Sunday, February 28, 2010

down for the count

This week, Eme spent some R&R time in the big house. She was really sick.

What started out as feeling uncomfortable, ended up as a really bad infection, a UTI.
The ultrasound revealed that one of her kidneys is larger than the other & they believe she has been refluxing back up into her kidney. She will be having some more painful tests done as soon as this infection is cleared up to find out if this will need to be repaired.
They kept her for 2 days to give her a really strong antibiotic drip and we are home now with some really strong oral antibiotics.
I have to say that everything we went through this week was another emotional issue for us. We seem to take 2 steps forward and 1 step back. It's really hard for me to hear her cries and her 'Mommy' screams and me be the one holding her down for strangers to poke, prod and stick strange things in her. She looks in my eyes for reassurance and I can only tell her that it will be okay, that Mommy is here and try to sing songs of comfort to her while all this is going on. I had a whole new level of understanding & sympathy for my friend Mare, who had to come home and hang in the hospital so long right after their China return. It's a trust issue and Eme was really looking at me with those innocent eyes of, "Why are you doing this to me" look.
Her big brother G came to the hospital to give her a cheering up and she couldn't have been more happy to see him. He fed her icecream that was laced with more medicine and they played silly little games. It was the perkiest she had been all day long.
Daddy also brought in a few of her birthday gifts and that helped occupy her time, now we have to re~shop for her birthday....which shouldn't be to hard.
If only perfect health came wrapped inside a little pink box with a white ribbon, we'd be golden.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

feeling the squeeze of life

I hadn't planned on posting tonight, but as I read a few blogs to just relax after a crazy kinda hair raising day, I came across something that just stunned me to the max and it made me think that 1/2 the people in this world have lost their god lovin mind. Maybe I'm a tad bit cranky because it's election time here within the gates of hell and for all you that have played this game with me for the past 4 years, you know what that means. I'm completely frazzled, burned out and annoyed with life. I'm sick to death with the old asshats. They've worn me thin and I'm over it. But within the moments of campaigning, I have to find time for appointments, laundry, cleaning, cooking, homework, working out, crawling time, reading, snuggling, tossing, changing, showers and more snuggles. I hate election time.
Moving on....
There was anonymous comment on another blog about their beautiful child who was adopted before the magical age of 12 months and beyond the comprehension of the anon commenter, they were shocked to find out that the baby has/is adjusting and/or struggling some 3 months later. What really chaps my arse is that most people in the world underestimate what takes place during the 1-12 month phase of life. I know that I'm sick to death of explaining my girl to those that don't get it or care to, but yet they do care to pass judgement & have opinons on those that are living with the day to day struggles of these children that have been abandoned, neglected &/or abused. Chaps my arse.
& to unload my really crappy experience that added to the fury above is that I have a really good friend that stopped by to collect her children and then proceeded to ask how my girl did while we were away for the Key West weekend getaway. I told her that she did great while I was away but fell completely apart the moment we got out of the car and before I could finish with the story she was shrugging it off and telling me that it was normal. That ALL kids throw fits. It took everything in me to not just walk away. I did muster out of my very tiny annoyed voice that there was nothing normal about her meltdown and there was a specific trigger for it, but she wouldn't hear of it, as if she knew more about my child than I did. I always welcome insight, but not ignorance.
& as if that wasn't enough, I had to take Eme to a doctor appt this week and because people don't get the do not touch my child rule, the assistant decided to squat to my girls level and ask her, "Are you a bad girl?"
Seriously? my Mama bear claw is 5 millimeters short of clawing off faces.
I guess I'm just feeling rather annoyed with the folks that have all sorts of thoughts and opinions and absolutely NO knowledge about the institutionalized child. I'm my girls biggest advocate. I don't need cheap opinions from uneducated folks that have never stepped outside of their very narrow world.
Thankfully most of my friends get it and respect our issues, rather they understand them or not. I guess I'm just putting this out there for all those that just peek into the daily lives of those like mine. We have lots of struggles and our biggest one seems to be time. I need more time. I don't have the luxury to spend days doing lunch with my girlfriends, shopping or chatting on the phone. I have a lot that needs to get done between 8&8.
Gawww, I'm bitchy tonight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crawling for M&M's

Part of Eme's NR treatment is to crawl and creep 20 minutes each per day. So far we've managed to get a good 12 minutes out of her every other day. The trick is bribery ;0)
Some days she just isn't in the mood and she is not going to have anything to do with it, so we aren't forcing it, because we want it to be fun...seeing as how she'll probably be crawling for the next 10 years. (insert sarcasm)
So if the gal isn't up for crawling, then it's a no go on the M&M's. I'm looking high and dry for the teeny tiny M&M's and can't find them. Anyone know where to get those?

& on another note: I'm keeping the brown shoes and returning the black ones..just in case anyone was curious. Laurie guessed my reasoning behind the brown =0) & if my good friend Alison had a bigger foot, I'd pass the black ones off to her, she really needs to get in touch with her inner hooker self, just sayin;0)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Key West Album

Dear T&A, check your email =0)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

decisions decisions....what's a girl to do...

In a dilemna, though I *think* I've kind of decided, but I'm still feeling torn.
I'm debating between the black or the brown.
I couldn't decide so they both came home with me, but I really don't need both pairs. I really don't. I don't want 2 pairs that are identical, so that leaves me in a *situation*...
black or brown? __________________________________________________________
Last night we decided to fondue with the boys and some of our friends came over. We let the boys enjoy the first round and then we kicked them out and the adults moved in. Their favorites were the steak & shrimp and the chocolate fondue with the strawberries and oreo covered marshmallows. It was quite the feast and I think it's safe to say that I added 5 lbs including the bottle of wine that we drank=0)
It was better than the melting pot experience and we have enough leftovers to do it all over again today.
Eme loves music and she's really been digging her cd player.
Ms. Mali stopped by to share her crawling mat with Eme.
Mali has improved greatly on her skills and that leaves me excited for Eme. Maybe one day she will lose the cowboy crawl and learn to skip, jump and march.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Diving into NR, head first...hoping the water below is warm!

First and foremost, I'd like to thank all the comments below and all the private emails of those that suffer and still do from high anxiety and repeated stories of heartache. I put it out there because I'm real. It's what we deal with in life and through struggle comes beauty. Your stories were of great help to me to know that we're not alone and I deeply appreciate your words of encouragement.
So to give an Eme update, she's doing spectacular. If you were on the outside looking in, you'd say she's completely attached, bonded and happy. & had she not had that meltdown, I would have assumed that we were doing that great as well. I know we have our issues to work on, and she has really given 'us' a chance to reconnect this week. She has spent time everyday in the pouch and we have played lots of one on one eye contact games with lots of giggles and hugs. She is truly amazing.
So this brings me to our next challenge, NR.
We had her evaluation done last week in Orland0. & though we sort of knew what to expect and the issues that we believed Eme was facing, we were still blown away with all things neurological that helped us connect the dots with other issues. I'm so thankful that Alison has shared her knowledge with me, it gave us a chance to jump start Eme instead of waiting for all those things to be confirmed for us later in life. So many things take place between age 0 months to 12 months that make up the neurological system and when a child is placed in multiple sitting up positions (walkers, bouncy chairs, jumpers, strollers, high chairs, bumbo's, etc) the brain does not have a chance to develop properly. Babies need tummy time and lots of it. It helps to develop eyes, tracking, horizontal and vertical eye movement, cross pattern abilities. Crawling helps to align the body, align the ankles and helps give you the arch in your foot. I could go on and on, but these are the immediate issues that we see with our girl, so that is where we will start. After our 3 hour comprehensive exam, we came home with our marching orders
Eme has work to catch up on in the Pons and Midbrain level & some fun vestibular stimulation stuff.
These are the places where we see her clumsiness, her fear of the park, playground & swings, her inability to use the right and left side of her body, the inability to know her body in relation to space, her vertical and horizontal eye tracking, bad perception of cold, pain and hunger, her inability to all things with a cross pattern, & her prehensile grasp. Had we waited, I'm sure we would have seen some issues in the cortex section of her brain.
Exciting stuff eh?
This weekend we will spend lots of good quality bonding time and Daddy has his work cut out for him with a nice purdy crawling track that needs to be built. Eme needs work on creeping & crawling to help strengthen those things. We are really going back on some issues that should have been taken care of when she was 0-6mo, 6-9mo, 9-12mo & 12-15mo. I would highly suggest an eval for anyone that has adopted from China or any other country that doesn't give babies tummy time and is known for placing babies in upright positions a majority of time &/or
has been in an orphanage/foster care. There's just really no way to know the life that was lived before you arrived on the seen. It's really fascinating stuff.
I'm captivated by it all and I can't wait to watch her grow & change. And while we're having all sorts of pain in the arse fun crawling around on our tile floor, I hope we can see Eme work her magic and tackle some of these issues that will make her life a tad bit easier in the long run.
Gawww, I adore her.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yes Lord, I'd like to cash my weekend of fun in for a fix it token with my girl. Could ya hook a sister up?

Last June or July we booked a trip to Key West with J's brother & wife and his sister & husband. At the time, I figured that all would be well with Eme Grace by the time this trip rolled around. We have spent the past 9 months working very heavy on a healthy attachment. Our #1 goal was here emotional healing. I was nervous up till the last second, but can honestly say that I really felt good about the quick trip away. She was in very good hands and her brothers were there as well as all her favorite dogs. Boy was I wrong.

We received very positive updates several times a day and things seemed to be going well for her. She was eating, sleeping and playing. All things normal for a fun loving girl her age.

We got home late and because I missed her so much I had to pick her up out of bed to snuggle her. She wanted nothing to do with me. Nothing. She went to Daddy for his comfort and made every attempt to push me away. I climbed into bed with her and we fell fast asleep. My hope was that morning would bring a new level of comfort. Not so much.

She wasn't angry, just indifferent. I saw through her act and knew that her heart was in a million pieces and as soon as we got home, she would need to be repouched...back to square 1.

The moment we got out of the car and I put her down she flipped her shit. No good way to put it, she had a colossal meltdown to the highest degree. I picked her up and carried her to the sofa where she could kick, scream and let it out without hurting herself on anything. She wasn't alone, I was right there with her, telling her to let it out. I understood in that moment that we are a long way from where we need to be. I let my girl down in a major way. This Mommy screwed up. I underestimated the pain, the loss, the memory, the anxiety, the fear. My weekend of fun came at her expense. She's a hot mess.

As quick as Daddy could unpack the ergo, she was back in it. Her meltdown in the ergo continued for another hour. & for the first time ever, she wanted as far from me as she could get. She kicked, she screamed, she slapped, she raged, she cried...hard. I cried right along side of her and continued my "it's okay, Mommy is strong enough for both of just let it all out. This Mommy always comes back. This Mommy loves you to the ends of the earth and back and I will always come back. I love you, I love you, I love you"....& so goes the story.

She crashed and burned out of complete exhaustion. We laid together and napped, with her on my chest still in the ergo. She didn't sleep well, she whimpered throughout the rest. & for the first time in a very long time, it was my comfort that she rejected.

Her main attachment is to me, I broke her heart. It was me who brought out the animalistic behavior of pain and anger all rolled up in a tightly wound ball of flight or fight fury. The moaning cries came from a place deep within her full of fear, for over an hour.

I was counting on her waking up fighting mad that she was still in the ergo, but nope, that wasn't the case. She woke up in what would seem to be a perfectly lovely mood. I hand fed her little bites of spinach dip on bread and she happily accepted this and then she proceeded to charm the pants off of Daddy & I. She worked it, like a pro. & it was in this moment that I realized we still live with fake. Fake smiles, fake laughter, fake kisses, fake. We saw a lot of fake in China and fake continued to live with us for the next 2-3 months. It wasn't till a good 5-months into our relationship that fake disappeared. We haven't seen fake for about 4 months, till today.

I thank Alison for texting me off the ledge and being one of the few that knows exactly what I'm seeing is real. It's behavior that was saved up just for Mommy. Her anxiety peeked and knowing what little I know about her stress levels, I do believe she was out of whack and I believe some of her behavior was completely out of her control. This isn't something that we are using to teach her that Mommy always comes back, this is something that we are learning from.

Alison said something to me that stuck with me all day and that was that it was better for her to act like this than indifferent. It has stuck with me because I'm not sure I would have recognized the signs had she not. Her daily report was wonderful and normal and had she not melted down to this level of degree, I might have assumed that all was well and continue on with life as normal. & that would have been the biggest mistake ever and would have probably come back to haunt me 3 years later and put us in a whole different predicament. We all know what assuming means right?!?! ASS/U/ME My advice to anyone out there reading this post on our pain is to NOT assume that all is well with your child because you haven't picked up on any signs that are not normal. I secretly hoped that the minute we entered our home, she would feel safe and comfortable and those warm fuzzy feelings would replace all her indifferent feelings. Had she just got over it once we got home, life probably would have moved on and my girl's heart would have cracked deeper into the sea of abyss.

So here we are, moving through the pain...together. Using the knowledge that we have to make better decisions in the future and reminding myself that love is not enough.
This Mommy gig isn't for wimps.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

flip fun

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

healing Eme's heart

My girl is the beginning of every morning and the end of every day.
I've learned more about being a Mom with her than I have in all my 13 1/2 years of motherhood. Adopting a child is so different than giving birth and having your baby in your arms from the moment of their first breath. My boys never had to question if Mommy and Daddy were for real, if we were permanent, if we would leave and never return. We have worked very hard to heal the hurts of Eme's heart, but sometimes, things pop up out of nowhere and we have to be on our toes, ready to read more into a situation than we care to.
Eme woke up from a nap last week in a total defunked mood. Out of nowhere.
She woke up crying, sobbing in fact and my first thought was to let her cry a little longer because her cry didn't sound like it was 'awake' and I thought she needed to go back to sleep. But then I remembered that I am not parenting a child without special needs, she needs me now. As I was heading her way, she came out of the room with her favorite *Glinda* blankie and just stood there. Her eyebrows were crooked and I swooped her up for the longest hug ever. I held her for over an hour and she didn't move off my chest. She was awake. She held her head low and wouldn't look in my eyes. Daddy came home and she wouldn't acknowledge him. She was in her own world and it wasn't a happy place. I 'repouched' her in the ergo and there she spent the rest of the evening, happy as could be. We took a walk, visited a neighbor to pick up W and she never for one second fought to get down. She was safe and calm and happy to be strapped as tightly to me as she could be.
What was going on inside her little head?
This is a tough gig for sure. To have 3 biological children, I can say with 100% certainty that parenting an adopted child that comes with a history at 15 months of age is completely different. I still work to prove to her that we are forever. This Mommy and Daddy will ALWAYS come back. She struggles and my heart breaks for her and all that she has been through. It is a different way of parenting, just like it's a different way for each child that I have. They are all different with different needs. Eme NEEDS attachment parenting, it is me being conscience of what she has missed and needs. It would be soooo easy to just lump her in with the 'normal' way we have always parented, but parenting is not a one size fits all thing. I am plugging the holes of what she has missed out on as well as growing her up to where she should be, while making sure her emotions are in check. It's a constant walk across the 4 inch balance beam.
This upcoming week we will diving into Neurol0ogical Re0rganization and hoping to help heal things from the inside out. I long for Eme's heart to be in one giant piece, but I think we have a long way to go before that is possible. Don't get me wrong, we've made lots of progress, but we also have a long way to go. What took 15 months to hard wire into her little being, will take us a lifetime to undo and I will do whatever it takes to heal her heart.
I have concerns that Eme's pain threshold is way to high. For example, she can hold an ice cube in her hand until it melts and never feel a thing. Her hands don't feel cold, which scares me because if she touches a hot stove, will she feel hot?
Eme's crawl was horrible and she still can't crawl.
She can't march. She will march by lifting 1 foot and stomping it.
Her hands and feet do not do cross patterns.
Her back is completely flat which means she had NO tummy time to grow the muscles and stimulate the brain.
She doesn't lift or climb with her knees, she just hikes her foot up over whatever and goes for it, some would say she is super flexible.
She gets very annoyed when you put her on my yoga ball, it causes her to use unknown muscles.
She walks/runs with both hands behind her.
She rubs her fingers together, as if she is rolling the skin off the tip of her finger. Self soothing? Anxiety? Don't know.
These are just a few to name that make us go 'hmmm'....I'm curious to see what a professional says and how we can better understand how to help our girl.
She missed a lot in her first 15 months of life, so now we will spend the time needed to relearn, retrain and repeat all that she needs to make the proper neurological connections.
Just look at her...she's perfect. She's my girl.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Digital pages

I'm kind of liking this new 5 minute rule I've set, I can whip 4 pages up in less than 20 minutes. Done. Not great, but quick and done. I'm actually using it to calm my nerves about my root canal tomorrow. I'm drinking wine and playing with far it's working, but I'm really nervous about it. I don't really know why, I know what's coming. I've done no less than a gazillion root canals on patients and yet I've never been the patient. Being the only assistant for an end0dontic doc, gave me the fun opportunity to take all the x-rays, see all the really crappy root canals that the general docs did, that we got to redo, all the improperly measured gutta percha that they shoved down into the root and all the abscessed teeth that required drilling through the upper gum to get to the root of the tooth. I've seen my fair share of teeth and even though the doctor informed me that my teeth are a 'freak of nature' I now need this damn root canal and crown because he went in and messed with my tooth and knocked out a filling that I got when I was 13 years old. Nice. So I'm watching the Tonight's Sh0w and drinking wine.....
moving on....
My 2 favorite photos of all is the one below of Eme smiling her little heart out in the swing and the one of W in the swing. He still has the 'baby' look in it, but I see it leaving him very quickly. He is a true delight and a child that everyone should have the opportunity to meet.
The pictures of Eme giggling and smiling up a storm in the swing is truly music to my ears. We've been going to the park a lot to work on some sensory and balance issues, but I was really taken back that she really enjoyed it this time. I'm not sure if it was the whole family factor, the peanuts before with Daddy or the fact that I put W in the baby swing beside her and shoved him like a chimp on a vine, but whatever it was...she loved it. Her protective wall came down and she just enjoyed the moment.

Playing Catch Up

*I've been trying to get my laptop in order to do a dump and upgrade to the Windows 7 and sorting through files and photos to back up, scrap and organize. It's time consuming and I have no time, so I'm trying to just do a very simple page everyday to get the photos done that need done. I think my problem with digital scrapbooking is I like a lot of detail and it consumes to much time, so I've decided to not think, not worry with detail and spend no more than 5 minutes on a page....thus the simplicity.
*Eme had her first physical therapy today and I love the girl who visits to "play", she is exactly what Eme needs. Eme is really digging this PT stuff. She gets really annoyed when she is forced to play with certain toys in a certain position. It's just not her thing, but it's what she needs to do to improve her muscle tone. So this is what we will continue to do as she shouts, "Mommy" and cries to get away because forcing her muscles to do certain things is just not what she wants to do.
*We had a breakthrough good time at the park this weekend. Eme LOVED the swing and loved going down the little slide. She was loving life and had a grand ol' time running around with her brothers. It was a fabulous weekend with fabulous temperatures and we loved just hanging out in the park on a big blanket eating peanuts and playing on the playground.
*Tomorrow I get to have a root canal. As we walked out of the dental office, my husband looked at me and said, "Happy Birthday...your tooth equals a new Louis bag." BAWAWAWA!!!!