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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Practically Perfect In Every Way

This is an old picture, but I don't think I've posted it before. It's part of a series of pictures I took when I was playing with my new camera's settings. She had decided she wanted to stay in her high chair after her snack that day.

Today started out on the rough side. By today I mean last night. I was just getting ready to close my book and turn off my lamp when I heard Sera cry. She never cries at night, so I checked the video monitor. She must have had a nightmare because she was tossing and turning and whimpering. I made a decision that I still don't regret, but then I may be insane. If I had left her alone, she probably would have fallen back asleep. She goes to sleep on her own when we put her down. I've seen her wake up before and go back to sleep. This was different though. Images of her waking up from nightmares in an orphanage and no one being there to rock her just filled my brain. I went to her and held her and rocked for about an hour. She fell back to sleep pretty quickly, but she was still whimpering and kneading my shoulder with her left hand and my ribs with her right. Now let me interrupt to say that I am extremely ticklish, but I held it together. She kept waking and going back to sleep. When she finally seemed to relax, I put her back in her crib. I covered her, did our normal night-night good bye and went to bed.

One hour later, she cried out again. Jim woke and got to her first. In my groggy state, I just told him to bring her to me. What was I thinking? She doesn't sleep in our bed. Mommy and daddy are way too much fun to waste time sleeping. She wouldn't even lie down. She sat between us on my pillow with her butt in my face. I'm so glad she didn't have a poopy diaper. She alternated between grabbing my nose and poking Jim's lips. I quickly gathered her up and headed back to the nursery.

We settled in on the rocker. She wasn't upset anymore at all. If anything, she was playful. She'd play for a few minutes, settle in and seem to want to sleep, and then toss and turn and play again. I so wanted to sleep. Everytime I tried to put her down, she'd start to cry. This is so unlike her that I continued to hold her. Finally, she got tired and comforted enough to willingly go back in her crib. It's where she sleeps best. She is a mover and needs her space. That's why she doesn't really like being held when she's asleep. It's okay for short-term, but not for very long. When I returned to my room and looked at the clock, it was 3:30 AM. Ick! No big deal, I thought, I'm sure Sera will sleep in in the morning.

NOT! She woke up only 15 minutes later than usual. Okay, I dragged my sorry, tired butt out of bed and made her bottle. I put her down for her morning nap on time and she went right to sleep. Yay, surely she'd nap for two hours. She usually naps for two hours, right? WRONG! She only slept one hour. I didn't even make it to my morning shower.

When Jim got home, I begged for mercy. He took her with him to run some errands, and I slept for 45 minutes and took a shower. He came home in time to put her down for her afternoon nap where she slept for an hour and a half. She probably would have slept longer, but she needed to get up as we had two therapists, a developmental and an occupational, coming at 4:00 PM to evaluate Sera's development. My only worry is that a rough night and then being awakened from her afternoon nap might not let Sera show her best side. You know?

My first strategy was to have Jim wake her up. Since I'm usually the one getting her when she wakes, she absolutely loves when Jim gets her. I thought his presence might forstall or even prevent the whiny clinginess she displays when I have to wake her instead of letting her wake naturally. It's rare that I do this, but sometimes it can't be helped. The strategy worked. He brought little Miss Sunshine downstairs.

They stayed for two hours, and she performed for them. It took her about 15 minutes to warm up to them. During that time, she'd go between Jim and I, but had to be held by one of us the entire time. Then Lydia pulled out a plastic fish bowl that played music and lit up when you put the balls in it. That's a hattrick, ladies and gentlemen. She loves toys that play music and light up, and she absolutely adores balls. She slid off my lap to the floor and began to play. They observed her the whole time while asking tons of questions. They watched her interact with Jim and with me. They interacted with her to see what she would do. They found her to be developmentally on target in every single area.

They were amazed when they learned what she had picked up over the last two months. She's completely caught up. They also told us how happy they were to have a meeting that went so well. As you can imagine, they don't always have such good news for the parents. Most people don't use their service unless they think there is a problem, and there usually is. It's a shame that more people don't as the evaluation is absolutely free. They're even paying for her hearing test later this month. This service is offered to all children under three years old* to make sure they get needed services before entering the school system. If parents wait until they're in the system to get them help, they're missing a vital opportunity. If Sera had been found to need therapy, there would have been a fee, but it's based on income and sooo worth it to give your child every chance they need to succeed.

They wished us luck and thanked us as they left. They also wanted us to know that if any concerns come up in the future to call for another evaluation. They left us notes on what is next for her developmentally and suggestions on play that will help her. I would never have thought she was old enough to start coloring, but guess what...it's time to by some art supplies and puzzles.

The program is called First Steps here. We received the number from our doctor. Here's a site that goes into it a little bit more. I strongly recommend all parents, not just adoptive, use these resources.

*Children over three who need services are helped through the local school systems.a

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Anonymous Sandra said...

Oh, I remember the sleeping woes!

We used similar services for Jazzie and Tahlia when they first came home and like you, I highly recommend other parents to take advantage of them.

Blogger C.J. said...

Love the sweet picture.

Sorry about the sleep disturbance :0(

I'm familiar with these programs and look forward to the day I get to utilize them for my girl.

Blogger Tammie said...

I totally believe in the Early Intervention Program. I used it for Erin with regard to her hearing since she was overly sensitive to loud noises. That girl has the hearing of a dog!

Love the pic! Sera is just way too cute. But you knew that!

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