Nov. 2012

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Venting Thoughts

As I sit at the computer waiting Prema out while she throws her third tantrum this week (which could last a few hours), I will try to ignore her by venting some frustrations over the past month. The boys are sleeping.

I am not sure if I've become more sensitive to the way people interact with kids simply because I have kids or because of trying to help Prema heal from Reactive Attachment Disorder. I am becoming increasingly concerned for our youth and mad at society for the way adults interact with children. I am not sure if the way adults are behaving is changing or if it is a concern I have because of the way many children are being raised.

some examples:

This month I was in the store with both boys holding onto the sides of the stroller. A worker from the store came up to Eli (1 year old) and took his hand and said "Come with me" and took a few steps away from me. I was in shock at the time so she may have said more words that made it sound like a joke, but I am positive she never said anything like "you're so cute, I'd love to just take you home." as I've heard in the past from some adults. Instead, the woman literally was acting like she was going to take him. Eli looked at me and then pulled his hand away from her refusing to go. I am almost positive she was "playing" but WHAT IN THE WORLD KIND OF JOKE IS THIS. It wasn't funny to me.

That same day, that same store Isaac was being disrespectful to me (a common thing these days as he tries to claim his independence) while we were checking out. The cashier started saying "if you're going to keep being naughty Santa's not going to come to your house". WHAT RIGHT DOES SHE HAVE TO THREATEN MY CHILD? Isaac stopped his fit and thought quietly for a moment and replied "We don't do Santa". So I left it at that...his behavior changed and maybe she learned a little lesson in holding her tongue.

Today at the dentist, one of the women continued saying "That's my girl/boy" to each of my kids respectively. After Prema had her tooth pulled (a 2 minute ordeal in which over half was numbing the area) they wanted to hug her. We have a rule due to RAD that Prema is only allowed to hug Kyle and I am really over sensitive about this. But my thoughts were...YOU ONLY SEE MY CHILD TWICE A YEAR FOR 20 MINUTES, YOU BARELY KNOW HER AND SHE BARELY KNOWS YOU...PLEASE STOP TREATING HER AND TALKING TO HER LIKE SHE IS PART OF YOUR FAMILY WHEN REALLY YOU ARE PRETTY MUCH A STRANGER TO HER.

I guess my vent is... in a world where more and more kids are being abducted, abused, neglected, not getting lots of time from parents, etc. Children are needing boundaries more than ever. In wanting to become more CHILD FRIENDLY we have lost a lot of what used to make our world safe for our children. Boundaries have been lost everywhere. How do our children learn safe boundaries that protect themselves when people besides their immediate/ extended family and school are hugging them, calling them 'theirs', stepping outside their role in the child's life (i.e. threatening my child about Santa when I am in the disciplinarian role), etc.


Monday, December 15, 2008

And More Update

Isaac marching Bob the Builder on the bandstand

Prema performing at Deaf Extravaganza...she paid attention and signed the whole thing!!!!

Eli wearing Native American hat for Thanksgiving.

Sandy and Amber wearing turkey hats for Thanksgiving dinner.

Isaac wearing pilgrim hat for Thanksgiving dinner.

More Update

Prema Isaac and Eli sporting the snowman shirts we made

Holiday Update

Sorry to anyone who may have been hoping for an update sooner. We've been really busy trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We've also have had my mom and dad and Sam and Amber visiting.

Here is a little picture update:
making Thanksgiving Day table runner with pine cones, pine needles and leaves.

Prema wearing Pilgrim Hat for Thanksgiving Dinner

Kyle and Sam shoving their mouths full of corn bread wearing Native American hat at Thanksgiving dinner.

feeding our friend's chickens

Isaac and Prema holding fresh eggs from our visit with our friend's chickens

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yours and Only Yours

I've always found it a bit amusing that with each baby that is born one of the first remarks from people is who the child's physical features resemble the most. We analyze some small details like the length of the fingers and toes, point or bulge in the nose, etc and connect it to the mom or the dad. As the children become older those common features become more acute along with the personality traits and lots of other things. Recently I've become very aware of the personality and other habits our children have acquired being parented by myself and Kyle. The most troubling is that it seems children pick up on some of your worst habits/ flaws and use them when interacting with you. All those things you do that have annoyed others throughout the years but you haven't bothered to change will come back to haunt you...BEWARE. However in the situation with Prema struggling to attach to us as her parents we have sometimes silently celebrated some of our flaws and habits that she has acquired for it is a sign of attachment. So now for your enjoyment I'll list some of the things our kids have picked up on.

Eli- throwing temper tantrums with gusto. Kyle and I are were not the most calm people when we are angry as children and still struggle as adults.

Isaac- talking to Kyle in the same tone I do when I'm not being the most respectful, biting his fingernails, picking his nose, touching his nose with his tongue (I can do this and we learned Isaac could do this too when he had a cold. He would refuse to use a kleenex and instead would lick his boogers out of his nose). smelling things over and over again...the kid has the nose of a hound and he's really funny dramatically sniffing in the air whenever he smells something and then tries to name the smell.

Prema- ordering other kids around (due to her lack of any language especially for the first year we tended to only give her directions most of the time so that the language was clear and she would become obedient and respectful and she ignores any conversations we have with all adults-deaf included- so she doesn't pay attention to healthy conversations) picking her nose and eating her boogers, standing and sitting with her arms crossed, signing with the same facial expressions I use, snapping her fingers to get people's attention (her teachers were wondering where she acquired this habit and just as they were about to ask me I snapped at Prema to get her attention--a bit embarrassing)

So now that some of their bad habits which are mine also are starting to bother me, I'm trying to change but it sure is hard work. Pray for me. We can't all be perfect.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday Kyle

Today Kyle celebrated his 30th birthday. check out this great post from his mom's blog. Happy Birthday Kyle. We love you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saint Alphonsa and Isaac

In celebration of All Souls/ All Saints Day at church today Prema and Isaac dressed up as saints. Prema was the first woman saint of India, Sister Alphonsa who was canonized last month. Isaac was dressed as Fr. Isaac Joques, a French missionary to the Indians in Canada. The kids wore their costumes all during mass and then after communion they processed in and walked around the church as the people sang "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In".

These costumes were my second sewing project as an adult. Last year I made a school bag for Prema. The costume patterns said it would take 2 hours each, but it took much longer as I needed to re-acquaint myself with the sewing machine and have not followed a sewing pattern since middle school. Isaac's took me at least 6 hours and Prema's took about 3 hours. I had some very informative and helpful instruction from my mother in law Sandy before I began. I've always wanted to learn to sew, so I decided this was the time to start. I didn't even know the basics like how to measure the material. I'm happy with how they turned out and I did have many enjoyable moments doing it among the other stressful and frustrating moments.


We had a great time celebrating Fall on Halloween. We don't do go trick or treating for a few reason. In our opinion Halloween has become too much a celebration about blood, scary and evil things. It seems to be getting worse every year. We don't want our kids dressing in those things nor do we really want them seeing them as something to celebrate. The decorations in stores and on houses are scary enough. All of our kids struggle to know what is fiction and what is real so we just try to stay away from it all. However, in order that they don't feel "left out" when all the kids are talking about the excitement around Halloween we have our own Fall celebration at home. This year we bobbed for apples, had a pumpkin rolling contest and broke open the pinatas that we made. It was a blast. The kids struggled to get the apples themselves with their mouths, but enjoyed trying. Eli just kept getting in the pool and eating large portions of each apple as everyone tried. The pinatas were a bit difficult to break since they were very thick and being hit with plastic bats, but eventually they cracked and then we tore into them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go Rays

the boys with their Rayhawks. If you don't know, some of the players on the Rays' baseball team have mohawaks, so in celebration of their success many many people around Tampa Bay have gotten "Rayhawks".

First Triathlon

Well I did it!! I completed my first triathlon this weekend. It was a sprint Triathlon consisting of a 600 meter swim (a bit less than 1/2 mile), 10 mile run, and 3.1 mile run. The race was at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven Florida. The swim was in the lake at the Gardens where they do water ski shows. The bike was on the major roads outside the Gardens and the run was in the gardens. It was a lot of fun. I did well for my first time, especially on the swim portion. I also had great time. Sandy (my mother in law) completed the race with me, but we started at different times so we didn't actually race alongside one another. We stayed the night in Winter Haven in a hotel the night before and played at Cypress Gardens after the race before coming home.

I woke up at 5 a.m. and got ready while Kyle and the kids slept. I met up with Sandy, David and Grandma Temple at 5:30 to go down to the race. From 5:30-7:30 a.m. Sandy and I got our transition station (bike, shoes, gels, race number, etc) ready, walked some of the course, ate a bit and went to the bathroom many many times. We started the race with the swim at about 7:50 a.m. Sandy started one wave before me and I was the last wave to go based on my fat tire bike. I finished the swim in 18:08, bike in 44:18, and run in 34:11. The swim was probably the most challenging as I've never done an open swim before. The water was really dark and you have keep sighting the next buoy to stay on course. The bike had some hills I didn't expect but it was a lot of fun. I'm hoping to have a road/ triathlon bike the next time I complete to shave some minutes off this time. The run was hard and actually a bit emotional as I knew I could finish it out and saw so many different people working so hard to finish as well.

Sandy and I were so lucky to have our family there to cheer us on. Sam (Kyle's brother) and Amber came down from Kentucky. Grandma Temple, David, Kyle and the kids all came to watch. They drove up to the bike start just as I was getting on my bike. My chain fell off so I was really grateful for the timing as Sam talked me through how to fix it. They moved to the transition area and were there to cheer us on as we went from biking to running and ran to the finish line. Since I had such a good time and I really like exercising with a goal to shoot for, I'm hoping to try another triathlon in the spring.

Afterwards we had a great time going through Cypress Gardens with the family. They have wonderful rides for the kids. All three kids and adults got to go on some rides.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Therapy Complete

Two years ago in October we began Reactive Attachment Therapy with Prema. We will never forget the day. Every October the neighbor's palm tree seeds fall to ground. (We take care of their lawn while they are at home in Canada 6 months of the year.) Prema had recently been diagnosed with RAD by a LMHC (therapist), but she herself didn't know much about the disorder beyond the symptoms. Through some research and a recommendation by an acquaintance we had come to know about Nancy Thomas. We quickly ordered as much as we could from the attachment web site and began watching countless hours of video detailing the therapy we needed to begin. As soon as we finished the videos, we began the therapy with no idea what was really going to happen. We had to make huge changes to the way we were parenting Prema.

One of the changes was getting Prema to complete 30 minutes of chores a day. So on day one we began with the simple chore of picking up the palm seeds from the ground. What seemed like a small task for a 7 year old (really 9) turned out to be a 3 day stand off with Prema refusing. I remember the countless times we second guessed the situation. We had a language barrier so we marked off the area with rope to make sure she knew how much she had to pick up. We modeled the process over and over again picking up seeds, putting them in a small bucket and emptying the bucket into the trash can. We had to literally camp outside all day long until dark because she had no language to tell us when she was ready to start to work. We also had another child in the house that needed attention and Prema who couldn't be left outside alone. We kept Prema out of school until she picked them up because we were determined to win the battle. Kyle had to stay home from work so that we could share the duty of watching Isaac and Prema. We frantically were trying to find a therapist in the area that knew something about RAD and therapy techniques. It was a nightmare.

Eventually we did find a therapist. There is only on person in our entire county that does proper attachment therapy. Luckily she was able to see us quickly and we began what became a 2 year journey of therapy toward healing Prema helping her attach to us. Last week we determined that Prema should be discharged. It was a joyous and sad moment all at the same time. I remember watching those videos and hearing of how children heal from RAD. I would envision our family and Prema with healing. At that time a "healed Prema" was a completely normal child with deafness. Prema is still very far from normal. But she is very different than what she was 2 years ago. Two years ago we couldn't get her to sit in our laps without kicking and fighting. Now she accepts all of our affection and gives affection herself. Two years ago Prema would pee the bed every night and would destroy things in rage. Now she does neither. Two years ago she would refuse to do chores for days, now she only says "no" once in a while but is quick to change when her mind when we give her a disapproving look or a choice to receive a consequence.

It has been an exhausting two years. I don't think I've every experienced so many emotions about one thing: rage, embarrassment, joy, anger, frustration, hopelessness, hope, despair, excitement, etc. I have been brought out of my comfort zone so many times during this process. I have also learned a TON.

For two years we have put everything we have (time, money, and energy) in to "healing" Prema. As you spend time in the season of searching for answers and solutions its hard to ever come to a place of full acceptance. But as all of Prema's therapies are coming to an end (attachment, physical therapy, neurofeedback) it becomes time to stop hoping for some of your dreams and just accept her. As I am realizing my dream of a "normal Prema" is probably not going to be a reality, I'm learning even more than before how awful neglect really is. When you're in the midst of therapies there is hope that with hard work, love, and perseverance you can wipe away the past. But now as Prema is attached to us and comfortable in our family and America reality sets in: you can take the child out of India, but India will still be a part of her. You can take the child out of a neglectful situation but the affects of neglect will always remain. Prema is always going to be socially awkward, a slow learner, and a challenge to parent. But in the midsts of knowing these things I must accept it and find a balance of maintaining high expectations for her to always desire to achieve more. Sometimes this is a daunting task.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Celebrating Fall

Last week we made fall pumpkin/ jack o lantern shirts with the kids. Thankfully Kyle was there to help with another one of my craft ideas. I have a habit of skimming the directions and thinking i know what I am doing only to find out I am wrong and panic. Kyle had to fix the dye mixture and Prema's outline (which originally looked more like a dog than a pumpkin). Kyle and I also have orange tie-dyed shirts but we haven't added the jack o lantern face. Isaac wants to wear his shirt every day and requests we wear them at the same time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Things for Me

Today marked the beginning of two new things for me; both of which bring a bit of anxiety.

I have been asked by a special task force (Director and Assistant Director of Adoptions for Pinellas County Florida and our adotion attachment therapy LMHC) to start an adoption support group for Pinellas County Florida. Throughout the years Child Welfare has come to see a huge need for support for families that have just adopted. Families have been calling several years after an adoption is finalized to dissolve the adoption either because it is the only way to get a child the services they need or because the family can no longer raise the child mostly due to emotional/ behavioral reasons. The hope is that an adoption support group would become a preventative solution to these problems. So I have enthusiastically (with some anxiety) agreed to begin this group. So far things have come into place beautifully. We have a place to meet every 4th Monday evening of the month and I have a great friend and experienced adoptive mother as my assistant. Out first meeting will be October 27 (my birthday). Many adoptive families will be invited this coming month...we shall see how many come and what are their needs. I am every excited for this opportunity. I have become extremely passionate about adoption, children with emotional needs due to neglect and trauma, and yearn to help adoptive families who are struggling to become whole.

This evening I registered for my first triathlon. I will be competing in the Publix Family Fitness Cypress Gardens Sprint Triathlon October 11. I am very nervous. I have been trying to fit training in as much as possible. I have swam a number of times and do pretty well. I have biked 3 or 4 long rides towing the boys behind me. And I have been running about 3 times a week usually pushing Eli in the stroller. So we'll see how I do. I am only trying to finish and have FUN. The FUN part is really a challenge for me as I make everything so competitive and set such high expectations for myself. So we shall see. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Long Overdue Update

We've had our computer back for a while now but I haven't taken the time to update this blog. Sorry for the delay if you have been waiting.

Once a week since our return from India 3 1/2 years ago we have Community Dinner with Kyle's parents. Sometimes it ends up being just us but the many times we have others join us. Kyle's mom always does the cooking and once in a while she will spice it up a bit with a themed meal. A month ago she saw an interesting recipe for green eggs and ham and wanted to try it. Below is a picture from our DR.SUESS meal/ silly meal. The green eggs and ham were AWESOME by the way.

We were very excited about the Olympics this year. I always am but it was the first Summer Olympics that Kyle and I were watching together. We were also very excited to share it with Isaac and Prema as they have become swimmers and cyclists themselves. We started our Olympic view at Kyle's parents house watching the opening ceremonies and continued spending many late late nights at their house watching swimming, gymnastics, beach volleyball, diving, track and field. We all loved it!!! Prema and Isaac would take their enthusiasm with them to the ppol and pretend to be Michael Phelps diving off the block, swimming and winning complete with ecstatic splashing of the water and fist pumps. On our Community Dinner night Sandy prepared an Olympic meal. The kids made Olympic rings for the decorations and Sandy cooked all Chinese food to eat. We drew Olympic rings on the kids' faces and arms too. Then we finished the evening watching some Olympic competition.

I've been reorganizing the house a bit. We decided to make our dining room into a place for the kids to create whatever they want whenever (they have to ask to use the supplies before starting). So we bought some new shelving and got all of our craft supplies out and in clear storage containers so the kids would be more inspired to create. We still have to finish making the "GALLERY WALL" but our front door is sufficient for now. In one of my craft kid magazines I found a recipe for EDIBLE paint. I mixed some up for Eli and let him go. As soon as I said it was edible (using that word too) Eli picked up the bowl and started drinking it. He had a blast.

Other updates:
The kids are still loving to swim every day. Isaac is a fish. He has a really good track start and can swim really far without taking a breath. He is working on his butterfly and backstroke. All of his attempts are very cute. Prema's front crawl is looking much smoother. She is also doing fairly well with backstroke. She is really trying hard to make it one length of the pool without needing someone to give her a rest stop. Eli is crazy at the pool. He is exploring new things all the time.

Isaac is 100% self sufficient at riding a 2 wheel bike now. He rides his bike 3 times a week for 3 miles next to me while I run and never gets tired. Prema is riding but struggling to start herself and come to a complete stop before putting her feet down. Her week abs and legs are really causing some difficulty with those two things.

Prema is doing really well at school full time. She's had a few off days but for the most part her behavior at home and school has been quite good. The school continues to be very supportive of our wants and her needs. Its very nice to have so much collaboration. The boys and I are starting to get into a good routine while Prema is at school. Its really nice to have more time to focus on them.

Eli has started to sign a lot of words. Any time we show him a new sign he tries it right away now. A lot of his signs are starting to look the same as he can't make the fine finger details happen, but its very cute. Eli is also finally loving shoes. We discovered he has a double wide (almost triple wide) foot so all the other shoes I was putting on him were not comfortable. His new shoes he loves and stomps around in them all the time.

hopefully it won't be so long before i post again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Without Computer

Once again it has been a while since I blogged. We're still busy here in Florida, but without a computer. While we were watching some Olympic streamed video our computer froze. I ended up having to manually shut it down and it never started correctly again. The hard drive motor died and thus we were denied access to anything on the computer. The good news is that it is still under warranty and we will get it back soon. The bad news is that all of our pictures and video were on it. Thankfully I had backed up all of our 2007 pictures and videos, but anything after January 1 2008 is lost. We have the "best" photos on Facebook, this blog, Flickr and Snapfish so we have some access to pictures...but our videos are lost. Oh well, I've learned my lesson I hope and when the kids are older they won't really miss the few videos that have been lost in 6 months of their lives.

Once I get the computer back I will update with pictures of the latest: Olympic party, Isaac and Prema both riding their 2 wheel bikes successfully (with some problems breaking), a Green Eggs and Ham dinner, and whatever else I can think of.

Prema starts school full time on Tuesday. I'm already creating the "Prema Handbook" for the staff that will be working with her as a refresher from my training last year and any new things to watch out for. I am struggling to lose some of the control over her life. Its a bit scary leaving her with other adults for 6+ hours of the day. Hopefully everyone will work well together and she will grow emotionally and developmentally.

Enjoy the end of Summer!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

i've Been Meme'd

whatever meme'd here is are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

so my 7 things are: which you all probably know already since i'm not that private especially those things I have any opinion on.

1. I love to smell things, especially related to my body and if you watch me closely you can catch me doing it as I can't resist even in public, but I try to do is discretely: my hands after i wash them, the dandruff from my head after I itch my head, zit puss, the stuff that resides in your belly button, and the stuff that you find on the back of your earrings if you've worn them a long time (like me who never takes them out except to clean them) and last but not least those yellow-ish looking seeds/ balls that sometimes release themselves from the back of your throat (i discovered them at a young age playing oboe and became more addicted when another friend showed me how you can scrape them out with the end of your toothbrush)

2. one of the biggest things Kyle loves about me is my ability to use words incorrectly and mix up idioms/ commonly used phrases.

3. I rarely laugh at other people's jokes, only my own. I'm not quick enough to laugh at the right time or don't understand the humor when it comes to other people's jokes. Or I just don't think its funny.

4. My Indian landlord saw me naked once as he arrived at and opened our door unannounced and I was about to get dressed after taking a shower. He said "Oh God, sorry" (apply Bengali accent here)

5. Our son Isaac was conceived at London's Heathrow Airport on our way back to India from a visit to the US.

6. I am a bleeding heart

7. I have cute feet

so now I tag... Sam Cullum , Carrie Miller , Sandy , Kate Tucker and all you other peeps that have been meme'd that are my friends that haven't posted yet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Things

Besides swimming, Prema and Isaac are learning to ride 2 wheel bikes. For the past 2 years we have tried several different techniques to help Prema learn. She has bent every set of training wheels we have tried (some super heavy duty sets too) and its a lot of work trying to hold her up while running along side even while holding one of those handles designed to hold kids up on bikes. She gives minimal effort to pedaling correctly on our tow behind bike and is always leaning against Kyle, thus not really teaching her proper balance. After many attempts with long sabbaticals in between with hopes of growing in maturity and strength, we became hopeless that we would ever enjoy a bike ride as a family without having to tow along our oldest. As one last hope I began searching the internet for "learning how to ride a bike" and came across several sites with a self teaching method. The very next day we got Prema's bike out and took it apart as directed and bought Isaac a new bike his size taking it apart also. We didn't want to spend the money buying the Skuut bike (click on the bike image to see a video of the learning process) or imitation so we decided to work with cheaper bikes they can use later We removed the training wheels, chain, and pedals. Since then they've been "walking" the bikes every day to and from the pool. Each day they get faster and faster and use their feet less to slow down or stop on declines. Their balance and steering have improved and all along the way Kyle and I have not broken a sweat. We just walk Eli in the stroller at leisurely pace watching them learn on their own. Isaac has come farther than Prema, but at least we're hopeful that Prema will learn and we won't have to become so frustrated in the process. Eventually we will put the chain and pedals back on, but there will be no need for the training wheels.

On July 19th Kyle and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We spent the evening eating at our favorite Italian restaurant, as has become our tradition. The food and company were great. Its been quite a LONG 5 years...its amazing how India, and all of our kids have changed us and our marriage (including the number of pictures we have of ourselves together...we seem to only get a picture in here or there with one of us holding the camera).

The week before our wedding anniversary, I got LASIK surgery done. So far the results are great. My sight is improving each day and minus some pain about 2 hours after surgery, the recovery was good. Sometimes I still go to bed thinking I forgot to do something (remove my contacts) and its amazing to wake up in the wee hours of the night for a child and be able to see them immediately.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4th of July

We had a great time celebrating the 4th of July this year. We stayed in town and celebrated with the Drew and Karamin Heuertz family. We started the festivities at our neighborhood pool swimming a bit. Then we all came over to our house and had a cook out. After eating we had the kids complete a craft activity in an effort to keep them more calm before the fireworks. They made 4th of July hats (pictures below). It took all four adults to assist them in the project due to the properties of duct tape, but it was at least more calm than usual after dinner and less noisy. Then we all headed to the Largo HS football field for some fireworks. Drew is one of the football coaches so he was given permission to take us all through the gates and onto the field to watch the fireworks. It was awesome. Isaac brought his football and helmet so he could play on the field. The kids got to run around freely without any fear for the adults about crowds or personal fireworks. Then we also did our own sparklers on the field at dusk. We ended the night sitting at the top of the bleachers watching the city show right in front of us with several other public displays in the background. It was beautiful.

The best quotes of the evening came from Isaac as he tried to understand the idea of the 4th of July. I had been telling him it was America's birthday celebrating our freedom. He knows America in the context that he lives in America and that it is not India where Prema used to live. When Karamin brought the 4th of July cupcakes in our house, he really knew it was a "birthday" celebration as that is the only time we have them. When it was time to eat the cupcakes Isaac wanted to know "when is America coming so we can eat the cupcakes" (he thought we should sing "Happy Birthday" to her and knows you don't eat before the guest of honor). The when he saw the city fireworks display (his first time seeing a public display) he shouted with excitement "America's birthday candles!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Little Fish

We have some swimmers in the pool now. Isaac, Prema and Eli are all doing well. All three do a cross between "dog paddle" and "front crawl"(aka freestyle). They all put their faces in the water, paddle the arms and kick. No one is strong enough yet to get their arms out of the water for a front craw stroke, but Prema has some good attempts. And No one is strong enough yet to swim continuously lifting their head out of the water to take a breath. Prema's kicking is quite weak and awkward as she struggles to keep her legs straight and toes pointed. Once she started wearing goggles she was no longer afraid of the deep end and working hard to swim further. (I think with the deafness she relies on her eyes so much more that goggles helped her feel more safe as she could see under water better). Isaac is jumping into any depth of water and swimming back to the wall on his own. Eli gets in to the pool just like all kids (turning around and sliding in feet first) hangs on the wall with one hand and lets go trying to swim to mom/ dad. He drinks a lot of water in the process but is always smiling and laughing even under water. His big gut is gigantic by the time he is done swimming...full of water. We have been swimming just about every day since the beginning of of the great things about living in Florida. A few times we have

Friday, July 4, 2008

Baseball Fans

If you don't know it yet, the Tampa Bay Rays are number one in baseball right now. Its an exciting time in our house as Kyle has always been a fan of baseball, but now Isaac is old enough to have an interest too. Since Isaac's first trip to a major league game in the spring, he has had a big interest in being a baseball player. He became even more of a fan when he say his second cousin Isaiah Cullum (who is REALLY good) play a little league game. He came home from the game with knowledge of the dug out happenings, running bases, hitting and pitching. And since then he has gone to several TB Rays games with Kyle.

Now that its baseball season; the football, helmet, and marching band have been taking long break. So instead we hold daily pitching and batting practice sessions (sometimes 4 a day) out in the front yard. Isaac has quite an arm when it comes to pitching. He can throw you a strike when he pays attention. He can also hit a pitched ball quite well. He needs some work on fielding and catching, especially using a glove. What I really love about practicing with him is that he loves to takes turns batting and pitching, so I don't get stuck doing one or the other.

Prema has gone to a couple games too. Once she touched the live rays, scanned the crowd a few times, and watched the mascot Raymond dance a bit, she is no longer interested. She just wants to leave and get ice cream (which she will ask you about the entire game over and over and over and over again).

Prema thought it was funny to wear her hat and make this face.

touching the Rays at the game.

Bonk Beds

If you've ever been around David (Kyle's dad) you know he loves to make puns. Puns have always been a part of Kyle's nature too given he is his Dad's son, but over the years of spending consistent time with his dad, puns have become more of a part of his comedy routine too. Isaac has always had a very good sense of humor, picking up on some of David and Kyle's jokes I even struggle to understand. But now he has also begun to create his own puns: a true Cullum thing.

On the first night sitting in his new bed (bunk beds), he bounced in excitement ultimately bumping his head on the upper bunk. He climbs down from the bed laughing exclaiming "Its okay I bonked my head because they are BONK beds." I think he really did believe their name was BONK beds at the time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Painful Conversation

Conversations have been painful, extremely painful, for the past 2 weeks at our house. Not the kind of pain that causes one to cry. Painful in its complications. Painful in its slow process.
Prema and Isaac have both reached the developmental stage of playing with others instead of mirror playing. They also are in that "mine" stage, where sharing becomes impossible in their eyes. With Prema home full time again for some of the summer, I feel like crying, ripping the hair out of my head, or just doing it for them by the time the end of the day comes, especially on Friday. This stage is hard enough when you have a normal situation. But instead we have a deaf child who can only sign and doesn't fully understand and/ or fully engage half of he conversation involving her AND a very smart hearing child that understands everything but struggles to sign at the level he speaks/ thinks. So with EVERY conversation held between Prema and Isaac I become referee ("don't hit... sign", don't take that... sign), sign language teacher, external moderator ("pay attention", "look at her/him", "think about what he is saying"), and interpreter of unclear signs. Its painful to watch and be a part of. With each situation I struggle to not just take over and interpret every interchange. At least Isaac is willing to sign again (he used to get frustrated that he couldn't get his fingers/ hands to look exactly like an adult's signs) and Prema is patient enough to physically stand waiting for Isaac to sign.