We talk about Down syndrome all the time around here, and the more we talk about it, the less strange it feels. The funny thing, though, is that as much as we talk about it, I almost never think about it. I mean, it's always there, on the fringes of my mind, but I really don't think about it that much. I've been trying to teach the kids lots of things, and most of the time they just look at me, so it feels like nothing's happening, but then I think about the people with DS that I see out and about, who are talking, or working, or whatnot, and I know that it's not nothing happening. I don't know what it is, because this is the first time I've experienced this, but I know it's not nothing. Okay, so that's the main time that I do think about DS.
Back to blogging, I still like to look at pictures of other people's kids, but I like to look at pictures of my own kids even more. This is just like the olden days, because when my other kids were little, I loved to just sit and watch them. They were like television to me--completely absorbing. The beauty of my own children astounded me at all times. The crazy thing is that I'm experiencing that all over again. I love to watch these kids, too, and am amazed by their beauty. In the beginning, I felt a little guilty, because I felt that I was taking the three most beautiful children from the orphanage.
So that is why I take so many pictures, because I truly will go back and pore over pics of my kids. I'll be this crazy, old, senile lady someday, shuffling through dog-eared photos of my kids. Nine kids is a lot of photos!
So, as long as I'm here, I'll give a little update on the adopted kids. I've had some comments about not using their names, and calling them "Big Girl" or "Little Man." The names that they had before were "virtual names" for the internet, given by Reece's Rainbow to protect the children's privacy, and not their real names at all. I would consider using them for my blog, except that I have too many people calling them those names in real life already, and even I have to remind myself not to call our son, "Marshall." I've just decided not to use their real names for privacy purposes. So if you get confused, don't worry; you're not the only one.
|What could be better than sitting on the kitchen counter, watching Mom work, while the little kids are still taking naps?|
Our Big Girl (with short hair) has not had any aggressive tendencies almost since we returned. We had three incidences of hair-pulling on grownups (women) in the first week, which received swift consequences (leaving no doubt as to the acceptability of said behavior.) So, she knew she wasn't in Kansas anymore. She's never been aggressive with the other little kids, and mostly ignores them. Occasionally, she'll tell them something (I have no idea what) and then go back to talking to herself or daydreaming, or watching the big people around here. She is extremely affectionate with me, and I would even say is a "mama's girl." She hasn't figured out how to give a kiss, but that's okay, since she's got a cold again, with a hideously snotty nose. She took a break for a few weeks from being verbal, and was just a silent presence. She's very talkative again, but none of it is recognizable.
|Don't let this look fool you. He actually likes it when his big brother flies him through the air, and seems to expect it, although he would never admit it!|
Our boy continues to try everyone's patience, as he whines and frets constantly. He almost never takes a break from it. It is very wearing, and annoying, and doesn't make anyone want to be nice to him. In fact, sort of the oppposite. We made it a goal to stimulate the kids as much as possible, and to keep them moving, since they default to laying around or rocking, so all the big kids like to make our boy move, get up and walk, or even wrestle him around a bit. He fusses about everything anyway, so they figure, why not bug him? Our oldest boy is probably the most immune to his crying, and also likes to bug him the most, and surprisingly, these two have come to something of an understanding.
As far as our new boy's eating goes, every day gets better. Every day is still a major traumatizing battle for everyone in earshot, but every day sees more food in his belly, so for me, that's a success. Every meal we have what I call "the moment of truth" when he looks into his bowl to see what might have materialized there, and if it does not meet his approval (which it usually doesn't) he throws a major tantrum. Then he gets to stand in a corner until he's ready to sit up to the table, and then he usually eats whatever is in the bowl--or at least he'll pick out whatever is least objectionable. He is very dainty with his spoon, and can separate the tiniest scrap of applesauce from anything else. Applesauce is a winner, and always meets with approval. In fact, sometimes I pour applesauce over other things that you would never want to eat with applesauce, because some of it will be deemed necessary and go down the hatch in order to get the applesauce. Remember that I said that he likes anything pureed? We're trying to get him to accept other textures, so we like him to be a bit hungry. He isn't skipping as many meals, but he's still plenty picky, and yesterday, since he hadn't eaten enough for several meals to make me happy, and hadn't eaten any meat, really, I was concerned. I made him a big pureed blender full of meat loaf, potatoes, bread, fresh apple, rice milk, olive oil and butter, for lunch. I made enough for two meals, but he scooped it all up and ate it in about three minutes, so I gave him all of the rest of it. Then because he'd eaten so much for lunch, by dinnertime he was starving, and when I gave him his bowl for dinner (which was stew with lots of meat and veggies) he attacked his dinner so voraciously, we all laughed and yelled with amazement. He ate two big bowls of stew, which is more than I ate. This morning he ate fried eggs, sausage, and part of a cinnamon roll (all cut up very tiny,) which I did not expect, because of the textures. At lunch, though, he got very angry about being offered tuna sandwich, even though he usually likes it.
|This one is actually into everything, and likes to take things out of drawers--pretending to fold, fix, etc.|
Our littlest girl is still enjoying being the apple of everyone's eye, and gets jealous of the other kids if she thinks they're trying to steal her spot. She talks to them a lot (again, I can't understand it,) bosses them, and even tattles on them. It's amazing how much tattling you can do even when you can't talk the same language. At lunch, over the tuna sandwich, she tried to feed our boy off of a fork, which was, of course, incredibly offensive, and just added insult to injury. Mealtimes are high drama around here. Anyway, in an attempt to improve communication, we've been attempting to learn and teach sign language to the kids. This little girl, though, is making up her own signs apparently. When I ask her if she's all done on the potty (using the sign for "all done") she nods and says, "Da!" (That's "yes" in Russian, for those of you who don't know) and when I try to take her off, she shakes her head and says, "Ni!" (that's "no" in Ukrainian.) If I ask her if she wants to go poop, using the sign for "poop," she smiles sweetly, puts her two forefingers together momentarily, and then swings her arms wide, while saying "Meh!" very clearly. She did this every time I asked her if she wanted to go "poop." I thought she was signing "more" and saying "more," but she differentiates between the signs quite nicely, and expected me to, as well. Now it's my job to learn her sign, and use it with her, I guess. Hmmm? Any guesses as to what it could mean?
|Boy, this takes me back! Any time Dad had a job to do, there was a little helper around.|
|He was studiously ignoring me, and when he shifted his eyes over, I snapped the pic!|
|She loves being tickled!|
|New shoes, sweet dreams... What could be better?|