Friday, June 14, 2013

How are things going? 

I get asked this all the time and I usually say, "fine" or "great" or my favorite, "great, but tired."  I mean really, what are you supposed to say?  When you bring a new baby home from the hospital, you say "great" because this is the baby that you wanted forever and he or she is so cute and tiny and they should be so little trouble.  Most people, especially parents, know that "great" also means, "hard".  So this is basically the same thing, so yes, we are in love, we wouldn't change it for the world, things are great, meaning hard.

It's like bringing a newborn home, except easier and harder.  Got it?  Ha Ha.  It's really hard to explain.  First of all, I came home from China with a stomach parasite.  I will spare you the nasty details, but I was on a couple medications for a month.  Since then I have been so much better, but I'm SO TIRED AND FOGGY!!!  I have Hashimoto's disorder (thyroid stuff) so I don't know if it is the traveling and then stomach stuff that got my thyroid messed up again, or if it is just having a third child, or what, but I am TIRED ALL. THE. TIME.  I mean in two months, I have missed more birthdays, birthday parties, appointments, obligations, etc., than I probably have in the previous ten years with my boys.  It could be the inconsistent sleep. Caitlyn sleeps great most of the time.  (That would never happen with a newborn, so that part is easier.) She is generally in bed by 7:30 or 8 and sleeps until between 6:30 and 7:30.  About one out of every three days she is up at night a couple times or has a crying jag a couple hours after going to bed or wakes up really early, so there are issues here and there, but we really we couldn't ask for more.  I know moms who adopted around the same time as us and they are still trying to get their children to sleep through the night. 

Even after two months though, she won't let us comfort her or rock her to sleep.  She loves us and gives us hugs and kisses, but it's like she stops in.  She is constantly running in to my arms to give me hugs and kisses, but she won't cuddle.  If I try to cuddle with her, she squirms away.  I am trying to rock her at night and sing to her, but she says "nigh nigh" (night night) and waves goodbye and points to her crib.  I put her down, give her her lamb and she sucks her thumb and holds her other sleeve cuff and goes to sleep.  If I try to rub her back or anything, she pushes my hand away.  It's great that she is so independent, but we are trying to teach her that we love her and want to soothe her.  She just won't let us yet.  When we first got her, she would hit herself as a comforting or stimming behavior, and we haven't seen that since we got home, so we know she is happy and comforted. She calls mama in the morning and laughs and jumps in her crib when she sees me, so I know she loves me, but we are working on bonding and understanding who we are in her world.

Caitlyn is doing great with her brothers and for the most part they are doing well with her.  Connor doesn't want to leave her alone.  He is all over her and she pushes him away when she is done.  He's a great big brother though and would do anything and everything for her.  Cole took a little more time to warm up to her.  He doesn't do well with the crying, but he is so in love with her now.  In fact, he is playing dolls with her right now.... as well as calling out every few minutes, "I would so not be doing this if she wasn't my sister". I know buddy, I know. It's hard to bring home an active, busy toddler, who never sits still.  I'm still trying to get used to trying to do things, like laundry, with her around.  She is a cute, one person wrecking team. Cooking dinner is especially hard.  It is a rough time of day any way because she is done, tired and cranky.  Then you add that she has no fear and I don't think has ever been exposed to things that could hurt her, like a stove.  She wants to touch everything and be with me, but I try to get dinner on the table.  Again, we are working on that bonding thing, so I don't want to make her brothers keep her away from me because this makes her cry.  It's just a really hard thing to work through. 

Caitie is a super eater.  So far we have not found anything that is soft enough that she won't eat.  She can bite and chew or swallow whole, if needed. She is always eating and never admits to being full.  She will eat until she pukes.  This can be alarming, but note, this is a very typical behavior after institutionalization.  We are trying to teach her that food is always available, but she is still learning.  We are learning to let her eat more meals throughout the day, so she is never really hungry.  She seems to be more content that way.  We are also trying to figure out some sort of food or contact allergy that causes her to swell and vomit.  So far we suspect dairy and berries, but have no certainty.  We will do allergy testing, but are trying to avoid that for now, if possible.  She has her palate surgery coming in a few weeks, so if we can prevent poking and prodding her more than we need to, I am all for that.  We had several days in a row where she was fine, but she has gotten sick the last two days.  In one case, it may have been overeating, but I don't think it was in the other case.  It's frustrating to try to figure out. She also had a bug a few weeks ago and I learned that she can spike a really high fever really fast.  She was miserable and pitiful and we never really figured out what it was, but it must have been something viral, that she eventually got over. 

I mentioned it a couple times, but our hardest thing right now is bonding.  Caitie is wonderful.  She is so happy and fun.  She is social and loves to be the center of attention.  Unfortunately, she wants everyone's attention.  She has always had multiple caregivers and has also used being cute and playful and frankly, outright adorable, to get what she wants.  We have limited her contact with others and we are the only ones who care for her, but she still, what I call, mommy shops.  She wants others to pick her up and feed her.  She tries to get everyone to love her. She seems to love us so much, but she will still go to anyone and try to get anything from anyone.  It's the thing we are working the hardest on these days. 

So that's our life with Caitlyn in a nutshell.... the good, the bad.  It's still mostly good, but that's kind of more, the real deal.  If you are looking for pictures or details about her surgery, go one post done.  I posted this morning. 

Month 2

Once again it's been a month. What have we been up to?

David went to Chicago for his company's top trip, my brother moved closer and the kids got to hang with their cousins, David's brother came to town and got Caitie a bigger than life bear, that she loves. We got a new kitchen set, where Caitie spends hours every day. We've spent lots of time at the pool, we've gone bowling and to the mall and all over town.  We have just had a lot of fun hanging out.  I'm enjoying dressing a little girl and all the hair bows that go with each outfit.  If she spills, oh well, it's time for a new outfit..... which also means more laundry, but oh well.  I'll miss laundry when they all go off to college, right? Because we have gotten so many lovely gifts and hand me downs, as well as my own shopping, I have had to put myself on a shopping freeze for a while. :)  We aren't going to have enough money for her palate surgery if I keep going. (just kidding)

We have been to several doctor's appointments and have made some plans.  As most of you know, Caitie's special need was a cleft lip and palate.  Her lip was fixed in China.  We have seen our craniofacial team at Children's Health Care in Atlanta and Caitie will be having her palate fixed in a few weeks. We also saw an ENT due to Caitie's repeated ear infections and she has a lot of fluid behind her eardrums.  Basically your palate acts as a stopper when you swallow and stops the fluid from getting in to the eustachian tubes. No palate, no stopper.  So this is a pretty normal side effect for kids without a palate.  Her hearing test was a little alarming as she is currently showing a 40% hearing loss.  That was surprising, but she heard all voice prompts and no white noise, so the ENT and audiologist really feel it is a temporary loss, based on the fluid and not a permanent one.  She will have tubes put in when she has the palate surgery.  Our expectation is to be in the hospital for a few days and then recover at home.  I am not looking forward to it.

In the mean time, she is starting vaccinations and starting to work on speech.  We are teaching her to hold her nose to make the B or D sounds.  She hasn't quite mastered holding her own nose yet, but it is fun to watch her try to hold her nose and say daddy, which she usually pinches her own lip and calls him nanny or something close.  I'm glad mamma is easier!!  :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wow, it's been a month

Wow, it's been a month since I updated the blog. What have we been up to?

Practices, meals, doctor's appointments, Cole's tenth birthday, Caitlyn's dedication, Connor's braces, walks, playing, awards ceremonies, end of year parties, summer kick offs.........