IT’S FINE!…And Rewiring The Brain

Well, my dad came and went. AND IT WAS ALL FINE!!!

We’ve also been through a friend of my sisters visiting for a few days while she was working in town AND IT WAS ALL FINE!!!

Next major hurdle; Gord leaves on Monday for almost two weeks and when he returns my Nana will be coming as well for almost two weeks…

But so far IT’S FINE!!!
(thank you for the tips and advice here and on twitter, we’ve been using them!)

It would seem the issue is with brief comings and goings but all of our long-term visiting success is reassuring!

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Since regrouping after our ADHD as Attachment DHD revelation, we have made some small changes (again) that are making an impact (again).

We have taken back a lot of control from Jonathan; giving him fewer choices over even simple things (what clothes to wear etc) and answering a lot of ‘why’s?’ with simply “I’m the grown up, you’re a kid” in hopes of him starting to figure out that he doesn’t have to worry about grown up things or be responsible for grown up things, something that we have figured out he needs to do to keep himself feeling safe and to be in control.
It’s a tricky thing to balance though – when I ask him to help with jobs around the house I feel like I’m contradicting myself, even though those helping tasks are age appropriate and normal things…

We’ve also been emphasizing super high praise and rewarding (we were already but now we are silly over the top) and very strict rules (we already had those too but too many chances make things too tricky and hard to understand). We now feel like drill sergeants and crazy over the top clowns, but we are seeing small successes…and thinking back from where we started we are doing pretty well thank you very much!!!

One more thing we’ve done, which I think is a little controversial in some circles, is ‘holding’. I had posted a picture a while ago with Jonathan and I rocking, and although he asks sometimes for this at night before bed it is when he is half asleep (he takes melatonin to slow himself down) and also it’s very brief – he often asks after 30 seconds or so to go to bed.
We decided to take control over this too and try to fill in what he missed as a baby. We are starting with a goal of 1 min, and unfortunately 1 min may be aiming to high right now.  Everyday, we cuddle together, which is fine with him initially. We rock and I’ll sing to him. He can tolerate about 20 seconds and then he starts pushing back. He’ll say things like ‘too tight’ and he gets agitated. I hold on, keeping him close to my body (which is really hard to do, the kid is a hulk!) and sing a song quickly or talk quietly to him. When time is up he is usually eager to continue sitting on my lap, although not being held, and to keep singing and have some tickles.
We (Gord has done it a few times too) have done this for almost one week now and there has been one afternoon where the fighting back was significantly less and one where is was a bit less. I think for us, for him, this may be helping in building some trust and re-wiring some of those brain circuits that have faulty wiring;)

We’ve been seeing more regression type behaviours, nothing major but behaviours such as wanting to be picked up more and squishing in on a chair beside one of us and being really close since we started these changes. We see them as a good sign and we will continue on this path until he shows us that it’s not working for him any more.

Sometimes adoption parenting all feels so clinical and calculated…and it certainly sounds like here from what I’ve described here. If we aren’t thinking about control and filling brain gaps and reshaping behaviour then we are thinking about speech and communication. It can be exhausting and overwhelming sometimes. But rest assured we do sometimes let it all go and just have fun and be silly:)

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Go Big

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I’m getting nervous. I’m afraid of the proverbial fan being hit by the…well, you know.

Change is a’comin’. And of the many, many, lessons we have learned about little Mr. Rocket we know change in routine and people is hard. And just when things were starting to turn around, this week anyway (it’s been soooo good!) But this is how we apparently do things, me and Gord. I think we have an unconscious ‘go big or go home’ theory about life.

Why take the easy road when there is twisty single lane road that plummets onto jagged cliffs? Have I ever mentioned that Gord is a full time masters student and working full time and he wrote and has self-published a book and is promoting it in the midst of all this adopting madness?! Yep we be driving on the twisty road.

Here’s why I’m getting anxious.

In a couple weeks, my dad is coming to visit from across the country and meet Johnathan for the first time. It will be 5 days of trying to simmer down an unregulated boy who gets hyped up if you look at him, let alone introduce a new person (read change in routine). During this time we also are checking out a possible school for kindergarten. Cause that’s how we roll.

Then, a few days after dad leaves, a friend of my sister is coming to stay for a week while she’s in town for work. Cause that’s how we roll.

The week after that, Gord is flying across the country (oddly enough to my dad’s neck of the woods) for a 10 day university course. And although I know many many amazing moms and dads do it alone each and everyday, I already have a pit in my stomach and can feel my patience oozing out the bottoms of my feet at the thought of handling each day on my own (have I mentioned we lost both our respite workers?). But, this is how we roll.

AND, when Gord arrives back home he’s not coming alone. Oh no, that would be too easy my bloggy friends. He is bringing my Nana. All 87 feisty years of her. For two weeks. Cause as I’m sure you’ve caught on by now, that’s just how we roll.

There’s also some more big changes after that; school ends, a new day care for 2 months as I complete my parental leave in July and then onto a new school for kindergarten and a new after school program.

Oh me oh my.

I suppose it isn’t so much the change in routine that throws him off; it’s when structure is absent – which inevitably happens with people coming and going, and when boundaries get shifty – which inevitably happens with people who don’t understand why we might be stopping him from doing something or why we are doing things a certain way.

What will happen? Who knows. How will we handle it? I have no idea. Will we make it out alive? I’m sure we will, we just might have to get a 4×4 to handle all those twists and turns.

The Snowball Problem

I have a problem. And despite the fact that it’s -10, April 15th and there’s a foot of snow outside, my snowballs are not in my backyard.

You see, simple things with me are not simple, they snowball.

Ford example, I went to clean up a few toys of Jonathan’s yesterday and it snowballed into 2 garbage bags of donations and a completely rearranged and cleaned out room. See. Snowball.

This is just how I roll I’ve come to realize. Today, another snowball happened. This time at the garden centre.

What started as a quick trip for some new mulchy mossy stuff to repot my orchid, snowballed into a succulent terrarium, two potted succulents and another new hobby. Aka, entering the world of succulents (in a place that has winter 8 month a year this should be no problem whatsoever right?

Here’s what I did:

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Heeey, check out that beautiful repotted snowball inducer in the background

 

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I don’t actually like these particular plants in here, nor the rocks (the staff were looking at me sideways as Jonathan tore up and down the isles so I thought it would be best to not be picky at that moment) but I figure if I can keep them alive then we’ll worry about aesthetic later.

Fingers crossed the sun room can be set up in the next week or so and I don’t have to truck these beauties in and out every day.

Happy Spring-ish:)

Truckin’ Along

Time to catch up!

We’ve been cleaning up and cleaning out and moving stuff around in our house, doing small projects and making it feel nicer. Putting things on the walls, cleaning off book shelves and all kinds o’ fun…I guess it’s kind of spring cleaning-esq.

It started with my sewing area: (why this is upside down is beyond me)

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It’s not completely finished yet but it’s a huge improvement.

This quickly snowballed into Gord’s comic collection being moved and restored in a new easier way (He is seriously giddy over this, he even took a photo and put it on Facebook. He never puts photos on Facebook. Never). It’s also a work in progress but things are slowly getting there.

We had to move Anthony’s lego to make some of this happen so he/we made a lego table. He too will have an official spot to work at his hobby.

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He’s so far moved about 1/20th of his lego into it’s new home…it’s a bit of project:)

And Jonathan doesn’t have a special spot just yet, he generally just takes the whole house:)

We had spring break the last week of March. It started well….the boys playing together, we went to zoo, indoor amusement park aka kiddie gambling…

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and then after a blissful 24 hours of respite it nose dived, crashed, burned and left with a bang. Going back to school and routine has been no treat either. Change in routine and schedules are proving to be difficult for the wee man, and in turn us…we’ll get there yet:)

Just like spring break, the weather has taken a dive for a few days but before the current cold snowy madness we were enjoying some steller spring weather. The bikes were dusted off, we made use of the park without winter boots and coats and shivering and we played in the mud down by the river one afternoon.

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Along we truck. Our wheels are a bit wobbly at the moment,  but we think we know where the screw driver is so we’ll keep on going:)

Birthdays and Back to Winter

So this happened this week: IMG_20130228_192210Anthony turned ELEVEN!!!

He had a laser tag party with his friends, a special dinner and cake and presents at our house and then another cake and present night at his moms. If some kids think that having divorced parents sucks, come talk to this guy, he finds it all good;) And that hat, that’s a Finn hat I made him. It hasn’t left his head in 7 days. If you could hashtag blogs it would read: #donttouchitwitha10footpole. If you are not familiar with Finn from Adventure Time and you have a young boy in your house, you should check it out.

Making a card for the big bro. He was so proud:)IMG_20130228_152636

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This week we started trying some new parenting/behaviour ideas with Jonathan. It was hard. He pushed back, in a big way. He knew something was up and day one he had a freak out to end all freak outs. I almost joined in. It was probably the worst day since he moved in. But then, the next day happened. And that next day was beautiful and sunny and calm. We went for a big walk in the sunshine, I think we both needed it. Close to the end of our jaunt, Jonathan went running down a hill and did a head first slide into home base. But there was no home base, only a mud puddle. He handled it like a champ!IMG_20130301_161625

We’ve had a couple more freaky freak outs and extra hiding under his bed in the past few days, but he is coming around quicker and things are less intense when they do happen. Insert large sigh of relief….for now. I really don’t know where I can find another bucket of patience to handle much more of what went down the other days, but I’m willing to pay a pretty penny if anybody gots some!

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The next day after our wonderful sunshine and walk, this happened:20130303_113357
Oh Calgary. You sure keep it interesting.

And I couldn’t think of anything better to do during a snow storm (except go get groceries…always an adventure) then this: IMG_20130303_141758

My poor plants have been very neglected the past few months and but they recieved lots of care on this snowy day. I can’t wait for spring to get out in the garden with Jonathan this year!

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And just a final picture to follow-up on my last post about our cats, this has been happening more and more:IMG_20130306_203121

It’s cozy and wonderful.

Holy Crap

The last couple of weeks have slowed down FINALLY!! And go figure, it was hard. I had the chance to exercise, read, waste time looking on the internet, scroll Pinterest page after page… And it was glorious for about an hour and then I got bored. It really is like they say; the grass is always greener…
Well fret no more because as soon as I start to fall into my boredom and embrace it and sloth around the couches, the to do list mounts. Good thing Gord and I have a 5 day weekend (you read right, 5 DAYS!)  starting in exactly 19 hours from right now.
                                                           
Things I plan to do:
1. Build a short bench for pots on the deck
2. Shovel out dirt from the veggie garden, divide the veggie garden box to make 2 boxes and re-shovel dirt into 2nd said box
3. Take photos of our clean house to make a photo book for our adoption (they show them to the kids to start the transition from foster care to our home)
4. Clean the house (prior to 3 obviously or otherwise why bother?!)
5. Drop off adoption forms, buy a lock box, CO2 detector and cupboard locks (cause I’m sure everyone with children has all their meds in a lock box and wasn’t allowed to birth until they had one. The joys of adoption)
6. Exercise, drink tea, spend my Wellness money from work (woohoo, I love my job again!) look at Pinterest like it’s my job, watch documentaries, peruse google for answers to all the questions I’ve been thinking about (like what and why is it when you’re falling asleep do you twitch and jump?)
7. Sew something that isn’t a blanket or pants (the first pant attempt didn’t’ go so hot and it’s not easy letting go…sigh)
8. Spring clean room by room for our garage sale in May/June and pile all the crap, I mean treasures,  in one spot

I could keep going but I”m sure by now you’re bored and don’t really care.

I also intend to keep a close eye on my new herbs growing in my new herb pots sent from a great friend for my birthday last month! I’ve never tried to grow herbs inside but so far so good!

Basil, Lemon Balm and Mint

AND dream about my veggie garden with things like this in them so that in a few months I can re take this photo with veggies all from MY garden!

And so with all the adoption to do’s I’m sure you are all wondering where things are at. And if you aren’t, I’m going to tell you anyway.
We are in the midst of setting up our first home visit with our intake worker, then we move to our home study, then to matching, then to adoption (training was as predicted – with one day to go this coming Saturday, but at the same time it was better than expected and made me/us feel confident that we know what we are doing and can handle the issues and behaviours that are pretty much guaranteed to come our way).
However this past week has been a roller coaster as we hummed and hawed over letting our worker know we were interested in a particular child, who we happen to know about because of our work and who we happen to know is up for adoption and more than likely deemed a ‘hard to place’ child because of his needs (this also included a very interesting and enlightening conversation with Anthony, more on that later).
We did eventually let her know and it was very….emotional. Of course we are getting way ahead of ourselves at this point and there’s still at least 3 months to go, AT LEAST. But, we feel we are in the thick of it now and fairly confident (at this point anyway) that we could be placed this summer. And that equals a lot, A LOT, of holy crap moments, (tears), and to do lists.

Happy Spring!