Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Year Ago-SPD

Happy Halloween everyone!  

Last year at this time I was hitting a point with Emme that was way beyond my capabilities. I started potty training her a few weeks before Halloween, which she actually grasped onto quite easily until she realized she could use it as a tool against me. 

Maybe it was the pounds of sugar she was eating everywhere we went, but she was completely out of control. When Halloween was over and Emme continued on the same path I knew something was off. 
Looking back now, her poor little body was completely out of balance. She wasn't receiving nearly enough vestibular or prioperceptive sensory needs.  I was expecting way too much from her and she didn't have the capability of doing what I asked. 

I disciplined in every way I knew how. When I put her in time out she would usually pee her pants or hit her head against the wall.  Sometimes she just flat out refused to stand there and ran to attack the dog.  I thought I just had to try harder or maybe I wasn't doing it right.  It seemed like the harder I disciplined the harder she fought back.  A few times I lost my cool and yelled at her because I had to get my own frustration out. She screamed back and would hit herself, bite herself, and throw herself on the floor and bang her head.  I would put her in her crib so I could cool down only to come back and find she had peed all over her bed. 

There were days of screaming in pillows, crying out in frustration, and worst of all, wishing I wasn't a mom.  I reached out to friends and family, but kept the worst of it silent. Even from Gregg.  Most everyone told me I was just experiencing the terrible twos and welcome to the club.  Hearing that phrase over and over made me feel like the worst mom that ever lived.  If this was normal then I must really suck at parenthood. 

I started to pull away from gatherings that required me to take Emme alone. I still do sometimes.  Chasing her every second and trying to keep her from attacking other children is not very fun.  Plus, she puts everything in her mouth so I have to be on constant watch.  She ate an entire piece of chalk during play group once.  That girl loves her chalk.  Outings are just plain exhausting. 

To this day I can't leave her alone in a room. She will always, ALWAYS, find something to destroy.  Our house is still baby proofed, but because of her intelligence she has figured out child locks. In fact, within a week of putting locks on our cupboards she had broken every single one. 

It was and is a very lonely road.  Not only did I pull away from everyone, but I could tell others were pulling away from us. I can't say I blame them.  I wouldn't want someone else's kid constantly trying to squeeze or hit my newborn.  

I tell these stories not for sympathy or to make Emme look bad, but to bring awareness to SPD.  Emme is not a bad kid. She has a body that is different and one that needs constant sensory stimulation.  I get that now. 

We have come a long way since a year ago. I understand Emme's needs so much more. I'm starting to speak her body's language.  I let a lot more go and try to be positive.  It's how we survive the day.  
Especially those days I'm alone.  My view of a successful day is so much different now and because of it we're happier.  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sensory Processing Awareness Month

Sorry this is not a post about Corbin's adoption.  I've decided since next month is National Adoption Month, I would save it for November.  Until then, I have just found out that October is Sensory Awareness Month.  How lucky that our household gets two months in a row to celebrate?

Emme is a sensory seeker and has SPD (sensory processing disorder).  The last year has been a learning curve for our family.  You can learn more about it here and here.

I've been searching the web for blogs like mine.  Families who can relate to having a child like mine or a family like ours.  My friend sent me a link to this post on  It's so relatable to me, it's not even funny.   The same friend (I love her) sent me a link to Heres to our Survival.  She makes me laugh every post.

If you have any blogs you think I should be reading, please let me know!  Even if you just want to share your blog, that would be awesome!  My list of reads had dwindled since a lot of people don't blog these days.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mommy-Daughter Relationship

At my first appointment with Emme's BT (behavioral therapist), she asked how my relationship with Emme was.

It sounds funny, but I've never really thought of Emme and I having a relationship until further in life.  One where we look back and laugh at our struggles during her toddler years and I tease her about her children giving her payback.

It brought tears to my eyes because our relationship at this point is not where I would like it to be.  Back in the day when I thought about being a mom I pictured many things about what it would be like. Of course there was the good things hugs, kisses, reading books, singing songs, but I also knew there would be sicknesses, teaching to share, tantrums, and attitudes.  Although you can never truly understand parenthood until you've done it for yourself, I felt like my expectations were realistic.  I knew with the good there would be bad. 

Have you ever heard the analogy where you prepare for a trip to France only to end up in Holland?  Imagine the prep you do to go to France.  You reads books, learn phrases in French, picture yourself on the Eiffel Tower.  You're nervous about riding the metro and pick pocketers, but you've prepared well and your excitement out weighs any nervousness. Now imagine your trip finally comes. You board your flight and take a nice long rest only when you wake up you're in a completely different country than you were prepared for. It's beautiful and unique, but the language is different and all the travel books you packed are completely useless.  Now if you're going to survive and actually enjoy this vacation you're going to have to pick up all new material and change your whole way of thinking.  Now, it's not that Holland isn't amazing, it's just a whole lot different than France. 

I compare this to parenting Emme.  Like I've said before, I've read books on parenting and had long talks with Gregg about the kind of parents we wanted to be, but nothing prepared me for parenting a child like Emme. Like Holland, she is beautiful and unique, but she is a lot different than I ever could have imagined. I know in a way our children always surprise us in one way or another, but having a child with ADHD and a sensory disorder has completely thrown me for a loop.  I know she could have way worse things, but it doesn't mean it's easy. 

Going through infertility was rough. I had some real bad days of heartache and suffering. I thought for sure my hardest trial would be over when I healed from that pain.  Now I see that it only helped prepare me for the road ahead.  Emme is wonderful in so many ways and I love her and would never trade her for anything, but I worry about her future choices constantly.  She has so many abilities that are far greater than what I can accomplish in this life and I pray that we can help her see that.  

I hope one day she looks at us and sees how hard we fought for her.  How much we want her to keep her outgoing personality and funny character, but how we also want her to understand danger and consequences.  I hope she sees how much we love her and always will. 

I hope I can think of our relationship in a better way than I did the day I was asked that question.  We are getting there.  One hour at a time. 

I love this video that was shared on my Facebook. Maybe as moms, we're just a little too rough on ourselves and our sweet little children can see past our flaws. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm Surviving

Late Friday afternoon we got news that we were able to come home. We were starting to worry we wouldn't hear anything until the next week. I even cancelled an appt on Monday and called Em's school to tell them she wouldn't be there. But alas!  We finally were given freedom. My poor family was ready for us to leave I'm sure!  

Living out of suitcases with a brand new baby isn't the easiest.  Plus, Gregg had to work the last week we were there so that pretty much sucked.  Luckily, my family was awesome and helped a ton.  My sister in law took Emme almost every day, my sister watched Corbin while I took a nap, my mom slept an entire night with Emme because she was scared, and food was provided so I didn't have to cook.  I also have to mention my awesome sister in law that we stayed with the first week who cooked, did laundry, babysat Emme, and came with me to Corbin's circumcism.  Oh and my cute nephews who gave up their rooms for us.  Now you can see why they were sick of us!  Not many new moms get the treatment I did, that's for sure. 

Here it is Wednesday. Corbin is two weeks, Emme and Gregg are back to school, and I'm adjusting to being a mom of two.  I'm surviving and instead of freaking out or complaining I've decided to be thankful for the reasons I'm hanging in there and count my blessings. So, here they are. 

1. Emme has school from 9-12 and rides the bus so she is gone from 8-1. 
2. Emme still takes naps when she gets home from school.  Hallelujah!
3. Corbin is an angel baby and hardly complains when his sister suddenly scratches, grabs him, or bounces a bouncy ball off of his head. 
4. Gregg takes one of the middle of the night feedings.
5. My hair does a bun well.
6. Corbin is an angel baby.  This deserved two. 
7. I'm not working right now
8. Both of my kids are sleeping right now and I'm going to nap when I'm done typing this. 
9. Seriously, Corbin is the easiest newborn so far. Okay, three. 

So there you have it. I will choose not to freak out or make a big deal, as Emme says, about the fact that I'm constantly on Emme patrol around Corbin, or that Emme might go to bed dirty and without her teeth being brushed when Gregg's at school.  I will also not make a big deal that I'm exhausted because that it to be expected. Yes, I will save my fears and whining for another day.  

Please stay tuned for a recount of our experiences with Corbin's adoption. It was an amazing week and one I want to write down and remember forever even if it's only for me.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Update on Baby Boy

Baby boy is here and healthy and beautiful.  He is the sweetest thing ever. Seriously, the best newborn. 

The last week has been a whirlwind.  In a good way.  I can't wait to share it, but for now we are still in Idaho while paper work between states is getting finished and we are still awaiting "M" to go before a judge to relinquish her rights.  Both of baby boy's families have been more than amazing and we have no reason to believe they won't relinquish their rights, but I'm the type of person that doesn't count her chickens before they hatch. 

It's hard being an unofficial mom to this little guy.  Darn Idaho laws. 

Emme is doing great being a big sister. She has exceeded my expectations. She is very protective of him and has shown no signs of jealousy.  We have had a lot of help from family so I think it helps that she had been kept busy. So far Emme and the baby are a perfect pair. Heavenly Father knew what he was doing.  I'll talk about it more later, but I can't tell you how many tears I've shed because I've been so nervous about how Emme would handle the new baby.  Now that he's here, everything is just fine.  

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll be able to introduce him in a couple days.  Thank you for all the prayers. We have felt them and I know baby boy's birth parents have as well. Please continue to pray for them. They are our angels. 

Much love to all!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Therapy School Blues

Emme has been in therapy school for a little over two months now.  

She has three goals and her teachers rate her every day on them. 

I had an appointment with her Behavioral Therapist, Dr. J, not long after she started and wouldn't you know that Emme was an angel, following directions well and hitting all of her goals.  It made me feel a little sheepish.  Maybe Emme didn't need such an intense school. Maybe she could follow directions in a very structured setting.  Maybe it was me and my not so great parenting.  Dr. J reassured me that most kids go through a honeymoon phase meaning, they aren't familiar with their surroundings or teachers so they are on their best behavior. It's also typical that they lose it when they get home because they've held in their typical behavior all day. Emme had the biggest tantrums I've ever seen when she got home from school the first month or so.  Like, seriously possessed type tantrums. It was rough. 

It's not that I wasn't happy that Emme was doing so well at school, but how were they suppose to help her behavior at home if they weren't seeing that behavior at school? 

A couple weeks ago I had another appointment with Dr. J.  I was able to observe Emme behind a tinted glass during school while Dr. J and I talked about Emme's goals. I was even able to talk to one of her teachers while Emme was at recess.  Let's just say, honeymoon phase is over.  Now that Emme is comfortable with her classmates and teachers, her true colors are starting to show.  All of the behaviors we've been seeing are now coming out while at school. 

Overall, they still felt like Emme was doing well and Dr. J told me they have never had to go to her for help which is a really good sign. That was...until today. 

I got a phone call from Dr. J  today while Emme was still at school.  Apparently, Emme was really acting out. She peed her pants twice and was biting and hitting the other kids multiple times.  She became so out of control they had to consult with Dr. J.   Emme's side of the story was that she got to go read with Dr. J and that she needed me and was sad. Break my heart.  I wanted to hold and squeeze her forever to reassure her I would always be there. 

It seems to me that Gregg and I aren't the only ones feeling stressed right now.  I'm guessing Emme senses change and isn't sure how to handle it. Plus, she hasn't seen much of Gregg this week due to his finals at school, and that always shows in her behavior.  Emme is very sensitive to the emotions of others so I'm sure she can feel the anxiousness in our home.  Tomorrow will be another busy and stressful day for her so I'm very worried.  Her whole world is about to flip upside down.  I just pray she handles it well.