Monday, June 15, 2009

Such is Life

Today, Dylan busted his lower lip on a coffee table edge at my friend Stephanie's place. We thought he was over this phase of just knocking into stuff. No ER but man it was a bleeder. However, he seems to have gotten over it. He was drinking his sippy and sucking his thumb like nothing ever happened. Stephanie, who used to be a preschool teacher just laughed at my comment about being over this phase. She tells me this is one of the many previews and that we may become friends with the ER folks. Anyhow, he seems to be ok now.

He fell asleep on the drive home after half a chocolate chip cookie. When we got home, we weren't sure if he would continue sleeping for the night as it was so close to his actual bedtime. After we change him into PJ's and gave him some soymilk and Tylenol, we put him in our bed and I laid next to him for a while. We don't consistently co-sleep and he isn't always receptive to it when we try, but sometimes, he is a cuddlebug like tonight, and these rare moments are priceless. He laid in bed with me and rolled around gently. He did this for a good 45 minutes, just tossing and rolling and wedging himself against me. He would look at me from time to time, babble something and then smile. He was so gentle, unlike so many times (most of the time) these days. He even turned and gave me a nice kiss with his busted lip. It's really good to have moments like this because so much of the time these days, it is tantrum city for us. Short and sweet but very passionate tantrums, and truth be told, I have so little patience for that. I'm a lot better than I anticipated, but these are super stressful moments for me as a mom.

Last Monday, our homestudy social worker came to see us for the 2nd post placement report. He looked at Dylan and kept saying he looked like he wasn't 20 months because he was so tall. Dylan is registering almost off the charts for his age. He is only 50th percentile in weight but about 100th in height. Unexpected, I guess, since his birthparents are failry short. It is not a bad thing. He is just growing tall really fast these days and we are surprised at the rate this is happening.

In our last visit at 18 months, the doctor recommended that we called the agency that is in charge of assessments for developmental delays. At 18 months, he said Dylan should have about 20 words. He had about 6 at the time. So, we finally met with one of the case workers came yesterday to assess Dylan. She said that he is a little bit behind on expressive skills and self help skills but nothing alarmng that they would recommend any speech or occupational therapy. He doesn't attempt to dress himself too often, except to put on "szzzheez" (shoes) and put his arms through the armholes of his shirts when we are dressing him, although he attempts to take his shoes off while sitting in his carseat. He also doesn't consistently use utensils, which is really my fault because I don't introduce it as much as I should. She did recommend a full hearing test, only because he has had a few ear infections and possibly can't detect some of the softer sounds. I wasn't really worried because his cognitive skills is fine but it is good to confirm. In the last week alone, he has picked up a few more words and uses them perfectly in context. He said "Mi" (milk) while signing it with his hand, "Chiz"for cheese, and "foo" for fruit/food just in the last couple of days. The cutest one is when he says "Awtshy" for outside. I guess more to come after she sends us her full report.

One realy cool thing is that Dylan is now very interested in writing. Markers are his favorite. For the last couple of months, I have been attempting to entice him with the triangular shaped crayons and the supposedly easy to hold bulb looking markers and crayons Crayola makes called ToDoodles. Your toddler is supposed to cup their little hands around them with the assumption that they would learn to color and draw with those since it is too hard for them to try and hold regular markers and crayons that are cylindrical. Allow me digress for a second and go on a tirade about how worthless those things are in my experience. Because I am a product of consumerist society, I assumed that Crayola puts this stuff out in the market because it works like a charm. WRONG! I also thought that because they sell it everywhere that it is a well designed product. WRONG AGAIN! These things are expensive lures to sucker first time parents into buying worthless pieces of plastic.

First of all, toddlers learn by mimicking. I don't think he ever got the concept of these because he has never seen either or us or anyone for that matter color with balls. Whenever he saw them, he would try to call them "ba" for ball and throw them. After all, that's what you do with a ball. Secondly, these bulbs are weighted so that the tips are always on top. Therefore, even when Dylan realized that they can be used to make marks, and that he is supposed to hold them in his palm, he didn't get the concept that the bulbs have to be turned over so the tip is touching the paper. I tried to turn the bulbs for him but they are so round that it is not obvious to him how to actually make sure the tips are in contact with the paper. So, then, he just ends up banging the ball on the paper and not seeing results (marks made). He also gets all the ink all over his palms. It doesn't really set him up for independent activity. And the ones that hold crayons - don't even get me started. It's frustrating for both Dylan and me to say the least.

I started thinking that it was just Dylan who just wasn't ready to start coloring. Not so! I finally gave in and bought regular markers (the washable kind) and guess what, Dylan took them in his hands and started marking the paper. He holds them almost like adults hold their pens. I assume he sees us holding our pens so he decided he also needed to hold his like we do ours. He painstakingly tries to put the tip between his forefinger and his thumb. Even the lady who came to do his developmental assessment thought that was so cool. I told her he has just been at this for about a week. Prior to that, he made no real attempts to write. Now, he has figured out how much fun it is to color on paper, and the floor and the wall (if I let him).

Interestingly, he only knows how to hold markers and pens/pencils this way. He is still a hit and miss with the triangular crayons. I think it is because of the shape of the barrel. The round barrel crayons are held just like pens.

As for the markers, this is where Crayola redeems itself because their washable markers are the most washable I have seen thus far. I tried another brand and the washable part is open to interpretation. I found out because Dylan will often still confuse the tips of the pen and end up having ink on his palm and fingers. He looks at this hands at this point and then me and then expect me to wipe them off. It seems to really bug him when his hands aren't clean. He will literally look at his hands, think about what he is seeing and then walk over to me to show me so that we can wipe them clean. The other brand of markers (yes, I was going for slightly cheaper when I bought them) stained his hands so badly I couldn't get them clean enough to Dylan's satisfaction.

So with our coloring skills, we have gone from zero to hero. This kid never ceases to amaze me.

I babble as I am wide awake at 2 in the morning because I fell asleep next to Dylan at 8:30. I have to be up in a few short hours to go to work. Yikes.

Here are some photos of our beautiful boy these days.

And lastly, for those of you who noticed, yes, I cut my hair. I have been anxiously awaiting for my ponytail to reach 10 inches so that I can donate it to Locks of Love. I finally got there and sent in 12 inches of my hair to them. It feels great to have an updated look and to know that kids will benefit from my donation (after they fish out a few gray strands).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gotcha Day One Year Ago

One year ago, we held Dylan tightly as we walked out of the Tokmok orphanage.

It is possibly the happiest day of my life. That day has lasted a year so far - one long wonderful day.

Happy Gotcha Day, Dylan. We love you more than we can ever express with words.

Updated with photos.

Here are are some photos of our celebrations. It started in L.A. over Memorial Day weekend and to the actual Gotcha Day celebrated while at Auntie Kay's spaghetti feed fundraiser for the SF Breast Cancer walk.

Yes, those are Gotcha Day shirts from Grandma Pat and Auntie Kelly. They were so cool. It had a photo of Dylan from my first visits with him in Tokmok for Trip 2. Everyone in the family got to wear theirs that night.