Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Moving up in the world

Charity and Jonathan - I tried to post one of MJ and Joseph too but it wouldn't load so...they'll have to wait until next time! Also, this picture has nothing to do with this post but it was too cute, I had to share it!

Well we’re moving up in the world. Joseph decided that he has had enough of training wheels. I had a feeling they were just a crutch for him anyway but yesterday I made time out of my busy schedule to take them off for him. (You know, it takes all of a minute and a half to complete the job, with the first minute spent figuring out what size socket I needed on the wrench.) I told him to go for it and then I went inside to do more stuff since I’m not really an outside kind of girl. He and Charity came inside to play about 5 minutes later. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to them because Michael was in the middle of homework. I kicked the kids back outside when Michael was done and told Joseph to go learn how to ride that bike. He looked at me like I had grown horns and told me he already knew how to ride it. I fully admit that I was skeptical so I followed him outside and sure enough – the kid rides like he’s been doing it all his life. He’s still a little shaky on stopping and he’s got what Eric refers to as the “orphan curse” – aka, no fear – so he rides really fast. Not necessarily a pretty combination, so I think we’ll avoid the road for a little while longer but it looks like we now have 3 real bike riders. Jonathan, it seems, can ride a tricycle too. This is the bribe that his OT and PT are both using to get him to work hard for them. He’s gained a lot of strength since he’s been home and he’s gaining more and more ability to steer. He needs about one more inch in his legs and he would have no problems with the tricycle at the hospital. His feet keep slipping off the pedals. We had gotten rid of all of our tricycles before moving back home after law school so now we have to add that to our arsenal of wheeled toys in the garage. What joy! In the winter they don’t bother me that much but this time of year becomes hazardous and mom gets rather annoyed. Every time I get ready to pull my van in or out of the garage I have to do a perimeter check to ensure I don’t run over anything. The kids are pretty good about putting their wheeled arsenal back in the garage when they are done playing but they don’t necessarily take the time to put them away safely and while theoretically I would like to let life teach them a lesson or two about what happens when cars and kid toys meet, I really don’t want to deal with the whining and imagined “trauma” that would ensue if I actually ran over one of the stupid things. (Don’t tell my kids that I just used the “s” word!) I can only imagine what it will look like when they are actually on the things every waking hour. I now know how people can have 4-car garages and all their cars sit in the driveway. It’s not because of adult stuff – it’s because of kid paraphernalia.

P.S. Sorry the pics don’t match the post but my camera had to be sent off for service. I’m going through serious withdraw and the fact that I didn’t get any pics of Joseph yesterday is messing with my “mommy guilt” gene.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hanging in there

Jonathan looking cool in the dentist's chair.

Charity enjoying spring weather. This time of year drives me bonkers. I'm so ready for spring and they just keep teasing me with warm days and then a week later we have snow!

Michael and Joseph paging through fishing magazines as we wait for - get this - a doctor's appointment! (Actually I think it was x-rays, but whatever - we were waiting!)

Okay, so life with 4 kids can certainly never be described as boring. As mentioned in a previous post, we are in the midst of many doctor’s appointments right now. Most of them are for Jonathan but we’ve had a few other one sprinkled in here and there as well. Charity failed her vision screening at school – 3 times – so we took her to the eye doctor fully expecting to walk out with a child in glasses. Yeah right – the girl has 20/15 vision so I don’t know what went on with her and the screenings at school. She also caught strep throat last week and this week developed some wheezing and coughing so we were at the pediatrician for her a couple of times and have added antibiotics and breathing treatments to our “to do” list. Jonathan continues with PT and OT once a week each and we have met with several other doctors/therapists to try to establish a base line and figure out what direction we need to head in with his care. We have an appointment with Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington on April 2nd. We’re hoping to get a majority of his care there. Several surgeries have been suggested by the specialists at Riley so we’ll see what we end up doing. Obviously we will still continue the PT and OT at our home hospital and school but if we are looking at any surgeries and new braces then it would be wonderful to get that taken care of through Shriners. We met with Special Services at our school last week and Jonathan was evaluated by the school’s OT and PT on Wednesday. There is a small chance that he will begin attending the developmental pre-school a day or two a week this year but my real goal at this point is to have his IEP in place so that we can hit the ground running with Kindergarten in the fall. Both new boys are picking up English rapidly. They understand a ton and speak quite a bit in English/Russian mixed sentences. Joseph and I have started reading lessons and they are going well. I’ve learned through this time that I am not cut out to be a home schooling mom. It’s so hard for me to get these 15 minute lessons in during the day. I don’t know how people do it long term and with more than one kid at a time. One of the biggest challenges with it is getting Jonathan involved in something else while we have our lesson. I really don’t want him learning to read yet (academic boredom in Kindergarten would not be a good thing) and I know he would pick it up very quickly if I would let him. I may just have to suck it up and let the kid read so that his older brother will learn it too. Michael and Charity continue to adjust well. Charity has moments when she feels like the odd-man out but that’s to be expected and she gets over it pretty quickly. The four of them tend to pair up by age but Michael and Joseph have started arguing once in a while and they don’t play with each other exclusively anymore. I know it is a little backwards to want the arguing but I really want them to act more like brothers and less like best friends. I’m a little concerned that Joseph will be upset when he realizes that he is a grade below Michael since he’s been SO attached to him. They are playing different sports this spring so that should help in the separation as well as help Joseph find his place in the family. I see the lost look on his face at times and I want to reassure him that with time everything will make sense. He’s a good kid and loves our family and living in America. Every day he tells me a little bit more about his life in Sevastopol and makes it clear how happy he is to be away from there. Being an orphan is no fun – even when you are adequately cared for. That’s not to say there haven’t been “moments.” A couple of weeks ago he was irritated at us because we had run errands and stuff all day and then had to come home and work too. At dinner that night he told us that his name wasn’t the name we had given him – it was the name on his birth certificate. For the rest of the night he insisted (when he remembered) on being called “Roma”. The next morning he thought it was hilarious and we were able to tease him about it so...life goes on as normal, one small event at a time.