Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Delinquent...

I've been terrible about blog updates.  We're at a point with Keeghan where life just goes on and there isn't day to day stuff to blog about.  I'm busy with 4 kids...who are active in school and play sports which means I spend a LOT of time driving everyone around and cheering them on at various sporting events.  These things all result in few updates.  Today, however, is your lucky day!

Devon is about to turn 17 (really??? how the heck did that happen).  He just finished up a season of high school hockey and is gearing up for lacrosse this spring.  It's so fun to watch him interact with Keeghan.  He will play princess Yahtzee or candyland for hours with her or even just let her hang out with him in his room.  He's a fabulous big brother (not only to Keeghan but to Kennedy and Carson as well) and is growing into a responsible adult.  He's certainly still a kid in many ways but is growing up all too quickly.

Kennedy will be 15 in a few months.  She played indoor soccer for the winter and is back outside with the soccer team for the spring.  She is also going to give spring track a try.  I'm all for the kids being involved in school sports...keeps them busy and (mostly) out of trouble.  Kennedy is a little less patient with Keeghan than Devon or Carson but will have "sissy time" at Keeghan's request.  Kennedy and Keeghan butt heads often but it's funny to watch the two of them give each other trouble.

Carson is almost 13 and is finishing up basketball season.  She played both for school and in the city rec league and was selected as an All Star for the city league.  It was great to watch her confidence on the court grow this season.  She is also thinking about spring track but is committed to a lot of soccer ref'ing for the spring.  She's been chosen to officiate some high level games which is awesome for her.  Carson continues to be terrific with Keeghan though once she's hit her limit she snaps a bit and just wants Keeghan to leave her alone with Keeghan doesn't always understand.

Keeghan is 4 1/2 and has been home a little over 3 years now.  She continues to grow and learn and amaze us and drive us crazy.  She loves school and has come so far!  She still has her shy moments but is finally confident enough to run and play with friends at a birthday party or at the playground.  Her stutter has improved tremendously but she is still getting speech services at school because we still get stuck now and then.  We are hoping that Keeghan will be in the full day kindergarten class next fall...Keeghan is already talking about going to school all day and on Fridays (pre-school is mon-thurs).  She would get to have gym class, art class, lunch at school and be part of a classroom similar to the pre-school environment she's in where a bit less than 1/2 the class is identified as special needs and the rest of the class is typically developing children.  Except Keeghan is currently one of the identified students and in Kindergarten she would be one of the typicals. 

In terms of attachment...we're getting there.  It's a process that will go on forever I think.  Keeghan will tell you that Ma Ma always comes back.  She can tell you Ma Ma and Ba Ba take care of her.  There are, however, plenty of instances where she is clearly unsure that I mean it.  She still wakes often and night and wants me to fix her blankets or simply to see that I'm there.  She's not a good sleeper at all which results in an often cranky Ma Ma because I need my sleep.  I try and remember the almost 17 months she spent with other caregivers who didn't come back and probably couldn't always meet her needs as well as they should have been but at 3am when we've been up for hours and Keeghan wants me to tuck her blankets in not too high but not too low and not too tight...sometimes I get frustrated.  I try to be in tune with what's going on in her head but I don't always get it right.  The past couple weeks have been particularly bad sleep wise and we had a huge meltdown over nothing recently as well so I've made more of an effort to go backwards a bit with Keeghan.  I'm feeding her a bit more and ensuring we get plenty of physical contact (the princess is in my lap as I type) as well as making sure I'm giving her my full attention when she needs it (as opposed to my typical multitasking!).  Keeghan likes to know what to expect in a day and we have a pretty steady routine for weekdays which she knows but still asks about as I put her to bed.  Over the holidays there were mornings that I left for work before Keeghan was out of bed (quite a feat given that she is typically up by 6am) and Keeghan was not ok with that.  She likes knowing that even if I'm going to work she will see me before I go and even after 3 months of being back to a regular work schedule she still asks if she will see me in the morning before work.  Certainly a sign that we've still got work to do.  I try and stay true to my word and be here when I say I will and let her know who will be taking care of her if I am not...and that's a small group still. 

Overall, I think we are moving forward which is all I can ask for...Keeghan's a smart funny girl who is a great addition to our family.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Speech and sleep

I met with Keeghan's speech therapist to chat about the stuttering thing.  She gave me some strategies...a lot of them things I was already doing.  The stuttering is happening at school more too so that's the focus of her speech sessions.  We are getting "homework" to do, working on smooth speech, trying to let Keeghan know that everyone will get their turn to speak so there is no need to rush, and also trying not to make a big deal of the whole thing.  Keeghan doesn't seem to notice she is stuttering so we don't want it to become a focus and have it worsen.  If Keeghan is having a particularly hard time getting out what she wants to say I will tell her to take a deep breath, talk quietly, and slowly and that seems to help.  We are also making an effort to be sure when it's "her turn" to talk that we are paying attention and responding. Sitting here thinking about things now, I think maybe it's a bit better.  Keeghan LOVES to talk (though plenty of people who have met her would tell you she's really quiet) especially to me.  She asks questions constantly and will sometimes rephrase a question 2 or 3 times to make sure she is understanding.  She also knows when you are not listening or understanding her and that is NOT ok. This kid knows how to get your attention and keep it (pretty sure that's a behaviour she developed in the orphanage...and heck it serves her well as she's one of 4 kids) and will talk my ear off sometimes. 

Unfortunately, some of those times are in the middle of the night.  After moving Keeghan to her big girl bed we had some trouble with her getting out of bed in the middle of the night (we've found her playing video games at 1 or 2am more than once).  We used positive reinforcement (stickers) for staying in bed all night and staying there until "there's a 6 on the clock" (yes, K's an early morning kid and will sometimes get out of bed at 5am).  BUT, being a smart kid, Keeghan figured out staying in bed means just that and as long as she stays in bed she can yell to me at 3am.  So, plenty of nights I am beckoned "ma ma....ma ma....ma ma" to fix blankets or because she doesn't want to sleep or whatever.  We've been home almost 3 years.  I'm over the not sleeping thing.  I am perfectly happy to help if she's not feeling well or has a nightmare or needs me, but getting up at 1 or 2 or 3am to "fix my blankets" is getting to be a problem.  I'm not sure that Keeghan understands the difference between an "emergency" that is ok to wake me up for and just waking me up to wake me up.  So, we spend lots of time together in the middle of the night and then I can't go back to sleep and then I'm overtired and cranky...and you get the idea.  So, sleep is still a challenge.

And to add to that we had a crazy snowstorm last week that knocked out power for 6 days.  No heat, no hot water, no lights, no stove, nothing.  We are very lucky to have some awesome friends who let us all but move into their house (they have a generator) for the week.  BUT that meant Keeghan was all out of sorts.  School was close 4 days.  We were not home except to sleep and then there wasn't the regular nightlight or sound machine and there were layers of pj's and blankets to keep warm.  It was a tough week and it's showing a bit for Keeghan.  Sleep was very much a challenge and her behaviour has been a bit off since.  Overall, though, I think Keeghan handled it well and seems to be getting back to normal...but tonight we change the clocks so I'm sure that will throw a curve ball into everything!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My strong little girl pulled that wagon full of pumpkins

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's National Adoption Month

I think you all know I think adoption is pretty cool.  Biology is cool too fyi...but almost everyone tries that out.  People think growing your family means getting pregnant...not always the case.  Plenty of people pick the adoption route.  I think, though, that unless you know someone who's gone through this and is will to share their story, adoption is a scary idea.  It makes sense.  That's one of the reasons I decided to blog about our journey of growing our family and I talk about adoption as much as I do.  There are on the idea of 150million orphans in this world and everyone of those kids deserves a family.  I Everyone who wants to add to their family should think about adoption.  I'm not saying it's for everyone to try...heck there are plenty of people in this world should not parent never mind adopt.  But, if you're thinking about parenting, think about adoption and if you have questions or want more info...ask.  I'm happy to share many parts of our story and happy to talk about the challenges we've faced as well.  Just don't go asking how much my child cost or tell me how lucky she is cause then I might go off on you.