The summer has flown by. We haven't blogged at all. What have we done all summer you ask?
Time for a quick update ! It has not been a great summer for us. I dont mean to sound negative. My mother always said if you dont have anything nice to say....dont say anything at all!
Our summer usually kicks off when school ends the last week of June. The first week of July was When Tori and Bella both had swine flu. Tori was VERY sick and both John and I were very worried about her. She had a fever at times of 105.5! It ended up with her having pneumonia and a very bad ear infection. So the kids being sick consumed the first few weeks of our summer. Up next was to get ready for vacation. The day before we were supposed to leave a big lightening bolt knocked out our cable, phone and computer. ( so happy I have cable's triple play! ) That night hubby came home from work feeling so ill he felt he needed an ambulance. Too bad we had no phone! He had a bad attack of vertigo which delayed our trip by a day. The medication they gave him at the hospital made him so tired we could not travel. Which was just as well since all our travel plans were in my computer! We finally left on Sunday and had tire trouble in Virginia! Our summer luck has not been so good. That dark cloud won't budge!
Vacation in the Smokey Mountains was very nice! We had a good time with Tori's adoption group. I LOVED seeing the girls!
On the way home from vacation we learned of a VERY TRAGIC event occuring in our extended family. Nothing I feel like blogging about but it rocked my world and time just stood still. My world stopped!
I am finally feeling better and back to my self ( slightly) . I hope fall finds me being a better blogging friend. Plus I am in the midst of an affair with facebook. I love chatting with friends, playing games, taking ridiculous quizzes, and seeing old friends!
I m going to post some smokey mountain pictures......and a more detailed post about our vacation in TN! Maybe tomorrow!
I noticed recently that I often don't blog about John Jr. When John came to us 2 1/2 years ago our lives went into a tail spin. Many people say "that's a boy for you" or "your not used to boys" but it was so much more than that. John has from day one been mischievous, and we always say his cuteness is his saving grace! I can also remember the pediatrician early on talking about ADHD medications. I always blew him off on that topic. After all, I thought, John came to us after having lived in an orphanage for 2 or 3 years depending on when his birthday really is. Of course, he will have more to overcome. I cut him ALOT of slack.
As time went on.....things got worse. His behavior was TERRIBLE! Having two other children in the house...I couldn't let things go. I firmly believed I could love this boy enough to undo years of mistreatment in China. Well that didn't happen. Along with not listening came being defiant and shutting down totally. He would cross his arms and turn his head and he was done listening! I also thought eventually he will be tired of being sent to his room...wrong again! Although medical testing CLEARLY proves his birthdate is a year off.....even a 4.5 year old boy needs to have boundaries and rules. These are 2 things he could not do.
But since his birth certificate says he is 5.5 we enrolled him in the elementary school's pre- k program. Not ideal since it put him in Bella's class! Soon after he started school I started getting reports that he would spend all day being reprimanded and in time out....this breaks my heart!
John gets many pre school services: Speech, vision therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. At his annual meeting the discussion focused around whether or not he would need an aid in kindergarten. I felt so sad for him. Sad and frustrated all at the same time. His behavior at home was awful, his behavior at school was awful, he has been unable to make friends because he can not attend to ANY activity and he is always touching people...pulling on their shirts, touching their hair...He was very sensory!
Last month we had an appointment with a Neurologist. John was all over the office and the Dr could not examine him. John makes good eye contact and does interact socially....so he is not autistic. The doctor did note he does have many autistic tendencies though. He occasionally flaps and he does this thing where he shakes his body as if he is trying to pull himself together. No surprise that the doctor gave me an RX for ADHD medication. I came out of that office feeling like a total failure as a mother. Why could I not help him with out drugs. I changed his diet, I don't give him the dreaded high fructose corn syrup, I limit his sugar, food coloring, nitrates and anything else I think might contribute to his behavior.
I reluctantly gave him the first dose of medication on a Friday morning. On the way to school he was kicking my seat ( which I hate) and I said John...STOP! well he started to cry and then he said " mommy I sorry I do bad things everyday....you still love me?" I actually had to stop the car .I ended up keeping him home that day. As the days went on, I noticed he had not been punished in days. He had ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE that we did not know about. He knows his phone number, his address, The city where John works and what he does. He knew the days of the week and what day it was. He went from scribbling his name where it was illedgible to writing John perfectly. He stopped touching people, he is able to play. He does 100 piece jig saw puzzles for hours. He can complete a task. He is still my goofy, silly boy with a hearty belly laugh and if he does something he shouldn't...A simple John...dont so that which he responds...ok mom!
HE SITS ON MY LAP AND WATCHES TV. That is something we never shared. He is not a cuddle bug like the girls and truthfully he could not sit still. He has not gotten so much as a warning at school and the teacher says he knows every rule and tries to follow it! My son has a quality to his life that he did not have before and for this I thank God every day. I know the jury is still out on medicating children for ADHD. But I am so at peace with my decision. It is certainly made a world of difference to my little boy!
If you made it to the end....you do not have ADHD! I have not been blogging because we have been busy...I will try not to be such a stinky blogger!
Bella had a wonderful party. I am so happy for her. The weather was good. She celebrated with all her friends and wore a huge grin all day. The clown was very funny and entertaining. We are exhausted today after having a party with 25 kids! That was a pretty big cake and not a slice left!! Happy Birthday my beautiful girlie! Her actual birthday is the 29th! Next week end we will be going to Long Island to celebrate her birthday again with my family!
Today Victoria became an official Daisy Girl Scout. Of course I got all choked up when she took her pledge! She was so proud to recieve her Daisy vest. Bella is home with Strept throat so she missed the ceremony. We took plenty of pictures so her brother and sister at home could see her become a scout! Luckily it is too late to sell Girl Scout cookies.....I am happy about that!
When I look at pictures of Bella, her beauty catches me off guard. She has a heart shaped face and beautiful features! But deep down inside she has a hurt, she came to us with it and at times I think it is healed ...until it rears it's head again. I've said before, that I am certain Bella experienced some form of abuse/neglect before she came to us. When she came home she was just a shell of a girl. I remember the doctor saying that she thought Bella was a failure to thrive baby. Bella came to us totally shut down. Whether it was physical or mental I don't know. What ever happened in China is locked deep inside somewhere. Could it be the trauma of being abandoned at birth? I don't think that is it. I can remember trying to cuddle her and I could feel her stiffen. She would never let me hold her bottle. She would rather starve! I rocked her to sleep for over a year with out ever getting an ounce of affection from her. It was so hard for me to bond to her. I was doing all the work and getting nothing in return. I tried EVERYTHING the attachment therapist recommended, everything the play therapist recommended and we didn't get much in return. In addition, she was non verbal for a long time. I remember asking the speech therapist if Bella would ever speak. At one point when Bella was 3 she was getting speech therapy, play therapy, attachment therapy, occupational therapy and special education services. I can remember going to China to pick up John Jr. I missed Bella SO MUCH. I could not wait to get home to see her and she totally snubbed me at the airport. I remember feeling so hurt and wondering if she would ever love me. Well.......the mother warrior in me never let me give up. I did so much praying. I remember that I would receive Holy Communion in church and come back to my seat and cry. I would just pray for Bella to make some kind of break through. I also felt like an incredible failure as a parent! I would rock Bella to sleep and whisper how proud I was to be her mother and how much I loved her and she would stare blankly at the floor.
Present day.......I can't tell you exactly when Bella and I bonded as mother and daughter. But it did finally happen. Bella got a string of illnesses and through the process of caring for her when she was sick...the bonding came . Up until that point Bella had never gotten sick. She had nary a sniffle for almost 2 years. The pediatrician felt she was so stressed......still.....that her little body stayed in "fight or flight"mode and she never let her guard down! That caused her to not be sick. All of sudden I felt the difference in our relationship and she spent the next month being sick! She practically laid on my lap for a month. From that moment on......she is SO ATTACHED that she is always by my side or on my lap or in my bed sleeping on top of me. Bella is almost 5 and still loves being rocked to sleep on my lap. I can tell you that Bella loves me and John with all her being. If she steps on my toe and i say ouch....she breaks down in tears...big tears....remorseful tears. She loves me in a way that makes my heart swell. Bella is now expressive of her love for me and I believe no one has ever loved me as much as Bella. When she climbs into bed with us at night, she will stare in my face until I open my eyes and when I do she gets this huge grin on her face!
However, at 4 yrs old( almost 5 ) it is time for her to spread those tiny wings...a little. Or is it? She is having difficulty in school. Even though she is gone only 3 hours....she is struggling. Today, her teacher called to tell me that she is melting down in class and crying for me. Both teachers have been unable to quiet her down. She just wants her mommy. She doesn't want to go to school, she says she just misses me so much. How do I help her? It took 4 years to convince her I'd always be there and I feel like I'm letting her down. I asked her today what was going on and she said " why do you send me away everyday....I just want you" . My eyes filled up with water and I didn't have a good answer. I have spent years talking her through the fact that I will always be there for her. I cant stand to watch my baby suffer. The school doesn't want me to come pick her up and I don't want her feeling abandoned by me. She often wakes up crying for me in the night and when I ask what is wrong she says she doesn't want to go to school. I am so confused. She has been in pre school 6 months and I thought she would have adjusted by now. I am so tempted to just with draw her from preschool. I am struggling with this decision!