Friday, November 28, 2008

WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

Her Gorgeousness, no better reason to get up every morning!

SSSSHHHHH, DON'T TELL SOCIAL SERVICES!

Every night, at bedtime, we talk about what we did today and then about what we'll be doing tomorrow. I find that this conversation helps Alice to know what to expect and how I want her to behave.

I especially value this conversation on a Thursday night - when I make sure to check that Alice knows that 'Mummy work' etc - especially in case I leave before she wakes up. Tonight doing this routine she wouldn't tell me, 'Who looks after Alice when Mummy's at work?' So I went through several of the people in Alice's daily life (but not Nana - who does look after Alice on Fridays and when Mummy needs to escape!) Then I asked Alice again, 'Who looks after Alice . . . ?' She looked me straight in the eye and said, 'No-one!'

AND SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS SAYING . . . and seemed to appreciate the humour!!

Sorry Nana!

FINE BUT BUSY

Nothing special - life and paperwork.

There are photos on my camera, I haven't taken many but I haven't up/down-loaded for a while.

Alice continues to grow, both her feet have grown to 7 and a half G in size (nearly an 8 on a C*larks measure, but only 7 and a half on S*tartrite and we got S*Rite shoes!) It's noticeable that tops are fitting too short in the arm and the body and that suddenly the too long tracky bottoms from the summer are now too short! I put her in an age 3 babygrow and it's almost too small - tight and short. Her appetite has noticeably decreased in recent weeks, but having said that she's had a big eating day today. Her favourite foods continue to be satsumas, sausages, mash (or most other forms of 'tayto'), cheese, yoghurt and, of course, chocolate!

She still lots of fun, the sleeping issues are mostly resolved and we're both getting more sleep (and less disturbances) and it feels good!! I think that she's coming down with a bit of a chesty cough and cold, so I'll relish the peaceful nights whilst I can.

As for paperwork - the Homestudy is almost finished, I've got the possible final version to proof read and we hope to sign it and turn it in early next week which will hopefully lead to a Panel date in early January. Meanwhile I'm still researching possible special needs and making tough decisions about what is feasible for our family.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

VERY BELATED NEWS!

M, C and L came to visit.

As usual it was super to see them and get the girls together - it was noticeable this time that they are beginning to have a friendship that is independent of their parents!

(I'm posting this where it should be, but it's written in Feb 09!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BLOOD PRESSURE!

This morning we went back to T T the music and drama group. Alice was told the sanctions if she was naughty and told what I expected of her, I reinforced through the session and she was very good - I told her that too, several times.

This afternoon I had my medical for Little Sis's Adoption application. My GP was extremely good and allayed many fears. If it's anything that will derail this application it's the medical, I was awake from 3am worrying. After the medical I went to get straightened out at the osteopath's.

When I got home the drive was level, the gravel was mucky but back where it should be, the hole was gone and the digger was being reloaded. Mains water is back at CBH!!

Stressed, today I was stressed, I managed not to show Alice too much I hope. Tonight my blood pressure (which was incredibly normal given my emotions) must be exceptionally low as so much stress has been relieved.

CAN YOU HELP?

This is a plea from a fellow adoptive mum of a Chinese daughter:

My daughter Lydia was adopted from Guangdong Province China on July 5, 2004. In August 2008, she was diagnosed with AML, a very pernicious and deadly form of leukemia.


With the help of her Chinese-born doctor, we were able to locate her birthparents and some of her siblings in China that her family kept. We know she had at least two sisters older than she (born somewhere between 1993 and 2002) who were also abandoned. The birthparents have refused to assist with her bone marrow transplant, even though two of her already found siblings were a match.

We are now looking for these other potential siblings to see if they were adopted and might also be a match. Lydia is part of the Hakka ethnic group, and so a match from someone other than a relative is unlikely because of her unique, almost bi-racial typing.


Lydia has classic Hakka features: "Brooke Shields" eyebrows, and rather full
lips and a round face. I will have my husband post photos of Lydia and her birthfamily. I cannot do so at this time, because I am in the hospital with Lydia and the internet connection here is too slow and rather poor. Thank you for any assistance you may be able to lend.

Blessings,
Monica

www.caringbridge.org
enter: lydialimeieikomiyashita


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WATER, WATER, WATER

We've still got the temporary supply via the outside taps.

There's now a mini-digger in the drive, the hole is larger and the pipes are properly exposed.

Hopefully by tomorrow night all signs of disruption will have disappeared and the pipes will have been repaired! Hopefully!

ACTIVITIES WITH ALICE

Yesterday we returned to the music group that we tried several times in September. It was still a little babyish for Alice but it's a nice group of Mums and Grannies so we'll probably keep going but not every week.

Alice's behaviour in these type of groups is getting more challenging - she insists on getting up and wandering. Last week in T T they asked her to sit down - I don't have a problem with that, but they are more tolerant of other children - notably those children are around the same age or older but smaller than Alice. Although I enjoy the group I am getting rather fed up with this and other attitudes from the pair that host it - they always pick the same few children to participate and the quality of their preparation is variable. I hope that venting here will alleviate my negative feelings but I'm ready to quit - the problem is that there just aren't that many groups round here and this is the only activity like this that we do these days.

Alice is going to start at a local childcare nursery soon. Just one morning a week. I'm trying to break her in slowly. It'll be the first time that she's been away from me outside our home. It'll also be the first time that she's been in a group childcare setting. I've chosen this nursery as eventually it should offer me more options for childcare than a playgroup would. I'm sure I'll be more apprehensive than Alice. The plan is to start with the morning session and when she's settled to increase her time to include lunch and then the afternoon as well. I've chosen a day when a very good friend of hers is also in and in January another friend will also be there on Alice's morning.

SLEEP

Still isn't what it should be.

She's taking a long time to settle for the lunchtime nap, despite being really tired.

Night-times are variable. Last night she screamed about 90 minutes after being put to sleep. She hadn't drunk her milk at bedtime and demanded it when screaming - she drank it all. Then she wanted to stay in my bed, I had a EUREKA moment and told her she could only have her dummy in the cot - worked like a charm and she was asleep very quickly.

Every night I'm talking her through my expectations of sleep, I don't know how successful it is with sleep but it works for the other aspects that I've tried.

2 YEAR CHECK

A different Health Visitor came to see us for Alice's 2 year check. We live on the boundary so it seems that we go to U for injections and medical HV stuff, but A cover us for the developmental aspects. It's been well blogged that I don't much like the HV in U. The new HV was delightful.

She didn't do any of the expected tests - moving blocks, building a tower etc. She chatted to me and watched Alice and then she told me her development was satisfactory (the top grade, just like education they need to reconsider the names of their grading!) and that she thought that her speech - clarity and vocabulary was significantly ahead of her chronological age. I think that's pretty amazing given that she's been hearing English for less than 70% of her life).

I warned her in advance that I would like Alice to be weighed and measured as well. At just under 2 years 1 month (the visit was last Tuesday, 11th November) Alice was 16.3kg (91%) and 93cm (98%) - I'm happy that relatively she's taller than her weight and that the percentiles haven't changed significantly. Looks like she's going to be a tall lady, taller than her Mummy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

WATER, WATER

A helpful soul sorted out a temporary water supply via my neighbours (thanks especially to D & M for allowing me to use their supply for now!) The helpful soul (HS from now on) also dug a hole where the water seemed to be appearing to try and find the leak - we suspected major burst underground given the amount of water and it's sudden appearance in the yard.

The HS then quoted £800 to lay a new pipe across the yard - he'd already let on that it would take 2 men a day to do the work, dug a trench by hand with £100 included for the additional materials needed. He then proceeded to do the 'hard sell' telling me that established builders would be closer to £1,500 and take several week before they started, Christmas is coming and that the weather isn't favourable - he went on too much and I felt that he was over-egging the pudding!

Today - with yet more help from the neighbours, the hole was expanded until the pipe was found, a junction in the pipe had blown. They say that the solution is relatively straight forward and shouldn't take too long or cost too much - nowhere near the original £800 as quoted by HS! I'm hoping that they're right but at this point I'm assuming nothing and very grateful for wonderful neighbours and working taps!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

WATER

. . . in all the wrong places.

Last night I ran a bath for Alice, filled it hot (I know it's against H and S rules but it works for me and Alice can't reach in the bath or climb in yet!) and then tried to reduce the temperature with cold water. No. No cold water. Tried the basin, pressure was low but there was some water. Flushed the loo, cistern slow to refill. Tried the ensuite in the spare room, water but low pressure. Downstairs - water, better pressure but not right.

I rang the neighbours - over the road are on a bore (or is it boar?) hole, next door had water but maybe pressure was down. Then I rang the Water Authority - they knew of no problems and as we both had water they would investigate on Monday.

This morning the neighbours were round for a look before I got downstairs - the drive was flooding. I had no water upstairs and only a dribble downstairs but LOTS outside! T and D (neighbours) turned off the water from the mains (I'm on a meter so I was paying for the flood effect!) I rang the Water Authority again and a very nice man called Glen arrived within an hour.

The problem (as event in the yard) is my side of the meter so it's my problem, water authority may help but won't fix it. Ugh. Can't even have a cup of tea to soothe my problems.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS

A good night's sleep . . . hurray!

I feel so much better. Not enough sleep, but continuous for more than 6 hours is a HUGE improvement. It probably seems like I'm obsessing over sleep - it becomes increasingly significant as it becomes just a distant memory!

And the bad news? My hairdresser's gone on maternity leave. She's great, but I don't have such a good working relationship with her replacement - so I've got an unexpectedly short haircut.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

TIRED

. . . Alice's still not well . . . not ill, but not well either . . . nappy rash is still there, better but still looks sore . . . her tummy's still bad too . . . she doesn't want to sleep in her cot . . . after 2 nights of Alice being in my bed I was cranky ALL DAY . . . I need a good night's sleep . . . tonight she cried it out while I felt guilty - running up and down stairs . . . something's gotta give

. . . and coming soon a post about blogging, comments and opinions . . . with a warning to all that I moderate comments before they are published . . . still cross . . . it wouldn't be good to challenge me right now . . .

Monday, November 10, 2008

VERY BELATED NEWS AGAIN!

E and A came to stay!

We had great fun and it was lovely for our girls to get to know each other better. A is about 14 months older than Alice but they were virtually the same size (total fluke that their wardrobe choices coincided!)

Both mummies had a great time too - a catch-up, lots of adoption discussions and a good gossip as well! We were both highly amused when both As 'tended' that the turkey basters were ice-creams!

NAPPY RASH **GRAPHIC POST**

. . . no laughing matter . . . Alice woke screaming . . . one of those urgent, no time to waste, 'get here' cries . . . inconsolable . . .

My poor baby, screaming, inconsolable, writhing, so awful to watch.

Eventually I got her to listen to me (I love that she's old enough to understand more now), I asked if she was hurting, 'Yes,', I asked if it was her bottom hurting, 'Yes,' I explained that she needed 'mebcim', 'Yes,' and that she had to calm down to take it - amazingly through the hard crying she managed to calm sufficiently to take the syringe of the pink stuff (God Bless the Pink Stuff!) and then the crying ramped up again. When I could get her to focus I explained that poo (I'd felt a lot of wind!) would make her bottom hurt more and that I wanted to change her nappy. I talked her through what I was doing, the nappy was clean, I didn't touch but did change it just to be safe, she confirmed that she wanted more cream on and then I got her dressed again. After that she opted to go back in her cot (I was surprised she didn't want to go to 'Mummy's Bed') and she didn't make a peep as I kissed and did the leaving the room routine.

Everyday she amazes me - I'm so proud that she can understand so much and even in so much pain can focus to help me help her through it. Her behaviour through that episode this evening could teach so many adults so much and she's only just 2, incredible.

AWOL BLOGGER

No particular reasons, other than life in general!

Thursday - we gave up on potty training for now. Alice pooed in the bath (first time ever) having vomited on Wednesday evening, I'd reached my limit. She hasn't expressed an opinion on the return of nappies in the daytime, not even sure that she's noticed. She didn't ask about the potty either until last night, when she wanted to sit on it before bedtime, she did the same again tonight but no success either night. I'm happy to have postponed PT for now and unless she shows EVERY sign of being ready we'll leave it until the better weather after Easter next year.

Friday - work, after a very busy week it seemed an achievement just to be there - upright, dressed, clean clothes and awake! After school I dashed around (like a mad thing) to the supermarket and the GPs (collecting pills). I'm not sure where the evening went!

Saturday - friends arrived for a visit. We had a lovely time, lots of fun, playing, sharing, cooking and gossip, great! (More coming in a separate post!)

Sunday - more or less like Saturday, more fun and then goodbyes followed by Alice taking a very long nap!!

Today - a doctor's appointment, osteopath's appointment and tea with more friends. Alice has had a few spots (red, raised but no heads - she scratched them and now they've got scabs), she's still developing more (odd ones and twos, nothing remarkable), an upset stomach and horrendous nappy rash (that bled on Saturday, another first). The Doc checked it all and suspected a mild virus and prescribed a different nappy rash cream. The osteopath's appointment was for me, I go regularly to avoid back problems, I haven't been for a while - which became very clear once S got to work - it was painful at the time and I'm still a bit achy now, I'm going back next week (I hadn't been since September and it was too long a gap!) The tea with friends - super, lovely chats and nice to expand our circle of friends - O is a handsome little chap (only 5 weeks younger than Alice but so petite) and different in every way except being so lovely!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ANYONE GOT AN ARK THAT I CAN BORROW?

Oh yes - the PT's not been too successful if you judge it by the wet box (ready for washing), however Alice is quickly learning her colours when she chooses the next pair of Nicknicks!!

So many accidents (another dirty one too) that I've lost count, we've run out of character, pink and purple Nicknicks and the muslin pile is the smallest I've seen it for ages. Really disappointing given the success with the P-Us this morning, even more dis-spiriting is that Alice isn't verbalising any of the accidents, its her face that gives it away!

SLEEP AND WEDNESDAY'S PT SO FAR!

I had a full night's sleep last night, Alice slept all night in her cotbed! She was very sleepy by the time T*ick T*ock finished this morning and barely stayed awake long enough for us to get home, so I let her sleep a little longer this afternoon.

PT? An accident in the highchair at breakfast, but a dry Pull-Up (worn from 9:30 to 11:30 with frequent reminders that Mummy wanted the hearts to stay on the outside and to save the *** til we got home, and she did!) She didn't want to sit on the potty when we got home and needed pretty firm encouragement, but it was obvious she'd held herself in - quite an achievement and very encouraging to me. A dirty accident before lunch. Another accident in the highchair whilst eating a snack after her nap - despite sitting on the loo etc. She's obviously still sleepy so we've settled to watch a DVD and will have a quiet afternoon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SLEEP INTERUPTIONS

Whilst talking to C tonight I realised that I've had more disturbed nights sleep in the past month than in the rest of the time that Alice has been home all put together.

Saturday night - I forgot to give Alice a dummy at bedtime. She shouted for it ('Dummin' or 'Doedoe' are the current names) but didn't get it herself - even though she can reach it! So that started the disturbances. We had an evening of power cuts, so many that I lost count. Generally the power did stay off for more than a minute or two, but every time it went off with a thump and being in the countryside it really is dark without electricity. Every time the power returned I could hear Alice crying loudly. After several instances I decided to grab a tray of bits for supper and retire to comfort her. By 9pm the power cuts had ceased but Alice was still jittery, she ended up staying in my bed for the night.

I can't remember what happened on Sunday but Alice ended up in my bed, again. Last night I woke in a cold sweat just before 2am, later in the night Alice cried out again (we had already had the staying in her cot conversation before bedtime), halfway back to my bed with Alice in my arms I realised what I was doing but it was too late, she spent the rest of the night in my bed and I got some sleep.

This is one of those aspects that is an extra challenge to a single parent, there is no respite. Every day I get more tired from another interrupted night. Each day my resolved strengthens to support her to stay in her cot all night. Each night, befuddled by sleep, I forget my resolve. Then I remember how quickly time is passing and how much she is changing and I snuggle down to relish this time while I still can, I'll try and sleep when she's grown and I'm trying not to worry about where she is and what she's doing.

I'm not complaining and I wouldn't change a moment of it, zzzzzzzzzzzz.

TODAY'S PT NEWS

First thing this morning Alice peed on the loo (with training seat in place so she wouldn't be flushed away)!

Swimming this morning, so training Pull-ups were used for the car journeys and the pictures disappeared on each journey (meaning Alice had had an accident).

By this afternoon I was ready to offer her a nappy but her naptime nappy was dry (despite wearing it for nearly 2 hours). D, D and A were coming over in the later afternoon for supper and fireworks. I started PT as D had started with A and Alice couldn't leave her potty alone when they visited last week. So I persevered and Alice wore cotton 'NickNicks'. She did have an accident while sitting on D, but D noticed very swiftly (wonder why?) and got the end of it in the potty.

Final score for today: 2 Pull-ups wet, 1 accident and 5 stickers.

Progress? Definitely! D noticed that Alice did go to the potty at least once during their visit and use it without prompting, hurray!! Alice always says 'No' when asked if she needs to go and then objects to being asked to try, but if you don't ask if she needs and just go straight to asking to sit on the potty she usually tries more willingly. She doesn't verbalise needs without being asked and while her face shows a reaction to an accident she doesn't say anything. Incentives? I'm still offering 'choc-ut' and stickers and lots of praise at the right use of the potty, Alice is still asking for choc-ut and being reminded what she has to do to get it, but then when she's done the right thing she doesn't ask for it! She still loves stickers but I'm not sure that they're an incentive. The happy dance, hugs and kisses seem to work best of all!

Monday, November 03, 2008

REMEMBERING

My step-father, Nick.

I said Goodbye 7 years ago tonight.

I can't hear fireworks without remembering that evening, Saturday 3rd November 2001, being told to get to the hospital as quickly as I could. I did, I was with him when he died. His death was a kindness at the end of a horrid, cruel illness.

He taught me so much. I miss him. I mourn the relationship that he would have had with Alice. But most of all I love him still.

MONDAY'S MUSINGS!

I had to work today - it was a training day. I don't usually like training days as they are so long-winded and remind me of all the trickiest bits of my job. Today wasn't as bad as I expected and we got some classroom time too! We had some good times to celebrate too so that made lunchtime fun as well.

Home - Alice had 3 accidents and 2 successes (but one was a double). OK but no improvement. I spoke to a HV friend of mine and she told me that Alice is still very young for this. I'm not convinced that it's going to work this time. I'm going to give it a day or 2 more and review again. Tomorrow we're going to our swimming class, I'm going to put Alice in the training Pull-ups (the ones that let her feel the accidents) for the time that we're out of the house - I think she thinks that the Pull-Ups are nappies.

My HV friend was telling me about 'Rapid Training', drinks every 30 minutes, potty 20 minutes later - do that all morning, repeat the drinks all afternoon but not reminding about the potty, if the child is ready to PT they'll start using the potty independently. I don't think Alice would PT that way, maybe that's a sign that she's not ready? But then again she knew that the Poo accident yesterday had happened and should have been in the potty, no discussion, she knew. Also she DEMANDED 'Nicks' yesterday. OTOH she doesn't name accidents and she can't tell me where the P* should go etc . . .?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

AFTERNOON PT PROGRESS? (Updated)

Rewards have now been increased - cho-cut coins and stickers on the PT chart!

I hope that this isn't Famous Last Words, so far since nap-time: 2 successes, no accidents and 1 demand to put on 'Nicks' (Alice's word - sorry GFN!!) and a permanent 'wedgie'!

Final for the day - 3 successes, 4 accidents, 1 slightly late dash for the potty (but I'm heartened that she knew where she should have been!) Final conclusion of today - I think it's slow but it is worth persevering!

POTTY TRAINING

All tips and hints VERY gratefully received!

SITTING

. . . sounds so relaxing . . . but not when you're potty training . . . the walls are moving in . . . the pressure is intense . . . and the carpet's a little wet!!

We started on Friday at 4.30pm
  • 2 tiny accidents
  • 2 big Ps on the potty
  • 1 big Accident on the beanbag (thankfully covered by a disposable changing mat) and a look of horror on Alice's face
  • Another successful P on P
  • Overall - Friday was 50/50, pretty successful for the first day
Saturday
  • Started the day in training pull-ups that let Alice feel when she's had an accident, Alice obviously feels that they're nappies, several accidents through the first 2 hours but we kept them on as I HAD to go to the garage and we needed more Potty Training Supplies, W/R was useless - no disposable changing mats or Pull-ups in the right size! (I popped out and got the necessaries while M looked after Alice at naptime).
  • No accidents or success during the later morning or before naptime,
  • Loads of water (in a big girl glass with a straw) in the afternoon, a couple of tiny accidents on the carpet and several major successes (including a poo in the potty!!) Big successes helped by the incentive of chocolate - Alice caught on quickly and demanded 'Cho-cut' immediately after sitting down!
Sunday
  • No success first thing, quickly remembered Cho-cut
  • Bath followed by big accident while still wrapped in her towel on the changing mat
  • Now I'm pushing the water again!!!
  • 3 big accidents, 1 of poo where she dashed to the potty moments too late
  • 2 successes