Sunday, August 23, 2009

More on Alex

Alex continues to show tremendous growth every single day. His happy disposition gives him a great outlook on life which fuels his determination to do things just like everyone else. Yet...... he listens to us and chooses to obey our instruction most of the time even when it is kind of frustrating to him. His inability to walk right now, not only slows Alex down, but it slows me down as well. Not a bad thing as I previously said that I wanted to move at a slower pace and take time to enjoy the simpler things--- but what I mean is that when it is time to go swimming, all of the other kids just take off and jump in but for Alex, it requires me dropping what I am doing and helping him get undressed, and changing him into a swim diaper, and then physically carrying him outside to the pool steps where he sits and plays. I don't mind doing this (it is what I signed up for), but I can't always just drop what I am doing to attend to him immediately especially since his desire to go swimming is not an emergency. So---- Alex ends up waiting a little longer than the other kids who are already out swimming.

Thankfully, he is pretty darn patient and I am pretty sensitive to this and try to get my act together a little faster and in the end he ends up waiting only about five minutes.

Alex and Dennis were evaluated last week for speech. The Speech Teacher is really nice and seems to have a genuine interest in learning more about my boys. I am expecting that they will both be starting pre-school very soon, but I will not know for sure about Alex because he doesn't automatically qualify like Dennis does for his cleft palate repair.

Since Alex is scheduled to start kindergarten next year and may very likely be attending pre-k in a week or two, I have had to push him a little faster to become a little more independent. With tons of encouragement and praise we are trying a "daily sit" to work on becoming socially bowel continent. I am also asking him to help in undressing and brushing his teeth. Rather than me carrying him everywhere, I went out and bought him a pair of high top boots and a pediatric walker. In the meantime, he is using it inside the house-- and while it is pretty obvious he will need some sort of surgery to correct his hips and legs, him using the walker is helping to build strength and get him used to being up off the ground.

He has the bad habit of sitting in a W so to correct that I remind him to sit in this booster chair that I constantly move around for him. It is working--- until we get into the SB clinic which might be a few weeks out.

It is amazing to see how much less Dennis depends on me for entertainment when the older kids are at school now that Alex is home. They are definitely brothers-- either playing happily together or fighting over a toy.

At lunch time, I continue to feed Alex a mixture of food he is used to (for comfort), and new foods like peanut butter and jelly or scrambled eggs. He is not fond of yogurt by itself, yet I know that calcium is good for him so I have started introducing it to him in things that he already likes. I add a dollop to his oatmeal or on a piece of cake. He has no problem eating it then. :)

Naptime is the only time when I hear, "Nee hachoo," but even then it is only a little whine. His finger-sucking days are over and I will soon be stopping the medicine . The boys also seem to sleep longer when I put each of them down in separate beds-- something I wasn't sure of at first. Now they both have no problem going down separately, and they are down for a good two hours.
Praise the Lord-- we were given a double stroller for the boys! They love riding it-- now if I could only find a way to fit it into my van. ;) This thing is huge!
It is interesting to see Dennis and Alex and how much of a difference a year of being home makes. When we made a cake the other day, Dennis was right there begging for one of the beaters while Alex had no clue what was going on.
Don't worry, Alex got a taste too!
** Update -- After some researching I believe that Alex will qualify for an IEP and receive PT and OT under "children with orthopedic impairments". :)


  1. I have been unable to get any kind of therapy or special services for Jasmine even though she needs them because she has to actually be failing or unable to function in the classroom for services. No preventive type things. So in place of therapy, we do gymnastics and dance and soccer in the fall. She just needs to build up the strength in her left side.

    I hope the testing gets you what you need for the little boys.

  2. i am very surprised that you may be starting Alex in school so soon. not that i question your judgment, i just thought he'd be sticking close by you for bonding and adjusting and learning the language rather than preschool. but you know best!

    will he be getting a wheelchair eventually or are you gonna stick with the walker?

    glad things are going well! :-D

    - michelle

  3. Sounds like things are going so well! And it occurs to me that you are getting one more little "help" toward holiness, as you school yourself to be patient and accommodating to Alex's needs.

  4. Oh, gosh, Christine, your comment about sitting in the "W" position took me back about 25 years!! I've emailed you previously about my daughters best friend since kindergarten (she's now 31!), who has spina bifida. We often had Lisa at our house for overnights/weekends/full days. As I am an LPN , the catheter and bowel issues were no problem. BUT, Lisa's Mom would tell us, every time we picked her up, "DON'T LET HER SIT IN THE W POSITION!".
    Just you wait to see how quickly that beautiful Alex is getting himself ready for the pool, and then scooting out there by himself...but NOT in the W position! ;-)

  5. I love seeing the boys together! Best buddies forever, I'll bet!
    Nick barely qualified for speech but got it anyway because of articulation. I hope you are able to squeek by also. He will still get it now in Kindergarten and more times per week! Nick did not like yogurt when he first got home too. Probably too sweet at the time!! We silly Americans putting high fructose corn syrup in otherwise healthy foods! ;)

  6. It's so good to see things are going well. I hope Alex gets the help he needs for school. He is such a precious little boy and I am so glad that he has finally found his forever family. I pray things continue to go smoothly for you all..

  7. It is amazing to see how far Dennis has come and how Alex is adjusting in such a short amount of time!

  8. I have followed your blog before and through Alex's adoption. You are all so blessed to have found each other. You and your husband are truly amazing and your children are beautiful. Alex is such a dear little boy and looks so happy in all of the photos. He and Dennis are just the cutest little boys ever, and you can tell they will just be the best little buddies and brothers. Bless you all!

  9. Alex is so cute. He has those eyes and that smile just makes my heart melt. I'm so glad he found his forever home and through the power of the internet I've gotten to witness his journey.

    Also wanted to say I am glad you blog about all the good and the bad things. It makes the story that much more real and gives those of us who may one day adopt a chance to really prepare for what may come. He really is a joy though, so glad he is home!

  10. I think Alex could still qualify for an IEP and get his OT and PT if he's given a diagnosis of Other Health Impaired due to the Spina Bifida. It would qualify him in MO anyway!

  11. I've been following your blog for months, but not sure if I've ever commented. We brought home our daughter 3 months ago from Russia, she has mild CP. I know what you mean about the slowwing down part. It can be a blessing certainly. But also it can push you to see what exactly they can do on their own. I think the walker is a great idea. I can tell you our daughter was never encouraged to do anything out of her comfort zone physically, and now it is very hard to get her to do her PT, get him used to it now!!!
    I enjoy every one of your posts.
    I would love your input on my recent blog entitled "Holding Out" We have similar parenting techniques, but this is my first adoption, I would love your opinion/ideas

  12. Oh, my the medicine...we too used that medicine to help our daughter stop sucking her thumb. When we put it on her she cried in horror and said, "I can't believe you poisoned me!" For all the world to hear :O) It worked, a week later we were thumb free.

  13. AMAZING! I love what God is doing in the life of your family. Your boys are awesome!

  14. I love that you keep your readers/followers so informed of the happenings at your home. I'm glad to see that you got a stroller. It looks similar to the one I have used for the past 7 years. I don't know what I would do without mine. It is such a lifesaver with the little ones. Hopefully you'll figure out a way to fit it in your van. It is a little cumbersome. I'm so glad for Alex that he will get services through the school district. The pictures you capture of him definitley show his happy personality you talk about. What a sweet boy.

  15. I should think he would qualify! I would have liked to hear the reasoning if he didn't! I can't imagine what PT would be for if not for children with impairments like Alex. I researched our states guidelines before I even went in for our IEP meeting, just in case they tried to get away with something. Thankfully, we are blessed in our school district, at least at this time!

    He is doing so wonderfully, he has an awesome smile! How fun for he and Dennis to have one another.

  16. I've read your blog for about a year now (from work, yikes!). I love to hear about what is going on in all of your children's lives and I really enjoy every update you make. It is very enjoyable to hear about all of the children, but I found your blog due to your Eastern European adoptions and my love for all things from that area of the world.
    I hope that all goes well with the coming school year for everyone.

  17. It's fantastic to hear about Ales's progress, and I'm glad to hear that he will get therapy too!

    May I get an answer to something I've wondered about for a while? Why is the W sit so bad? I never knew this before reading RR blogs, and I've been sitting in a W all my life....

  18. I'm guessing next time you bake a cake Alex will be begging for a beater too!

  19. to answer the W sit question - it can lead to ortho problems particularly with the hips and even make it more likely for hip dislocation...beyond that it slows down gains children could otherwise make in trunk control (w sit prevents turning and is an easy way to balance without figuring out how to do it with your muscles

  20. Here in New York, children are able to receive OT and PT with a 504 plan. The child needs a prescription from their physician for the service, but children with IEPs also need a prescription.

  21. Have you seen the double jogging strollers? Our pastor's daughter has one for her twins. They look light and simple and the kids get to sit side by side. Check here...

  22. Ah! Thanks, Anonymous! All my children W sat as babies and stopped by themselves, so I guess I needn't worry about them then, only about myself :-)

  23. Christine - If Alex isn't very fond of yogurt, you might try dark green veggies - if he'll eat them of course. They are actually a better source of calcium than most dairy products, which ends up being a good thing in our house since we have had to go dairy-free.

    Coincidentally, even while we were still eating dairy products, my DD was not a big fan. However, give her a big ole plate of southern-cooked collard greens and she won't stop eating until I stop refilling the plate.

  24. As a pedi PT I would think that he would be eligible for PT at least through the school system. As it is now he is not able to maneuver around a classroom environment independently, walk in the hall between activities and other things like that. I know regulations are different state to state but the ultimate bottom line question of "Is he functional in a school environment independently?" is not yet. Sometimes I find that my kids who are transitioning to the school system need parents who really push the school but in the end are able to qualify.

    I just started seeing a kindergarten child who is independently walking with a walker but still is eligible for PT at school with a goal to be independent without the walker in the classroom as there is not always space for his walker and also be able to use playground equipment independently and safely.

    My best advice is to really challenge the district if they try to get out of providing PT for him.

  25. That is the same double stroller we used to have when Audrey was born and Jaedon was 17 months old. But we sold it on craigslist for exactly that reason - it was WAY too big!! But it will come in handy getting both the boys around together!

  26. Nikolai walks with crutches or uses his wheelchair. He didn't qualify for either OT or PT because he could get around the school just fine with those devices. Ugh. They will deny you every chance they get, be forewarned... You might want to get an advocate to go with you to the meetings.

  27. another option to minimize the W sit is to take a pair of cotton shorts, seew the two inner leg seams together, then have him wearing those during floortime. It works!

  28. Christine, Sorry I haven't told you congratulations on bringing Alex home sooner. I think he will qualify for services based on his PT and OT needs. Just push for it.
    I have learned the more we advocate for our children, the better the services we get. My Nicholas goes to early intervention 4 days a week at the local public school and he loves it . He receives speech, PT and OT.
    They said speech was considered also because he is considered ESL.
    Have a great day!



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