Nov. 2012

Monday, October 29, 2007

Celebrating Fall Harvest

We're not much for Halloween, although the kids do know its coming soon. Is it me or are the Halloween decorations becoming more evil and scary? We went through Wal-Mart the other day and came across a dressed up skeleton lifting its head off its body. Prema screamed and luckily Isaac didn't see it. We can't even walk through our neighborhood without seeing skeletons with shackles and things hanging "dead" from trees. When Kyle runs with Isaac through the neighborhood he has to go certain ways to avoid certain decorations. It would be somewhat fun to dress up the kids and get some candy, but not worth the scares that will last for longer than the day.

So instead we have celebrated the fall harvest with our apple and pumpkin cooking and ended with some pumpkin carving on Saturday. Our pumpkins sit next to our dinning room table and are lit each night during dinner until the kids go to bed. We were only using a regular kitchen knife so our designs were limited (I wanted Prema's to have a silly face, but scary is what we got).We'll most likely stay inside on Halloween and keep our lights out so as to not attract any scary looking costumes. We've got enough evil and scary things in the house already (RAD and all it brings out of us) we don't need to invite in any more.

An Inconvenient Truth (movie)

very well done, definitely worth watching.


Well I am now officially 30 years old. It was a few days of celebrating the big day, which was October 27. On Thursday night we had our celebration with Kyle's parents. We ate some delicious fall foods (breaded pork chops and baked squash) and ended it will molten chocolate cupcakes. I was gifted with the book Peter and the Wolf along with a recording of the story that includes the orchestral piece. I was also given an apron from Hawaaii. Last year Kyle's mom Sandy purchased reusable hats and masks to mark each birthday celebration visually to help Prema make the connection. Hence I am sporting my birthday suit (apron, hat and mask). Its fun.
Friday evening Kyle planned a nice date at an Italian restaurant and dessert at the Candy Kitchen for ice cream. We ate the ice cream on the beach.
Saturday we took some mini trips around town for pumpkins, Subway, and playtime at the park. Saturday started out somewhat bad as Prema seemed determined to ruin the day purposely knowing it was my birthday. Sometimes the whole, I will hurt my new mom syndrome gets pretty old and hard to play down, especially on your birthday. She also continued to insist it was "her" birthday several times. Eventually it got a bit better with carving pumpkins. Then we had a blast at the park and that took away all the stress from her defiance in the early morning.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A year of Therapy

This last Friday Prema and I were picking up palm tree seeds that fall once a year. As we bent over in the sun I began having flashbacks of one year ago. Last year mid October we began watching hours and hours of Reactive Attachment Disorder therapy by Nancy Thomas. (check out links on our side bar) As we watched each video we finally felt like we were beginning to understand Prema. We knew her behaviors were not like any "normal" child. Although some behaviors may seem "normal" at first glance, the intensity and duration of her behaviors are far beyond what any healthy child would do.

After watching the entire series of videos and reading a couple books we began our therapy at home. We knew that it was going to take a complete change in our life style. In Prema's situation she looked like an 8 year old, but was only emotionally functioning like an infant. She did not trust our authority at all; for the adults she loved and trusted before hurt her. She constantly was wanting attention almost always being extremely clingy. She would hug anyone she saw for the first time. She was not able to regulate her moods always becoming overstimulated. She was extremely hypervigilant always trying to figure out what was happening in order to protect herself. Until we started therapy it was like a wild animal had been let out of a cage. She was constantly touching everything, picking Isaac up and trying to carry him, falling all over the place, wetting her pants, and not able to sit still.

One year later we are not where we thought we would be, but we have made progress. We thought that Prema would be "healed". I am not competely sure what I envisioned a "healed" Prema would be. I can guess that there were visions of love, obedience, joy, fun, and "normal" family life. And so for the hope of those dreams we began the journey of healing. twice a week therapy sessions, endless books and tapes about new parenting strategies, conferences and research of additional options (Brain Gym, Play therapy, vitamin supplements, Neurofeedback, etc). rewatching Nancy Thomas videos. countless changes in plans. homeschooling. hours and hours and hours of discussions about "what went wrong just then", "how could it have been done different", "is this even working", "is this even worth it" , "how much more can we endure" ,etc. A year later we still struggle with intense anger, disappointment, and grief for the past, present, and future of things not "normal". We wonder if there will ever be a "healed" Prema and now a "healed" Cullum family.

But...unlike a year ago we do have a daughter that has been tamed. She can sit still and learn when she wants to. She can communicate with us. She is choosing to obey a good majority of the time. She is asking for hugs, head massages, and cuddle time with mom. She no longer hugs strangers and even looks at mom to see if she can talk to them. She asks for permission to play with things, touch things, etc most of the time. She helps around the house. And most importantly, she is beginning to love us and we are beginning to love her.

Making it Fall

So the weather has not been cooperating much with creating a Fall mood. We're still sweating and dodging for shade most days. Sunday was overcast but super muggy. So instead I have been trying help the kids expereince fall through nothing better than food.
Every weekend we have made something different. We started with apples. We have made caramel apples, apple crisp, and homemade applesauce. Last weekend we used a pumpkin. I was trying to help Prema understand that the pumpkin in the can is really from a pumpkin. (Its hard to know if she really understands things: language barrier thing) So I decided to actually make pumpkin puree. What a process. We had to gut the pumpkin, bake it, remove the skins, puree it and drain it. Then throughout the week we made pumpkin chocolate cheese cake, pumpkin applesauce raisin muffins, and pumpkin seeds. We still have a ton of pumpkin left so I think we will make some pumpkin bars and bread. Its been fun. Thanks to Kyle the draining of the puree went much faster. He has a way about simplifying processes and getting the same result in the end.

Anyway...please cool weather come. It would help with the baking temps too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

At Last...

The penny came out of Eli this morning. Yippeeeee!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Protect Thyself from the Little Ones

Clearwater Marine Visit

Today my mother-in-law Sandy and I took the kids to the Clearwater Marine Center. We had a great time watching the sea turtles and dolphins. All of the turtles and dolpins have been rescued and are being rehabilitated at the marine center. Some of them will be released back in the wild and others will remain at the center for life. We got to see the famous dolphin "Winter". The kids loved her and talked about her all night.

Fishing as a Fam

Last weekend we all went fishing at one of our local park. The Kiwanis Club supplies the poles and worms. We just had to show up to fish. Kyle caught a really small fish. It was great for the kids to celebrate the catch and touch it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Penny in His Tummy

These kids sure are keeping some blog posts interesting. Last week Tuesday morning I was getting ready for the day in our bathroom. The kids were on our bed a few feet away. In the few seconds between glances to check on them Isaac grabbed a penny off my night stand and put it in Eli's mouth. In an attempt to get it out Isaac stuck both his fingers in Eli's mouth and Eli ended up swallowing the penny. I witnessed Isaac's two fingers in Eli's mouth and the cry that followed. By then it was too late. Immediately I asked Isaac what he had done and he said, "I put a penny in Eli's mouth," very calmly and matter a factly. I began to panic. And I do admit using a very loud voice telling Isaac, "You can't put anything in Eli's mouth, we have told you this before." Isaac then proceeded to say, "Don't yell at me, mom". After a few minutes of collecting myself and holding Eli realizing that he was fine; I became grateful that I was holding a breathing baby instead of a choking baby. I remembered the time my brother had swollowed a penny himself when he was little as I was counting my change. I remembered all the endless days of searching his stools for the penny and figured that was all that needed to be done as long as Eli wasn't choking.
The next day I became a little worried since Eli had not pooped yet. But later that day he filled his diaper nicely and I began the search. The next day I did the same. A couple of times Eli would burp and I wonder if the penny is creating some weird chemical reaction inside. After he had pooped the second day and wondered how a penny bigger than the size of any of his poop was going to come out, but figured out bodies are amazing things it will all work out. Then my mother in law became a bit concerned with the same thing being that he is only 5 months old. I called the doctor on Thursday and they too said that this typically happens to children that are at least one year old so we would need to go and get an x-ray.
Friday afternoon we headed to the hospital for an x-ray. The penny is in the stomach area which is good news. We need to keep feeding him lots of fruits and water to encourage bowel movements and search thouroughly. Until the penny passes we need to get x-rays every week to make sure that it is progressing toward the exit door. But if Eli shows any signs of discomfort we need to get him to a doctor immediately. So we'll let you know when we celebrate the finding of the penny.
Isaac did get a nice discipline for his actions. He talks about putting the penny down his brother's throat frequently. He wants to see the x-ray of the penny. And even though it was a bad thing to do...I am proud of Isaac that he told the truth right away.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Jump, Jump, Jump Eli

Hope this puts a smile on your face!!

Building with Dad

Isaac also said to really cute things today: When I asked him about what he had on his shirt (our church name and a cross) he said "Oh its church sticks." and when he woke up from his nap and came to sit on my lap he said "this is cozy".