Tuesday, June 26, 2012

8 Weeks Home

The twins have now been home for 8 weeks and out of the orphanage for 9 weeks. I cannot believe how many changes we have seen in these kids in a 2 month time period. Blake is basically a typical 7 year old boy. We are still working on some social issues, like not taking off his clothes in front of company and not telling everyone he meets about his personal potty accomplishments! Blake has appointments the 1st week of July with an orthopedic surgeon and a vascular surgeon for his leg. We should definitely know what we are up against after these two appointments. I am eager to start the medical process for his leg. About two weeks ago, I was explaining to him that the wound specialist said it was ok for him to go swimming and get his leg wet. For 5 years, he has been told not to get his wound wet. So he is very apprehensive about believing his doctor. Even though he has accidentally got his leg wet a few times, he still will not get it wet on purpose. Anyway, while I was talking to him about getting his leg wet, he told me he wanted the doctor to give him two legs like his sisters and mommy. He had never before indicated he wanted his leg fixed. It made me want to get this process moving all the more. I always felt a little guilty about putting him through all of the stress and pain related to the surgeries he will go through. He gets around extremely well on his crutches and very few things slow him down. What if he didn't want to endure the pain to have 'normal' legs? I knew we would go through with it regardless, but I feel so much better knowing he wants his leg to be corrected. I know he doesn't completely understand everything involved in fixing his leg. But just knowing how he feels, makes a world of difference to me. Now all he talks about is playing basketball like his sisters and going golfing with his cousin! Blake is talking mostly in English, but has a couple Bulgarian words he still uses. He understands everything we say. We are now trying to encourage him to use sentences. We met last week with the school staff at our Catholic school and it was determined that Blake would start 1st grade in the Fall. He will have about 4 half hour tutoring sessions with his 1st grade teacher over the Summer to help him get to know her and her him. I am working on a large Kindergarten workbook with him through June and July and then plan to review the basics in August. Blake will need extra help throughout the year to help him catch up to his peers, but I think he will handle school well. He is very excited to start. He cannot wait to have a backpack like the other kids. Blake's behavior is excellent. He does what is asked of him and probably has only had one meltdown in the last 4 weeks. He now has family chores and receives an allowance just like his big sisters. He is very proud to do his chores. He still has trouble taking turns, but we are working on this and he is slowly getting better. He loves to play with his cousins. He loves going to our cottage and helping to drive the boat! He loves going to the hardware store with Dad and anywhere in the car! He loves following mom around constantly, which is beginning to drives mom nuts. So we are talking about privacy and personal space a little bit. He is a lovable kid with the best sense of humor. He is continuously goofing around and making us all laugh. Emery has come so far. She now knows what it is like to be in a family. She loves her morning hugs and kisses. She loves sitting on mom and dad's lap for some snuggles. She loves mom to pick her up and carry her around. No small task carrying a 40 pound kid around while trying to cook dinner and fold laundry! I love it however. She lets us kiss her all of the time now and even gives mom kisses on the lips! She sits on my lap for her bedtime story and let's me tuck her under her blanket. She doesn't stay under her blanket but loves to be tucked in. She still has a hard time falling asleep and will resort to rocking most nights. But she only rocks for a few minutes, so the rocking has decreased. She no longer bangs her head and has only hit herself maybe one time in the past 4 weeks. She is letting us console her a little bit, if she gets hurt. So we are still working on that. She still makes grunting sounds at times, but not as often. She does a lot more smiling now and has the most adorable giggle. Emery now can say 9 words. She sometimes will say them when we ask her to, but most times will not. She says them sporadically, in the correct context. She understands most everything I say to her, follows directions, and is learning self care skills. She loves to be praised and gets the cutest smile on her face when we tell her good job. I honestly don't think anyone has ever praised her. The look on her face when she accomplishes something is priceless. This little girl is learning how to do things by herself and is so very happy to do so. I show her how to do something once and the next time I tell her to do it and she does it! I think she is much more capable of learning than her caregivers thought. She is also quite stubborn. She refuses to use the potty. She will take me to the diaper cabinet when she has to go, but will hold it forever if I do not give her a diaper. This week is potty training bootcamp for Miss Emery. So we will see how it goes. Although she cannot talk much, she is quite capable of communicating. She shows us when she wants something, expresses her anger over not getting her way by slamming her bedroom door, and shows someone else what she wants if the first person didn't respond! We are glad she is 'voicing' her opinion even though sometimes it results in a time in for her. The twins will have a follow up appointment with their pediatrician in August. At that time we will determine what therapy Emery might need. We know she will need speech therapy and most likely occupational therapy. Also maybe sensory therapy. Our plan is to have her begin any necessary therapy this Fall and work one on one with mom more frequently since the other 3 kids will be in school all day. I am hoping to make good strides with her then. Emery is a happy little girl. She loves being in her little pool, loves the water at the lake, and loves going fast and hitting waves in the boat. She is quite the little gymnast. Always climbing something and walking on narrow surfaces. I do get nervous at times, but she has great balance. She loves going backwards down slides, being tossed on the coach, and jumping on her aunt's tramp. She gets mad when she cannot go outside and would prefer to be outdoors all day long. We try to accommodate her as much as possible. She loves going places in the car and can now get in and out of the car herself and shut her own door. She has a definite opinion about what outfit she wants to wear for the day and loves sneaking into her sisters room to go through their clothing drawers. We may have a fashionista on our hands! And she is as cute as a bug! The kids are doing well. But, it is still very trying at times. We had a two week period of colds running through the family and I was beyond exhausted. I am very tired by the end of the day and my patience is wearing thin by then. Bruce has not been able to go up to the cottage with us much and being a single parent over a 2 to 3 day period is hard. But we get through it. Nicole and Ashley are beyond helpful. They are wonderful big sisters! The kids all love being at the cottage, so we will definitely be going up there as much as possible. Ashley just finished up a week of basketball camp at Aquinas College and both girls are in a volleyball camp this week. They love their sports, so I am glad they can keep up their skills and have fun! We have had a good 2 months as a family of six. Looking forward to seeing the changes over the next two months. Hoping to post some pics later tonight!

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