Nov. 2012

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.