bit of progress in this area if we remembered to prompt her before going into a social situation. Tonight however, without any prompting, I heard this coming from the bowls of the Mc Donald's play place structure, "My name is Hannah with a 'h' at the end and the beginning. You spell it 'H-A-N-N-A-H.' It's the same forward and backwards. You call that a palindrome." If that's not progress then I don't know what is. Maybe it's not the most socially accepted way for 4 year olds to make an introduction, but it's technically sound. I couldn't have been more proud. I was also pretty tickled at the other little boy's response (as were his parents as indicated by the gut busting laughter erupting from their table across the room!). "Uh, um, well. . . . . MY name is Steven and I can spell my name TOO.' S-T-E-V-E-N' I don' t have any domes in my name though. They are all pointy letters." Oh my goodness! Out of the mouth of babes! Hannah then tried to give another explanation about what palindromes were, listing several other words as examples, but since he couldn't spell it pretty much fell on deaf ears. She eventually got frustrated with him and said, "Let's just go play! You don't get it."

For the last several months Hannah has been obsessed with time. She has desperately wanted a watch, but Kyle told her he would not get her one until she was able to tell time independently. She has worked diligently on learning to read a clock ever since and finally was awarded with the coveted watch this weekend. We are now updated with the time approximately every 5 minutes! I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon, but for the moment the constant time reminder is a bit annoying! She's actually gotten quite good at telling time to the 5 minute interval. The only time she gets a bit stumped is when it's close to the half hour. For some reason then, and only then, does she choose to say the next hour instead of the current hour. If it's almost to the next hour she'll remember to say the current hour, but at the half hour mark when the hour hand is half way in between the two numbers it trips her up. I'd say that's still pretty good for a 4 year old though. I had 2nd graders that couldn't tell time as well as she does!

At the moment Hannah has something going on that puzzles the heck out of me. I've tried and tried to come up with a reason for this new behavior, but I just can't. You see, she's started stealing food. It started with sneaking sweets. That I could understand I guess. There isn't the old saying about getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar for nothing. What kid doesn't want to gorge themselves with sweets. But even after it became a major issue and we removed all sweets from the house and made them only a special privilege when we are out the food sneaking remained. Now she's sneaking snack type food-cheese sticks, granola, gold fish. I just don't get it. She gets 3 meals a day and at least 2 snacks. She's allowed to eat as much as she wants at each sitting. We don't allow her to free graze all day because we want her to be hungry at meal times as that has sometimes been a problem, but we rarely deny her a healthy snack if it's a reasonable distance away from the next mealtime. She knows all she has to do is ask for a snack and she will either get it or be told that dinner is within the half hour. So why the food sneaking? She's never gone without. Never had food with held. I just don't get it. Today it was crazy. It was less than an hour until dinner time and she was watching a movie and I was in the office doing bills. I heard a strange sound and went to investigate. I found her in the fridge with her hand in the cheese drawer. I told her that she needed to ask before she got a snack and that dinner would be very soon and she could have a cheese stick with her dinner, but not right now. She was angry, but not hysterical. I sent her back downstairs, or so I thought she went back downstairs, and I went back to the office. Seconds later I hear sounds in the kitchen again and when I went in to investigate there was Hannah holding a cheese stick in her hand! It's really getting bad. It's become almost a daily occurrence, probably 5 times a week at least. She knows it's against the rules to get the snacks between snack and mealtimes and she'll attempt to hide them and lie about them if she is discovered. I just don't get it. Is this a typical developmental stage for a 4 year old or is this something I need to be worried about? She's a healthy weight, growing normally, seems to have plenty of energy. I can't find a physical reason why she would NEED the extra food. I'm positive I'm feeding her plenty.

We've started a new session of classes at the YMCA and this time Hannah's doing a mommy and me cooking class, swimming, and karate. Yes, we finally managed to get into a karate class and not have it canceled! She's the only girl in the class and the oldest by at least a year I would guess. She actually has pretty good skills as far as beginning karate goes and definitely when compared to the rest of the class, but the one place she is lacking is concentration and attention. She loses interest and focus VERY easily in the class and is soon off doing her own thing. She has by far the worst focus in the entire class. You would think these little boys would be all over the place doing pretend karate chops and such, but they are not. They have rapt attention on the sensei, but not Hannah. She's off in her own little world spinning or doing poses! :) I'm thinking karate may not be in our future next session! The sport she really seems to be excelling in is swimming although attention is a problem in that class too. BUT she LOVES swimming and is a natural at it so it makes things go a little more smoothly. One problem with swimming however is that she thinks that she is better than she is and that she already knows how to do things before the instructor explains them so she doesn't listen to her directions and that gets her in trouble. We're just going to have to keep working on those listening ears and obedience to adults. She also really enjoys her cooking class. I must admit it's quite fun. So far they've only made a salad and a fruit pizza, but she's got to measure, mix, and chop and to her that's the best. She even has an excuse to wear her apron!

Tomorrow we go to visit the small private school we are considering sending Hannah to next year for kindergarten. Unless after this visit my opinion changes drastically, we feel that this is probably our best option for her for next year at least. She'll be spending time visiting and participating in the kindergarten classroom and the first grade classroom so we can determine exactly where she'll fit best. Right now the options we are considering are the kindergarten room with a drastically modified curriculum, the first grade room with a slightly modified curriculum, or beginning in the kindergarten room right now for the remaining months of the school year and then going on to the first grade room next year. The biggest challenge with Hannah is that she is all over the map as far as development goes. As it stands now she has an independent reading level of about 2nd grade, an instructional reading level of 3rd grade, comprehension of about second semester 2nd grade, math at first grade level, and social skills at kindergarten level, spelling at first grade level, and oral language at 2nd grade level, and fine motor at kindergarten. Another problem is that while these are the levels that she is currently at, she doesn't progress at one grade level a year. She learns and masters things much more quickly than the typical child so while she may be at first grade level in math right now, by the end of May she may very well be at 2nd grade level. All this makes it extremely hard to decide where to place her in an academic environment. Do you place her with her agemates because that's where her social skills lie and allow her to go years without learning anything at all? Do you choose a skill and place her with her academic peers in that particular skill and allow her to be bored with the rote repetition of the other skills? Or do we simply pick a room and pray that small class sizes and an accommodating teacher will create a curriculum just for her? UGH! Wish us luck that the visit goes well and that it sheds some light as to where the best place to put Hannah next year is.

Photo Notes: I finally got around to posting pictures from our Thanksgiving trip back to Ohio and Indiana. The first two pictures are from while we were at my parents house. Hannah loved that little kitten fiercely! She hardly ever put it down. The next three pictures are from Kyle's dad's place. She had a blast roasting marshmallows with Pap. The final 5 pictures are from our visit with Hannah's birthfamily. The first one is her birth uncle, then her birthmom Tiffany, and finally the last few are with her brother and sister Chase and Kayla. It's amazing how much they look like each other even though they are only half siblings!


Lora said...

The food sneaking thing is interesting. I don't know why she does it. I'd run some experiments, and see how she reacts. If it were me, I'd probably remove all rules surrounding food, and allow her to get her own snacks as she wants even if it's close to dinner. I feel like the risk of eating disorders in girls is serious enough that I choose not to pick food as a battle. (Especially since it's not junk food we're talking about.) If she was allowed to be in control of her food, she might not feel the need to steal it and it would remove that as an issue in your home. Sure, she may fill up on cheese before dinner, but taking away that argument might allow for an understanding that makes it worth it. It might show her that you see and understand her need to control her food, and that you will accept and support that need. Just an idea!

Lydia said...

Sorry, been out of touch...

No ideas about the food thing, but I'd place her where her academic level is. I was light years ahead at her age too, and I was bored to death until about 6th grade when I finally started to learn new things. It was a waste of time. My social skills were behind, but it didn't matter if they were a little behind or moderately behind depending on what grade I was in... they needed remediation no matter what. What mattered was the academics.

Ligia said...

Good luck with the private school...please keep us posted!

Unknown said...

Hi! I just found you through the autism blogs directory, and I wanted to throw and idea at you (just pretend for a minute that you actually have a clue who I am and totally trust my advice). The food stealing thing could be sensory. Some kids need the sensation of having something in their mouth or chewing,so they eat all the time. You might try letting her chew gum or ice chips or something. Just an idea--feel free to ignore it if you want! LOL

The Accidental Mommy said...

Ha, I remember meeting a Hannah who announced to me that her name was a palindrome! I had to be refreshed on what that meant at the time, lol! My daughter has been stealing food on and off and I find she does it at times when she sleeps poorly. During nights when she is flipping and flopping and calling out in her sleep I will often wake up and find she has got a hold of some cookies. I have heard some parents have success letting their kids help with cooking etc. Didn't work for us but it's and idea anyway.

goodfountain said...

Hi, Natalie. My 4 yr old daughter (she is NT) is going thru a food-sneaking phase, too. She, like Hannah, has few restrictions about what and when she eats as long as it's nutritious and not to close to meal time. Yet, I still find her sneaking food. I really think it's just a phase. In fact, I can't remember the last time she did it. I haven't made a big deal out of it. I just tell her to put it back and ask permission. And then I have said, "You know you don't have to steal food, right? I will always give you a snack if you're hungry, you just have to tell me that you're hungry."

When she's done it before, she's been very giggly about it, so I have responded similarly. "You sneaky girl" - that kind of thing.

I wouldn't worry about it -but I just wouldn't make a huge deal about it with consequences or anything.