Sunday, June 21, 2009

What if???

What would we think of Alex if we didn't have Joseph???

He has some interesting symptoms:

1. He self-soothes by rocking. Mostly in bed in the morning, whacking his head against the pillow over and over and over and over. Sometimes in the car when he is bored, just rocks back and forth. I've read that this is typical of adopted children, and I keep waiting for him to grow out of it, but he doesn't...

2. As a child he twirled pencils--fast--in front of his eyes. The teachers at school assumed he was copying his "autistic" brother, but Joseph never did that.

3. He loves toys that spin or that he can twirl. Still. A heavy toy at the end of a short string that can be spun in the air is his favorite.

4. His play skills are limited (way more advanced than Joseph's, mind you, but still really limited). He plays best with children several years younger. That is why latch-key after school is such a blessing. He happily plays with the first and second graders, and no one seems to mind. The teachers at latchkey understand that he is limited, and they don't push him to play with age peers.

5. He lives in a make-believe world created of television characters, not real friends. He has been at the same school for two years and has yet to be invited to a birthday party or for a playdate. He has alienated the neighborhood kids so they rarely invite him to play...

Would we think he was on the spectrum if we didn't have Joseph? Is he learning disabled, both academically and socially? Is this MR or PDD-NOS? One would never think, upon first glance, that there was a chance Alex was on the spectrum, but he has such a hard time socially... I need to look into a social skills group for him...

In the end it doesn't matter what you call it or what alphabet soup you throw at it, but it can help us as parents to know how to manage and set reasonable expectations.

Granted, in our modern world, where "autism" is the diagnosis du jour, I may be way off base, but I worry that we are not getting the services Alex needs because his symptoms are not as dramatic as Joseph's.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Travels with Mommy

I took a four-day, three-night, solo trip with the boys and had only a few bad moments. (Many thanks to the tolerant family members that hosted us on our journey!) The boys were well-behaved, for the most part, and I didn't lose my temper or my ability to cope. I am so dependent on Dave for "relief pitching" at the end of the day. By about 8 pm I am usually just done. Going it alone, away from home, was new for me. Advance planning helped; I had the things with me that I needed.

I'm getting lazy about watching them every second--so they get into mischief. (All part of the realization that we are running a marathon, not a sprint, and if we are going to be doing this for 26 miles/years, or there about, I'd better save some energy for the next mile.) At home it isn't such a big deal. We have locked away anything truly dangerous or valuable. Joseph went through all of Mother's mail, and took everything out of the envelope for her. She reports that she managed to match it all up again, except for one missing envelope... He also managed to find "solitaire" on computers where the owners didn't know it existed. I've not heard of any missing or damaged files and I trust my relatives would let me know, so that is all he did with the computers.

I'll post photo of boys and Grandma later. I managed to get the camera out once.

Cleaning helps

I've been fussing over my kitchen. The color scheme bothers me. I've considered painting the cabinets, the walls, getting new china, making curtains or roman shades, etc. etc. etc. I finally cleaned up all the stuff we had let gather on the counters, and it is amazing how much less offensive I find the place. I still think paint and roman shades will improve it. But keeping it straightened up is a good first step. All those who know me well will laugh, 'cause you know what a mess I can be.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Last day of Fifth Grade

Today is Joseph's last day of fifth grade, and last day of elementary school. The school has a nice tradition: Instead of a graduation ceremony, all the fifth graders walk past all the other classrooms at the end of the last day. The other students line the halls and "clap them out." The parents gather at the door of the school and continue clapping until all the 5th graders are outside. Next the children line up by the school bell, an old-fashioned wrought-iron bell near the entrance, and each student takes a turn ringing the bell.

Isn't that a great way to mark the milestone of finishing elementary school?

I took a photo with my phone, but the connection to the computer isn't working... Don't know why???

Excerpt from Adoption blog

I found this in another blog: Be sure to read the response at the end. It is so nice to hear the words of an adopted child that struggled and behaved badly, but who sounds like she is doing well now.

I am seeing a behavior pattern in one of my children lately that is really hard to figure out...

I'm sure when you have more than one child, that at least one of them will be an instigator. The child who pushes everyone's buttons just to see them yell. Everyone can be getting along well and when the instigator shows up the room is quickly full of yelling and complaining. This is one of my kids right now. Every room she walks into, every situation she is in, game she plays or chore she does ends with yelling or hitting or a fit. She is so touchy and sensitive to touch, pain, words and actions, yet she loves to hit others, yell at other, roll her eyes and have screaming fits when anyone else does remotely the same treatment to her. I'm having a hard time having compassion for her right now, as I'm exhausted from this day to day craziness.

When I step away from the situation I can see how hard she is trying. She tries to be helpful, but ends up being in someone else's way, or messing up something or doing the right thing at the wrong time.

The other night I was relaxing at my parent's house and just watched her play. She is so full of life and down right funny. Other parents and her teachers often go on and on about how great she is doing. I sometimes wonder if she works so hard to behave at school that when she is home she cannot handle anything more.

I understand your plight. I am an adult adoptee. Sounds like me when i was younger. ... Thank you for adopting an older child. :-) It takes a world of patience... I know it was not easy for my MOM now that i am older and a parent myself.

One day at a time. Possitive encouragement.