Nov. 2012

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eli 9 mo. old

Eli is 9 months old. He is crawling all over the place and getting into his brother and sister's way. He is pulling up on furniture tearing down many things and he is also letting go and standing by himself. At his 9 mo. check up yesterday we got good news that the ear infections are gone and one ear is completely drained. The other still has a little bit of fluid but hopefully it will pass soon.

This video was taken while Kyle and I were doing yard work. We have a ball hanging from a tree so that Isaac can practice hitting the ball without having to go and retrieve it all the time. Eli had a blast.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hold Up Your Cell Phones?

My friend Karamin invited me to join her to one of her Christmas presents, the Taylor Swift concert. Having no clue as to who she was (as I limit my station listening to classical and Kid's Kingdom on the Christian stations) I agreed for the mere sake of a girls night out with a good friend. It was a lot of fun. Taylor Swift is very talented. No matter how song or voice may sound I admire the ones in the music industry that actually write their own songs and play an instrument...Taylor Swift doing both. Although she is only 17 and most of her songs bring to life her adolescent life she has good lyrics and tunes. Most of the crowd was about the same age, so there was a lot of high pitched screaming at times, and some kids who just don't pick up on the clue to sit when the artist and 90% of the crowd is sitting too. The most shocking thing, as I have not been to a concert in at least 6 + years was the request to hold up your cell phones. In replace of the traditional lighter the audiences are encouraged to hold up their cell phones and move them back and forth. As you look through the crowd it is evident that at least 95% of the people have cell phone...weird especially when you consider the population attending. The sight was quite amusing and surreal...I felt old.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ear Infection Again

Poor little Eli has his 4th ear infection since November. He woke up from a nap yesterday evening with a fever and struggled through the night. No cold signs, just the ear ache. He had his last one 2 weeks ago that it seems cleared up but still had fluid in his ears that became re-infected. We went to the doctor this morning and he was given a high dose shot of antibiotic in his leg. Then he begins another round of oral antibiotics tomorrow. If this ear infection doesn't clear up, including the fluid draining completely or he gets another infection he will have to have tubes put in his ears. We are definitely not wanting to go through the surgery and hassle many others have had with tubes. I had to hold Eli practically all day as he is feeling really bad. Hopefully we can all get some rest tonight and have a better day tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Family Memories

I find myself more and more wanting to create family memories for our kids to take with them and possibly pass on and Kyle and I to sit back and remember years from now. I remember always thinking it was a bit silly when my dad seemed to often comment how nice it was to sit together at the dinner table, especially once we had all started to disperse into our own lives. Now I am beginning to understand what it was to him and seem to have developed that same desire for family connectedness. Its interesting how fun to me at this stage of life is almost always a family outing or activity...these days simple and easy to bail out of if it becomes to stressful. More extensive and adventurous trips/ activities wait in my plans until the kids are older. I think it is somewhat natural to want to share memories with your children, but has been more pressing to me since researching developing attachment with children that have attachment issues. It is said that the more happy memories you can form with your adopted child the more likely the bad memories of the past will no longer consume the
child's generalizations about life.

This weekend I noticed the pure joy in Isaac and Prema as we sat around an outdoor fire, worked together as a family to make orange juice, and bundled up to weather the cold for ice cream at the Candy Kitchen. Friday night we ate dinner with Kyle's parents and then had a fire outside on the porch. We made smores, sang and played music together, and the kids danced with some sparklers. Isaac was eager to accompany Kyle with his ukelele. Prema was excited to sign "Silent Night" and dance to music. When the night was over and Isaac was not fully cooperating to get ready for bed I reminded him that his behavior is a direct indicator of whether or not we will have a campfire again...he immediately cooperated and wanted to make sure we would sing again too.

Other parts of the world have snow in winter, we have citrus trees ripe for picking...DELICIOUS. We are lucky enough to 2 grapefruit and 1 tangerine tree in our yard and 2 orange trees in our neighbors yard (that we take care of while they are gone). Isaac, Prema and I are the gatherers and Kyle is the juicer. (Eli just plays on the floor or on the ground outside.) Both Isaac and Prema are thrilled to be the fruit deliverers. I pick from the trees and drop them on the ground and Isaac and Prema race to pick the up and bring them inside. Today Isaac wanted to carry some in his underwear, pockets and shirt...we let him. What a hoot.

Then this evening we ventured out in our Florida cold (45 or so degrees) in hats, sweaters, coats, and pants and tennis shoes for some ice cream It has become a weekly ritual to visit the Candy Kitchen. Kyle's parents used to go on dates there before kids. Kyle and I started going on dates there this past year and slowly it has developed into a weekly family outing with the kids rain, shine, or cold. Isaac became so cold eating his ice cream that we had to sit in the car. Then as we were driving home and he was still eating his ice cream he began announcing with distress "I need to pee, I need to pee." So as any parent of a 2 year old potty trained child, we made a quick judgment call to turn on the next street, pulled Isaac out of the car and had him pee on the street. Better there than in the car seat, but tough to explain to an Indian child who used to only use the street as her toilet that she is not allowed to do the same in America.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Going to School Alone

Prema had her first week of school going alone and thankfully it was quite successful. At least so far. The funny thing about children with RAD is that it may have been successful at school, with none to minimal behavior problems at school but coming home can be a completely different story. If Prema felt unsafe with the adults in charge and took way too much energy to keep herself "safe" at school she will then fall apart at home. The melt downs at home tend to target the new mom for not keeping her safe like her old mom did. In the past this meant hitting me, kicking me, biting me, pulling my hair, and refusing any form of affection from me. Thankfully the abuse has ended, but sometimes Prema is still unwilling to accept the affection. Other results of the melt down often can involve complete defiance to do anything we ask (including staying in one spot) and constantly trying to annoy me and make me (mom) mad. Sometimes it has gotten to the point of tapping in constantly from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet without stopping to get my attention, following me around everywhere, or doing anything she knows that makes me mad (and sadly there are many). The other side of the coin is that I really struggle to stay calm when she is trying to get my goat...sometimes the deep breaths don't cut it and other other two boys tend to sense my stress and add to it some more.

Last year we realized in October that Prema had Reactive Attachment Disorder and was not ready for school at all. She didn't see Kyle and I as authority, had no conscience and was functioning like a 1 year old. In school she was falling apart at recess and lunch. We got reports of her stabbing kids with sticks and trying to choke them. We also were told she couldn't sit still and needed a weight jacket to keep her calm on the carpet. We learned about attachment therapy at home and started in the end of October. Prema went crazy with the beginning of the therapy. Once our expectations increased with self motivation, thinking and doing for yourself, and challenging her idea that she was in control she was furious. In her fight for control she destroyed her room in rages and refused to do anything for days (literally 3 days standoff to pick up some palm seeds). The stories are endless. We immediately kept her out of school for a week to prove to Prema we were in control and would wait her out. After 2 weeks at home, the school allowed me to shadow Prema at school for 2 weeks. In that time it was very evident that Prema was drowning. She didn't have the language, basic knowledge, maturity, and emotional health to stay in school. We immediately removed her from school for full time homeschooling. During her homeschooling time we tried to focus only on her behavior therapy and getting her to grow emotionally and developmentally through play and helping around the house. Slowly Prema improved in all areas. It was a struggle to have her around all the time, with few breaks. It was a struggle to not be able to spend the time I wanted with Isaac and later Eli. It was also a struggle to hold back and just allow her to be the one, two , three, etc year old that she needed to be knowing she was really 10 years old and still not reading. The teacher in me wanted to pound math, reading and writing into her at times even though I knew it wasn't best for her. Thankfully I had Kyle's mom to help me with the housework and the boys, especially when Prema would resist anything.

This year we decided it was time for Prema to go back to school. She had come along way in attaching to me, had a stronger conscience, knew a lot more langauge and basic knowlege, could sit still for longer periods of time, and was showing she was beginning to be a bit eager to learn standard academics. I had tried and tried at home to teach her the academics myself, but Prema always put up a fight with me (RAD thing) and it became power battles over and over again ultimately not helping our relationship. I wanted and needed to spend more time with the boys but couldn't with Prema home full time because of the difficulty in finding people to watch her (another RAD thing...not just anyone can do it). We knew that it might not be the best thing for Prema to put her back in school but it was better for me and the rest of the family.

In August we contacted the school with our decision to place Prema back in school but requested a meeting with all staff who have worked with Prema in the past and will be working with her in the future. The school was extremely cooperative. The meeting was filled with 19 people in all. We came with our wants and our RAD therapist and Deaf advocate to support our desires and help us make final decisions. People we did not even request attended the meeting such as the principal, head of Deaf Ed, school counselor and psychologist. We left with all of our requests met and a common understanding of what Prema needs for a successful school year.

Prema started school a week later. The agreements from the meeting included a different teacher from last year, no more than 5 half days a week attending school, minimizing the number of adults working with her, no lunch, gym, art or music classes at school, no recess at school, and training of the staff working with Prema by me. We have been elated with how cooperative the school has been. Prema has a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Green, who has become a good friend to me. Mrs. Green has been extremely accommodating to meet Prema's needs along with her OT and PT teachers. Prema is currently attending 3 half days a week, at which time she gets one on one teaching at almost all times for reading, writing, math, and OT and PT. Since August I have been going to school with Prema to train the teachers and help Prema feel safe (not worrying if I had left her there for good). Until the end of December I slowly pulled back month after month, not in my presence at the school but in letting the teachers take control of Prema's behavior management. At the end of December Prema's behavior at home was continually quite good, showing us she was feeling safe at school. We decided that I would start to leave Prema alone with the teachers but remain in the building. Last week she was completely alone at school but I stayed at the school incase there was a problem. This week I was able to come home and be with boys. So far so good.

Prema will continue to go to school alone for a few more weeks before we start to consider increasing her time at school. Logistics with recess, lunch, and other teacher planning times make it a bit messy along with trying to keep the number of adults working with Prema to a minimum.

Another exciting part of this time has been the training portion. Part of my training the teachers included a one hour presentation on how to support the home with RAD children. I was invited by the principal to present to all teachers working with the 3 students diagnosed with RAD that attend Prema's school. Those teachers along with the entire staff of interpreters and other staff members that were interested along with both the principal, asst. principal and head of Deaf Ed attended. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to help Prema and the other students feel more safe at school. Since the presentation I have seen huge changes in the staff that attended. People are finally ignoring Prema when they are not working with her (she gets easily distracted, and worries about people she doesn't know), her teachers are making very wise decisions to help Prema on their own without consulting me because they have a deeper understanding of what is going on with her, and other students are having better times at school because of changes teachers have made. It was mentioned that I may have the opportunity to present again to the rest of the staff and other parents, but no plans yet. We'll see.

So please just keep Prema, our family and all the teachers working with Prema in your prayers as we all continue to work towards attachment, academic achievement (still so much ground to make up), and an emotionally healthy child.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hairs Cut

My mom and dad are in town for a visit. When Grandpa Pletzer comes to visit we all get our hair cut. For each child I have waited for my dad to do the honors of the first hair cut. So this time, Eli was ready to have his cut. He did fairly well letting Grandpa do his job considering it was past his bedtime and the hair starts to itch. Thanks Dad!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Them 2 year olds...sponges

As we were entering the park this afternoon, Isaac began marching and chanting "I'm way too sober!" Then later as he was swinging he was chanting, "Wisconsin is too sober." Watch the video below (sorry for the wind...). Isaac saw the UW Marching Band marching across the street before the Outback Bowl and has watched our Outback videos a few times. A really funny chant but not one you want your 2 year old repeating a ton in public, but its hard not to laugh when he does it.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sick Again

Colds are passing from one person to the next again in our house. It has been this way since the beginning of November. With each cold we've had multiple trips to the doctor for fevers, ear aches, swollen glands, coughs, etc as each child and Kyle pass it from one person to the next. We thought we were all done with things around Christmas. Then Isaac started getting sick again on Wednesday. Last night Isaac was tossing and turning for hours with a sore ear asking me to call Dr. Gadea for some medicine. Luckily our pediatrician has a website for common night questions. How to manage an ear infection was one of them. I learned that I could give him Tylenol and Advil at the same time during the night, place a warm compress on the ear, elevate his pillow, and place a few drops of warm olive oil in his ear to minimize the pain until the morning. It worked and Isaac and I were able to get a few needed hours of sleep before heading to the doctor this morning. Thankfully it was Dr. Gadea's day at the urgent care. (Always best to have your own than someone else) I took Eli too since he was starting to get a running nose and feeling quite warm. Both boys have ear infections (Eli's third- one with every cold so far), but we have medicine now. Prema started sneezing today, so I am sure we'll be at the doctor again later this week. She never makes it through a cold without the need for antibiotic (poor immune system, inability to blow her nose, and deviated septum).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

On Wisconsin

We went to the Outback Bowl in Tampa today to see the University of Wisconsin Badgers play the University of Tennessee. Courtesy of many different people our whole family was able to go to the Badger Bash prior to the game and watch the game from some very nice seats. We all had a blast. Isaac got to see the Badger Band and Bucky (not shake hands, but pretty close). So now Isaac is officially a Badger Fan!!!!!!
Badger Bash where we ate brats and cheese.

Kyle and Eli

Prema sporting her new shades too

Isaac the Badger Fan

The Wisconsin Marching Band--Isaac's favorite halftime show